If you’re a bow hunter looking to get the most accurate shot possible, you need to invest in a quality rangefinder. A rangefinder is an essential piece of equipment to ensure you take down your prey with the least amount of effort. Rangefinders come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of features and price points to meet all of your needs. The best rangefinder for bow hunting will have a long-range, crisp optics, and excellent ergonomics. It should also be lightweight and durable enough to withstand the elements of the outdoors.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the best rangefinder for bow hunting and why it’s important to have the right one for your needs. We’ll also look at the features to consider when shopping for a rangefinder, as well as some of our top picks. Whether you’re shopping for your first rangefinder or looking to upgrade from an existing model, this blog post will provide all the information you need to make an informed decision
Top 10 Product Reviews on the Best Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
Here are our best rangefinder reviews for bow hunting the next time:
The first one on our list is from WOSPORTS. As you will see us discussing later along with the article, there are three models on which you can focus when purchasing a rangefinder. Two of the three are laser and optical distance measure models. The best thing about this rangefinder is that it combines both optical and laser models. This means that you can switch between functions and pick from laser or optical distance measures.
You get a flag lock option in this model that allows you to lock the target once you choose to aim. It also has speed-measuring abilities, and you can pick scan mode on your rangefinder too. Under this mode, you can pick up the range as you continue to locate the moving target. This continuous scanning will help you find and pick one from the changing data readings on the display screen.
But there is one thing about WOSPORTS that you will need to keep in mind. That is, since this is a laser rangefinder, any unforgiving weather such as heavy rain or foggy and hazy weather will cause the laser to not work properly. In that case, you should turn down the laser sighting.
One of the best producers and manufacturers of rangefinders, AOFAR always provides you with the best in the market. They are also one of those brands that give you innovative features as they frequently indulge in R&D for their rangefinders. So what does this one have?
The 1200T model has AI technology. With the help of this, you can pick between rifle or bow hunting easily. Also, the reading data that is generated on the display screen is as accurate as it gets.
But accuracy and reading are what every rangefinder manufacturer claims. Why should you buy this particular one? Because this comes with a revolutionary pin sensor technology. Between five to three hundred yards, the reading that you get has an accurate measurement of more or less 1, which is a great plus. Beyond 300 yards, the rangefinder can give you coverage of as far as 1200 yards. And the magnification that you get offered is 6X the original version, compared to the regular 4X one.
You also get a carabiner, rope, and batteries with the set; hence you don’t have to buy these separately.
One of the main things that some bowhunters want on their rangefinders is to have a high magnification. When there is a high magnification and added far target priority, it easily allows you to distinguish between your target and the multiple objects in the view from afar. A good magnification allows you to separate and clarify the position of your target and lets you see what is adjacent to it.
But when the magnification increases too much, you have to lose your field of vision. This is something bowhunters don’t want. So what if we told you, by losing a little field of vision, you can still enjoy good magnification? You can with this rangefinder! With six times magnification capability, it allows you to get an accurate reading between 5 to 650 yards. Although we are focusing on the bowhunting mode, it can also be used in the golf mode, working for golfers!
A multifunctional rangefinder that people love and adore is this one from BIJIA. It gives you a very decent experience when it comes to golfing or bowhunting, so for the ones who are interested in both, this can be a great purchase! But remember, this is more of a rangefinder for hunting than golfing, so this does not have the cons of a golfing rangefinder, which is less durable but has almost all the positives of a hunting rangefinder!
And this is the durability that has caused us to enter it in the list of the most durable rangefinder for bowhunting in today’s list. It performs well so that users have tried drop tests and accidentally dropped it in the performance area, and the device was still good to go!
With the pin seeker technology that is installed on the model, you get a good measure of accuracy to as far as 650 yards. And it also performs well in low light conditions, thanks to the versatile LCD display.
One of the most expensive and quality feature-packed models comes from the manufacturers of Bushnell. It would have been an utter crime if we had not included Bushnell in the list of the best rangefinders. But the reason why most people seem to eliminate it from their primary search for rangefinders is that their quality comes with a price, and beginners may not be willing to spend so much. But here’s the best deal, a budget-friendly Bushnell rangefinder!
