Laser rangefinders are a cool tool and sell like crazy for one simple reason — most of us are not worth beans when it comes to eyeballing distances to the target.

Decades ago the military ran a test on how well recruits could eyeball distance, and they found that out past 35 yards it was pretty poor. Since that time, sniper school teaches those who have the privilege of attending some tricks of the trade, but still these incredible physical specimens use a rangefinder much of the time.

As a serious bowhunter, I practice estimating distance all the time. I simply pick an object ahead of me as I walk down the street, estimate the range, then pace the distance. With my short little legs I know that it takes me 11 steps to cover 10 yards, so I know how far it is when I walk over to the chosen object. I also like to play golf, and trying to eyeball the distance from the ball to the green has helped me out a lot — though I cannot say the same for my golf game. When in the field bowhunting I eyeball a dirt clod, grassy mound, or something like that, make a range estimation, then shoot a judo point-tipped arrow at it to see how well I did. I also know that rangefinding is like most skills we acquire through life: The more you practice, the better you become, and the less you practice, the worse you become.

For gun hunting, knowing the exact distance isn’t that critical, assuming you have sighted your rifle in properly and are not hunting a locale where super-long shots might occur. Still, using a laser rangefinder will take all the guesswork out of the game, eliminating one more variable that can cause a poor shot at deer.

I don’t leave home without one.