Bow hunting has changed a lot from the primitive origins of the weapon. It’s not just the weapons that have changed, however, there’s tons of equipment which abounds. One of the coolest, and perhaps most sensible, advancement in technology is laser rangefinders. We’re here to help you find the Best Hunting Rangefinder, so let’s get into the meat of the matter.
While some might consider it cheating, rangefinders often save more trouble for the animal on the other end of the arrow than they do for the hunter.
Let’s face it, with the advent of modern bows and aiming technology there’s a lot of hunters who’d have no chance of hitting an animal have a pretty good shot of hitting something now. That’s good, because it makes the sport of bow hunting accessible, but it can be bad for the animal when a shot only wounds and causes unnecessary suffering.
You can avoid this type of thing with a rangefinder and some practice. Don’t give up on trying to just “see” the yardage, but now you’ll know how much drop to expect when you take a shot and can compensate for it quickly.
They’re not perfect, of course, laser rangefinders have a few tricks to using them that are based on how they work
The first big thing is to understand how they work. The CPU in your finder will read the reflection of the laser, but when you’re aiming at something over a hundred feet away you have to be careful because the slightest obstacle can give you an inaccurate reading.
As long as you’re aware of this and careful with how you use a rangefinder you can keep things fairly accurate.
It’s also good practice to use them in conjunction with bow sights. This way you’ll know if your arrow is going to drop through something which might cause deflection and a shot not going exactly where you want it to.
It’s also important to practice with one at the range, eyeballing distances has been done for a very long time but you might be a bit off. The parabolic arc of arrows is pretty pronounced, so knowing how much drop off will occur between thirty and forty yards is important to using one properly.
The last major thing you might want to do is applicable mostly to stand and blind hunters. Mark the landmarks in the shooting lanes around you and you should be able to accurately judge the distance to your prey when they approach without having to waste time double checking.
All in all, they’re a useful tool for almost any hunter and especially for those of us who like hunting with bows.
For archers your primary consideration is always going to be accuracy. Unlike bullets, which travel in a mostly flat plane until reaching pretty far distances, bows will nearly always be shot in an arc to some degree. The more significant digits in your reading, the better.
You’re also going to want to look for something which is easy to access, especially if you’re a practitioner of mobile hunting styles. Also, take a look at the pouch when you get it and decide if it’s too loud or hard to use and get something else if that’s the case.
Slope capabilities come under a lot of different proprietary names but they mostly do the same thing: allow you to get an accurate reading when you’re shooting up or downhill. This shouldn’t be a make-or-break option for most archers, but it’s important for those who shoot from tree stands
You definitely don’t need to spend money on a unit that’s accurate out to a kilometer or more if you’re using a rangefinder for bowhunting, about 800 yards should be ideal for your purposes.
You’ll also need to make sure that you’re using a second priority finder, these are more likely to ignore brush, leaves, and other minor obstructions while you get your range dialed in. First priority finders do tend to be more accurate in ideal conditions, but in the field, you’re not likely to find ideal conditions too often.
The last consideration to take into serious account is the targeting reticule of the finder itself. Most hunters will want a crosshair with a backlight option because a LED type of reticule will cause your pupil to constrict and destroy your night vision in those early and late hours you might need it most.
Of course, since we’re not all made of money, you’ll also want to consider the cost of the unit compared to your budget. Remember that even an expensive finder isn’t going to do you much good if you’re not proficient with one, but the better you are the more you’ll be able to take advantage of its capabilities.
This Bushnell rangefinder is an amazing little device, making it easy to tell ranges out to 600 yards. Simple and easy to use, most archers will find it a welcome addition to their pack.
This rangefinder is probably best for those who are hunting from blinds on flatter terrain, but in a pinch, it’ll be good for pretty much anyone.
It might be a bit pricey, but this rangefinder is absolutely wonderful for archers no matter how they hunt. It comes with quite a few advanced features which help it stand out from lesser offerings.
The Truth stands up to its name, and you won’t beat it for anywhere near the price point. If you’re looking for the best, you might want to start here.
Nikon makes the ARROW ID which is a good rangefinder for the price. Simple to use but the advanced technology comes with a pretty steep price.
The finder is very advanced, and extremely accurate which is probably why the price point is so high but for many hunters, it simply won’t be worth the high cost. The lowered score isn’t indicative of a bad product, simply of one that’s expense outstrips its utility compared to comparable options.
While not the absolute best finder you’re likely to find for bow hunting, the Nikon ACULON makes up for it by being accurate and extremely compact.
The main draw of the ACULON is the superior optics for the price and how small it is. For the mobile hunter it’s a godsend, but stand and blind hunters might be better served with a different device.
While not the greatest product on the market, the Halo XL450 comes in with a fantastic price and a surprising amount of technological capability.
It’s not the best finder around, but you’re not going to find anything in the same price bracket which will actually be a functional rangefinder in the field. Give it a shot if your budget is tight and you won’t be disappointed.
At the end of the day, of the rangefinders we’ve reviewed The Truth is probably the best hunting rangefinder hunting. It’s simply a superior product for the purpose, the advanced technology more than makes up for the only slightly above average optics of the unit. If you’re on a budget, then try out the Halo XL450, the value it will add to your hunting for the price is simply amazing.
I am Kevin who is a founder of deerhuntingfield.com; Here at Deer Hunting Field, we want to teach and educate. Hunting is a passion which has existed in mankind since almost the beginning, and with the advent of the internet, we can now share information, tips, and more with each other faster than ever before. This is a crucial part of our philosophy.