Rangefinders for hunting:
There are currently several dozen handheld rangefinders on the market, probably more than watches. Most can be broke down into three main categories: Hunting, Golf, and Survey. Hunting rangefinders are obviously designed for the hunter, but there is a great amount of diversity in the selection of these rangefinders as there are several sub categories within the Hunting rangefinder segment.
These rangefinders are generally designed for ranging animals at close distances as shots over 100 yards are not needed by bow hunters. Often times these units will have a lower magnification to help the user range the animal faster at close range. Many archery hunters prefer to have some sort of angle compensation feature on their rangefinders, especially those that hunt from tree stands as these models will also factor in the angle of the shot, which can affect where the archer aims. Optics maker Leupold has recently introduced a unique archery rangefinder that mounts directly to your bow and can be utilized at full draw; however; this device is not legal for hunting purpose in all states.
Dual Purpose Rangefinders:
These all around rangefinders see use during both archery and rifle season. The are generally capable of ranging targets at several hundred yards, and often have features that are favored by both rifle and bow hunters, such a target priority modes and a scan mode. Many of these units also have both a “bow” and “rifle” mode which allows the user to select which mode best fits their current hunting situation.
Rangefinders designed specifically for rifle hunting are often of higher magnification than other hunting rangefinders. While many of these rangefinders designed for rifle hunting do a scan mode, many lack an angle compensation feature that is found on a lot of other hunting rangefinders. Some of these models are also of a flatter design and are held horizontally like binoculars, instead of vertically like a monocular. This enables the hunter to hold the unit steady easier for long range targeting.
Hunting rangefinders have been incorporated into other hunting optics such as binoculars and riflescopes. Both of these type of devices are still generally quite expensive but prices have started to come down as technology has improved and competition has increased. Look for these devices to gain in popularity as the convenience of taking on less piece of gear into the field is appreciated by hunters, especially those that spend a lot of time hiking difficult terrain. Rangefinder binoculars currently range from $700 to $3000. Rangefinder riflescopes also start at around $700 and go up in price to several thousand dollars.
All hunting rangefinders are not intended for the same purpose. So before you buy a rangefinder for hunting do some research and make sure that you pick a hunting rangefinder that matches your hunting style for best results.
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