You Be The Judge

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The single most asked question I receive or hear asked is, “How can I improve on my ability to guess yardage?” My quick answer is to say experience, but there is a subset of methods that can be used to make the process more than just a guess. For myself, the most common method is to carry a rangefinder when I’m out and about. With rangefinders being so compact it is much easier and convenient to do now than it was just a few years ago when they were considerably more bulky.

This method is pretty simple. You just pick random objects, guess the yardage and then verify with your rangefinder. There is another method that can be employed along with the rangefinder if you have a little extra time and that is the halfway method. This method is exactly what it is named. You simply find what you believe to be the halfway point between you and the object you are ranging, guess what that yardage is and double it. This method works great along with the rangefinder because it is much easier to determine a shorter distance and work it into your overall range. You can take it one step further by finding the halfway mark, breaking it down into smaller units by using 10yd increments to verify your halfway, then double it. Once you have systematically come up with your educated guess, you can then use the rangefinder to verify your range. You may see a pattern develop where you are 2yd +/- from your rangefinder and if that happens you know you should tack on or subtract that difference from your guessed range. If you are competing in a un-marked 3D archery competition where rangefinders are not allowed, these methods will still be very accurate to use, you just won’t be able to verify with the rangefinder.

If you have access to a 3D range, another method is to memorize what specific targets look like at certain distances. For instance, if you know you can’t see the scoring rings on a particular target past 35yd and you come across that target on the course and you can’t make out the rings, then you now have a baseline for which to start implementing the previously discussed methods. A great tool for this type of method is a notepad. Don’t be afraid to write everything down and use it as a reference while on the course.

Whether you are wanting to become better at guessing yardage for target archery or for archery hunting, these methods will help you become a better competitor as well as a more ethical and lethal hunter, resulting in a better overall archery.

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