Sacrificing the highest coverage of 1300 yards, this one gives you a decent and accurate coverage of only 600 yards. But the accuracy level or more or less than one is what makes this sacrifice bearable for hunters. Not just the coverage. Even magnification is compromised and is less than what Bushnell frequently offers. So this Bone Collector has a 4X magnification power.
To top it all up, there is laser sighting available on this model, which increases the accuracy of targets.
If the budget is not one of your concerns, you can easily pick this option. When you first view this rangefinder, you may be deceived by the size of the device. But don’t let this size have any image or idea of accuracy in your head. Because the accuracy isn’t so small, it is excellent.
All the models that we have been discussing here have decent accuracy measures, and they are correct by +/- 1 point. So if you see something at 58 yards from the reading on the digital screen, the object may actually be located at 57 or 59 yards from you.
But if you use this rangefinder to view it, the accuracy measure is a staggering +/- 0.3 points! This means that using the same example, your object may be located at 58.3 yards or 57.7 yards. Comparing this to the accuracy range of 57-59, this is a huge difference in the accuracy, and this is the best feature you can ask from any rangefinder, to give you as accurate a distance measure as possible.
Besides this, the combination of three technologies, hunt, scan, and speed, makes this one unique from most of its competitors.
One of the most cost-effective rangefinders out in the market, this laser rangefinder can be used for both bowhunting and golfing. It comes with a camo pattern, meaning that you can easily camouflage with this rangefinder, and it will seamlessly get along with the rest of your outfit and surroundings. So you can use it for professional defense purposes other than using it for bowhunting and golfing only.
Another notable feature of this model is the integrated slope compensation. By virtue of this option, you can aim at and hit uphill or downhill targets even if your rifle is calibrated for horizontal targets only. For this, you will need to pay attention to the reading.
The distance measurement that you get from the model is also pretty precise. There is a provision for angular compensation as well as continuous reading on the model.
With coverage of 5 to 1200 yards, this is one of the best in the business for a reason!
As already discussed once, we just can’t seem to get over AOFAR. So here’s another one for you! This one has 700-yard coverage, hence less than and different than the previous option. This is meant for those who will not do long-range hunting and for those who are just starting out on bowhunting using rangefinders.
If you are someone on a budget but really want good quality that will not fail you and teach you the basics of using rangefinders without overwhelming you, this is just the right deal. This rangefinder gives you accuracy to 700 yards, as said already. The magnification is 6X, just like the previous one.
There are 3 options you can pick from on this rangefinder. They are range, speed, and scan. Depending on what is your first requirement, you can pick your mode. Besides the carabiner, ropes, and battery, you get a cleaning cloth for your rangefinder here.
One of the most popular rangefinders from them, this model is compact and powerful with one down point, which is that it looks average. Compared to the other model from TecTecTec, this looks very plain, in black color and with some regular white writing. This is why some of the users tend to avoid reading about it and go for the ones that have a camo pattern. If you were someone who has been ignoring this gem and going for the Prowild, you need to do some reading here!
The readings generated on the viewscreen of the VPRO are both accurate and come instantaneously to as much as 540 yards. For most golfers, this is excellent coverage, and they do not need more. For beginner bowhunters, this too is a decent and well-tolerated coverage.
The multilayer optical coating on the lenses also makes the rangefinder enviously great, as you get beautiful picture quality and targeting.
Being both compact and lightweight, it is very easy to handle and comes with a carrying case to help you carry the weights well.
If you are ever told to name the best rangefinders for bowhunting, this will come to your mind and the mind of every bowhunter who has enjoyed working with laser rangefinders. And these products are not just excellent in quality and durability, but they also take one of the major boxes, which is affordability.
The first prime feature that attracts your attention to this model is the LCD display. On this display, you can clearly view images of objects or animal locations within 600 yards of yourself. It also has a close target sensitivity of 10 yards. And either way, the location is precise with clear details on the hunt or prey.
The magnification that you get on this is the regular one, 4X option. However, it doesn’t mean that the magnification is poor. It is just enough to let you view things without sacrificing any field of vision. One of the major uses of this rangefinder is in dense forest regions.
You also get additional items with this set, a carrying case, and batteries and the body of the rangefinder is water-resistant too!
