HUNTING

Bow Hunting Rangefinder: Never Miss a Shot

Bow Hunting Rangefinder
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

You will agree that shooting at your target without knowing exactly the yardage between you and the target, exposes you to a lot of uncertainties. Sometimes, your weapon cannot shoot beyond a certain distance or yet, your archery skills are still not sharp enough to hit a target beyond a certain distance, right? To remove all the guesswork while making a shot, you just need a bow hunting range finder.

The device will give you accurate measures between you and the target and enable you to make a decision on whether to shoot or wait for the animal to get closer. Some rangefinders can even help you determine shooting angles. Bearing in mind how the market is flooded with inferior quality products, we have done a research and come up with a list of rangefinders based on selection guidelines as you will see in a moment.

Person is Using Rangefinder

The rangefinder gets the distance by sending pulses of light and measuring the time they take to come back to the lenses. If the laser lands on an absorbent surface or it travels a long distance without getting an object, it will give an error to indicate that no measurements could be established. In order to ensure that you get the right rangefinder, follow the selection criteria we have outlined in the content below.

Our Top Picks

ProductDimensionsWeightMagnificationPrice
Nikon
Arrow ID 3000
3.6 x 1.5 x 2.9 inches4.8 ounces4xCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell
G-Force DX
3.4 x 1 x 2.9 inches8 ounces6xCheck price on Amazon
Leupold
RX-650
5 x 5 x 3 inches10.4 ounces6xCheck price on Amazon
Nikon
ACULON
3.6 x 2.9 x 1.5 inches5.6 ounces6xCheck price on Amazon
Wildgame
Halo Ballistic 600
8.6 x 6.4 x 2.6 inches11.2 ounces6xCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell
Truth ARC
3.8 x 1.4 x 2.9 inches5.9 ounces4xCheck price on Amazon
Crenova
LR600
4.2 x 1.4 x 2.9 inches11.2 ounces6xCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

The primary goal of buying a rangefinder is to enable you to measure the distance between the hunter and the target animal. The target object might be far, up in a raised ground, behind trees, or concealed by other obstacles. All these variables determine how easy it will be to bring down the target.

Various rangefinders also have varying ranging capabilities under different conditions. Put all the variable factors in consideration before you buy.

Target Priority Mood

In most of the times, a target or an animal in the forest where you are hunting is always behind bushes. That possibility of a target being covered by an object necessitates the need to have a rangefinder that will calculate the distance based on the real target, not the overshadowing object.

Rangefinder in Hand

Most of the digital rangefinders have the capability to switch between the first and the second priority mode. The 1st priority mode being a situation where you can only measure the distance if nothing stands in the way of the object. Thus while deciding on which one to buy, a second priority mode rangefinder dominates.

Magnification

It is an undeniable fact that bow hunting requires the shooter to be at close range with the target. To achieve this well, the field of view must be wide; a rangefinder can only achieve this with a lower magnification level.

Rangefinder on the Rocks

Image credit: manmakesfire.com

Based on these facts a rangefinder with medium magnification is better for bow hunting. However, greater powered rangefinders may be better if you also use them for rifle hunting or in sports.

Angle Compensation

In most of the times, a bow hunter takes a cover on an elevated place or a tree. This gives a better sight on the target, as well as providing some degree of safety to the hunter. Angle compensation means when you are not shooting horizontally, the degree of elevation or inclination compensates the yardage and reduces it by a certain percentage.

Hunting with Rangefinder

For example, an average reading of 35 yards while on a raised ground may be a reading of 26 when you use a rangefinder with angle compensation. Not all rangefinders have these capabilities, and the ones with them should be preferred.

Reticle

Since you will be working in varying conditions, you should choose your reticle wisely depending on the games you will be hunting, or the time of the day or night you will be actively hunting. Black reticles are not very clear on dark targets while the led illuminated ones might get dissolved by bright lights.

Rangefinder Reticle

Image credit: longrangeonly.com

Also at night, led reticles might hamper with the vision of the hunter. Thus, while choosing the type of reticle, consider the convenience it will offer you. What is good for your friend might not work best for you.

Distance

It is one of the critical factors to consider while buying a rangefinder; this is because despite using it on a target, you also want to scan the area so that you can feel safe. Knowing the maximum distance your rangefinder can focus is critical in determining whether to buy it or not.

Rangefinder Range

The longer the yards it can comfortably measure, the better the device quality. Also, the capability of the rangefinder to measure the distance accurately can help you with practicing archery skills at different yardage.

Pricing

All the above factors are capped on price, no matter how appealing the features of a certain rangefinder are; if you cannot afford it, it means nothing to you. The higher the price, the better the device and the more convenient it will be to use.

