Spotting 101

Updated: Mar 31, 2019


The goal in writing this article for me was to share the most valuable piece of shooting gear that I take with me in the field. We have dedicated a lot of time and effort in our magazine to bringing you the best technical information available about rangefinders, shooting equipment, rangefinders, ballistic calculators, and the list goes on and on. A topic that I don’t feel has been covered in great detail is how important it is to have a reliable spotter by your side while in the field. If you have ever put your crosshairs on a trophy animal at a distance over 500 yards, in a tricky wind, from an awkward shooting position, you know exactly how valuable this person can be to your hunting success. 

I have had the very unfortunate experience of acting as a cameraman/spotter on two trophy hunts that will forever change the way I hunt in the field. What a disappointing feeling it is to not be able to communicate to the shooter the appropriate information needed to make a perfect shot. Luckily for Aaron, we got a second chance at his trophy Kudu and the story has a very positive outcome. Unfortunately for Kregg, the bull of a lifetime snuck off into the rolling cedar mountains of New Mexico, never to be seen again. In this article I will share what I have found to be very valuable information that anybody can practice to become a better spotter in the field. 

We use the term spotter in our company to define the person responsible for communicating with the shooter. This communication consists of three very important pieces of information before the shot, and two pieces of information after the shot. 

First, the spotter is responsible for obtaining an accurate target range. If you own a piece of equipment that can quickly convert a line of sight distance into a “shoot to” range, such as the G7 BR2, this part of your job can be pretty straightforward. In the event that you don’t have a rangefinder that will make a ballistic range conversion, you will most likely be forced to obtain a line of sight range and input that data into a ballistic calculator to obtain your necessary drop correction.