Foresight at your fingertips
It is time to come out from living under a rock if you haven’t noticed the new technology in bow sights that have appeared on the market.
I’m talking about the Burris Oracle bow sight, that calculates the distance while at full draw with the press of a button. You draw your bow, line up your target using the 20-yard pin then hit the switch. Instantly the Oracle estimates the target and the sight displays the correct light-emitting diode (LED) to shoot that distance.
Fixed pin shooters are all too familiar with ‘gap’ shooting or holding over or under when distances don’t suit their practice marks. This means evenly splitting a set 30- and 40-yard pin to shoot a distance of 35 yards. The Oracle takes care of that ‑ one LED lights up for the 35-yard shot.
Moveable single pin shooters aren’t without disadvantages either. First you measure your target so you would adjust your sight to shoot 35 yards. Then lift your head up to notice the game animal has walked closer or further away and you’d either have to assess your target again and correct or use hold over or under. The Oracle will continue to gauge at the press of a button and to amend for the changing distance while you’re still at full draw.
Any extra movement in those certain scenarios can be a make or break situation for a bowhunter at close quarters.
The Oracle way
You’re within a comfortable shooting distance and the animal is positioned correctly for an ethical shot. You draw your bow, range the animal with the press of a button, put the exact aiming point displayed on the sight on the vitals and execute the shot. Forget the guesswork of distance ‑ even if it is uphill or downhill, the Oracle has it covered.
The Burris Oracle came well packaged and inside was the bow sight, set-up laser, small battery, instructions, laser alignment target and all the necessary hardware to attach and prepare it on the bow.
After studying the sight for a short time it was clear to me that this item wasn’t just thrown together and put on the market. The Oracle has been well thought out and the tool less micro-adjustable elevation and windage are some of its great features.
It also comes with second and third axis adjustment to modify left and right while shooting steep ascending or downwards shots. The instructions are straightforward and definitely should be read and followed as it will save you time in the initial set-up.
As I was preparing the sight on my bow I noticed that it comes with a rear peep sight. This attaches to the back of the sight and it’s an extremely critical component to enable the accurate rangefinding capabilities of the sight, whether the bow is full drawn or not. A compound bow is easily torqued (twisted) at full draw and the rear peep facilitates a more consistent grip which also enhances the accuracy of the rangefinder and archer.
This bow sight is not light, coming in a 17oz (476 grams). It is about twice the weight of a normal fixed pin sight. Keep in mind a hand-held rangefinder plus a set of fixed or moveable sights would be about the same weight. It is well built and solid with no protruding parts capable of catching on things as you hunt.
I can’t stress enough to follow the provided instructions for a fuss free set-up.
In the field
A fresh, wet dirt smell greeted my nose as I left the vehicle at around 5am. The overnight rain would assist me in tracking the movements of the resident fallow deer herd. The property I was hunting is close to home and I had been studying the habits of the fallow deer over the last couple of months. I took special note of feeding areas and travel routes as I’ve found hunting them in these areas doesn’t affect their day to day habits like tracking a bedding area would.
It didn’t take long before I spotted the first four fallow deer which consisted of two mature does, a young buck and a yearling. I had an idea where they were heading so I used the lay of the land and some sparse cover to hopefully intercept them.
When I first laid eyes on them the Oracle clocked them at 54 yards. I kept low and crept closer as they fed over a small rise, so I guessed I’d be around 35 yards next time I saw them. A quick flick of the wind direction and all I heard was their hooves pounding the granite soil as they left with haste.
The wind played its tricks again and again over the course of the morning and no shots were taken.
I did use the Oracle constantly though. I would employ the rear peep sight and line up a deer with the 20-yard LED, press the button and an accurate distance would return time and time again. I calculated the deer out to 93 yards.
Just like any laser rangefinder a clear line of sight is a must. Thick fog and heavy rain will also affect the laser’s capabilities. Bear in mind the site is water-resistant, not waterproof.
The site is solidly built without having a glass lens to break, fog, scratch or make dirty and conveniently suits both left and right-handed bows. The Burris forever warranty also includes electronics.
Users must acclimatise to using the button and the extra draw time involved with ranging, then acquiring a target. Ranging first using the 20-yard pin then raising the bow arm to shoot longer distances might not suit archers who currently come down onto the target with their sight.
With the failsafe 20-yard fixed pin, third axis adjustment and tool less micro-adjustable elevation and windage, the site is easy to operate. Not having to guess distance and being able to store two different ballistic trajectory curves (eg, a lighter, faster arrow for deer and a heavier, slower arrow for feral pigs) provides a huge advantage.
I suggest maybe carrying a spare CR123 battery for lengthy hunts as activation maxes out at about 2000 button presses.
You can pick up a Burris Oracle from Beretta Australia for $1449.00.