Tips for choosing a rangefinder for bow hunting Complete Guide

Are you finding it difficult to choose the perfect rangefinder for bow hunting? You’ve come to the right place.

This guide will help you simplify your search and deliver an excellent rangefinder. Learn everything from how to determine necessary features, quality factors, and more – all in one convenient article!

Rangefinders are invaluable tools for bow hunters who want to land accurate shots. They provide the shooter with an estimate of the distance to the target and account for factors such as angle-of-shoot, terrain, and obstacles between the shooter and their target.

Modern rangefinders can provide a variety of information including true or horizontal distance to the pin, angle compensation readings, line-of-sight/bird’s eye view readings, and even digital sights picture displays.

While rangefinding technologies have come a long way in recent years and are always improving, it is important to take note of how these devices will best fit your hunt or shooting style. Knowing what features you need from a rangefinder and why – combined with budget considerations – can help you make an informed decision when searching for a rangefinder that’s right for you.

Explanation of what a rangefinder is

Rangefinders are essential instruments used to measure the distance from the hunter to their intended target. They have become a popular tool for bowhunters due to their ability to accurately and quickly measure the distances of potential game animals. A rangefinder for bow hunting should be lightweight, robust, and use a correct level of magnification that enables you to observe distant targets clearly without being weighed down. Furthermore, it should provide hunters with accurate distance information that is critical for successful hunting excursions.

Rangefinders are powered by either a standard battery or multiple batteries for extended power needs. The technology enables hunters to accurately measure the distance between them and the target up to various distances, depending on the device’s specifications. For example, some rangefinders offer long-range readings up to 1000 yards while others may only go as far as 400 meters. Additionally, there are some higher end devices that include digital cameras which allow users to take pictures/videos of what they see through the scope of their rangefinder at different points in time during their hunting trips.

Importance of rangefinders in bow hunting

Rangefinders are an essential tool for bow hunting, as they allow you to estimate the distance from target precisely and determine the necessary trajectory of your shot. These devices make it much easier to hit your target and ensure a successful hunt.

Rangefinders come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs, but all have one purpose: measuring the exact distance between hunter and target. Rangefinders measure out in yards, allowing you to calculate how far away you are from your target with accuracy and precision. They also offer other useful features such as angle compensation that can help estimate the trajectory of your collected arrow or crossbow bolt and aid in hitting long range targets.

The use of rangefinders is becoming increasingly popular among hunters because they make it much easier to know exactly how far away their prey is located before they take the shot. Rangefinders are also relatively small devices that are easy to carry around with you while hunting, allowing you to set up quickly without having to guess how far away your target is located.

Rangefinders can significantly improve your hunting success rate by providing accurate distances between yourself and targets at various angles and heights. By being able to accurately determine distances with just a single shot, rangefinders make it much simpler for hunters of all experience levels to get improved results when shooting at distant game.

Purpose of the guide

This guide serves to provide the reader with an in-depth look at the most important considerations when it comes to selecting a rangefinder for bow hunting.

It will cover topics such as what you should be looking for in a rangefinder, the best features and technologies available, and how to compare models based on their features.

Finally, it will offer some buying tips on how to make sure you get the best value for your money when it comes to purchasing a rangefinder.

Considerations when Choosing a Rangefinder

When it comes to choosing the right rangefinder for bow hunting, there are a few key points to consider. Below are some features you should take into account before purchasing your rangefinder.

Magnification: A quality rangefinder should have magnification of at least 6x. While many models offer up to 8x or even 10x magnification, bear in mind that it can make aiming more difficult if the “target” gets too tiny and the background is too fuzzy. Invest in one with smaller magnification for better results when you’re out on the hunt.

Optics: High-quality optics can make all the difference when you’re in low light conditions during morning or evening hunts or shooting from a tree stand when visibility is otherwise poor. Opt for a unit that has an ultra-wide optical field and multi-coated lenses for superior performance.

Durability: Durability is an important factor that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a rangefinder for bow hunting. Look for one that is waterproof and fogproof, so you don’t have to worry about moisture or other elements hindering its performance outdoors. Additionally, look for one with added features like shockproof construction which will ensure it’s designed and built to take on any tough conditions while out on the hunt.


It is important to consider the range that the rangefinder can provide when making your selection. This is usually referred to as “maximum distance”, and it’s the greatest distance that your rangefinder can accurately measure. Most bow-hunting rangefinders have an effective maximum range of around 800 yards, with some reaching up to 1,000 yards or more.

Some models will also indicate the precise angle from which you need to take your shot—a great feature if you are shooting from a raised or sloping position. Additionally, good hunting rangefinders often compensate for incline and decline in order to give you a more accurate reading (up to 90%).

Finally, look for a model that is weatherproof—it will be able to withstand rain showers, fog and other environmental factors without losing accuracy.


Accuracy is a burning issue among archers and bow hunters and is always a point of debate among experienced users. To nip the accuracy conversation in the bud, it’s important to have the most accurate rangefinder for bowhunting. Before taking into account the range capabilities of different models, accuracy should top your list when you choose your rangefinder device.

