A perfectly spined arrow shot from a well tuned bow will never hit what you’re aiming for if your yardage estimation is off. There are many optical illusions present in many hunting situations that make accurate ranging very difficult even to the most experienced 3D shooters. In our opinion, one the thing that every bow hunter should have on them ,while hunting, is a range finder.
A modern hunting range finder is an device that calculates how far away an object with a laser. The laser beam pulse is sent, reflected, and returned to the range finder. The round trip time is used to calculate an exact distance.
When shopping for a hunting range finder, there are many brands and options. We will look at some of the key features that may make certain range finders perform above the rest.
Quality of the hunting range finder build
The quality of any product is important if it is to last and perform well. With range finders, we need to focus on a couple things.
Does the manufacturer use a high quality lens? This is important not only for viewing clarity but also for seeing in low light conditions. The lens should allow for a wide field of view and should feature high light transmittance for a brighter field of view.
Magnification is crucial when shooting an object that is surrounded by any kind of obstruction (trees/leaves). Cheaper range finders will not normally offer a strong magnification and that may make ranging in the field both frustrating and troublesome. Look for a range finder that has around a 6X magnification.
Moisture is the enemy of any optical or electronics device. Whether its from sitting in your hunting coat’s pocket during a long walk to the treestand or a sudden rain shower, its inevitable to get moisture on your range finder. Look for a hunting range finder that is waterproof to ensure the internal components do not get ruined.
Readability of the display
Being able to read the display in a variety of lights is the most important factor of a hunting range finder. When trying out different range finders, experiment with how hard it is to read and see the display in bright and low light conditions. Nothing is more frustrating than having to shoot the laser at something then having to raise the rangefinder up to the sky in order to make out the numbers!
The main additional feature that some range finders offer is horizontal vs actual distance measuring system. This is helpful when hunting steep inclines or declines. When taking an uphill or downhill shot, the actual distance to the object will always be longer than the horizontal distance. When an arrow drops in flight, it does so based on the amount of horizontal travel. The horizontal distance mode uses math to figure out the exact horizontal distance between you and the object so your arrow hits its mark. Most manufacturers offer this feature in some of their models.
Summary selecting a hunting range finder
When selecting a hunting range finder, go over all the features and the quality of the build. A good range finder will last you many years so spare no expense. With electronics and optics, its normally “you get what you pay for”, so it might be worth it to spend the extra couple of dollars to buy the range finder that is best for you.