One of the most valuable tools a hunter can invest in is a quality rangefinder. Rangefinding technology has both grown and shrunk at the same time. By grow, we mean there are more options than ever! They are more accurate, easier to use, and more rugged than ever before.
By shrink, we mean they have gotten smaller, much smaller. Like all technology, they have followed the trend. The systems are now small enough to wear around your neck!
What is a Rangefinder?
If you find the above confusing, you simply may not know what a rangefinder is.
In fact, there is some confusion due to the many different methods. For example, several types of tactical scopes have a rangefinder built in. These use the relative size of an object and allow the shooter to estimate an approximate range.
These are not the rangefinders we are talking about. Today we are talking about the actual devices that find ranges. Specifically, we are referring to laser rangefinders.
In short, here’s how they work. For more in-depth explanation see the article here.
First, these devices fire an invisible laser beam at the target. Then, the internal clock measures the time it takes for that beam to hit the target and bounce back.
This allows the rangefinder to estimate the range to +/- 1 yard. Different devices have different effective ranges. The surface of the target can also extend the effective range of a rangefinder. Objects that are more reflective can be ranged at extended distances.
Laser rangefinders can be used for a variety of different tasks. One activity they excel at is hunting.
In fact, we have 7 reasons why you should bring a rangefinder on your next hunt!
7 Reasons to Hunt with a Laser Rangefinder
- To Learn Your Load
The first thing any hunter with a rangefinder should do is hit the practice area. Set up targets at different distances and start shooting! In the process, utilize your device to get an accurate range to your target. You can then observe ballistic rise or drop at the different distances.
This allows you to make notes on your rifle and load’s drop data. This is called your ‘dope.’ It can be recorded and studied so you know where your round will be at a specific distance. Now you know what your rifle and load can do.
- To Make a Humane Kill
The goal of any hunter should be to take their game as humanely as possible. Therefore, most shooters hunt well within their effective range. When you strike an animal, you want that bullet or bow to be precise. You also want it to hit an area that will kill the animal fast and humanely.
Humane hunters need to know their load, specifically how fast it drops and at what distances it begins to drop. With a rangefinder, you know exactly how far an animal is away from you. An accurate distance ensures you know where your bullet will be in its drop path when it hits the animal.
This gives you the ability to precisely place that bullet into those small, but effective areas of the animal’s body.
- To Set Up the Perfect Shooting Valleys
When you are prepping an area for still hunting, there are several steps you should take. Some involve bait, while others involve finding a good spot for a blind or tree stand. With a rangefinder, you can set up accurate shooting valleys.
Still hunting is a lot like ambushing your prey. To effectively still hunt you should have a good viewing area as well as plenty of shooting valleys. That’s where your rangefinder comes in. When you set up your deer blind or tree stand, use it to mark geographical features at a known distance.
For example. You can find the range of a specific oak tree, boulder, or other geographical feature, and then memorize that difference. This way you know the approximate distance when you see prey pass that certain geographical feature.
- As a Multi-Purpose Tool
Modern laser rangefinders are multi-purpose tools that can be used for a variety of purposes. Most on the market these days feature a magnifying lens. That means your rangefinder can replace the spotting scopes and binoculars in your kit. Furthermore, they provide you with the ability to scan and observe while finding the accurate distance to your target.
As technology improves, rangefinders get cheaper and cheaper. Companies like SIG have designed high quality, durable devices that are priced below 200 dollars. In fact, a good monocular would cost you a hundred bucks easy. For just a hair more you could have a rangefinder that doubles as a monocular.
- Weight and Portability
The modern rangefinder is a small, effective device that won’t weigh you down. They are compact enough for a cargo pocket, and light enough for neckwear. The portable nature of today’s rangefinders makes them an easy to carry tool. So, there’s no excuse for leaving yours at home!
- Bragging Rights
Maybe this is the least important reason to take a rangefinder hunting, but it’s still a reason. Everyone exaggerates a little when it comes to hunting and fishing. It’s expected. So when you actually do something amazing, like take an accurate long-range shot, no one really believes you.
With the right device, you know the exact number of yards between you and your target. Numbers don’t lie, and neither do rangefinders.
Rangefinders and You
If you are a serious hunter, your rangefinder should be in your kit of must-haves. They are effective devices that give you a serious edge in the hunting world.
The modern laser rangefinder is an extremely effective and accurate device. In fact, is more than just a tool to find distance. It is also a magnifying tool that allows you to clearly see and observe your target and surroundings. With so many rangefinders on the market, the hardest part is choosing just one!