October 22, 2009
Petzal: Kind Words for High-Tech Hunting Gadgets
By David E. Petzal
Breaking up is hard to do.—Neil Sedaka, 1962
Changing your mind at this stage of life is a lot harder than breaking up.—David E. Petzal, 2009
Over the past decade and a half I’ve been braying to one and all about the pernicious effect that high-tech gadgetry is having on hunting. Now, however, I think it’s time to re-think things. A couple of weeks ago I went on a mule deer hunt in southeast Oregon, and while I and my rifle made it, my sense of distance did not. For whatever reason I was misjudging ranges by 100 yards or more, even at 300 and under.
What saved me was the fact that I, and everyone else, had a laser rangefinder, and when I got the drop on a 4x5 buck and the laser said 305 yards, I listened to it and not my own inner voice, which is frequently full of s**t anyway.
My rifle was a Mark Bansner .270 WSM, loaded with 150-grain Swift A-Frame bullets at 3,050 fps, and the scope was one of Bushnell’s new 6500 Elite 2.5X-15X rifles with the D.O.A. range-compensating reticle. D.O.A. stands for “dead-on-accurate,” and it is, but only if you know the range. So rather than guess how far it was I sicced high technology on the poor animal, put the 300-yard dot on his ribs, and trust me when I tell you that the bullet went exactly where the dot was.
Not only are the 6500 Elites tougher than Hillary Rodham Clinton, they are extremely bright and sharp. One evening after the sun had set I trained the scope on a herd of deer in a field of pale yellow grass. They were spread out from 630 to 750 yards, and despite the fact that the sun was gone, I could still get a perfectly clear, sharp sight picture.
It is a wonderful world we live in.