_by Scott Bestul
Like most bowhunters, I consider a laser rangefinder pretty standard gear. Though I do most of my whitetail hunting from tree stands (where most shots are under 30 yards), I still zap the exact distance to the trails, scrapes and openings around my stand.
And of course when I hunt more open territory or any type of ground-pounding situation, a range finder becomes critical. I’ve found my range-estimating capabilities–which I consider pretty good in heavily timbered terrain– simply fall apart in the prairies or mountains.
Still, I never quite know where to stash a rangefinder. When I’m stand hunting I stuff it in my pack, then try to remember to shoot ranges at different reference points at the beginning of each hunt. But things get problematic when I’m on the ground, stalking or still-hunting. Now the situation can become fluid and I may need to know distances in a second or two. I need to be able to reach my rangefinder quickly and quietly, nab a reading and–this is the tricky part for me–stow the thing silently and in a spot where I can access it again.
So this year at the ATA show I perked right up when I saw the Gear Keeper rangefinder holster. This handy little pouch straps to your belt and holds a rangefinder securely and quietly. Even better, the Gear Keeper features a slick, retractable lanyard that attaches to a rangefinder and makes re-holstering the device pretty mindless. Heck, you can–in the heat of the moment–simply drop the rangefinder and the lanyard will prevent you (OK, me — I’m infamous for dropping stuff in the dirt, never to be found) from losing the thing in the wake of a shot opportunity.
I’ve been playing with the Gear Keeper lately and have been impressed enough to give it a try this fall. How do you manage your rangefinder? Any other good, hunter-friendly products out there for keeping your accessories handy that also prevent loss?