How far can you judge yardarge accurately?

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Erussell01

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Ground distance as a priority. When hunting I try to range random things, guessing the range beforehand, to stay sharp.

To be clear I've never shot at an elk like this before, but I would. Deer would have be to closer, probably 30 or less.
I do the same thing, and feel the same way. I can judge a deer to 30 confidently, or so I think now.

One time when I was a kid I shot a great big doe at 40. Hit her high, and spined her. Got down to walk up to her and it was a fawn at all of 25. Turns out, that long dry spell I had that season made it tough to tell what was what...
 
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Erussell01

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We shoot a lot of walking courses with the bow from different spots and such and never range till after the shooting is done it’s helps tremendously


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I've been doing that in my yard so much I started cheating off trees I knew. Lol
 
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Erussell01

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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
You think some day our kids (if we are lucky) will look back and tell people about how good we were?
 
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Erussell01

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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.
Interesting... can you elaborate on this more?
I use my pins to range deer all the time,
At full draw with my bow as it is, I go 5 pins on at 30 and under, 4 between 30 and 40, 3 between 40 and 50, and 2 pins bracketing the body between 50 and 60. If only 1 fits, it's over 60
 
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Erussell01

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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.
Makes sense, what about fast follow up shots?
 
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Erussell01

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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.
Interesting! I use pins to range deer, but don't know how it looks on elk yet... I would need to dig into how tall the chest is and try it!
 

Gutshot007

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Old gun writer David Petzal used to say after 300 yards anyone's ability to judge distance went to shit. Honestly I think it's close to 200 yards
 

Maverick1

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Makes sense, what about fast follow up shots?
"Fast follow-up shots"? I try not to have those, but.....things happen. (That's why I practice those types of situations at the range.)

Nearly two decades of elk hunting, and nearly that many elk shot with the bow, and I have had exactly one situation where I had an opportunity for a follow-up shot on an elk. (And that was exceptionally unusual. Big cow elk came into a wallow for a drink in the middle of the day. I shot her at 10 yards, zipped the arrow right through the vitals. She jumped backwards and stood there at 13 yards for several seconds, likely in shock. Since she was just standing there, I shot her a second time and she flopped over.)
 

Blockcaver

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There are many factors that affect range estimates and change my ability to accurately judge yardage bowhunting. A few that come to mind are:
——good light or dim light
——open tundra or thick bush
——up hill, flat or downhill
——sun at my back or in my eyes
——excited with a P&Y ram in view or just stump shooting
——in a tree or on the ground
——standing up or sitting in a blind, maybe one dug into the ground
——all the time in the world or a split second to estimate
——size of animal….moose aren’t elk and in wide open tundra are easy to undershoot
——across steep draws
——with a bit of a rise then drops away and can’t see the ground all the way to the target (animal)

Anyway, there is a story of a miss due to a poor yardage estimate that goes with each of my comments. I spent the first 25 years bowhunting pre-rangefinder and was one of the more successful bowhunters around Colorado. I practiced judging yardage all the time but still had some major errors in the heat of the moment.

In my opinion the angle corrected laser rangefinder (LRF) was the biggest advancement for a western bowhunter over my 50 seasons. And it is a great tool for the tree stand and blind hunter too. Granted my 273 fps arrow today is a lot more forgiving of being off a couple yards than the 200 fps 1970s compound or 170 fps recurve I used a long time ago.
 
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justins71

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I'm admittedly not great - usually off about +/- up to 20%! haha Been working on it though, until then I keep my rangefinder close at hand...

Somedays I'll be pretty dead-on though, so maybe like @Blockcarver said, could be conditions.
 
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Erussell01

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"Fast follow-up shots"? I try not to have those, but.....things happen. (That's why I practice those types of situations at the range.)

