Range Estimation

Turkey hunting tips & tricks that have worked & can help others.
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decoykrvr
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Joined: February 10th, 2015, 1:28 pm

Range Estimation

Post by decoykrvr »

I got a call yesterday from a hunting partner that I introduced to turkey hunting back in 1998. He caught a real bad case of the "disease" and is working on his 49 State and World Slam (lacking only an Ocellated which is booked for next year) and has killed well over 200 gobblers. Yesterday he worked a couple of gobblers off the roost and they swung around him from the woods into a field. It was extremely foggy following a rain the day before and he had the birds responding to his calls over a dip in the field and finally had them where he could see their beards as they paced back and forth gobbling. The birds closed the distance to a raised area in the field and he estimated that they were between 35-40 yards. He picked out the lead gobbler, put the red dot on his head and fired a load of TSS, 15/8 oz, 9's. The gobbler's head hit the ground, he began running in circles and the other gobbler ran past him at 15 yards. He ran to the gobbler who started running away, and he let him get @ 25 yards away and rolled him. My first question was, "How far was the shot?" He sheepishly replied, " 71 paces which translates to about 65 yards, but I would have sworn that they were about 35 yards away." He had the fog, the undulating field, gobbling turkeys, and adrenaline working against him and severely under estimated the range to the gobblers. He said the gobbler sported an 11 1/2" beard, 1 3/8" spurs and had a baseball sized head, but is still befuddled by his range miscalculation. We discussed the merits of my TSS reload, and he commented that with anything but TSS, the coyotes would have been eating a gobbler that night!









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guesswho
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by guesswho »

I misjudge yardage fairly often. But I’m usually within 5-7 yards, and over estimate most of the time which works out well since I’m a self imposed 40 yard guy. I’ve never thought 65 was 35, that’s a bad one. Glad he was able to recover the gobbler and not provide an easy meal for the yotes.
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Chief Razor
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by Chief Razor »

Range estimation is a tricky game. Terrain, lighting, elevation, adrenaline all make things difficult in the heat of the moment. Your friends example is a true testament to the benefits of TSS! Not that he intended to kill the bird at that distance, but if a mistake happens, it doesnt leave an animal to needlessly suffer.
Dtrkyman
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by Dtrkyman »

I had it happen years ago, long before TSS, had a bird working along a hill side, I said when he clears that blow down he's dead, pulled the trigger and watched him flush and fly off unscathed! After picking my jaw up off the ground I paced it off, I didn't even make it to where the birds was and was shocked how many steps I was at already.

I just straight up blew that one, pretty pathetic from an active 3d shooter at the time!
2nd100
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by 2nd100 »

I've hunted with alot of good turkey hunters most of us were good bow hunters for deer way before we turkey hunted . That being said we were decent at estimating distance. In @ 1998 I bought my first rangefinder . Over the years hunting the same places I've been dumbfounded by the number of gobblers that walked off because I thought they were to far . Not these days ! First thing that happens when my ass hits the dirt is the rangefinder comes out ! Alot if guys in camp have said o I bet he was 59 yds .... the people that know me assure them that if I say its 59 its 59 because they have seen me range / shoot by dropping the rangefinder to pick up my gun ..
That being said I always draw me a line for what gun I'm hunting with as soon as my tail hits the ground !
I've often said my rangefinder is the deadliest weapon in own ! I've killed a pile of gobbys and have had a 2 x bigger pile killed in front of me but in the last 25 + years almost everyone was at a known range , or at least closer than a KNOWN distance, when they were killed .
And that's been in over 15 states so I never leave home without one ..
Now my preference is a leupold RX600 for turkeys.. quick and accurate and I like the reticle the best of all I've tried .
And not to leave out my other hunting I have a Leica 2100 for my long range bag and deer hunting .
For my WOODS hunting range bag I tote a Leica 900 scan . These have served me well throughout the last 20 + years .
But truth be told my old Bushnell 450 did all I needed on turkeys. It still works as I give it to my buddy I ocho hunt with and played with it in early April when I was down hunting .
10th Legion legionare !
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Spuriosity
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by Spuriosity »

I agree with the rangefinder statements. My Sig stays on my belt during turkey season. It is also the first thing I do when I sit down. I range some landmarks so that I know when the gobbler passes the mark, he is dead.
decoykrvr
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by decoykrvr »

My friend who screwed up on his range estimation is a proficient bow hunter and former successful Illinois deer guide who has a bag full of expensive range finders, but they would all have been useless on his recent adventure. As I mentioned earlier, the gobbler didn't walk the open steep ridge, but cut up the hill into a field which necessitated him having to crawl up the hill to the fog covered field. There were no discernible features in the rolling field and he said that the ground fog was so thick that a lock on with a range finder would have been iffy, and everything was happening really fast. In subsequent discussions, my friend attributes his under estimation of the range primarily to the fog which totally eliminated any spacial reference of distance, and as he said, "The heads of both gobblers stood out white in the fog and looked a lot closer than they actually were." I personally don't carry a range finder, my vest already weighs @ 18 lbs, but after over 55 years afield hunting am pretty good with range estimation. I had an older gentleman from the Ballard County area of Kentucky advise me to make life size silhouettes of flying geese and post them at various distances to train myself on the apparent range of flying geese. It works! I've done the same thing w/ life sized turkey and goose decoys on the ground, but still pick out discernible features and mentally range them when I set up. With a known pace factor, I still walk off distances to test and evaluate my ranging abilities, but will admit that steep terrain and angles can be tough.
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GLS
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by GLS »

A buddy's rule of thumb is the bird's eyeball. If he can distinctly make it out, it is well within range. I had a pile of Amazon points and cashed in for a range finder. Like those above who use one. I'll pick out a tree and tell myself the distance. Then I use the rangefinder. Half the time I over estimated the distance. The eyeball trick works fairly well especially when birds are not near landmarks. Gil
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aristico
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by aristico »

GLS wrote: June 5th, 2022, 10:00 am A buddy's rule of thumb is the bird's eyeball. If he can distinctly make it out, it is well within range. I had a pile of Amazon points and cashed in for a range finder. Like those above who use one. I'll pick out a tree and tell myself the distance. Then I use the rangefinder. Half the time I over estimated the distance. The eyeball trick works fairly well especially when birds are not near landmarks. Gil
What if they have really big eyeballs?
Last edited by aristico on June 5th, 2022, 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
decoykrvr
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by decoykrvr »

I had an old gentleman who introduced me to waterfowl hunting in the 60's make a similar observation/statement on flying geese. "If you can see his eye he's in range, but remember, if you can see his eye, he can surely see you and any movement, so don't blow your chance at a shot, and don't lead his body, lead his head." Great advice from a long gone old river man who hunted and fished the Tennessee River before there were any dams and with whom I killed my first goose 54 years ago in a snow storm.
trkykilr
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Re: Range Estimation

Post by trkykilr »

I also use the bird’s eyeball. Everyone’s vision may vary, but to me, when I can clearly discern his eyeball, as opposed to it being part of his head, he is inside 45. Obviously conditions can vary, but its a pretty good rule.
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