How To Use a Rangefinder For Hunting

The emergence of laser rangefinders should have made hunting much easier. In perfect conditions, a laser rangefinder will help you figure out the distance between you and your target, so you can take the perfect shot.

Unfortunately, opportunities for hunting in ideal conditions are few and far between. That means you need to know how to use a rangefinder for hunting in less than ideal conditions as well.

These tips will help you figure out how to use your rangefinder for hunting effectively.

​4 Steps To Use a Rangefinder For Hunting

rangefinder for hunting

​Step 1 – Master Your Rangefinder

Before you learn how to use your rangefinder for hunting you need to know exactly what the device does. Laser rangefinders come in various shapes and sizes, with some having different features and settings to others.

Your rangefinder likely has different settings for bow and rifle hunting, in addition to settings for hunting in fog and other low-light conditions. Focus your attention on the “Scan” mode as well. You can use this to help you to determine the range when hunting in areas with heavy vegetation. Take your rangefinder wherever you go and practice using it before taking it out for the real thing.

​Step 2 – Understand the Limitations

Your laser rangefinder uses “time-of-flight” technology to provide a reading on the distance of your target. While accurate when used correctly, this technology does have some shortcomings.

The main one is that anything that interrupts the laser’s path will produce an erroneous reading. Even a leaf can be enough to produce inaccuracies. That means you may not be able to get a perfect reading from your location to the animal, especially if any foliage blocks your view. Account for this, otherwise you’ll find yourself taking a lot of bad shots.

​Step 3 – Compensate for the Angles

A lot of variables affect the shot you take, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that distance is all you need to know. Part of knowing how to use your rangefinder for hunting is working out how your shooting angle affects the reading.

You should be able to follow the laser’s path if you have a perfectly straight shot lined up. But doing so when shooting from an elevated position will often result in a high hit. Some rangefinders have tilt settings that compensate for this, but you’ll need to do it yourself if your rangefinder doesn’t have that feature.

​Step 4 – Confirm with Your Eyes

Over reliance on your rangefinder will weaken your personal hunting skills. Don’t go into the shot trusting the rangefinder reading alone, because several factors can negatively affect said reading.

Instead, try to confirm as much information as possible with your own eyes. Scan the scene after taking your reading to see if there are any discrepancies that the rangefinder may not account for. Doing this has the added advantage of making you a better hunter, so don’t be afraid of honing your own skills.

Conclusion

With these four tips, you should now understand how to use your rangefinder for hunting effectively. The old saying “practice makes perfect” applies here, but remember that there are also plenty of external factors that may affect your rangefinders reading.

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