Insights with Sticky Holsters
Why a Rangefinder Should Be Part of Your Essential Hunting Gear
Written By: Eric Rice and Johnny Piazza
In this month’s blog we are going to talk to you about why a rangefinder should be a part of your essential hunting gear. You can find a wide variety ranging from $20 to over $500. Your Bushnell, Simmons, Halo, and Nikon Rangefinders will be at the lower end of the spectrum. The Leupold, Vortex, Sig Sauer will be at the higher end. Sig Sauer BDX Rangefinders interface directly with a Sig Sauer BDX Riflescope. From Sig Sauer website, “… range your target as you normally would, and the KILO BDX rangefinder will utilize onboard Applied Ballistics Ultralight™ to instantly send your dope to the scope via Bluetooth. Using your basic ballistic profile the ballistic solution is calculated for your target and will instantly illuminate on the BDX-R1 Digital Ballistic Reticle with windage and elevation holds in the SIERRA3BDX riflescope.” With this type of technology available there really isn’t any excuse to not use some sort of rangefinder.
Johnny Piazza is a close friend and has an amazing career in the outdoor TV industry. He is currently the producer of The High Road with Keith Warren, and host of Dream Makers. Dream Makers a TV series brought to you by the Outdoor Adventure Foundation which provides hunting, fishing and other outdoor adventures to youth who have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses and disabled veterans. He details the importance of using a rangefinder below:
I was 10 years old when I took my first whitetail deer in Huntsville, Missouri. 20 years later, hunting has become engrained in nearly every aspect of my life. As an outdoor TV producer there is no off season, everything comes back to the outdoors.
A hunter that is truly obsessed doesn’t really recognize specific “seasons”. Of course, they follow the rules and only hunt on the lawful days, but it’s a lifestyle. Hunting seasons are governmental regulations that allow you to hunt a specific species at a specific time, but you spend the entire year preparing. You shoot your bow, set trail cams, pattern animal behavior, maintain food plots and confirm zero on your rifle all for a chance at the ONE shot.
When it’s time to grab your bow or gun and head to the woods you need to be mentally and physically prepared, but you also need to have the right gear. An important piece of gear that I always have on me is a range finder. Whether I’m behind the camera or behind the gun I have a range finder hanging off my bino harness.
Ethics is one of the most important aspects of hunting. As hunters, it is our duty to do everything within our power to make an ethical shot on an animal. We want to give that animal the quickest and cleanest death possible. A range finder is a vital tool that gives the shooter confidence that they will make an ethical shot, no matter the method.
Many people don’t realize how small the area on an animal is that you need to hit to make a clean kill (known as the “vitals”) there is no margin for error. If you make a bad shot and hit that animal too far back, too far forward, too low or too high then you most likely won’t find it. This means the animal will suffer more than necessary, the meat will most likely be wasted and you will be headed home empty handed feeling terrible. Using a range finder helps put the odds in your favor so that you, the hunter can be sure of the distance and confidently put the arrow, bolt or bullet where it needs to be placed. The difference of a few yards can dramatically change the trajectory of a projectile, especially when hunting with a bow or extremely cold temperatures.
When used properly a range finder can be the deciding factor of a would be successful hunt. There are people out there that think that hunting is all about “the kill” and that is not the case. For true hunters, the hunt is about the experience, the nature, and the passion of the outdoors.
If you are already a hunter, great! Keep at it and push yourself to become better, more accurate, and more committed. Get the gear you need. It doesn’t need to be expensive gear, but it needs to be good enough to get the job done. If you’re not a hunter then pick up a gun, pick up a bow, pick up whatever and get out in the woods because I promise you… you don’t know what you’re missing!!!
Johnny made some great points and we all see some of the obvious reasons to use a rangefinder while hunting via stalking or in an unfamiliar area. But what about from a stand, blind or other fixed position? I personally use a little technique from my Army days. I use a range card from my stand(s). I will have multiple range cards, one for each static position. I carry the range cards in a simple football arm play holder. If it’s really cold, and the play holder won’t slide over your heavy jacket, you can simply slide it over the stock of your rifle. This is an effective, yet inexpensive way to ensure your range cards are with you at all times.
To make a range card, sit in your static position and using your range finder, range specific and unique terrain features. Examples are a large or fallen tree, boulder, trail intersection etc. Write those ranges down so you don’t forget. Then draw semi circles indicating fixed distances, i.e. 5 or 10 yards. The distance between semi circles should be dependent on visibility, range and hunting weapon (rifle, bow). Once the semi-circles are drawn, you can then start drawing and adding in your terrain features. Pay close attention to likely avenues of approaches of the animals and most likely areas you will be taking a shot towards. Those areas should be more detailed.
I hope Johnny and I have given you some insight as to why every hunter needs a range finder. If you are interested in learning more about Johnny, The High Road with Keith Warren, or Dream Makers you can click the links below.
Carry on and be safe.
The High Road with Keith Warren https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1M-aYC5-TA-a4UQU8-2IRQ
Outdoor Adventures Foundation https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFhxSg909pFedEG2Vqwnhig