A Sad Tale Of The Computer-Age Hunter

In Wyoming last week, I met an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years. He is a rancher who has also guided for mule deer and whitetails since about 1980, and believe me when I tell you that this guy raises hunting to an art form. Among his other accomplishments, he can get more out of a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope than anyone I’ve ever seen.

We were talking about binoculars, and he asked if I’d like to see what he used now. He hauled out a Leica rangefinding binocular. How come the rangefinder, I asked, since he was usually able to get within easy shooting distance of any deer?

“It’s the clients. If I tell them a deer is 250 yards and a bit they panic. If I use the rangefinder and tell them it’s 265 yards, their shooting improves so much you wouldn’t believe it. Maybe 70 percent. They’re so used to getting information from an LED readout that they don’t trust anything else. If I’d told any of my old hunters, like you, that something was 250 and change, you’d have said ‘Fine’ and pulled the trigger. These guys don’t trust their rifles, or their eyes, or their intuition. Maybe because they don’t have any.”