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Petzal: Kind Words for High-Tech Hunting Gadgets

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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.

Comments (40)

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Getting old sucks doesn't it David!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

It beats the alternative Clay.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Shooting my rifle, I haven’t gotten to the point of needing a rangefinder however shooting my bow is a different story. I have 3 pins, 30, 40 and 50 yards and the distance from the 30 and 50 yard pin is just under a ¾ inch. 60 yards I can estimate ½ “MOP” so I’m doing fine.

Speaking of range finders, the rangefinder I use is mounted on my bow just above the sights. Alex my 10 year old Grandson drew a picture showing it and you can see it in my pics. Back to what I was going to say, I have more fun having other bow hunters and Game Wardens asking me what it is. It’s my guidance system for my arrows! I aim thru the sights, press the button and it locks onto the target and let it rip and it guides the arrow to the target and they believe it or stand there scratching their heads “WHAT THE?”

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Who ever thought we would see the day we be shooting smokeless powder in a muzzle loader and pushing a 45 cal 250 grain at 2800fps. I stopped at 2637 and backed it down to 2546fps.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert C. Turpin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Buckhunter wrote that getting older beat the alternative. It reminded me of a headstone I saw at a cemetary in Vermont. A lady who passed away in the 1850"s had written on the stone: "I told you I was sick"!

Silvertip

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

David one more thing, getting our age, you might want to check into carrying a something like “SPOT” a satellite tracking, messaging and EPRB (Emergency Personal Radio Beacon) rolled into one.

Watching Alaska State Troopers last night on TV,they showed them responding to a very remote location on the Kenai where two hunters flipped there boat and suffering from hyperthermia. They were drenched from head to toe. The chopper was there in a very short time and just imagine if they didn’t have a EPRB, they lost their guns and all their gear when the boat rolled over.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Harold wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Actually, it isn't the gadgets that are the problem, whether they are rangfinders and fancy scopes or ATVs.
The problem resides in the users who stretch the ethical boundries of hunting way beyond reason. Three hundred five yards isn't an unethical shot for Petzal or anyone who's done much long-range shooting. For someone who hasn't the skills to hit at 300yds, then the rangefinders and scopes only give them a false sense of ability that they really don't have. If one uses the "gadgets" to reduce wounding then they are good. If they are used in such a way as to increase wounding, then they are being misused.

I still have a real beef for hunters who use ATVs as substitutes for perfectly good legs.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Technology, when it works right, beats a sharp stick in the eye by a long ways. Man's achievements are indeed amazing sometimes. We have many advances nobody ever dreamed of even 50 years ago.

Technology that fails to work or cooperate, or mocks one's humanness, is hard for me to take. My inner Elvis is ready with sidearm to waste any electronic device that does not bend to my will.

I think the some of the comments on Dave's 'Pack like a Navy SeAL' blog are more than relevant here.

As all of us become older dogs, are we learning more tricks because we need to or want to?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from NY Survivor wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I'd have to agree with Harold's comment. Some people are relying to much on technology and extending their reason beyond their limits.
I recently saw an outdoor show where a person was shooting at a mule deer from 400 yards. His first shot was low and hit the ground just behind the front legs. His second shot was about a foot high over the front shoulder. The third shot they showed was low and hit just in front of the rear legs. My reaction was that this guy had no business trying to take a shot at that distance.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I agree with the last few posts, they phrase it well. Technology is a great thing when used responsibly and ethically. No one should go out on a multiday trek and ASSUME their GPS will get them home if they can't read a map as a back up...and they shouldn't rely on a gizmo to fix their flaws. Leave that to the golfer with a slice. Using technology to finetune your existing skills is win-win, but shouldn't be a crutch for a novice.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Forget that gadgets, someone fessed up to shooting a .270WSM, I was starting to think I was the only guy who bought one. My first hunting experience with it made me think it's everything I hoped it was and more. Any opinions there, Mr. Petzal?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I have had nothing but great results from my .270WSM. Ammo was somewhat costly until I got the reloading stuff cranked up.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I'm with you sgaredneck. I thought that "dropped in his tracks" was just an expression until I first shot a buck with that rifle. I haven't started reloading, but bought a fair amount of ammo to make sure I had plenty of brass if the cartridge didn't catch on.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

My opinion of gadgets are that they are just something else that can go wrong and they take a little away from the sport. To me hunting is using woodsmanship to get close to animals. I don't see where a laser range finder fits into all that. JMHO.

