What’s a good technique to judge yardage?

By Grant Woods,

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hello Grant. Love everything about Growing Deer TV! The thing I love the most is that yall are spreading the gospel of Christ through it!

My question is this; I don’t have a range finder, and have never harvested a deer with my bow from a tree. What are some good techniques to judge the distance, and what sight pin I should shoot if I’m 20 ft in a tree?


Thank you for watching GrowingDeer and for sharing the kind words!

Each individual has different skills at estimating yardage. I suspect that experience is the best “technique.”  Before I had a range finder I was constantly estimating yardage while I worked, etc., I’d estimate the yardage to an object and then step it off.  Even with lots of practice it’s easy to be off a few yards and that can be enough to be the difference between bringing venison home or eating tag soup.

I suggest you step off distance from the stand to known points.  For example, if you are comfortable shooting 30 yards, then use tree, rock, etc., to mark 20 and 30 yards from the stand.  Having the known distances will reduce the error when estimating a deer that’s at 25 + – yards.  

I use the same sight pin for each distance as I do when practicing from the ground.  The biggest difference between shooting from and elevated position and from the ground is the need to bend at the waste when shooting from an elevated position.  If you simply drop you bow arm, it changes the relationship between your grip, sight, and eye.  Bend at the waist and keep everything in the same relationship as you did while shooting from the ground and your shot will be true!  

The only time it would be necessary to change sight location for the same yardage is if you are shooting at an extreme incline. This is rarely the case with most shot opportunities from a tree stand.

Enjoy creation,