September 22, 2016
By Tony J. Peterson
The reason that gun hunting, in general, is so much easier than bowhunting is simple - proximity to game. Being 20 yards from a buck is a much different situation than 200 yards, and everything from scent to movement comes into play in a much different way.
We all know the realities of scent when it comes to point-blank opportunities, but what about movement?
Anyone who has drawn a bow with a game animal only feet from their position knows this issue well. In fact, learning when to draw a bow without getting caught is one of the truest measures of bowhunting maturity. And it's not just drawing a bow that catches the peripheral vision of passing ungulates.
When we grab a call, attach our release, set our binoculars down, or maneuver into a better shooting position we might get busted. That's reality. Most of those movements can be avoided altogether, while one specific movement can't and that involves rangefinders.
A typical rangefinder lives in your pocket until an animal is close. Then it's time to lift the rangefinder to your eye, zap a reading, and get it back in your pocket. Tethers can make this easier and cut down on some of the movement, but they won't erase it entirely. We've accepted this as reality, despite trying our best to do things differently.
To cut down on game-spooking movements, most of us take our rangefinders and zap readings off of nearby rocks, trees, fenceposts and anything else that a deer might walk by. I do this a lot, and one thing I found out is that by the time a deer does walk by, unless it's really close, I usually forget how far away my landmarks are.
I'm referring, of course, to whitetail hunting.
When it comes to western critters, the option to range nearby landmarks isn't always possible. Take an approaching elk for example. That bull that has taken a liking to your cow chirps or challenge bugles will approach any way he pleases.
That might mean he'll come straight downhill, or he might circle wide. One thing is for certain, and that is that he won't likely let you get away with lifting a rangefinder over and over to your eye until you're ready to shoot.
One of two things are likely to happen. The first is that you'll get busted. The second is that you might have to guess at the shot distance, especially if he decides he doesn't want to get closer than 30 or 40 yards. Neither outcome is preferable to being able to get a good distance reading, without movement, while readying for the shot.
Fortunately, there is a better way to do things.
Bow-mounted rangefinders have been out for years in different forms, but despite being a killer concept, they haven't caught on for various reasons. That's about to change thanks to Bresser's new Ambition, a bow-mounted laser rangefinder, which can accurately read reflective surfaces out to 100 yards.
This new offering easily mounts to your bow or crossbow and is designed with an OLED display that is easy to read in all levels of sunlight. It's also lightweight so that it won't throw off the overall balance of your bow. The best part, however, is that it's hands-free once you've hit the button.
With its scan mode providing nonstop readings, this rangefinder can be activated well before your shot opportunity transpires, meaning you only have to focus on getting drawn when game gets close.
That's a big deal.
As with anything new in your shot routine, the best bet with this bow-mounted rangefinder is to install it before the season and give it a test run at the range. You'll realize that pushing the button will become the first step in your shot routine and checking the reading will become a muscle-memory maneuver, just like quickly eyeballing your bubble level or putting a kisser button into the corner of your mouth. Once it's built into your shot sequence, you'll forget that you've added a step.
This is easy enough to appreciate when target shooting, but takes on a life of its own in the woods. There are so many scenarios from decoying antelope to spotting and stalking bull moose that make Bresser's bow-mounted laser rangefinder a great option for all bowhunters, especially considering the less movement you make when game is touchable close, the more tags you're likely to fill.
And who doesn't want that?
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.