I want to also confess I'm a bowhunter. I live for getting just a few yards from an animal but have nothing against guys doing things their way.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

IMHO any ethical hunter should own a rangefinder. Distance can be a very tricky thing to estimate without daily practice and a skilled eye to start with. Many of us cannot differentiate between 300 and 400 yds. without a laser aide, and that is why I use and trust mine. 300 yds. is my personal limit for shots other than practice on inanimate objects.
Congratulations on your 4 x 5, DEP, but now, dammit, you have convinced me of my need for a Bushnell 6500 Elite. Any scope tougher than Hillary, I gotta have one.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

To J. Carlin: I am a huge fan of the .270 WSM. It, and the .300 WSM are probably the only short magnums that are genuine successes, and I favor the .270 version because it will do 90 percent of what the .300 will do but with a lot less recoil. I've shot 130, 140, and 150-grain bullets in it, and have come to settle on the 150 Swift A-Frames because they make stuff dead without turning everything to soup. A 130-grain Ballistic Silvertip at 3,300 fps was sheer destruction.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgp wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

My best example of the proper combination of high-tech with old-time ethics: last season, on the last day, with only a few minutes of light, my oldest son had a very nice buck in front of him. His rangefinder said 250 yards (using high-tech to give him accurate information, a good thing). With that information in hand, he then decided that because he had had limited practice with the rifle he was using at that distance, he would not chance the shot (good ethics). The best of both worlds.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

A range-finder and a scope with multiple aiming points has increased my ability to cleanly take animals at a greater distance than before, which is a great aid in the wide expanses of the West...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from thuroy wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Technology has both good and bad sides. However, I believe that it helps more in the world of hunting by being able to make clean ethical shots. Don't forget the rifled barrell was a technological improvement and people started taking longer shots because of it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from thuroy wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

As for Dave the 30mm tubes are great! It is amazing how scopes have seemed to drastically improved over the last few years with simple and great features.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from cliff68 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Those Bushnell scopes don't get near enough credit. I think they can hold their own with just about anything, and as far as toughness goes I don't think you can beat them. Sounded like a good hunt and a great shot Dave.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

It is a wonderful world we live in... So you're past or you've passed the age of retirement and are still using "Kentucky Windage" How many gratis rangefinders did you leave at home?

I have a framed hand embroidered picture on my wall my late mother stitched that says "Old Age Is Not For Sissies" Enjoy...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Fancy scopes (to a point) and rangefinders are about as far as I'll go in the tech department.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Today I celebrated my 50th Birthday, and every year it becomes tougher to recall life before gadgets and technology. I carry a cell phone, blog, surf the net, and feel like I have done it all my life. How did I(we)survive 30 years ago without them I will never know?
Gadgets, like GPS and rangefinders, to me are worth their weight in GOLD...30 years ago I'll leave in the past for now.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Themasterdan wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I am a youngster in many of your eyes, however I have never been quick to embrace the newest tech. I recently bought a laser rangefinder. I really did not have too much faith in the thing, however I had finally drew the antelope tag I wanted. I took the thing with me this year. I was presented with a shot at 425 yds. I was shooting a 257 Weatherby. With handloads this thing will sling a 100 gr bullet at 3700 fps. At 3" high it will land almost dead on at 400 yds inside 1/4 moa. I took the shot, but only because I practice 3 days a week during the summer. I know I couldn't have made the shot offhand, or sitting. The only reason I knew this is because I practice religiously. I have guys who work for me who always claim to love hunting. After they tell me this I always ask how often they shoot? usually their reply is "I sight my rifle in before the season", or "I know where my guns shoot." You will never be a more proficient hunter unless you hone yours skills in the off season. A range finder will never replace replicated hunting situations. A rangefinder will never tell you how to play the wind, or how your rifle will shoot 5000 feet up from where you sighted it in. Everyone wants to be the guy who brings home the monster muley/antelope/elk, nobody wants to be the guy who worked for it.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