Features You Should Consider
This is one of the first things that you want to be of excellent quality in any rangefinder. A rangefinder that has inferior-quality optics should never be on your list if you want to hit your target well. Not just the optics, but all its components, and attributes, such as magnification, angle compensation, and lens.
So even when you have the right everything else, but not the right optics, you will never be able to hit the target well. Your elevation may be right, but if your rangefinder fails to measure the distance because of poor optics, it will be your worst hunting parts purchase.
You know that you will not always be shooting on level ground. If you are sure that you will always be shooting on flat terrain, this point may not have so much importance. You are sure not to have any of these most of the time. Your terrain will likely be angular, and you will need to shoot downhill, and uphill, stumbling across the path, with high and low grounds, pebbles, stones, and whatnot!
This is why you will need something that will be able to calculate the angular distance between you and your prey.
All rangefinders will have optical lenses, but not all of them will have the same coating. Due to this difference in the coating, there will be a difference in the light transmission between the lens and how you clearly view the object you want to hunt down. Your target needs to appear clear to you from whatever distance you view it. But this can’t be just about any distance, as rangefinders have different distance guidelines upon which the lens can work optimally.
The price of your rangefinder will depend on how good the lens is, among other things. In fact, not just the type of coating, its amount and material, and other properties of it, whether a single coat or dual coat, will also determine your rangefinder price.
Most of us don’t like to carry a lot of gear while hunting. Especially when you know that you will need a lot of tree climbing on your trip and that this might be an extended trip, the less item you have on you, the better it is. And the more powerful your device is, the better it is for you with a small size.
All modern rangefinders are light and really compact to hold. If you can keep it inside the backpack that you will be carrying throughout the trip, the better it is for you. Again, you will also want something where pushing the buttons is easy for us to have chubby fingers. The fix? Finding an optimal rangefinder size.
Sighting at a great distance becomes easier when you have good magnification on your lenses. Your magnification range will be from anywhere between 4 times to 8 times the original size. If you will frequently be shooting from a distance, you should opt for larger magnification sizes. However, larger magnification sizes may cause you to lose your field of vision. So keep that in mind too!
Benefits of Using Rangefinders for Bowhunting
The best rangefinders for bowhunting come with plenty of benefits. Some of these have been discussed below:
Before a rangefinder came into existence, the way to calculate the distance between yourself and the target was really hard. You had to face difficulties in order to know exactly how far from you the target exists. What’s more, it would also be very difficult for us shooters to get a measurement of the size of the target without rangefinders. And without knowing the right size, the target naturally would never be hit.
So there are three things here that are happening altogether. One, we are getting to know the distance between us and the target. Second, we are getting an assumption of how large or small the target is. Third, we are learning the angular placement of the target, meaning if it’s placed horizontally afar or at some distance but angularly placed. The combined effect of these three measurements is what makes rangefinders so useful.
We know that the ones who enter the field of hunting new, are very prone to making mistakes. Any new sport starts making you feel as if you will mess things up, and you can’t hit the target well for this nervousness that gets inside you. Do you know the way to tackle nervousness? It is to act or fake confidence, even when you are not confident. This false sense eventually leads you to believe that you can win the prize with the mindset.
A well-made rangefinder is one that gives you confidence in shooting. When you have such a rangefinder, you are confident even if you are a new hunter or if you are an experienced one.
That is because all other things you can control by doing one thing or another. But the most important act of measurement and accuracy is achieved by the rangefinder itself. So it becomes really easy to hit the target when you are confident.
If you didn’t know already, a rangefinder allows you to hit the target at a distance. But do you know how far away it can help? Depending on the size of the rangefinder, the coating applied on its lens, and all other features, the range of a rangefinder within which it works optimally may vary.
Most of the regular rangefinders have a distance coverage of 600-700 yards at the least. Beyond that, the more you add features and attributes, or components to your rangefinder, the more the yard coverage increases. It can go as far as 1200-1300 yards and give you an idea of targets within this distance, a clear and sharp image of it. Hence, with the right rangefinder, you can know how far you can hit the target well and know how distinct the target is.
