When being out hunting, correct estimation of distance often is of the essence.
The ability to correctly estimate a distance has a lot to do with your hobbies, work and – believe it or not –  even your arm length ( I found this interesting article on the “Scientific American” blog).
Many of us are quite good in correctly estimating familiar distances:

  • 20-40m for shotgun shooting
  • 80-120m for rifle shooting

But once we have distances of more than 150m our abilities start to fail us.

Of course, there is a solution to that problem: buy a rangefinder! Although prices have dropped, still not everybody has a budget for a decent rangefinder. And even if you have one, sometimes it is in the best place in the world: at home.

A cheap and handy solution comes with most hunting apps.

Some weeks ago I was traveling and found myself scouting for local wildlife during a break.
I was looking at a bird of prey out on the field and wondered “How far out is that one?” As you can see in the picture I had a great reference point in the farm.

how to estimate distance without a rangefinder blogpost by swedenishunting

But now to the hunting apps, and how they can use them instead of a rangefinder.
Some Apps have a point-to-point measurement. My favorite app shows some fixed circles around you.

In this case I would put the bird at around 440m +/- a couple of meters.
how to estimate distance without a rangefinder blogpost by swedenishunting


Even if you have left your rangefinder at home you can still have some help with estimating distances as long as you have your cellphone with you.

What are your tricks when estimating the distance and you don’t have a rangefinder at hand?
Did you like my method? Let me know in the comments below.
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