At 68 I need all the help I can get, and am not ashamed to be caught using it. :)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Happy birthday Ralph the Rifleman, turning yer half century and all. This is also my 50th year (3/4 done) and I have to say I've had more fun this year than many years when I was younger and more spry. I suppose, I just kinda decided that it was time to stop procrastinating all those things I wanted to do just for myself, after years of dutifully taking care of others all the time.
As far as the electronic widgits and stuff, there just ain't no 300 yard shots in my woods so I hardly need the rangefinder. I've experimented with NV monoculars, thinking of coon hunting, but the Gen 1 model I tried sucked so I traded it for a BP pistol.
I am still resisting the cellphone but I'm weakening on that one. I use electronic hearing protection on my gun range but I scoff at the Garmins and Tom Toms and such. I still use a map and compass, they don't need batteries. I also tried a holographic sight but I took the thing off my shotgun and put the old Weaver 1.5 back on.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Jones wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

To the folks who hunt out west, I hope to get the chance. When I do, I'll have a rangefinder. Here in Arkansas where I hunt, most of the shots are under 100 yards. I've taken more shots under 20 yards than I have over 50 yards. That's why I hunt with a pistol. That said, the same rules apply. If you don't own the shot, you have absolutely no business flinging lead at a living creature. I don't need a laser rangefinder, but I have a scope on my pistol. All other considerations/justification/reasoning/lies you tell yourself aside, hunting is about challenging yourself. If your ethics do not overrule everything else, you are no different than someone shooting a penned deer. If you will cheat yourself, you are a loser.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Makes you wounder how the folks in the 20's through the 70's ever killed game at long range, without scopes and laser range finders? Just iron sights and skill I guess.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

i do not have a range finder, yet. one thing that truely bothers me is dragging all of these AA battery guzzling "neccessities" out into the feild. i am starting to feel more like a pack mule, than a hunter. probably long after i am dead, someone will finally get it right, and put everything into the scope. a gps, range finder, compass, game calls, and walkie talkie (or cell phone that actually gets service) all into one. right now, in order for all of that to be enveloped into one package, it would have to be the size of a footlong sub sandwich. but in 20 or so years, who knows. then, the next thing will be if they can (or will) price it so the working man can afford it, and not just the elite cubic dollars few. as it stands now, i think i pretty much have a 50/50 chance of deflecting a bullet sent my way with all the gadgetry that hangs off from my neck, and is burried under my coat (in layers, so none of it clunks around and makes noise). the biggest problem right now, is i already know in advance that i will have to go see the chiropractor at least twice duriing deer season. just to get my neck back in shape from having all that junk hanging from it. how in the world did our grand parents hunt without all of this stuff? amazing, isn't it? LOL!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I would have a pithy comment or two here but after the -19 I got from my last one, I'm keeping quiet.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"If it's easy, it's wrong."

Here's my range finding system:
If I can hit it with a rock it's maybe 60 yards. If I can hit it in the head with a rock it's less than 40. If I can't hit it with a rock its probably 100 yards and I should just shoot it.

Just kidding. Like others, any shot over 200 yards is rare where I live and the point blank range on my 300 winmag is further than I get to shoot.. I love my Bushnell Elite 3200 -- not nearly as expensive as the 6500 but works for me!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Robinson wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Gadgets dont belong in these mountains,, compass, paper maps, 4x scope on a mauser and hunt off a mule. I laugh at all the high tech, ATV riding, fat asses that leave Colorado empty handed every season

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I must concede that range finders are excellent pieces of plunder. Carry on Dave! Oh... Happy B Day Ralph!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Yeah duckcreekdick I think you must have set a record on that one.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dickgun wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Yes, Clay, SPOT is the real thing for an inexpensive way to be in touch in the bush - for someone who does not need voice capability. I have used satellite phones in my business as a guide in the late years before I retired but I have now switched over to SPOT because it is much less expensive for emergency communications by internet. (Internet is not needed at the sender end, but the message is delivered to an internet site) I have examined at length the reliability of its use in all of Alaska and am now confident that it is reliable most anywhere. I have no knowledge of capability of use in the rest of the world.
I have used a range finder for a number of years to help make the decision as to whether the shot I contemplate is within my comfort range. I do not like to 'see if I can hit em' at excessive ranges.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fractured100 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Don't get me wrong I love tech as much as anyone, I love my night vision bi-nocs but at this point I think you've just taken the "hunting" out of the sport and turned it into "shooting". I use the gadgets and gear in my tactical shooting life and job but I think you can kill the "sport" of hunting with to much very easy.
If you just want to play with gadgets I hear there is a good hunting game for the Wii.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fractured100 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

preach on whitefish

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from Proverbs wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Last Tuesday I laid out a very nice Colorado elk with a .270 Win. (y'know, the regular one), with an "old-fashioned" Remington 150-gr. Core-Lokt.