Rangefinder Construction

Each person, while making a purchase decision, should only analyze those products that are in the range which she/he can comfortably afford. However, if it is not urgent, you can analyze all and if you fail to meet the budget postpone the purchase decision.

Top Products on Today’s Market

After knowing the list of features, a bow hunting rangefinder has and must be acknowledged before purchase. We believe you would really like to go hunting with a nice rangefinder. Here is a list of these products that are considered amongst the best on the market.

Nikon Arrow ID 3000 Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $210Nikon Arrow ID 3000 Rangefinder

Dimensions: 3.6 x 1.5 x 2.9 inches

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Range: 6 – 550 yards

Specific features: It has a large ocular lens of approximately 18 mm, provides a continuous measurement of 8 seconds so that you can scan an area and pick the distance of various objects within the vicinity

Best use: Bow and crossbow hunting

The Nikon Arrow ID 3000 Rangefinder is a class 1 rangefinder that has a power output not exceeding 0.0975 mW. It has a range compensation capability which makes it ideal for a variety of hunting environments. It easily ranges a target due to its long eye relief. In most of the cases eye relief is conversely related to magnification, the higher the magnification, the shorter the eye relief.

It works well in low light conditions. Depending on the surrounding; you have the option of whether to use the first mode or the distance target priority mode by clicking and holding the range button. Also by holding down the range button you can also switch between games and settle on one for example, when you have a herd of animals, and you need to select one.

If the lens protective cover cannot pop off the lenses, you can use your hand to put it between the rangefinder and your palm, but normally it should open with ease. The purchase also includes a neck strap and a waterproof neoprene case and is backed by a 2-year warranty.

PROS:

  • Single button operating system
  • Provides horizontal distance when ranging either in an inclined or declined position
  • Long eye relief of 20.3mm
  • Uses Tru-Target technology to remove any doubts while shooting
  • Uncluttered LCD screen display
 CONS:

  • It sometimes fails to read small objects on first focus

Related: To avoid running out of power while in the wild, it is wise to have a backup battery just in case the one in the rangefinder becomes dim. Among the batteries; you can buy the Viridian Lithium Tactical Battery. They have a shelf life of almost 10-years, and they can maintain power up to 3-month of inactivity.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell G-Force DX Laser Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $325Bushnell G-Force DX Laser Rangefinder

Dimensions: 3 x 1 x 2.9 inches

Weight: 8 ounces

Range: 5-1300 yards

Specific features: It ranges to a maximum of 1300 yards on various modes depending on which device you are using it on, has a bow mode, rifle mode, and a regular mode

Best use: Bow hunting or rifle hunting

The Bushnell G-Force DX Laser Rangefinder is the new device that has been enhanced by the second generation extreme speed and precision processor to achieve high speeds and great accuracy. It is a class 1 laser with a 0.5 mW power output. It has an accuracy of a ½ yard and a display precision of 1/10.

It delivers bright clear images even in low light conditions due to the vivid display technology. It has a metallic body which is armored with rubber for a firm grip. It is among the best rangefinders which can give a reading in dense fog conditions since it is resistant to both rain and fog.

The optical lenses have a protective coating that prevents it from getting scratched, thus in case it gets fogged up, you can use a piece of cloth to remove the shade. You can only change the focus adjustments by turning the objective lens. It can range in either bull’s eye or a brush priority. Bull’s eye priority means it ranges the object which is near and in the brush mode, it ranges items that are farthest.

PROS:

  • Variety of brightness settings
  • Multipurpose
  • Easy to switch between modes
  • It has built-in threading to use with a tripod
  • The metal casing offers an added protection
  • It is a 100% waterproof and the lenses have a water repellant coating
 CONS:

  • It only has one illuminated display reading
  • Hard to read, especially in conditions of bright light
  • In the darkness, the light from the illuminator can blind you and hinder you from having an accurate focus
  • The range button also changes the modes; this can be confusing for first users

Related: When going out for a hunt, you may be required to carry many items like the climbing system, water bottles, the bow, arrows and many more items. To make your experience desirable, you ought to look for a good backpack bag to enable you to carry your hunting gears as well as be able to take your meat home conveniently. The ALPS Outdoorz Traverse EPS is among the best bags that can withstand the rough, wild conditions. It is made of heavy duty material which is waterproof.

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Leupold Rx -650 Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $150Leupold Rx -650 Rangefinder

Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 3 inches

Weight: 10.4 ounces

Range: 6 – 650 yards

Specific features: It is designed for long life service since it is made from high-quality materials, though it does not range in 1-foot increment

Best use: Bow and rifle hunting

Leupold RX-650 Rangefinder is a rangefinder that measures in either meters or yards. It is made of hard plastic, and it has a rubber grip cover to enhance stability. To achieve focus with the rangefinder, you press the ranging button once, and if you want to use scan mode, you just press and hold down the button.

