When lining up your shot, one of the first things you should think of is, “How far is that animal?” The fact is distance is everything, and if you are off, then your shot will be too. Fortunately, we have variety of rangefinders available to help us judge distances.
There are many brands of rangefinders out there to choose from, but the type is really what’s important. From long-range spotting scopes with built in rangefinders to angle-compensating rangefinders for bow hunters, the choices are immense. The goal is to pick one that best suits your needs.
For example, if you’re primarily a bow hunter, then why would you need a rangefinder with 1,000-yard capabilities? It doesn’t make much sense. Instead, since many times you will be hunting from an elevated position, a rangefinder with angle-compensation technology built in makes more sense.
You may also weigh heavily on the price of a rangefinder. Prices can start as low as $150, but quickly rise close to $1,000 or more. You will often get what you pay for, as is any hunting equipment, but find the price range that fits your budget, yet provides all the capabilities you need.
Ranging distances is something we often put off. But really to make sure you are prepared for any shot scenario, you should select landmarks shortly after getting to your spot. You don’t need to know the exact distance to an animal, just a close range. Most times, it happens so fast that you can’t react fast enough to range an animal and still pull off a shot.
It is equally as helpful to know your weapon. If you range a landmark at 200 yards, and your rifle is zeroed in on that distance, then it’s easy. But what if the animal comes out at 250 yards? Will your bullet drop at all? If so, how much will it drop? In these cases it’s important to have a rangefinder and be able to mark your landmarks; however, it’s likely more important to know how your rifle will shoot at distances other than what you have zeroed in on.
Bow hunting is usually more sensitive than a rifle in distance compensation. We aren’t talking a long shot, but the difference between 30 and 40 yards is huge. This is why the angle-compensation technology of rangefinders is so important. Prior to this, the straight distance would be given, often giving the shooter a “long” distance, causing the shot to go high. But not with the new technology, it will calculate the “true” distance and give it to you with a push of a button. That’s a long way from Fred Bear’s days of bow hunting.
With today’s modern rangefinder technology, utilize the modern search and review tools on the internet. Other hunters can be a great resource to you when looking to buy a new rangefinder. Hunting forums, sporting goods retailers’ websites, and large online retailers are great resources for this information. At the end of the day, the choice is yours to make.