Rangefinding with Elevation

Here’s a quick one for you.

A few years back, I was on a do-it-yourself pronghorn hunt in Wyoming. It was really do-it-myself as I was by myself on the opening day of the season in a great area. I had a great buck sitting there with his herd of does and I lined up for the shot. MISS! I shot again. MISS part II!

Why did I miss?
I grossly underestimated the range. Had I had a laser rangefinder with me, it might have been a different story. So like many of you, I went and got a solid rangefinder. The problem with rangefinders is that they, at the time, didn’t adjust for elevation.

Today’s rangefinders do this and, again, like many of you, I find myself wanting one of these new toys.

But can my regular rangefinder work just as well? Yes, and here’s how.

When you are elevated, range a spot on the ground. A tree trunk works realy well for this. Then range that same tree at equal elevation to you. Write these numbers down. Do the same at several distances out to the limit of your comfortable shooting range. What I do is make a chart of these distances and differences and tape it to the side of my rangefinder, creating a cheat sheet for me when a deer comes in on my stand.

Now you have the same basic capability as the newer rangefinders. Making the shot is still up to you though.

Good Hunting!