A 2-year warranty covers the purchase. It uses a black LCD screen display to report measurements. It has a battery life indicator on the screen to help you keep a watch on your battery usage and change when appropriate. Its screen is clutter free since there are minimal settings which require adjustments and thus the display reports only the range.

It has no screen display adjustments for low light situations. It has only one illuminating laser, and it is mostly best for use during the day since it does not have any twilight capabilities.

PROS:

  • Highly durable and waterproof with multicoated optics
  • You can scan an area by holding down the button
  • It has a single control button
  • Very simple to operate since majority of settings are fixed from the factory
  • Offers crystal clear images
 CONS:

  • It has no tripod mount bracket
  • It does not have a target or angle compensation mode
  • It only offers a straight-shooting line to the target

Related: Using the right arrowhead on your arrow is also a determinant factor on how effective your shot will be, the G5 Outdoors Montec Broadhead is a preference for many hunters since it is easy to screw without any assembling requirements. They have a diamond cut sharpness, and they are made of steel.

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Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $170Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder

Dimensions: 3.6 x 2.9 x 1.5 inches

Weight: 4.4 ounces

Range: 6 – 550 yards

Specific features: It has an actual field of view of 6.0 degrees, an exit pupil of 3.3 mm, and an eye relief of 16.7 mm

Best use: For gun and bow hunting as well as target shooting

The Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder has diopter adjustment function and a single or continuous ranging function of up to 20 seconds. It has high-temperature tolerance with ranges from -10 to +50 degrees Celsius.

It is one of the smallest rangefinders in the market that uses the most standard measures of yards and meters in its ranging function. It’s smaller than most of the smartphones.

Due to its size, it’s a take everywhere rangefinder. It has a wide objective lens measuring around 20 mm. Its long eye relief gives it a bright field of view. To ensure there is proper use the battery; it has an auto power shut off function which keeps it on for a maximum of 8 seconds.

It is programmed to range the target which is at the farthest end which makes it ideal for hunting since hardly will you get a target on a plain ground. This means it can also bypass obstructions.

PROS:

  • It ranges up to 650 yards accurately
  • Its optics are multi-layered
  • Easy to read LCD screen display
  • Single button operating system making it ideal for hunting
  • It is water and rain proof
 CONS:

  • No brightness control features
  • No angle compensation in its measurements

Related: A good bow with wrong arrows won’t deliver the accuracy required to bring down your target. Carbon Express Maxima Red Arrows are among the favorite suite for hunters because they have dynamic spine control and blazer vanes. They are made from hi-tech carbon which enables them to fly better and shoot consistently. They shoot straight and come ready to use. You only need to cut to the appropriate draw length.

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Wildgame Innovations Halo Ballistic 600 Range Finder

Price: Approx. $112Wildgame Innovations Halo Ballistic 600 Range Finder

Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.5 x 2.5 inches

Weight: 11.2 ounces

Range: 600 yards

Specific features: It has a precise of +/- 1 yard and measures the slope of a shot

Best use: Good for bow hunting

Wildgame Innovations Halo Ballistic 600 Range Finder is a good hunting device which is worth the money. A one year warranty covers the laser rangefinder Purchase. It measures in both yards and meters. You can use the rangefinder with your glass on since it has a good eye relief. It has different modes like with or without an angle. It gives you the distance and its respective angle depending on the activated mode.

It easily accounts for slope through its angle indicating technology. Its display is not readable in a low light environment but benchmarking with devices in the same price range it scores better. The condition is made worse by the lack of any self-illuminating features; it relies on natural light to show the readings. Changing between modes is easy.

Its body is covered with silicone rubber material for a secure grip as well as protects it from harsh conditions. The purchase comes with a cleaning cloth and a carrying case. It is water resistant though not entirely waterproof, thus handle it with care while using it on a rainy day. It has positive/negative one-yard accuracy.

