I would recommend using a reticle to range an animal only to about 400 yds and that is only.with a lot of practice. I have ranges dead on at 875 yds before but have also been 100 yds off at 420 yds before. There are to many variables involved. If you serious about or hunting (not target shooting) then you need a quality lrf. It will save you money in ammo as well. About the only way I use a reticle to range is on my rifles sighted in for maximum point blank range. I know that if the deer takes up at least xxxmils then its close enough for my cartridge to be aimed dead on. And that's only out to 300-400 yds max. A lrf isn't much compared to a lot of ammo, a custom rifle
/optic, tags, fuel, license, guide, and time spent over years. Alot of people get by with less but the cheapest lrf I recommend is the Vectronix terrapin. They work great.