How far can you judge yardarge accurately?

Erussell01

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How far can you accurately judge yardage?

Elk on the ground vs deer from a tree or on the ground?

When can you no longer gap shoot pins accurately enough? When can you no longer judge yardage accurately enough to make the shot without a range finder?

I broke my sight this week, and as I look for a replacement, it got me thinking. How many pins do I need? How far can I really accurately judge yardage and gap shoot and still be effective. I want to believe it's far, but man I don't know if in the moment I can really judge as well as I can in the yard.

I'm a top pin ninja. I shoot all summer at "long" range, 100+ yards and yet come season I'm like, man that deer looks way out there... and it's all of 27 yards lol.

Is it fair to assume a safe field judging ranging of say, 40? I am within 2 or 3 yards always when messing around with my range finder in the deer stand or in the yard, out to say 45. But, thats very different than on the ground in front of an elk. I know this is individual, but it really has me thinking about how many pins I really need. 2? 3? 4? I think within 40 I'm totally comfortable guessing yardage and gap shooting on a deer sized animal and being in the vitals 95% of the time. So maybe I need 3 pins.

If I ran 3 pins, and did 20 30 40, I could shoot to 45 or 50 without touching the dial. For elk I could go 30-40-50. Or maybe that's silly too and I should just go 20 30 40 for that too.

What do you guys think? What is you maximum effective range for judging yardage and making the shot? What is your experience with the number of pins? Pros and cons
 

Laramie

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Bowhunting in the 80s and 90s, I was pretty accurate to 60 without a range finder. I shot several big game animals at distance including an elk at an estimated 55 yards but I also missed a couple of shots due to wrong estimation. Today, after years and years of reliance on a range finder, I think 40 would be about it for me. That said, I rely on a range finder for a reason and use it at longer distances before shooting. If I know the elk is past my top pin, I take the time to range it. If I don't have enough time, I don't shoot.
 

Dos Perros

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If I saw an elk at what I judged to be 40 I would feel comfortable shooting. They are big and the drop from 40 to 45 or 35 to 40 is within the kill zone of an elk. Beyond 40 and I would want to use my range finder.
 

*zap*

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There are alot of variables in judging yardage. To be very good at it requires lots of practice....20-30 is much easier than longer ranges. You get past 40, as already mentioned, and it requires developed skills.
 

Hunt_Jefferson

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I've golfed since I was a kid, so I'm decent out to 250-300 yards. Basically within driver range :LOL:

*rifle hunter not bowhunter, so obviously 10 yards margin of error isn't going to make as much of a difference.
 

Jesse Jaymes

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I shot very well IBO shoots unmarked yardage. But put me up in a tree.....all bets are off. 25 yard deer look like 50 yards and tiny.

Like the other guy...with a rifle past 100 yards, out on the Montana prairie.....no way. I have a few novice hunter wannabe college room mates wanting to hunt. LRF is the first thing I recommend and the last thing they invest in.
 

Botay

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Hunting in brush, within 50 yards for bow, ~150 for rifle. Where I hunt, I have landmarks in my shooting lanes that I won’t shoot past.
 
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Erussell01

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Bowhunting in the 80s and 90s, I was pretty accurate to 60 without a range finder. I shot several big game animals at distance including an elk at an estimated 55 yards but I also missed a couple of shots due to wrong estimation. Today, after years and years of reliance on a range finder, I think 40 would be about it for me. That said, I rely on a range finder for a reason and use it at longer distances before shooting. If I know the elk is past my top pin, I take the time to range it. If I don't have enough time, I don't shoot.
Seems pretty damn sensible to me.
 

Dos Perros

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Bowhunting in the 80s and 90s, I was pretty accurate to 60 without a range finder. I shot several big game animals at distance including an elk at an estimated 55 yards but I also missed a couple of shots due to wrong estimation. Today, after years and years of reliance on a range finder, I think 40 would be about it for me. That said, I rely on a range finder for a reason and use it at longer distances before shooting. If I know the elk is past my top pin, I take the time to range it. If I don't have enough time, I don't shoot.

Without a rangefinder, how did you get the feedback loop to actually know the range? Just practice guessing and then walking it?
 

Laramie

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Without a rangefinder, how did you get the feedback loop to actually know the range? Just practice guessing and then walking it?
I used to shoot a lot and pace the yardage. We shot targets, prairie dogs, rotten stumps with bludgeon or judo points, etc and then pace it off after the shot. It wasn't necessarily accurate person to person but as long as a guy could keep a consistent stride, he could be accurate at his paces/estimations. Instead of yards, it really should have been called paces. I'm 6'2" so my strides were a bit longer than my buddies who was 5'6". We used to kid a lot about his 50 yard shots really being 40. However it didn't matter since each person's bow was sighted to their strides and estimations.
 

mossyoak52

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My dad is maybe the best at judging rifle yardage. I kid you not, he will say "that deer is all of 330 yards" range it, and it's 323. How!?

My father was the same way but with him the marine corps and the being in Korean war and yrs of hunting and using kentucky windage taught him
Or at least that's what he to tell us
All I know is he like your dad was good at it and quite accurate
 

IdahoHntr

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I feel very confident out to 60 yards with my bow. I've only ever guessed range elk hunting, and I've yet to miss because of an inaccurate guess. I do guess and range all day while I'm hunting though and that has helped a lot guessing and knowing my distances to things around me if a shot presents itself. I have never actually ranged an elk directly. An elk standing a few yards from a bush that I had previously ranged is as close I have gotten.

I've also taken a different strategy to judging yardages recently that helps me. I bound my guess. If I think an animal is 45, but I can say for sure he isn't over 50. I can hold my 50 low in the heart and know that bull is dead anywhere from 42ish-50. It came about after reading about the trick pin system and realizing I could use similar concepts to help my inaccuracies in ranging. It has worked really well for me in practice and in the woods.
 

Maverick1

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While in the field: I just need to know one distance, and that’s 30 yards. Inside of 30 yards I do not use a rangefinder. Outside of 30 yards, I do! KISS.

At the practice range, I can, and do, estimate distances all the time. In the field, on a live animal, is a different situation.
 

MallardSX2

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I know how far my spread of my pins is from the belly to the back of deer and elk. I can range to 50 yards very easily without a range finder.

Its accurate to +- 3" up or down. Hold center and let it fly. I can live with that.

If I have the time to range I do. But I typically don't have the time to range on elk due to the nature of how and where I hunt them.

I typically don't shoot over 50 yards.
 

Btaylor

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Without a rangefinder, how did you get the feedback loop to actually know the range? Just practice guessing and then walking it?
Still do that very thing. I periodically just pick random stuff out to roughly 40, call a distance and step it off. My step distance and my rangefinder match too which helps. The closer season gets the more I practice it. Once deer season starts I will pick different stuff around the tree at what I feel is max shot for that spot, call a distance and then range it. Then I dont have to fiddle with the rangefinder when a critter shows up.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

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Damn good at knowing my wife's arm length.

But I do know that it is a very perishable skill. I'm much better at estimating distance later in the season than at the beginning of the hunting season.

It is a good idea to walk around with a range detector, guess the distance, and then get a real reading.
 
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