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.
Why a Rangefinder?
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.
Using a Rangefinder
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.
Get Some Practice
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.
What To Look For
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.
Reviewing The Five Best Rangefinder For Bow Hunting On The Market
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.
- Highly Accurate- From ten yards out to six hundred you’ll receive a reading which is accurate to within a yard.
- Low Light LCD Display- The low lighting can make the finder a bit hard to see, but with some practice, you’ll find it leaves your dark vision intact while you’re using the finder.
- Compact and Light- You can get away with carrying this one in your hip pocket with a surprising amount of ease.
- Simple to Use- There’s just one button on this finder, target it and hit the button with your index finger and you’ll be good to go.
- Meters or Yards- If you’re more comfortable with the metric system this finder can be switched to meters for easier reading.
- No Slope Finding- You’ll have to get used to the distances up and down slopes with independent experimentation since your readings will be slightly off.
- Imperfect Construction- This isn’t the most durable finder around, while the electronics function well the case is prone to breakage.
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.
- Angle Range Compensation(ARC)- With the ARC feature you’ll be able to accurately judge distances out to 200 yards while shooting up or down hill. This is an essential feature for those who like to hunt from stands.
- HD Optics- The optics come in stunning HD quality, allowing you to get a clear view through the 4x lens while you’re taking your range.
- Durable- Rainproof, well put together, and coming with a great case, this rangefinder is tough enough for the field no matter how you prefer to hunt.
- Clear Shot Feature- The clear shot feature will allow you to know if your shooting lane is clear with a great degree of certainty and allow you to avoid accidentally tagging a branch which might throw you off target.
- Light and Compact- The rangefinder is small and light, so it won’t be a burden in your pack.
- Fairly Expensive- It’s not super expensive, but the price of this rangefinder does run pretty high.
- Clearshot Doesn’t Work With 1-Pin Sights- Unfortunately, the Clearshot technology doesn’t work with single pine sights, so you’ll want to make sure you have multiple pins on your bow sight if you intend to use it.
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.
- Nikon ID Technology- ID stands for incline/decline and it allows you to get an accurate reading on slopes of varying heights without any hassle.
- True-Target Technology- True-Target allows you to switch the priority modes of the finder, making it easier to get an accurate reading while looking through areas that might be obstructed by minor obstacles.
- Simple to Use- There're only a couple of buttons here, and a single button press will give you the range you’re aiming at.
- Neoprene Case- The case which comes with this rangefinder is made of neoprene, allowing it to be quiet and fairly waterproof to keep your piece of equipment well protected.
- Accurate to .1 Yards- This rangefinder is a bit more accurate than most, going down to .1 yards.
- Very Expensive- This rangefinder is quite expensive, and might be out of the range of most archers when cheaper and effective devices are available.
- No Good In Low Light- Despite the high cost, it simply isn’t a good finder to be using in low light conditions
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.
- Super Compact- The unit is comparable in size to a smartphone, just being a little bit thicker and making it extremely easy to carry and deploy in the field.
- Easy to Use- Even for something as simple as a rangefinder, you’ll find the ACULON is amazingly simple to use.
- High-Quality Optics- This rangefinder goes up to 6x, so the magnification is a little bit higher than most of the units you’ll see sold for bowhunting.
- Rapid Readings- The readings from the ACULON are almost instant out to about 550 yards.
- Distant Target Mode- If you’re hunting in heavy brush, the distant target mode will hit off the farthest target which can give you accurate readings even in relatively dense cover..
- A Bit Touchy- You’ll need rather steady hands to get a super accurate reading with this one. It’s usually not a problem to find something to brace your arm on, but stand hunters may be at a disadvantage.
- Hard For Small Targets- While not much of a disadvantage if you’re sticking with large game, those who like diversity in their hunting might be disappointed with smaller targets
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.
#5-Halo XL450 Best Rangefinder Under 150
While not the greatest product on the market, the Halo XL450 comes in with a fantastic price and a surprising amount of technological capability.
- Max Range of 450 Yards- The maximum range of the XL450 is a surprising 450 yards. It’s not enough for real scouting, but it’s certainly good enough to mark distances from your blind or stand.
- Ai Technology- This finder will automatically account for slopes, a vital feature for stand hunters.
- 1 Year Warranty- There’s a full year of warranty which will account for manufacturer errors, showing a good level of faith in the product.
- Accurate- The finder is accurate to about a yard, which is certainly good enough for most ranges with a bow.
- Small- It’s small enough to easily fit into a coat pocket.
- Lack of Clarity- The optics seem to be where this device is worse off, while not terrible most models will have a much clearer sight picture for you.
- Auto-Turn Off- Many hunters are disappointed to find that the rangefinder turns off pretty quickly while idle, which can be a pain in the field.
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.