The general rule of thumb is that laser rangefinders are more precise than GPS rangefinders, but there are exceptions to this. There are some models on the market that feature advanced optics and components that make them extremely accurate with measured distances within plus or minus 1 yard or less.

Additionally, some premium-priced laser devices now come with Angle Intelligence (AI) technology which accounts for various angles in terrain so users get exceptionally accurate distances sealed with reliability and accuracy. An AI feature should be considered when you look out for an accurate bow hunting rangefinder as it can guarantee lesser discrepancies in ranges no matter what angle you’re shooting from.

Size and Weight

When selecting a rangefinder, size and weight can be important factors; the size and weight of the device may affect the ease of use and portability. As a general guideline, smaller rangefinders tend to be lighter in weight; this could make them easier to use and easier to carry in the field without compromising accuracy or power. Additionally, larger rangefinders may offer more customization and features than their smaller counterparts.

For bow hunters, size and weight should take into account the type of bow they are using (recurve, compound etc.) and any accessories they are likely to need. It is also important to consider how much gear you will need to bring with you on hunting excursions as larger rangefinders can add more bulk and weigh more than smaller ones.

When possible, it is recommended that customers test out different models before making a purchase decision. Doing so will provide the best overall experience when choosing a rangefinder for your needs.

How To Choose A Rangefinder | Leupold


The display is an important feature of a rangefinder when it comes to bow hunting. The display should be easy to read and interpret in any light condition. It should also be able to show the direction, width and other relevant information regarding targets with clarity.

Make sure that the display of your rangefinder is capable of displaying distance readings up to 400 yards accurately. This distance is important for target identification at longer distances. Also, choose one with a different colored display for easy visibility against various backgrounds.


Magnification is a key factor to consider when selecting a rangefinder for bow hunting. Most bow hunt rangefinders offer fixed magnifications, typically between 6X and 8X. Fixed magnifications are not only lighter and easier to handle, they will also provide steadier images than variable power rangefinders.

It’s important to note that the more powerful the magnification, the shorter the effective range of the unit. The most powerful models may only be accurate out to 225 yards, whereas others might have double or triple that distance on minimum settings.

Knowing the approximate distances of your usual terrain is important for your decision, as is budgeting for certain features you find invaluable like angle compensation, elastic arm straps and ruggedized body designs for shock protection. Quality optics for clear images should also be a consideration when determining if a particular product is worth investing in.

Durability and Water Resistance

When shopping for a rangefinder, it’s important to consider durability and water resistance. Rangefinders used outdoors will be exposed to a variety of weather conditions, including rain or snow. A water-resistant rangefinder can handle these conditions better than one without this feature.

Durable construction is also essential to ensure the device stands up to wear and tear over time. Look for models that have rubberized armor around the exterior, as well as models with reinforced strength and durable seals.

Additionally, consider rangefinders with long-lasting battery life, since many hunters spend hours out in the field searching for prey.


When purchasing a rangefinder for bow hunting, there are several important factors to consider. You want to make sure you select one with the maximum amount of precision possible at the distance you need, and that it’s lightweight and easy to carry while still providing sufficient durability to withstand hunting in tough environments.

You also need one that features features that are suitable for your specific hunting style—including compatible laser type, single-button focus control, optics quality, scan mode and more. Finally, always test out various models under different conditions before selecting a winner.

With the right rangefinder on your side when bow hunting, you should have no trouble successfully taking down your target every time!

A Beginner's Guide to Bowhunting | An Official Journal Of The NRA


What should I look for in a hunting rangefinder?

 You should look for factors such as range, magnification, accuracy, durability, and ease of use in a hunting rangefinder.

How important is a rangefinder for bow hunting? 

A rangefinder is essential for bow hunting, as it helps hunters determine accurate distances to their targets, which is crucial for making a clean, ethical kill.

Can you use a golf rangefinder for bow hunting? 

While golf rangefinders can measure distances accurately, they are not designed for the specific needs of bow hunting and may not be suitable for the purpose.

Should I use 35mm or 50mm for rangefinder? 

The choice between 35mm or 50mm for a rangefinder depends on personal preference and needs. A 50mm lens allows for more light and can be beneficial in low light conditions, but it can also make the rangefinder heavier and more cumbersome.

How do I know if my rangefinder is accurate?

 You can verify the accuracy of your rangefinder by comparing its readings to known distances or using it to measure a stationary object with a known distance.

What is the best range for bow hunting? 

The best range for bow hunting varies depending on the hunter’s skill level and the bow’s effective range, but typically ranges between 20-40 yards.

What range should I practice bow hunting? 

It is best to practice at various distances within your effective range to improve your accuracy and confidence in different hunting scenarios.

What is a disadvantage of a rangefinder? 

One disadvantage of a rangefinder is that it can be expensive and may not be necessary for hunters who prefer to rely on their instincts and experience to judge distances.

Is rangefinder good on bows? 

Yes, rangefinders can be useful on bows as they can help hunters accurately measure distances and make ethical shots.

Does rangefinder work on bows?

 A rangefinder does not work “on” a bow but is a separate device that can be used in conjunction with a bow to help hunters measure distances accurately.

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