Keep your Distance.

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Now as the title of this article says its about distance, or the range of things and finding said ranges.

So one of the biggest questions we get asked at the diary and at shows and even pass it on taster days, is how do you know its 45 yards away.?

Well the answer lies in our knowledge, from knowing our hunting land backwards, to doing it everyday.  You see dear readers, there is a whole new skill level to judging the shot, its another lesson to judge the air currents, but that’s another article in the wind.

So judging the shot, for those that drive there are signs everywhere to helping judge your distance, literally signs everywhere, road signs that is, you see, most signs are measured in yards, most people range in yards, so a give way sign is normally around the 50 yard mark and as the pics below show, its all ranged, start using it.

500 yards.


300 yards.


300 yard zoom.


100 yards.


And the white sign is 50 yards to the round about.


 

These pics are a good example as the raised banks funnel your vision and lures the eyes into a tunnel view making it look further away.

 

But looking at the next series of pics you will see as the terrain is open it looks completely different for the distances.

300 yards.


300 with zoom.


A

And 100 yards.


So from looking at these pictures of junctions you can see the human eye can  mislead details by being fooled by its own depth system, the same as the pictures where you stare at them and see dolphins or other objects.

Good luck as we can not tell you what it is, I really cant see anything..

But I can tell you how far that rabbit is..

So our eyes can fool us into the real distance, and they can also see things that do not exist, a  prime example is a mirage in the heat of a desert, or even if its really hot here in the UK, a bush or clump of vegetation can in the heat haze become something else.

So bearing in mind we can fool ourselves, the lay of the land and natural features can all work against us, you can see why it is such a popular question.

Below are a few examples of ways to help judge the gap.

A post and rail fence.


Large trees.


Post and wire fencing.


So as you can see its getting better to look around you, we as a whole jot down things like distance from gateway to large oak tree, or water trough to copse.

And so on and so fourth, I was recently asked by a chap keen to take up deer stalking, what he would need.

Well I think he has now doubled his original outlay costs and built a new dog house in the garden for when his wife finds out,hahaahahah.

Hi Antony.

So from a new rifle, £500-2000.

Shooting Sticks, £200.

scope, £300-£3000.

Bullets, £20-35 a box.

Clothing as he only does a bit of pigeon shooting, £400.

And then he asked the golden egg question, what about a range finder, my answer £ FREE.

If you want a good model this one is brill.

An eye for an eye

 

You see if you put the time and effort into getting to know your land, its already there. Now I’m not on about walking around each field and remembering where the gateways are, what I’m  refer to  spending time in each field, seeing how the wind goes over each bump and tussock, how the natural topography changes the wind and even how a slight incline or decline on a slope can change it.

Where all the natural hedge gaps are, where you can walk without being seen in the next field, things like this is what makes a hunter, the nitty gritty of the job at  hand, thats when you learn your land, I will add a wind/topography example below just so you can see what I’m referring to.

See how the wind bellies and turns back on itself as it blows, that’s knowing your land when you know this knowledge.

 

Right where was I, oh yes ranges, so land knowledge is key and with that you can almost judge it down to inches not feet, I will add a pic of some of my land and show the ranges, its both sides of a valley with a twist in it, makes for a fun shoot.

To show the height is hard so thanks to some good ole technology we can do this,

and as you can see from the bottom of the valley to the top on one side is 132m or 433 feet down to 108m or 354 feet, and then up to 145 meters or a huge 475 feet.

So as you can see a fall or gain in height of 120 feet or 37 meters in 500 yards and 24 m in 500 yards the other way.

So an undisclosed location.

Looks like this from the east.

And like this from the north.

As you can see its a big difference the way the land lies, and judging range can be hard.

Welcome to Cornwall, I see lots of fellow hunters and shooters live where it is a bit flatter, and I don’t envy you in the least, I love big gnarly hills, and terrain that bends your views, range and scent around and around, I have tested the ebb and flow on this land and wind does very strange things, a few smoke grenades from the local paintball place and you too can see what your land does…

 

So as you can see its hills running into a valley, the biggest 3 fields are 2 at the top, and one at the bottom with a few good shooting angles and a bit of distance its good for a bit of longer range shooting as you can shoot from one side to the other with a full backstop of the opposite hill.

So here are the big fields, now I know many will look and think they are tiny, but what you have to remember, is Devon and Cornwall is animal not arable farming.

So 270 yards across this one.

132 here.

And nearly 300 across both, as there is a gateway straight into the next one.

And the bottom field is only 170 across, but that is 7x lots of 25 yards if you shoot air rifle, 3 lots of 50 yards for rim fire. an 1 lot for full bore.

See how I broke it down then, as an air rifle hunter I work in units of 25, for rim fire it doubles and as full bore its a fraction over one unit.

A good way to learn range is to make one of these for you land so you start where your 1st gateway is or where you always park up and go from there.

So as you can see its an easy guide, mark points of interest on the scale, so at 0 is a gateway , then at 40 yards is old oak tree, at 55 yards is water trough, and so on, you can make as many as you need, maybe a small note book, with details about each field, then have a book per permission, kept in a food storage box in the car or 4×4. then you get to Farmer Jones place, get out your log book, and at a glance you now have everything to hand if you mark down the prevailing wind direction on each page to, that way you can better hunt the land with the wind.

You are best off hunting with the wind in you face, but as I know from years and years of hunting, sometimes it doesn’t matter especially as you have seen with some of my land in the above photos, the valley turns the wind around anyway.

So taken from one of my hunting logs, as you can see its a bit rough, but it does me, wind direction is on it and in the flow in relation to the map distance, so the hedge runs along and the wind blows my scent and any noise almost over the hedge, but the way the valley is, and with the fields then running uphill and on the other side of the hedge is the  lee side and the rabbits sit out from a joining hedge almost in dead air flow. and are from 10 to 45 yards up the hedge.

So my scent is blown past them, and up across to the middle of the field.

As my terrible image below shows exactly as it is.

So that is it for part 1 please do check out Part 2 soon.