Whether you are a novice to hunting or a seasoned pro having a hunting rangefinder is quite essential because judging range has always been a difficult task for many hunters regardless of their proficiency. However, it doesn’t matter whether you use a rifle, a bow or even a muzzleloader to hunt because the way you use your rangefinder often determines whether you will be going home with your kill and a triumphant smile or empty-handed and looking torn. Reason being misjudged shots usually lead to misses and as such you need to be careful and meet a few requirements while using a rangefinder to hunt. Fortunately, you happen to be in the right place because here is a list of definitive tips on how to use a rangefinder while hunting.
Familiarize yourself with it
Even when you buy anything else apart from a rangefinder, you often take your time to learn how it works, what its shortcomings are and how to maintain it and your rangefinder should not be an exception. Don’t just get it out of the box and start hunting because doing so might cause you to hate it yet the mistake was yours. Once you get it out of the box, go through the manual which comes as part of the package and play with it until you understand how different modes work and do so under different conditions for a more efficient orientation.
Learn how to carry it when out hunting so you can easily access it when the need arises and pack it safely when not in use. That will ensure that you not only master the modes but also make it efficient. Additionally, just like any other device or object, nothing is perfect, so even if you happen to purchase the best and most expensive one in the market, it will still have a few downsides. So while learning about its pros take time to learn about its cons so you can learn to deal with them as early as possible, so they do not end up costing you a good kill.
Range landmarks first
Don’t wait until your prey arrives for you to begin ranging. If you do so, chances of you managing a kill are at zero. To range the area, look for solid surfaces such as trees. Stand at one and then look around for trees that are about 20, 30 or even 40 yards away and include them in your range. They will come in handy especially if your prey moves swiftly than you anticipated which of course tends to happen most of the time. However, if you have a great memory, then you may not have to use your rangefinder when the prey shows itself so if it is possible for you to memorize the landmarks then even better for you.
When prey is approaching
Ranging your landmarks is often the first and also easy part so once you get it clear, don’t be quick to think that that’s it. Using your rangefinder when your prey is approaching is what put your hunting skills to test. And in respect to that, you have to be accurate with your estimations and measurements in equal measure. Fortunately, that does not call for archery classes because below are a few things you should do when your prey starts coming towards you.
- Because you’ve obviously spotted your target the next thing to do is predict or track its path of movement
- Set and hold your weapon in place and then take out your rangefinder
- Anticipate the shooting area and return the rangefinder to your pocket
- If the target moves on the same track you predicted, then it’s time to take your shot and go home with your kill
Pre-mark yardage using trees
You don’t have to wait until the day you are planning to go hunting to familiarize yourself with the landmarks and create yardage. If the place you are planning to hunt on has predefined trees, then you can use them to establish yardage by marking them using ribbons, spray or any other form of markings which you find appropriate but do so if you have permission from the relevant authorities and here is how you go about it.
- Just like you did in the first step take a tree stand and use your rangefinder to range the surroundings. You can use the trees or any other reliable landmark
- Once you range them ask a friend or any other person who came with you to use your markers, whether ribbons or spray to mark them. Although black spray is more advisable as it blends well with whichever background you are hunting in
- Do that repeatedly for any other areas you are confident that you may get prey
Keep the angles in mind
While using a rangefinder to hunt always keep in mind that there is a difference between a straight and an elevated line. A hunter who positions themselves on a steep hill or a tree might think the prey is far when it is near. So while aiming from an elevated position forget where the target stands and eliminate guesswork by using your rangefinder.
In a nutshell
Using a rangefinder to hunt does not require you to take archery classes as it is something you can achieve comfortably by following the above tips. Always avoid guesswork and also try and use one shot to kill your prey. That will ensure that you do not subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering by making an inaccurate shot and on that note always aim for the vitals. Lastly, avoid being too dependent on your rangefinder because the goal here is to train yourself and improve your aiming skills.