PROS:

  • It is a multi-purpose rangefinder since golfers, and rifle hunters can also use it
  • Water resistant, and it has a carrying pouch
  • Place to attach a carrying strap
  • Its small design makes it easily portable
  • It has a scan mode and allows for a constant ranging
 CONS:

  • The focus knob is at first very tight, and it may require you to use both hands to get it turned on; it, however, eases with time
  • It does not give precise, accurate measurements since the figures are rounded off rather than have all the readings
  • It has no mounting or threading hole for use with a tripod

Related: To avoid losing your arrows as well as increase efficiency in usage, you need an arrow carrying kit. Their designs are many, but over the shoulder, design offers a better drawing angle. G4free Archery Deluxe Back Arrow Quiver is among the preferred quivers by hunters. It can hold up to 30 arrows and is made of durable canvas material. It’s deep enough to hold long arrows.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell Truth ARC Laser Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $196Bushnell Truth ARC Laser Rangefinder

Dimensions: 3.8 x 1.4 x 2.9 inches

Weight: 5.9 ounces

Range: 7 – 850 yards

Specific features: The rangefinder has high-quality optics with HD clarity, however, does not use the ESP2 technology

Best use: Best suited for bow hunting

The Bushnell Truth ARC Laser Rangefinder offers crystal clear images due to its power. You can get a clear shot while hunting since it uses a technology that detects any barriers that may cause interference with your arrow before it gets to the target.

If it senses a block, it sends a message ‘not clear’ and when correctly focused, it shows a ‘clear shot’ message. It also employs the ARC angle compensation technology and gives accurate horizontal readings from 7 yards and onwards. It turns off after just the right time amount of inactivity; this helps in saving the hard-to-get CR2 batteries it uses.

Its LCD screen is not responsive to light levels which make it hard to read the measurements in conditions of low light. Range Focusing is achieved by adjusting the eyepiece lens. It is water and rain proof. The purchase includes a neck strap, batteries, and a carrying case. Its screen displays the amount of life remaining in a battery, and it is compatible with a magnetic attachment system if a mounting need arises.

PROS:

  • One button operation
  • A two-year warranty protects the purchase
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Simple to operate
 CONS:

  • It fogs up quickly due to lack of nitrogen charged chambers
  • It features a Perma-focus eyepiece, since there is no adjustable diopter, if the factory settings are not accurate, it may be hard to focus it correctly
  • It gives too many readings, making the screen look cluttered
  • It has no brush and bull’s eye target priority modes

Related: While hunting in the woods, especially if you are using a bow, you might be required to be close to the target so that you can have an accurate shot. Being too close to the target game might be dangerous, and this calls for a safe cover. You can use the Summit Treestands Viper SD Treestand to achieve the required elevation off the ground. You can use it while standing or seated since it has a padded seat with a backrest.

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Crenova LR600 Golf Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $100Crenova LR600 Golf Rangefinder

Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 2.9 inches

Weight: 11 ounces

Range: 4 – 656 yards

Specific features: It has a view angle of 7.2 degrees, eye relief of 16 mm, and an objective lens of approximately 21 mm

Best use: Good for golfers, race cars tracking, bow hunting, and a wide variety of applications especially by sports people

Most of the rangefinders on the market are multi-purpose, with the capability of being used while playing golf or in a hunting mission. The Crenova LR600 Golf Rangefinder is the best bet for golfers and sports people. It can easily measure the flag distance with precision.

It is highly durable, dependable and it has a rugged construction. It has a speed mode to enable it to track objects moving at a very high speed. It has a built-in pin finder technology to pick out the flagstick when obscured. It works well, but not perfect in fog conditions.

The high power enables the golfer to plan the swing well and acquire precision. It has a first target priority mode for ranging the closest object in focus, but in case the flag is obscured by something the distant target priority mode comes in handy. The speed mode offers tracking capability of fast-moving objects.

PROS:

  • Adjustable focusing eyepiece
  • Multilayer coating for bright clear images
  • LCD screen
  • Waterproof
  • It has 20 seconds continuous range finding capabilities
  • Tilt intelligence capabilities
 CONS:

  • Since it’s primarily made for golf, it does not account for elevation changes

Related: Your rangefinder device requires being stored in a pleasant place where it is protected from bruising and scratches. The Clicgear Valuables Storage Bagis the ideal carrying bag that is convenient for both hunters and golfers. It can easily be attached to the golf cart or the backpack. It is made of waterproof material, and it is a good value for your money.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Having come to the end of the review, it is worth noting that no matter the magnification given by the manufacturer, it is most likely that the rangefinder will provide a shorter yardage while calculating the range. In most of the times, these optimum readings are based on certain efficient environmental conditions.

Bow Hunting Rangefinder

Any glares caused by snow, heat waves, the wind, affect the ability to range objects. You have also realized that there are the first and second modes priorities in rangefinders, there are others which may include horizontal and scan mode.

The ID mode is good for hunters who operate in mountainous places since it can range up or down a mountain and provide accurate readings in either declined or inclined position. Based on all the discussed information would you still go for hunting without a rangefinder? Or how do you estimate the range while on the field? Feel free to tell us in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.