What was new was the Nikon Monarch BDC scope on top of my rifle. I shot the elk 4 minutes into the legal shooting hour, and it was cloudy with light snow. My two hunting pals could not even see the elk through their scopes, which were about 10 years old. They both asked if I had a night vision scope. No, it's not.

Without that quality of a scope with the high-tech lens coatings, that elk would have made it to the timberline at least 20 minutes before I could have captured it in the old scope the Nikon replaced. Worth every penny. You've got to check out the new tech, and decide what's worth it and what's not. There's a lot of semi-useless flash available these days, and then there is the very good, practical stuff.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

@ whitefish

As always, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I'll decide what technology or whatever gizmo's to use while hunting thank you very much. And no, I don't have all the latest gizmo scopes, etc; nor do I have a mule or a Mauser. I might just have more time reading a map and compass than most have experience reading the newspaper! Oh, I forget. The young 'uns don't read anymore. LOL

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

if you are going to use a lot of high tech gadgets at least learn the old way. if they fail on you, at least you have something proven to fall back on. technology can help but if your gps goes out, it could kill you. and teach your kids how to use a map and compass before you give them a gps too.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

jamesti

Good comment and nice looking Lab too!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishrmn100 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I prefer to hunt with an open sight. Scopes and gadgets seem to be an inconvenience to me. I love the hunt and getting close. Maybe I'm strange.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

If it not for the new gadgets, firearms, ammo. more than 50% of us would come home empty handed. As we age, out eyes , ears, thinking we know it all fails us. So thank goodness for the new Items plus wonderful scopes we now have most of us can't tag out. Those old Weaver's in 4, 6 power ( I have l of each) served their purpose, but not worthless.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

It beats the alternative Clay.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Harold wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Actually, it isn't the gadgets that are the problem, whether they are rangfinders and fancy scopes or ATVs.
The problem resides in the users who stretch the ethical boundries of hunting way beyond reason. Three hundred five yards isn't an unethical shot for Petzal or anyone who's done much long-range shooting. For someone who hasn't the skills to hit at 300yds, then the rangefinders and scopes only give them a false sense of ability that they really don't have. If one uses the "gadgets" to reduce wounding then they are good. If they are used in such a way as to increase wounding, then they are being misused.

I still have a real beef for hunters who use ATVs as substitutes for perfectly good legs.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

My opinion of gadgets are that they are just something else that can go wrong and they take a little away from the sport. To me hunting is using woodsmanship to get close to animals. I don't see where a laser range finder fits into all that. JMHO.

I want to also confess I'm a bowhunter. I live for getting just a few yards from an animal but have nothing against guys doing things their way.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I would have a pithy comment or two here but after the -19 I got from my last one, I'm keeping quiet.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Technology, when it works right, beats a sharp stick in the eye by a long ways. Man's achievements are indeed amazing sometimes. We have many advances nobody ever dreamed of even 50 years ago.

Technology that fails to work or cooperate, or mocks one's humanness, is hard for me to take. My inner Elvis is ready with sidearm to waste any electronic device that does not bend to my will.

I think the some of the comments on Dave's 'Pack like a Navy SeAL' blog are more than relevant here.

As all of us become older dogs, are we learning more tricks because we need to or want to?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from NY Survivor wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I'd have to agree with Harold's comment. Some people are relying to much on technology and extending their reason beyond their limits.
I recently saw an outdoor show where a person was shooting at a mule deer from 400 yards. His first shot was low and hit the ground just behind the front legs. His second shot was about a foot high over the front shoulder. The third shot they showed was low and hit just in front of the rear legs. My reaction was that this guy had no business trying to take a shot at that distance.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

To J. Carlin: I am a huge fan of the .270 WSM. It, and the .300 WSM are probably the only short magnums that are genuine successes, and I favor the .270 version because it will do 90 percent of what the .300 will do but with a lot less recoil. I've shot 130, 140, and 150-grain bullets in it, and have come to settle on the 150 Swift A-Frames because they make stuff dead without turning everything to soup. A 130-grain Ballistic Silvertip at 3,300 fps was sheer destruction.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgp wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