Because the rangefinder allows you to shoot the target by making clear the distinguishing features of the target from the surrounding, you do not hit random objects, animals, or even humans and protect yourself and others from danger.
As you are clear from the discussions so far, rangefinders help you with targeting and distinguishing. It also helps you with measuring and being confident, knowing that your hunting pistol or rifle or bow, whichever it is, it will be hit unless you mess things up.
All of these good things will happen and converge into one central idea, which is good targeting.
One of the chief benefits of a good rangefinder is that it helps you in targeting. Had there been no rangefinder, you would still be able to target, but not so well as with it. With a rangefinder, your target is more accurate, and the chances of you hitting the target increase as well. Hence, targeting is an important benefit that results from good quality rangefinders.
The calculation of range is usually shown in yards in most rangefinder features. However, the range can be calculated in meters, too, not only yards. Some rangefinders show both the measurement metrics and some rangefinders show only one. You should purchase the one in which you are most comfortable.
Rangefinders allow you to automatically perform the calculation. Previously, you had to do the calculations in your head. But now, you no longer have to do it in your head when you have the right rangefinder with you. The calculation will easily be performed in less than one second.
A Guide on How to Use the Best Rangefinder for Hunting
Most of the contemporary rangefinders are made such that you find them really easy to use. All you need to do with one of these is simply press a button, and the distance between yourself and the target in question that you mean to hunt will be shown.
You can find it in yards or meters or both, as we mentioned already, on the LCD display. What happens is, the rangefinders usually have a clock that helps them track the duration in which the laser beam reaches your prey or target and comes back to you. This traversing is calculated into the length of the distance that you see on your digital display.
You can calculate this distance accurately with your newly bought or good old rangefinder, and it can be within your 1 yard or so. When you go out in the wilderness, hunting with your bow, this distance can come off as critical information to you at that time.
When you go bowhunting, you may find yourself shooting at such an angle that impacts the distance between you and the target, especially when you both are not in flat terrain. It could also be that you are on a flat surface, and your target is up on the tree or up the hill, creating an angle between the two of you.
One of the major problems that happen with such angling is that the target may appear as situated far away from you as they really are. What most of the bowhunters do wrong here is that they mistakenly overshoot. This doesn’t happen when you use the laser option on your rangefinder or buy a rangefinder that comes pre-built with this.
Again, there are different ranges under which your target can be situated. The capability of your rangefinder will vary depending on which ammo you use and the target you will be hitting with the ammo. For example, if it is a rifle, your range distance should be between 600-1200 yards or something like that.
If you are an archer, and this is a bow in question, you should choose a rangefinder that is able to cover and calculate 800 yards worth of distance. In both cases, you should buy a rangefinder that allows you to differentiate between large rocks and other hard objects and make sure that these can be detected if placed at greater distances from you. This will also make sure that you only aim and hit the live targets accurately.
Angled or Not
In order to use your rangefinder right, the first thing that you need to know how to work with is the angle calculation. As we said, you do not need to calculate the angle in your head. Your rangefinder will have an angle calculator installed in itself.
There are two major things you will learn from your angle calculator. Firstly, it will give you a measure of your angle. All the while, we are telling you that it is good for measuring angular distance. But what we didn’t tell you is that it will help you measure the angle at which the ostrich or bison stands. Whether it is a forty-degree angle or a plain and sharp right angle, you will get to know it.
The second question that it answers will be, at what distance is it standing from you? This is different from the angle, as it will give a rough linear estimation of where to aim.
If you are standing on flat terrain and at 90 degrees, there is an animal; there is no point knowing this if you don’t know how far the animal is and how far you will need to aim for. So when using a rangefinder, you should take proper readings from it and aim accordingly.
In order to read their targets from up close, one of the key things that bowhunters need is close target sensitivity. If their rangefinders do not have close target sensitivity or if they can’t read close targets when near, they will fail to hit the target properly. It may even occur that a potentially ferocious animal may attack them, and not being aware of the close target, they may get injured.
Usually, you should lock your target with your rangefinder when it is only 10 yards far away from you or situated this close to you. If the animal or the prey comes closer, the rangefinder may also give you the distance measure infractions, which will also be a great thing to have.
