Skip to main content Skip to main content

Poor Man's Rangefinder

Poor Man's Rangefinder
As a father of four, finding time to hunt, let alone the money, can be quite difficult at times.
As a father of four, finding time to hunt, let alone the money, can be quite difficult at times.

As a father of four, finding time to hunt, let alone the money, can be quite difficult at times.

Although the kids will eventually be old enough to stay at home on their own, the expense of hunting will never get easier.

I don’t let the cost of hunting discourage me from enjoying my passion for bowhunting. Still, it’s hard not to be envious of the guys on TV who seem to have an unlimited arsenal of expensive tools at their disposal.

Not everyone can afford a rangefinder. Until I can get ahead enough to buy a good one, I will use a reliable, yet quite inexpensive, method of determining yardage.


I use plastic ribbons or flagging, like the stuff forestry surveyors and construction crews use to mark property lines. Bright orange flagging is also available specifically for hunters.


I step off yardages from the base of my tree and secure a ribbon in 10-yard increments. You can attach the flagging to stakes or paint stirring sticks and stick them in the ground, or simply tie the markers to tree branches or bushes.

It’s wise to color coordinate the ribbons with the sight pins on your bow, because if you use all the same color flagging, it’s easy to mistake markers for one other, especially in low light.

For instance, a yellow flag means 30 yards. Orange means 20 yards, and a green flag means 10 yards, just like the colors of my pins.

Place these in multiple places around your treestand, especially in shooting lanes where deer are likely to appear.




This is a good way to save money and have one less thing in your backpack.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Changing to the Chassis

Changing to the Chassis

Instead of being bedded in a one-piece stock, the Lupo's barreled action is secured to an aluminum chassis. It's one of the Lupo's most obvious departures from conventional deer rifle design. Why did Benelli choose a chassis? Learn about the benefits in episode five of Beyond the Rifle.

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

You have lots of options in a shallow crankbait, but don't overlook the No. 1 important thing.

Crash Course: When and How to Throw Spinnerbaits for Bass

Crash Course: When and How to Throw Spinnerbaits for Bass

The old-school spinnerbait will put bass in the boat during these three scenarios.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now