My best example of the proper combination of high-tech with old-time ethics: last season, on the last day, with only a few minutes of light, my oldest son had a very nice buck in front of him. His rangefinder said 250 yards (using high-tech to give him accurate information, a good thing). With that information in hand, he then decided that because he had had limited practice with the rifle he was using at that distance, he would not chance the shot (good ethics). The best of both worlds.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Makes you wounder how the folks in the 20's through the 70's ever killed game at long range, without scopes and laser range finders? Just iron sights and skill I guess.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Robinson wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Gadgets dont belong in these mountains,, compass, paper maps, 4x scope on a mauser and hunt off a mule. I laugh at all the high tech, ATV riding, fat asses that leave Colorado empty handed every season

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Getting old sucks doesn't it David!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert C. Turpin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Buckhunter wrote that getting older beat the alternative. It reminded me of a headstone I saw at a cemetary in Vermont. A lady who passed away in the 1850"s had written on the stone: "I told you I was sick"!

Silvertip

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Forget that gadgets, someone fessed up to shooting a .270WSM, I was starting to think I was the only guy who bought one. My first hunting experience with it made me think it's everything I hoped it was and more. Any opinions there, Mr. Petzal?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I'm with you sgaredneck. I thought that "dropped in his tracks" was just an expression until I first shot a buck with that rifle. I haven't started reloading, but bought a fair amount of ammo to make sure I had plenty of brass if the cartridge didn't catch on.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Today I celebrated my 50th Birthday, and every year it becomes tougher to recall life before gadgets and technology. I carry a cell phone, blog, surf the net, and feel like I have done it all my life. How did I(we)survive 30 years ago without them I will never know?
Gadgets, like GPS and rangefinders, to me are worth their weight in GOLD...30 years ago I'll leave in the past for now.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Themasterdan wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I am a youngster in many of your eyes, however I have never been quick to embrace the newest tech. I recently bought a laser rangefinder. I really did not have too much faith in the thing, however I had finally drew the antelope tag I wanted. I took the thing with me this year. I was presented with a shot at 425 yds. I was shooting a 257 Weatherby. With handloads this thing will sling a 100 gr bullet at 3700 fps. At 3" high it will land almost dead on at 400 yds inside 1/4 moa. I took the shot, but only because I practice 3 days a week during the summer. I know I couldn't have made the shot offhand, or sitting. The only reason I knew this is because I practice religiously. I have guys who work for me who always claim to love hunting. After they tell me this I always ask how often they shoot? usually their reply is "I sight my rifle in before the season", or "I know where my guns shoot." You will never be a more proficient hunter unless you hone yours skills in the off season. A range finder will never replace replicated hunting situations. A rangefinder will never tell you how to play the wind, or how your rifle will shoot 5000 feet up from where you sighted it in. Everyone wants to be the guy who brings home the monster muley/antelope/elk, nobody wants to be the guy who worked for it.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Jones wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

To the folks who hunt out west, I hope to get the chance. When I do, I'll have a rangefinder. Here in Arkansas where I hunt, most of the shots are under 100 yards. I've taken more shots under 20 yards than I have over 50 yards. That's why I hunt with a pistol. That said, the same rules apply. If you don't own the shot, you have absolutely no business flinging lead at a living creature. I don't need a laser rangefinder, but I have a scope on my pistol. All other considerations/justification/reasoning/lies you tell yourself aside, hunting is about challenging yourself. If your ethics do not overrule everything else, you are no different than someone shooting a penned deer. If you will cheat yourself, you are a loser.