There is a thing that you need to be aware of with your rangefinder. That is called far target priority. With this function, there is a chance to know how many targets are situated farther away from you and which one you will need to pick. It sometimes happens that beyond you, there are multiple targets in hand. You will presumably not hit every one of them, and you will need to lock on one target. When you have far target priority, then even if there are multiple objects located far from you, you will be able to isolate your target from the pack.
One helpful tip for you comes from the first priority features. The point here is to pick the target from the loss, which is the closest to you. Now, remember, when we speak about multiple objects being located with your target, all of them may not be animals. It may be that your target is a bison, and the rest of the multiple objects that you see with your bare eyes are trees. In that case, you will be able to separate your hunt from the objects with your rangefinder, and it will be able to isolate the animal situated in front of or hidden between the trees.
Another option is the last target priority. This helps in the situation where your target is situated beyond the trees. Suppose you want to shoot in a dense jungle. But your hunt is located really inside those green trees and shrubs such that you can’t aim your target properly. Your misstep may cause the animal to flee. In that case, you will pick the last priority option to isolate the hunt from the trees.
You can change your options between these priority features, but if you are frequently changing the cycles with the movement of the animal, you may lose the prey because of every second matter in making the right hunting shot. But if you face such difficulty, you can choose to wait or pick another hunt.
Advanced Skills that You Need
The advanced skills you need include:
- Knowing what the reading on your viewscreen or digital display of the rangefinder means and aiming accordingly.
- If it is a laser scope model, use the laser beam or indicator wisely so as to not alert the prey or hurt other animals.
- Setting your close target sensitivity and far target priority options before going out to hunt.
- Having an idea about your field of vision and how your magnification will impact it.
Knowing these basic elements and reading our user guide mentioned already will help you use the rangefinder wisely.
Buying Guide for the Best Rangefinder for Bow Hunting
Whether you have a golf rangefinder or a hunting rangefinder, one of the key features you should keep in your head before deciding to make a purchase is how long the rangefinder will last you. Will it last you for one hunting season, for two, or for many years to come?
To answer this question, we read reviews and talked with hunters to come to the conclusion that hunting rangefinders last longer than golf rangefinders. So if durability is your priority, you should buy a hunting rangefinder for your hunting. If you are using your golf rangefinder for your hunting, be sure that will not last you as long.
The most important aspect of any rangefinder is its display screen or viewscreen. When you are in the middle of a hunt, and you are struggling to read what’s on the screen, it would be the most frustrating thing to happen. So, you should purchase a rangefinder that has a readable and extremely clear viewscreen.
You often face different lighting situations when you are hunting and may have to hunt in low-light conditions. Even in conditions where there is no light or low light, or if it is nighttime, your rangefinder should be able to back you up with a readable and understandable digital display.
You need to check the eye relief measurement given in millimeters to understand how far your eyes can be from the device to be able to read what’s written on it. So make sure that the eye relief is large in number.
When you are hunting in wet environments where there are chances of natural elements ruining your rangefinder with shorting possibilities, you should definitely make sure that your device can resist water and moisture. Your rangefinder has to be waterproof if you plan to land on wet grounds or water bodies before you make your hunting move, or it should be at least resistant to water to allow you to cross such paths on your way on your hunting trip.
Need to know what you are trying to look for when deciding on the best rangefinder for bowhunting. If it happens that you know nothing about bowhunting, but you are out in the market believing everything the seller says without understanding what is going on, what eye relief is, and what close target sensitivity means for the rangefinder, then you will be the loser.
Once you are aware of what features you want to include and what features you want to avoid in your rangefinder, it becomes easier to buy one.
There are four distinct types of rangefinders that you will come across. Of course, there could be more variants, but these are the basics. They include:
Intended to be used for golfing, these rangefinders are the ones that golfers are seen to use frequently. With such a rangefinder, golfers can get a precise description of the wind direction, the pot, and so on. However, such a rangefinder only gives you data on distance measurement. Remember that to be good at hunting; you need to have three measurements up your sleeve, as we mentioned already. You may find laser scope and GPS with such devices.
