I'm to the point now in my bowhunting career where I probably range too much. I'm so reliant on knowing the exact shot distance in the field that I'm constantly popping ranges on nearby landmarks or if possible, on approaching game animals. I like knowing a buck is 19 yards and not 22, or an antelope is exactly 43.5 yards away. That knowledge is a gift, and it does wonders for shooting confidence. These days, even if you're only a back-40 whitetail hunter who never engages in long-range shots, you should be using a laser rangefinder.
Here are several options worthy of your consideration.
Bushnell Trophy XTreme Laser Rangefinder
This rangefinder came out a couple of years ago, but it's so perfect for bowhunters that it warrants inclusion today. For example, the Trophy XTreme offers one-yard accuracy from seven yards to 850. It also boasts Full Spectrum Targeting Technology, which allows it to acquire non-reflective, dark objects like those that carry 140 inches of bone on their head. To ensure that all uphill and downhill shots, as well as any opportunities from elevated treestands, are on the mark, the Trophy XTreme features ARC (Angle Range Compensation) technology.
Halo XR 800
Range reflective objects out to eight football fields away with the new XR 800 from Halo Optics. This bowhunter friendly rangefinder is designed with Angle Intelligence to provide true horizontal distance during all shot opportunities. It's also water resistant, backed by a one-year warranty, and built with 6x magnification. To ensure you'll get a proper reading on a buck as he feeds past your blind in the brush, the XR 800 features Scan Mode as well as Auto Acquisition, which provides nearly instantaneous readings.
Leica Rangemaster CRF 1600-R
I've spent a year target shooting and hunting with a Leica Rangemaster CRF 1600-R and it has absolutely won me over. This is due to several things, but a huge factor is how fast it offers readings — .3 seconds to be exact. It has a very easy-to-see LED readout that utilizes automatic brightness correction, offers true horizontal shot distance no matter the angle, and is designed with 7x magnification. This is an excellent choice for anyone who values serious quality in their hunting gear.
Leupold RX-FullDraw 3 Rangefinder
No rangefinder list would be complete without Leupold. This company creates some of the best optics on the planet, and their rangefinders are excellent as well. Case-in-point is the RX-FullDraw 3 Rangefinder, which was built specifically for bowhunters. It utilizes the DNA engine to provide range readings that are accurate to within one-half of a yard on game out to 175 yards. It also boasts 6x magnification, a high-contrast black LCD display, weighs only seven ounces, and is 100-percent waterproof.
Nikon LaserForce Rangefinder Binocular
Let's say you don't want to carry separate binoculars and rangefinder. Your choices are pretty limited then. Fortunately, the minds behind Nikon have come up with a solution — the LaserForce Rangefinder Binocular. These 10x42 binos sport ED glass and the kind of crisp, clear viewing you'd expect out of Nikons, but they also allow you to range reflective out to well beyond a mile away. They are designed with ID (Incline/Decline) Technology for angled shots and backed by a lifetime repair/replacement guarantee meaning there is no need to baby them.
SIG SAUER KILO2200MR
Until this past year, I'd never used anything from SIG SAUER. Now I know what I've been missing, and am pretty sure there will be a KILO2200MR or similar model in my rangefinder holster every year. The KILO2200MR is chock full of next-level technology like HyperScan, LightWave OSPTM, and RangeLockTM. Ranges are displayed to the nearest 1/10th of a yard through an advanced OLED display that automatically changes brightness to accommodate for changing ambient light conditions. If you're a tech geek, or simply want one of the best rangefinders on the market, you could do a lot worse than the KILO2200MR.
ALPS OutdoorZ Vital X
Rangefinders generally aren't cheap, which means you'll want to protect them from the elements as much as possible. You'll also want to keep them handy, which is where a rangefinder holder like the Vital X comes into play. This rangefinder holder weighs only three ounces, is made from 1680D Nylon ballistic fabric and operates off of a simple, quiet, one-snap attachment system. I attach mine to my Bino Harness X and have used the combo out west for elk, mule deer and antelope, as well as closer-to-home whitetail and turkey hunts, and I absolutely love it.
Mystery Ranch Quick Draw Rangefinder Holster
Another great option for keeping your rangefinder handy comes you way via Mystery Ranch. Their Quick Draw Rangefinder Holster weighs only 3.5 ounces and attaches easily and securely to your bino harness. It is made with 500D CORDURA fabric so you know that it will survive the harshest conditions while keeping your laser rangefinder dry and safe from unintentional abuse in the field.