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from elmer f. wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

i do not have a range finder, yet. one thing that truely bothers me is dragging all of these AA battery guzzling "neccessities" out into the feild. i am starting to feel more like a pack mule, than a hunter. probably long after i am dead, someone will finally get it right, and put everything into the scope. a gps, range finder, compass, game calls, and walkie talkie (or cell phone that actually gets service) all into one. right now, in order for all of that to be enveloped into one package, it would have to be the size of a footlong sub sandwich. but in 20 or so years, who knows. then, the next thing will be if they can (or will) price it so the working man can afford it, and not just the elite cubic dollars few. as it stands now, i think i pretty much have a 50/50 chance of deflecting a bullet sent my way with all the gadgetry that hangs off from my neck, and is burried under my coat (in layers, so none of it clunks around and makes noise). the biggest problem right now, is i already know in advance that i will have to go see the chiropractor at least twice duriing deer season. just to get my neck back in shape from having all that junk hanging from it. how in the world did our grand parents hunt without all of this stuff? amazing, isn't it? LOL!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Shooting my rifle, I haven’t gotten to the point of needing a rangefinder however shooting my bow is a different story. I have 3 pins, 30, 40 and 50 yards and the distance from the 30 and 50 yard pin is just under a ¾ inch. 60 yards I can estimate ½ “MOP” so I’m doing fine.

Speaking of range finders, the rangefinder I use is mounted on my bow just above the sights. Alex my 10 year old Grandson drew a picture showing it and you can see it in my pics. Back to what I was going to say, I have more fun having other bow hunters and Game Wardens asking me what it is. It’s my guidance system for my arrows! I aim thru the sights, press the button and it locks onto the target and let it rip and it guides the arrow to the target and they believe it or stand there scratching their heads “WHAT THE?”

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Who ever thought we would see the day we be shooting smokeless powder in a muzzle loader and pushing a 45 cal 250 grain at 2800fps. I stopped at 2637 and backed it down to 2546fps.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

David one more thing, getting our age, you might want to check into carrying a something like “SPOT” a satellite tracking, messaging and EPRB (Emergency Personal Radio Beacon) rolled into one.

Watching Alaska State Troopers last night on TV,they showed them responding to a very remote location on the Kenai where two hunters flipped there boat and suffering from hyperthermia. They were drenched from head to toe. The chopper was there in a very short time and just imagine if they didn’t have a EPRB, they lost their guns and all their gear when the boat rolled over.

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from WVOtter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I agree with the last few posts, they phrase it well. Technology is a great thing when used responsibly and ethically. No one should go out on a multiday trek and ASSUME their GPS will get them home if they can't read a map as a back up...and they shouldn't rely on a gizmo to fix their flaws. Leave that to the golfer with a slice. Using technology to finetune your existing skills is win-win, but shouldn't be a crutch for a novice.

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I have had nothing but great results from my .270WSM. Ammo was somewhat costly until I got the reloading stuff cranked up.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

IMHO any ethical hunter should own a rangefinder. Distance can be a very tricky thing to estimate without daily practice and a skilled eye to start with. Many of us cannot differentiate between 300 and 400 yds. without a laser aide, and that is why I use and trust mine. 300 yds. is my personal limit for shots other than practice on inanimate objects.
Congratulations on your 4 x 5, DEP, but now, dammit, you have convinced me of my need for a Bushnell 6500 Elite. Any scope tougher than Hillary, I gotta have one.

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from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

A range-finder and a scope with multiple aiming points has increased my ability to cleanly take animals at a greater distance than before, which is a great aid in the wide expanses of the West...

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from thuroy wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

As for Dave the 30mm tubes are great! It is amazing how scopes have seemed to drastically improved over the last few years with simple and great features.

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from Tim Platt wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

It is a wonderful world we live in... So you're past or you've passed the age of retirement and are still using "Kentucky Windage" How many gratis rangefinders did you leave at home?

I have a framed hand embroidered picture on my wall my late mother stitched that says "Old Age Is Not For Sissies" Enjoy...

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from shane wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Fancy scopes (to a point) and rangefinders are about as far as I'll go in the tech department.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

At 68 I need all the help I can get, and am not ashamed to be caught using it. :)

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from Carney wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"If it's easy, it's wrong."

Here's my range finding system:
If I can hit it with a rock it's maybe 60 yards. If I can hit it in the head with a rock it's less than 40. If I can't hit it with a rock its probably 100 yards and I should just shoot it.

Just kidding. Like others, any shot over 200 yards is rare where I live and the point blank range on my 300 winmag is further than I get to shoot.. I love my Bushnell Elite 3200 -- not nearly as expensive as the 6500 but works for me!

