Tips & Tactics

Reverse Range-finding

Reverse Range-finding

By Bob Takeo

Photo: The use of a rangefinder and a compass can help pinpoint the beginning (or end) of a blood trail. It uses both distance and a line.

I was inspired by a recent Tip of the Week about shooting a spare, field-tipped arrow to mark the spot where a deer stood when it was shot. The idea is to leave a marker at the point where the blood trail will begin.

Read "Deer Marker Arrow."

Finding this spot is the most crucial part of beginning the trailing process, and Chris Anderson’s deer marker concept had me thinking of other ways to find a blood trail, or the deer itself, as my story shows.

Case in point: I was hunting alone and managed to shoot a deer standing on the opposite side of a deep, brushy gulch. 

I knew exactly where the dead deer was lying, but retrieving it was going to be tough, requiring me to climb into the gulch and stumble my way back and up through dense cover. I knew I would lose track of where the deer was as I made my way there.

If I’d had a partner with me, they could’ve guided me to the deer easily, but since I was alone, I had to use my resources to retrieve my venison. I decided to put my rangefinder to work.

I ranged the downed animal from across the gulch, then left my jacket where I was standing to use as a marker when I finally made it to the other side.

Reverse Range-findingWhen I neared the area where I thought the deer was, I ranged my jacket and got a great estimate of how close I was getting. It made finding my deer much easier!

Using a compass to get a directional bearing of the deer from where I’d shot would have helped me pinpoint the dead deer even more precisely. This would have given me distance plus a line.

Another great thing about my tip is that it works whether the hunter’s choice of weapon is a bow or a firearm.

In addition to marking a dead deer, this concept can also help hunters find where a deer was standing when it was shot, and where to begin taking up the blood trail, especially if a compass is used. 

Editor’s Note: If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!

Read Recent Tip of the Week:
The Tarsal Hoarder: Jackie Bushman has used this tactic for decades. Paired with modern scent technology, his age-old tip is wicked effective!

Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd