One of the most challenging things for any archery hunter to do is determine an appropriate range when making a shot. Even some of the most talented hunters in the world struggle with this, which is why a rangefinder is such a useful and essential tool.
So much of your bow hunting technique is actually dependent on the way you use your rangefinder, so it’s important to really master how to use it, regardless of what kind of weapon you hunt with. So many great shots are missed because the hunter misjudges the range of the shot. Here are the best hunting rangefinder recommendations.
Invest in a Good Rangefinder
Not all rangefinders are created equal, so it’s important to spend your money on one that you’ll get the best use out of. The rangefinder should be designed specifically for hunting and not for other sports, as the functionality may be different than what you’re looking for in a general rangefinder.
The rangefinder should also be very durable, as you will be taking it outdoors with you in a variety of temperatures and weather conditions. Night vision mode is also helpful if you like to hunt at dawn or dusk when light levels are low. While no rangefinder is perfect, for an avid hunter it’s important to spend a bit of extra money to get a rangefinder that really fits your needs.
Understand Your Device
As with any weapon or hunting accessory, it’s important to take your time and become familiar with the device before taking it out. Each rangefinder has its own unique features, so you should sit down with it at home and go through each feature. You should experiment with each mode the rangefinder offers, and you should also take the time to read through the manual, which offers plenty of helpful information.
Something many people don’t think to do beforehand is to practice carrying the rangefinder. It’s crucial that you have it readily accessible so you can take it out quickly when the opportunity for a shot arises. You never know what conditions you’ll be hunting in, so it’s always best to go in as prepared as possible.
Take A Pre-Hunting Trip To Mark Your Area
If you tend to archery hunt in the same areas frequently or have a specific area in mind where you’d like to hunt, it will be very beneficial to you to take a trip there ahead of time and scope out the area. You can use the trees in the area as reference points by marking them with tape, spray paint, or another marker to indicate the range they fall into. If you’re using a new rangefinder, this also gives you the opportunity to practice using it without the pressure of actually hunting. Just make sure that marking trees is legal in your area before making a trip.
Start By Ranging The Area Around You
You’ll be able to shoot much more effectively if you take the time to range your surrounding areas before taking your first shot. Pick nearby objects, such as trees or rocks, and start using them to test your ranger and get an idea of the distance of the area. This will give you a perspective that will be extremely useful when an animal does come into the picture, because you’ll already have a general idea of how far away they are by comparing to a nearby tree or other objects. Be sure that you test the rangefinder on flat surfaces, which are going to be more accurate than textured or leveled surfaces.
Stay Calm And Level-Headed When Prey Is Approaching
Although your first reaction is likely to get overexcited when a potential shot appears, it’s important to stay calm and think through each step as you hunt. Start by determining where the animal is likely to go and start to set up your weapon, then take out your rangefinder to confirm your estimated distance.
Once you’ve gotten a good look at where the prey is and the range you will need to use for the shot, it’s time to go in for the kill. Take a deep breath and return the rangefinder to its proper place. Ensure the animal is moving as you predicted before you take a shot – if it moves in a different direction or distance, your range won’t be accurate. If this happens, you’ll need to take out your rangefinder again and re-evaluate. This will likely take lots of practice to master, so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work right away.
Keep Your Terrain In Mind
A big mistake many novice hunters make is they forget to take into consideration the terrain of the area. If you are on a flat surface, your range is going to be much different than if you are hunting on a steep hill. Rangefinders are actually extremely helpful when hunting from a lowered or elevated position, so this is when you should rely on them the most. It may take some practice to familiarize yourself with the way the rangefinder measures distances on an angle.
Using a rangefinder may be a bit challenging at first, but it gets much easier with practice. Once you’ve gotten used to using the rangefinder, you’ll find that you’ll hunt much more effectively with one than without it. A rangefinder is an essential tool for any hunter’s kit.