Shooting lanes, estimating distance

One of the big advantages of selecting a spot and letting the deer come to it is that it allows the hunter to identify shooting lanes in advance, and estimate the distance to them, before the deer arrive. This enhances confidence, especially for a novice, when it is time to take a shot.

If the location has been prepared in advance, shooting lanes may also be cut (with landowner permission on private land; this may not be legal on public land) to improve the shot opportunity. Cutting shooting lanes may be especially important if the site is particularly thick or brushy. Do not go overboard with cutting lanes, because the deer are apt to notice the differences in the vegetation.

Even if shooting lanes have not been enhanced by cutting away potentially interfering limbs, having specific shooting lanes identified, in advance, allows a hunter to estimate the yardage to specific locations. Modern laser “range finders” can precisely measure yardage, but not likely necessary in eastern hunting situations where shooting distances typically are relatively short.

Often, with some experience, it is easier to estimate the distance to objects, such as trees, rocks, etc., than to deer, because deer come in a variety of sizes. Having participants practice estimating yardage, while at the shooting range, or while scouting at their hunting location, is recommended.