Yardage Pro Quest
Marrying a laser rangefinder to a
binocular must have seemed like a great idea to an ungodly number of people simultaneously
because just about every leading optical firm around came out with such a product in 2003.
Apparently, the idea appealed to bow hunters because a large number of them, Im
told, immediately equipped themselves with one of the state-of-the-art units as soon as
On the other hand, among my
personal acquaintances, most of whom are fairly experienced hunters, reaction to these
lets call them laser-glasses has been fairly cool.
Although all were intrigued by the concept and the majority have given at least one of the
new models a thorough going-over, not one of those guys has acquired one. Nor do any of
them intend to. When asked why, none of them could come up with anything like a definitive
answer. Nobody criticized any of the laser-glasses they had examined or tested, but not
one of them had any desire to buy one. Odd.
Stranger still after
spending several weeks trying to get used to one of Bushnells Yardage Pro Quest
models, Im forced to confess the same reaction: Its a very impressive piece of
equipment; performs exactly as advertised but theres more to the story,
depending on hunting conditions.
Basically, I dont think
Bushnells Quest was created with hunters like me in mind. They should prove useful
to bow hunters, muzzleloaders, antelope hunters and perhaps, handgun hunters. Let me
describe how Bushnells Quest works, go over its pluses and minuses, and see if you
For starters, the binocular is
8x. That degree of magnification allows a binocular to be hand-held without any need for
additional bracing, as a rule; something a more powerful glass would demand. Objective
lenses are 36mm in diameter, large enough to draw in plenty of light and give a clear,
bright and detailed picture of whatever shows up in the field of view. Theres no
hint of distortion, even when peering sideways through the lens perimeters. As usual,
Bushnells optical quality is first-class.
Diopter adjustments are made with
the right eyepiece, which can be rotated to synchronize the right eyes focus with
that of the left.
Theres a small lever on the
left eyepiece that can be moved to adjust the spacing between the two eyepieces so theyll
match the distance between the viewers eyes. Thats necessary because the Quest
body is rigid; it isnt hinged and cant be folded like bodies of traditionally
A focusing knob is nestled
between the two ocular housings on top of the Quest body above the eyepieces. Although the
knob is serrated, an inch long and almost .75 inch in diameter, I found it very difficult
to turn and control. My fingers are on the short, stubby side, however. Someone with
longer, stronger digits might not find rotating the knob as much of a problem as I did.
The entire Quest body is
rubber-armored and waterproof. Its 6.2 inches tall, 6.6 inches wide, almost 3 inches
thick and weighs 34 ounces. Theres a small, solid insert in its underside that is
drilled and tapped so the Quest body can be mounted on a tripod if prolonged viewing and
long-distance ranging is anticipated. A carrying case plus a comfortable neck strap
is included with each Quest unit.
The lasers eye
is located on the left side of the Quests body, adjacent to the binoculars
left objective lens. The laser can measure distances in either yards or meters, as close
as 15 yards or as far away as 1,300, under absolutely ideal conditions (more about that
Operating the laser is simplicity
itself. There are only two controls to deal with, two buttons, both located an inch apart
from one another on top of the Quests right ocular housing. One is marked POWER; the
When the POWER button is depressed,
the rangefinder is turned on. Pressing the MODE button lets the viewer choose yards or
meters as the unit of measurement. Once that choice is made, it need never be repeated
unless a change is desired.
Pushing against the MODE button
again sets the rangefinder on SCAN, permitting a continuing series of measurements to be
made and reflected on the bottom of the lens as the viewer pans the glasses across the
Looking through the binocular,
the viewer sees a small black circle in the center of the lens. Centering his target
inside that reticle, he merely presses the POWER button again and the distance to the
target, in his choice of yards or meters, flashes to life in the bottom section of the
lens. After a hunter is finished using it, the rangefinder will turn itself off in about
Like all laser rangefinders,
Bushnells has its limitations. For one thing its range and accuracy depends on the
reflectivity of each particular target and that, in turn, often depends on existing
Most of the tests conducted with
the Quest laser took place between 6,000 to 6,500 feet above sea level. At these
altitudes, the air is thin and the sun is very bright. Anyone who doesnt wear sunglasses
here soon develops a permanent squint. How Bushnells laser will react in the thicker
atmosphere down nearer sea level, I cant say, but here in the dry, drought-stricken
Southwest, it proved very sensitive to its relation to the sun, the source of light.
When the sun was behind the
rangefinder and shining down on a given target, range distances, even when they extended
beyond 1,000 yards, appeared on the lens bottom the instant the POWER button was touched.
When that same target was selected in the morning, at the same distance, with the sun
toward the front of the rangefinder, there was often no response at all and when
there was, the reported range differed considerably from that previously recorded.
For example, just yesterday, I
picked up a bicyclist making his way up a trail on a hillside some 885 yards (measured)
away from my location when the sun was low near the horizon, well behind me and the
rangefinder but making the cyclists sky-blue jersey stand out vividly against the
background of dull gray boulders.
The day before, a jogger, wearing
a white T-shirt, coming down the same trail, failed to register at all when I tried to
target him at the same spot, from the same distance, but with the sun shining slightly
into the front of the rangefinder not into the lasers eye, mind
you but shining down from a spot almost directly overhead but not quite yet. That
white T-shirt, by the way, stood out like a flag of truce to the naked eye even at that
Unfortunately, we havent
had any overcast days, so I dont know how or if dull light affects the rangefinders
performance; but it wont come as a surprise to discover some change.
From my experience, Id say
laser rangefinders are pretty reliable most of the time, but their measurements can be
influenced by climactic conditions as well as the color of a target and existing light. To
put it another way: Theyre like people; they just arent 100 percent dependable
100 percent of the time. Nevertheless, when measuring ranges at which most game animals
are seen, laser rangefinders are much more trustworthy than the average hunters guesstimates.
The Quest rangefinders
powered by a 9-volt battery. When its power begins to wane, a warning silhouette appears
on the viewing panel.
It should be ideal for bow
hunters and muzzleloading fans. Knowledge of exact range is critical to both types of
hunters if they are to be successful, so having a combination fieldglass and rangefinder
at their fingertips sounds like a good idea.
So there you have Bushnells
Quest: simple to operate, excellent optics, obviously well made and rugged all in
all, a useful tool for some hunters but probably not all. Al Miller