If you are a forest department official or have permission to shoot there, this will be your rangefinder of choice. You know that of all terrains, the most uncertain is that of a forest. You have dense green leaves everywhere, a rock here, a lake there, and random animals and bushes, etc. In such a messy environment, your sighting needs to back you up with precision and accuracy. So the rangefinders, in this case, help you with knowing the height of the trees and locating your prey from among, behind, or in front of the trees.
Whether you are a starter in hunting or if you have been in the business for years and decades, you can’t deny the importance of hunting rangefinders in the sport. You will find both rifle and bowhunting rangefinders, each fit for the occasion in which you want to shoot with your respective weapons. As you will read in this entire article, we have focused on bowhunting rangefinders and have pointed out the 10 best ones for you.
When you feel like your hunting trip, and your hunt will go a long distance, you should opt for ballistics rangefinders. That is because they give you the most distance coverage. These have both indicators and laser sighting to help you in your hunting.
From the hunting rangefinder reviews that we have come across from users and experts, it is absolutely necessary that you buy from reliable rangefinder brands. We are easy on giving new rands a chance, but not when we know that we need excellent backup in the hunting, and we can’t run on a hunch. The major brands include Vortex (Ranger), TecTecTec, Bushnell, AOFAR,
Sig Sauer, Leica, Simmons, etc.
Deciding on your range is one of the best things you can do before making the purchase because this will save you from making random purchases that have a high range, going over budget, and forgetting what you actually went to buy.
A good range of data reading is very important for your hunting to go smoothly. Usually, you will find decent coverage of 600-1300 yards from your rangefinders.
The magnification will determine how closely the object situated far from us can be viewed well. So the higher the magnification, it should technically be the better option. However, high magnification doesn’t always mean so good. Optimally, most of the rangefinders have a 4X magnification. But you can go up as much as 8X while still maintaining some of your field of vision. But as you try to go up this 8X mark, you will be losing a significant field of vision, and we don’t want that.
Another thing that you need to pay attention to is the accuracy level, which should not be more than +/- 1.
Quality and Model
A good quality rangefinder will cost you a decent amount and more as you go up the quality mark. Also, getting weatherproof models of a rangefinder is one of the good things you can do. Again, having a coat of carbon fiber on your rangefinder and the multi-coated lens is a great duo.
Three of the top model types are Ultrasonic, optical, and laser.
Ultrasonic models are those which generate sound waves and pick off the reflected wave from the prey and use this signal to measure the distance between you both.
Optical models are those which help you take down stationary or still targets by image superimposition, but these are time-consuming models, and needless to say, inexpensive.
The last type is the laser version, which uses the time factor to cause the laser beam to hit the target and travel back to give you a reading of the distance.
Which time of the day you will be hunting plays an important feature to determine your rangefinder. If you will be hunting during the twilight or at dusk, you will need to have a laser scope on your rangefinder to assist you visually and to help you target well at that time of the day. Again, if you need good sightings all throughout the day, you will pay more. Furthermore, if you will be shooting during bright sunlight or under the sun, you will need to have a lens that does not glare in extreme heat and light.
You will also need to be aware of what money you are spending after the rangefinder. You do not need to go over budget in order to get features you will never be using. If you always plan to hunt during the day, there is no point in getting a rangefinder that has a backlit display, as you will not need it during the daytime. So there is no point in paying several dollars more just to waste. You can use the money to add features of more eye relief measures, which will be a good spending choice. Refer to the required point to save here.
Do I really need a rangefinder for bow hunting?
Yes. A rangefinder allows you to hit targets precisely.
Should I buy a rangefinder before my next bow hunting?
If you don’t have one already, you should.
Is this a necessary device in bowhunting?
Yes. It grants you a lot of benefits of targeting, fixating, and shooting.
Can you use my rangefinder when attempting 3D archery?
You can always use your rangefinder for these purposes and beyond!
Can I use my previously owned golf rangefinder for the same purpose in bowhunting?
You definitely can, but the results won’t be as accurate and will not help in multi-object scenarios.
How can a Rangefinder help me in the hunting field?
By giving you an angular reading of targets and calculating all aims for you.
Now we’re at the end of a comprehensive guide and reviews about the best rangefinders for bowhunting.
If you enjoyed reading this article, it has been our pleasure to help you with the very basics of bowhunting and what will help you hit the next big target well!