How to Measure Distance When Bowhunting
Measurement of distance is an important skill that archers must learn if they want to shoot a bow with maximum accuracy. It’s a common mistake to overestimate distance when shooting at larger game animals and underestimate it when hunting smaller ones, but these mistakes can be avoided by understanding how your depth perception works.
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The first step in judging distance is to practice. Find a range and shoot at a variety of targets. Try different arrow speeds and draw lengths until you’re comfortable with your ability to accurately estimate distance.
You’ll also need to practice estimating distance in hilly terrain and adjusting your shooting angle. Using an angle-compensated rangefinder can help you learn how to make these adjustments without losing sight of the goal.
If you’re new to bowhunting, it’s a good idea to start practicing with 3-D targets that are similar in size to the game you’re targeting. This will give you a chance to practice recall judging and help you better understand what animals look like at different distances.
Once you’re comfortable judging distance, it’s time to take your skills out into the field. There are a number of ways to practice judging distance while hunting, but the best way is to use landmarks or ground markers. Landmarks can be as simple as rocks or sticks that you lay out in your hunting area.
When you’re using a ground marker, be sure to place it in an obvious spot and not in a hidden or hard-to-find location. If you’re unsure of where the landmark is located, walk the ground until you can see it clearly, and then make an educated guess about where it is.
Another great way to practice judging distance is by taking your bow to a range and shooting at a variety of target distances in varying conditions. The more time you spend practicing, the faster you’ll develop a sense of how to judge distance in all kinds of situations.
A good tip for estimating distance when you’re out on the range is to judge each shot by a distance that’s five yards in increments. This will give you a lot more confidence when estimating distances to the target because you won’t have to guess the entire range at once.
Using a ground marker can also be a good way to get your eye used to estimating splits, which is another useful tool for judging distance. Simply divide the land between you and your target into manageable pieces, and then estimate each chunk’s distance by guessing how much it varies from the line of sight.
Once you’ve gotten accustomed to this, try placing your rangefinder at one of these distances and then judging the arrow travel time between your bow and the target. You’ll soon have a clear picture of the arrow’s travel time, which can then be used to make informed decisions about when to fire your bow and when to hold.
If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to get an instructor or pro shop to check your form before you go out and hunt with a bow. These guys can spot even the smallest of flaws in your form, and they’ll be able to guide you through the process of regaining control of your form.