Western Hunting Journal, Premiere Issue whj001_premiere - Page 34

GEAR REVIEW Multiple Readings Many modern units will emit a pulse of readings, which the processor then analyzes and corrects for erroneous data, such as returned readings from brush in front of a target, or a distant hillside behind a target. Angle Correction Steep inclines or declines to a target significantly impact the true, shoot-to range. Models which correct for angle should be a top priority for anyone hunting out of an elevated stand, or in terrain with varying topography. LIN E O F S IG H T ( LO S) RA NG E O F 5 00 YA R DS AT 3 0˚ DE CL IN E with a large, highly reflective target. You may get peak readings on a white barn on a clear day, but I guaran- tee you won’t get the same reading on a black bear in the rain at dusk. Because the units calculate based off the speed of light (in a vacuum), environmental factors such as dust, smoke, heat waves and humidity can slow and disrupt the laser beam, hindering per- formance. Last year I watched two bucks fighting in a coast- al clear cut in thick fog for over five minutes before the fog blew out and I could get a reading on the deer. In real world hunting scenarios, plan on a unit pro- ducing accurate readings at about 60 to 70 percent of the rated distance. If you plan on shooting 600 yards, don’t buy a 600-yard unit; buy a rangefinder capable of 1,000 yards so you will be sure to get good readings out to your effective range. Angle Adjustment EXAMPLE: LOS RANGE OF 500 YARDS 30˚ DECLINE IS EQUAL TO AN AMR OF 433 YARDS. ANGLE MODIFIED RANGE (AMR) IS 433 YARDS cult to hold the unit steady enough to get a solid read- ing on the target. Generally, higher quality units have sensors and processors that can filter such readings and eliminate data which doesn’t fall in line with the majority of the returning signal. Another trick is to adjust your target for the clearest or largest alternate target. A deer at the base of a rim rock may be shielded by brush or trees in the foreground, but by focusing your range- finder on the rock face just above and behind the deer, you may get a cleaner signal and quicker reading as to the general distance to the deer. Distance Capability Speaking of distance, the first thing many people no- tice about rangefinders is they seem to be classed by the distance they’re capable of reading, which results in many people buying a unit ‘rated’ for distances they may not choose to shoot farther than. This isn’t really accurate. A 600-yard unit may only read to that distance under perfect weather conditions, and only 32 WESTERN HUNTING JOURNAL Another key feature to look for is a rangefinder that calculates and adjusts for angles. If a deer is 400 yards away on flat ground, you shoot for that range. But what if that same deer is 400 yards in front of you, and you are 600 feet up a canyon wall looking down at him? How far do you shoot now? The Pythagorean Theorem says the distance to the deer is 447 yards. Gravity, however, never took a math class. Gravity only acts on an object over the horizontal distance it travels. A non-angle compensating rangefinder would read the actual distance at 447, and you would miss high; the horizontal distance over ground from you to the deer, as read by an angle compensating range- finder, would be 400 yards. Because gravity only acts on your bullet or arrow for the horizontal distance it travels, it is imperative you shoot for this distance, and not the actual line of site distance. If you plan on hunting areas where steep angle shots are a possibili- ty, be sure to select a model with angle compensation. Customize Options Another thing to look for is models that have vari- ous modes or settings which allow customizing the performance based on the conditions being encoun- tered. Such modes may allow scanning; allowing the