The bird moves into position about 40 yards away.  Or is he?  Could he be 60 yards?  It is hard to gestimate. 

Unless the hunter is particularly astute in judging distances there is always the element of making a misjudgment.  That element can spell the difference between success and a good story about the one that go away. 

A study by the British military on estimation of ranges found that the best they could find was a 15 to 17-percent error factor.  Even this could not be maintained without constant practice.  To the untrained eye this factor was closer to 100-percent error.

Today rangefinders have laser assisted precision.  When activated, they display a reticule for targeting, yard/meter designation, a target quality gauge, as well as precision and low battery indicators.  Sound complicated, it is not.

As you look through the lens, the target is displayed and once you push a button, the yardage to the target is displayed in large clear numbers.  The entire process is completed in a second or two.

The devices are feather light and come in a flat black or camo color that will not reflect sunlight and frighten off game. 

 A turkey hunter wants to find a target within 40 yards of his gun.  The bird may be as tall as 30 or 40 inches, making it appear much closer than is really the case.  That is why range estimation for the turkey hunter is so critical.  Most turkey hunters do not put in enough time in the field to precisely estimate distance by the size of the bird. 

With the help of a rangefinder hunters can set up quickly and take some readings before the bird comes into range.  The best way to use a range finding device is to take yardage readings of various objects in the area.  Determine which trees, bushes, rocks or other objects are within the shooting range.  Then hold off taking the shot until the bird approaches within that boundary.

 It is a simple matter to learn how to effectively use a rangefinder.  It can be used quickly and effectively.  Practice with it before taking to the field.  It is a good idea to practice under conditions similar to hunting situations.  It can be done during pre-season scouting trips. 

On scouting trips, or any other trip in the outdoors, get into the habit of estimating distances.  Make your guess then check it with a rangefinder.  Practice in the same kind of environment to be hunted.  Notice how your estimation varies when looking over valleys, low lands, across water.  It is immediately apparent that range estimation is not a simple matter unless you are using a laser beam.

Use a rangefinder to avoid missing the vital area of the animal.  The kill zone on a turkey is only a few inches in diameter. The margin of error in shooting is really only half that size.  Misjudging the distance by two or three yards can result in a miss or, worse yet, a wounded bird. 

The turkey is a challenging quarry.  It deserves the best effort to take him in a quick and humane way.  A range estimation device is an important tool that can be used to make sure the bird is harvested effectively.


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