Nearly two decades of elk hunting, and nearly that many elk shot with the bow, and I have had exactly one situation where I had an opportunity for a follow-up shot on an elk. (And that was exceptionally unusual. Big cow elk came into a wallow for a drink in the middle of the day. I shot her at 10 yards, zipped the arrow right through the vitals. She jumped backwards and stood there at 13 yards for several seconds, likely in shock. Since she was just standing there, I shot her a second time and she flopped over.)
Can't beat that!
I'm a "if it's still standing, I'm still shooting" kinda guy. My brother calls me Legolas because I will regularly get a 2nd or even 3rd shot at an animal. More often than not it's not needed, but I will take it every chance I get.
"Fast follow-up shots"? I try not to have those, but.....things happen. (That's why I practice those types of situations at the range.)

Nearly two decades of elk hunting, and nearly that many elk shot with the bow, and I have had exactly one situation where I had an opportunity for a follow-up shot on an elk. (And that was exceptionally unusual. Big cow elk came into a wallow for a drink in the middle of the day. I shot her at 10 yards, zipped the arrow right through the vitals. She jumped backwards and stood there at 13 yards for several seconds, likely in shock. Since she was just standing there, I shot her a second time and she flopped over.)
Oh man I'm all about fast follow up shots. 9 times out of 10,( or more) the first one is enough.... but if the animal is up and moving, I'm still shooting. I have shot enough deer a 2nd time that my brother and his buddy Bob call me legolas lol. I get your point though!
 
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Erussell01

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There are many factors that affect range estimates and change my ability to accurately judge yardage bowhunting. A few that come to mind are:
——good light or dim light
——open tundra or thick bush
——up hill, flat or downhill
——sun at my back or in my eyes
——excited with a P&Y ram in view or just stump shooting
——in a tree or on the ground
——standing up or sitting in a blind, maybe one dug into the ground
——all the time in the world or a split second to estimate
——size of animal….moose aren’t elk and in wide open tundra are easy to undershoot
——across steep draws
——with a bit of a rise then drops away and can’t see the ground all the way to the target (animal)

Anyway, there is a story of a miss due to a poor yardage estimate that goes with each of my comments. I spent the first 25 years bowhunting pre-rangefinder and was one of the more successful bowhunters around Colorado. I practiced judging yardage all the time but still had some major errors in the heat of the moment.

In my opinion the angle corrected laser rangefinder (LRF) was the biggest advancement for a western bowhunter over my 50 seasons. And it is a great tool for the tree stand and blind hunter too. Granted my 273 fps arrow today is a lot more forgiving of being off a couple yards than the 200 fps 1970s compound or 170 fps recurve I used a long time ago.
Man those are all really good points!
A little speed helps, and range finders are a godsend for sure.
 
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Erussell01

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I'm admittedly not great - usually off about +/- up to 20%! haha Been working on it though, until then I keep my rangefinder close at hand...

Somedays I'll be pretty dead-on though, so maybe like @Blockcarver said, could be conditions.
So what range can you consider yourself always effective, that is within the killzone on a critter?
 
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Erussell01

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20-30 is much easier than longer ranges. To be very good at it requires lots of practice.
Could not agree more. It has me thinking I should really be shooting less pins and dialing for longer shots...
 

grfox92

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When I was young and single and shot every day I could guess yardage within 3-5 yards accuracy out to 60 ;yards.

We shot 3d every Sunday and wouldn't turn in score cards, but would play a game where we guess the yardage before checking it with a range finder. This got us to be pretty deadly accurate out to 60. I had a 25 yard and a 50 yard pin on an Elite z28 and was deadly accurate with it.

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Colterw

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If the 3d shoot I did without a rangefinder is any indication, 30 yards is my cutoff. Too bad the targets went out to 80 yards... That was expensive!
 
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Erussell01

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If the 3d shoot I did without a rangefinder is any indication, 30 yards is my cutoff. Too bad the targets went out to 80 yards... That was expensive!
Lol oh no... been there. Got poison ivy out trying to find them lol
 

Ho5tile1

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Once I’m up in a tree and range a few trees I’m good to go most of the time other times I’m sitting there and look at a tree I ranged and second guess myself so I guess and hit it with the range finder again and I’m usually within a yard or 2. More to your point I’d say 40 is max for me bow hunting. I will say once I’ve ranged say 60 yards on a landmark or tree I’m pretty good at guessing the closer ranges with the knowledge of knowing where 60 is.


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