Archery & Bow Hunting Range Finders

These laser rangefinders are geared either primarily or solely for archers and bow hunters.  It’s a relatively small category, with only a handful of models. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that the much larger category of rifle and general purpose hunting range finders will do very well for bow hunting needs.

Many rifle models include an angle compensation mode (described further down below).  In fact, one of the most popular bow hunting range finders, the Nikon Archers Choice, is nearly identical to its rifle hunting brother, the Nikon RifleHunter 550.  They’re so closely related, Nikon uses the same instructional manual for both models!

Here is a comparison table of dedicated bow hunting range finders we have reviewed:

NameMagnificationMax RangeWeightAngle ModeApprox PriceOverall RatingInfo
Nikon Archers Choice Laser Rangefinder: Quality but Necessary?6x100 yds6.3 oz$250

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Bushnell BowHunter “Chuck Adams” Edition Laser Rangefinder4x800 yds (sorta)5.3 oz$220

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Do you need a dedicated bow hunting range finder?

The answer to the question of ‘do you need a range finder for bow hunting’ is an absolute YES. Next to your bow, it may be the most vital piece of equipment you carry.  Especially in bow hunting, range estimation is critical. A few yards error in judgment could mean the difference between a hit or a miss.  Or worse, an injured animal that runs off to die, hours later and in great pain.

But does that mean your range finder needs to be a ‘dedicated’ or archery-only range finder? Well, that’s when it gets murkier. The biggest selling point that dedicated models offer is the ability to compensate for steep inclines or declines. They automatically monitor the shooting angle and compensate for the difference in bullet/arrow drop between a flat shot and one from a steep angle, like in a tree stand.

Is it absolutely necessary? With practice and a little thought, it’s nothing you can’t do by yourself. But why add another thing to worry about and think through at that moment? You’ve got enough on your mind at that point, why not use the tools at our disposal to take one variable out play.

So do you need a quality hunting range finder?  YES

Do you need a dedicated archery/bowhunting range finder? Well, that depends…

Consider a dedicated archery/bow hunting rangefinder if:

  • You only bow hunt or use slugs and don’t need rangefinding capability beyond 100 yards
  • You don’t see the need in the future for longer range (for your own use or maybe resale)
  • You don’t want to spend a few extra $ (though sometimes none at all) for a rifle range finder

There certainly is a valid market for dedicated bow hunting range finders, and there are very good units out there, such as the Nikon Archers Choice.  Most users, however, would be as well served or better off with a high quality rifle range finder that can do all the dedicated archery ones can but also offer much greater range.  Look at the range of general purpose hunting range finder reviews here, especially for those models that include an angle compensation feature, labeled in the table as Angle Mode.

For a longer discussion of whether you need an archery range finder, check out this article.


Bow Hunting Range Findersunrated2011-04-22 11:05:20Archery & Bow Hunting Range Finders
These laser rangefinders are geared either primarily or solely for archers and bow hunters.  It’s a relative…
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