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from Tim Platt wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Yeah duckcreekdick I think you must have set a record on that one.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

@ whitefish

As always, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I'll decide what technology or whatever gizmo's to use while hunting thank you very much. And no, I don't have all the latest gizmo scopes, etc; nor do I have a mule or a Mauser. I might just have more time reading a map and compass than most have experience reading the newspaper! Oh, I forget. The young 'uns don't read anymore. LOL

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from jamesti wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

if you are going to use a lot of high tech gadgets at least learn the old way. if they fail on you, at least you have something proven to fall back on. technology can help but if your gps goes out, it could kill you. and teach your kids how to use a map and compass before you give them a gps too.

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from thuroy wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Technology has both good and bad sides. However, I believe that it helps more in the world of hunting by being able to make clean ethical shots. Don't forget the rifled barrell was a technological improvement and people started taking longer shots because of it.

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from cliff68 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Those Bushnell scopes don't get near enough credit. I think they can hold their own with just about anything, and as far as toughness goes I don't think you can beat them. Sounded like a good hunt and a great shot Dave.

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from Bella wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Happy birthday Ralph the Rifleman, turning yer half century and all. This is also my 50th year (3/4 done) and I have to say I've had more fun this year than many years when I was younger and more spry. I suppose, I just kinda decided that it was time to stop procrastinating all those things I wanted to do just for myself, after years of dutifully taking care of others all the time.
As far as the electronic widgits and stuff, there just ain't no 300 yard shots in my woods so I hardly need the rangefinder. I've experimented with NV monoculars, thinking of coon hunting, but the Gen 1 model I tried sucked so I traded it for a BP pistol.
I am still resisting the cellphone but I'm weakening on that one. I use electronic hearing protection on my gun range but I scoff at the Garmins and Tom Toms and such. I still use a map and compass, they don't need batteries. I also tried a holographic sight but I took the thing off my shotgun and put the old Weaver 1.5 back on.

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I must concede that range finders are excellent pieces of plunder. Carry on Dave! Oh... Happy B Day Ralph!

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from dickgun wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Yes, Clay, SPOT is the real thing for an inexpensive way to be in touch in the bush - for someone who does not need voice capability. I have used satellite phones in my business as a guide in the late years before I retired but I have now switched over to SPOT because it is much less expensive for emergency communications by internet. (Internet is not needed at the sender end, but the message is delivered to an internet site) I have examined at length the reliability of its use in all of Alaska and am now confident that it is reliable most anywhere. I have no knowledge of capability of use in the rest of the world.
I have used a range finder for a number of years to help make the decision as to whether the shot I contemplate is within my comfort range. I do not like to 'see if I can hit em' at excessive ranges.

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from Proverbs wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Last Tuesday I laid out a very nice Colorado elk with a .270 Win. (y'know, the regular one), with an "old-fashioned" Remington 150-gr. Core-Lokt.

What was new was the Nikon Monarch BDC scope on top of my rifle. I shot the elk 4 minutes into the legal shooting hour, and it was cloudy with light snow. My two hunting pals could not even see the elk through their scopes, which were about 10 years old. They both asked if I had a night vision scope. No, it's not.

Without that quality of a scope with the high-tech lens coatings, that elk would have made it to the timberline at least 20 minutes before I could have captured it in the old scope the Nikon replaced. Worth every penny. You've got to check out the new tech, and decide what's worth it and what's not. There's a lot of semi-useless flash available these days, and then there is the very good, practical stuff.

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from fractured100 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Don't get me wrong I love tech as much as anyone, I love my night vision bi-nocs but at this point I think you've just taken the "hunting" out of the sport and turned it into "shooting". I use the gadgets and gear in my tactical shooting life and job but I think you can kill the "sport" of hunting with to much very easy.
If you just want to play with gadgets I hear there is a good hunting game for the Wii.

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from fractured100 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

preach on whitefish

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

jamesti

Good comment and nice looking Lab too!

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from fishrmn100 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I prefer to hunt with an open sight. Scopes and gadgets seem to be an inconvenience to me. I love the hunt and getting close. Maybe I'm strange.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

If it not for the new gadgets, firearms, ammo. more than 50% of us would come home empty handed. As we age, out eyes , ears, thinking we know it all fails us. So thank goodness for the new Items plus wonderful scopes we now have most of us can't tag out. Those old Weaver's in 4, 6 power ( I have l of each) served their purpose, but not worthless.

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