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Accurately tracking the distance to your target is crucial when hunting with a bow.
By understanding exactly how far it is to your prey, you can fine tune your trajectory and gain much more accuracy from your shots.
Without a doubt, the best way to accurately track distance is with a rangefinder.
There are many types of rangefinders on the market, generally divided into two categories — hunting rangefinders and golfing rangefinders.
Hunting rangefinders are generally more accurate and have additional features to help you see your prey.
This guide will help understand the benefits of using a rangefinder and highlight five of the best rangefinders for bow hunting.
Dave's Picks - 5 Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting
Below are my pics of the best rangefinders for bowhunting in the 2020/2021 season. They are all durable, packed with features, designed for hunters, and affordable.
1. Nikon 16224 Arrow ID 3000
What I like best about the Nikon Arrow ID 3000 is the 8 seconds of continuous measurement it provides so I can scan across my ideal area.
That's just one of the features that make this my #1 pick.
The other two biggies are the Nikon ID (Incline/Decline) and Tru-Target technologies.
When you are hunting from an elevated stand and have to navigate branches or almost any kind of brush between you and your target you will appreciate the ability to get an accurate yardage reading.
With a range of 550 yards any bow hunter will be able to benefit from adding this rangefinder to your arsenal.
Oh, and probably the best part...
If you are a horrible golfer like me then you will love the ability to get double duty out of the Nikon on the golf course as well!
2. AOFAR H3 Hunting Archery Rangefinder
The H3 is AOFAR's latest iteration of their very popular original hunting rangefinder. With a range of 800 yards both bow hunters and riflemen alike will enjoy this product.
Similar to the Nikon above, the AOFAR H3 will provide you with true distance to your prey even when hunting from a tree stand.
If you don't need the extra distance capability then take a look at the H2. It is a viable alternative at a lower price so you can spend money on other fun camo things!
The H3 is IPX4 rated meaning it is virtually rainproof. Although AOFAR claims it is waterproof it would need a rating of IPX7 to fit that bill.
Unless you plan on going all Navy SEAL on us with your bow and sneak up on a deer underwater then I think IPX4 is all you will need!
More importantly in my opinion is the fact it is fog proof.
There is nothing worse than having your prey in site but you are able to lock in a distance because your rangefinder's lens is fogged up.
3. Visionking Laser Range Finder
This is an excellent hunting rangefinder for anyone on a budget.
It offers incredible value-for-money and is packed with features.
The Visionking rangefinder uses infrared energy pulses to accurately measure the distance to the target.
It has a coated lens for incredible clarity, a wide field of view, a clear LCD indicator and a 6-times magnification.
Plus, this is yet another option on this list for my fellow golf loving hunters!
4. Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition
This is another excellent bow hunting rangefinder from Bushnell.
It is a collector’s edition model with an attractive camouflage design.
The optics are crystal clear and the LCD user interface is nice and simple.
You can even find the distance to your prey with the tap of a single button!
5. TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder
This is a super-compact rangefinder that is built for handling the rough conditions associated with hunting in the wilderness.
With a 6 times magnification and range of up to 540 yards, it is an excellent choice for bow hunting.
It can be operated with one hand and is so compact you can comfortably keep it tied around your neck.
Why Use a Rangefinder?
Improve Your Accuracy
Understanding the exact distance to the target will help you understand the strength that is required to hit the target, the ideal trajectory, and the feasibility of the target.
You won’t take shots that you can’t land and you won’t risk shots that don’t immediately kill your prey.
A range finder will also help you better understand the effect that the wind will have on your arrow allowing you to make the proper adjustments.
Helps if You are Hunting in New Territory
When you are hunting in a familiar location, you can often gauge distances very accurately because you have walked the area many times.
However, when you go on a hunting trip or venture into a new location, it can sometimes be difficult to gauge distances.
The unfamiliar terrain and vegetation may cause you to misjudge how far it is to the target, reducing your accuracy and costing you a kill.
A rangefinder will help you determine the range to the target regardless of where you are.
Increase Your Chances of a Clean Kill
Once you have been hunting with a bow for a few months, you will get a feel for how accurate you are at certain ranges.
A range finder will eliminate the guesswork and give you the confidence you will be accurate enough to secure the kill.
Helps You Prep for Hunting Season
A rangefinder can help you set up your camp and identify the ideal kill zones nearby.
You will be able to measure out the precise distances to landmarks and gain an understanding of the locations where your bow is effective.
Have Steep Terrain to Deal With? A Rangefinder Will Help
Shooting a bow while on steep terrain can be difficult because the target looks further away than it actually is.
It can also be difficult to calculate the right shot angle when looking at targets up or down a hill. A rangefinder will give you the exact distance to the target, helping you to make your shot.
Avoid Obstacles Between You and Your Target
Using a rangefinder gives you a crystal clear view of the target and any impediments that are in the way.
When using a rangefinder it is much easier to notice a branch or rock that is obstructing your shot.
They Are Easy to Carry Around
Most hunters are carrying a lot of equipment when they go hunting.
That usually includes food, water, arrows, a GPS, additional clothing, a phone, binoculars, and emergency equipment.
Taking a rangefinder allows you to leave the bulky binoculars at home. A rangefinder is much smaller and lighter than binoculars, which makes it ideal for a hunter on the move.
Rangefinders are TOUGH!
Most hunting rangefinders are designed with a high level of durability and will survive the rigors of hunting in the wilderness.
Many rangefinders are waterproof and shockproof.
Some models come with features like a hardened magnesium housing or special coatings to protect the lens from scratches.
A well made rangefinder will provide you with years of use.
Surprisingly Affordable Too
A rangefinder is much more affordable than a pair of quality binoculars and it comes with more features.
It really is a no-brainer if you are on a budget.
By far my favorite rangefinder is the Nikon Arrow ID 3000...
Its durability has proven itself season after season - I have been known to drop things out of my stand from time to time - and the fact I typically hunt in thicker wooded areas makes their 'Tru-Target Technology' technology a must-have to avoid the countless branches in my view!