How to Choose the Best Rangefinder for Hunting

Leave the measuring to your tech this season. Use these Pro Tips to choose the best hunting rangefinder for you.

August 21, 2019

Rangefinders can be a great accessory to have on your next hunt. The ability to take the guesswork out of your shot can help you be more ethical in your harvest. However, with so many models and numbers on the market, it can be difficult to hone in on the best rangefinder for hunting.

Vortex Optics’ Chief Media Ambassador Jimmy Hamilton has a few tips for choosing the best hunting rangefinder for you. Find out how to make sure your optics measure up to your needs with these hunting Pro Tips.


To begin your search for the right hunting rangefinder, it can help to understand how they work. Monocular rangefinders operate by sending a laser toward your desired target. Once the laser reaches its mark, it returns to your device. Distance is then calculated by measuring the time it took for the laser to hit the reflective target and bounce back. Make note of the term “reflective target,” as this can affect your ranging capabilities.

“The reason we point out the fact that it’s on reflective targets is that when we’re out there hunting, normally the animals we’re hunting aren’t reflective,” Hamilton says. “They’re usually fairly non-reflective, as they have a hide with fur or hair that doesn’t make the laser bounce back as well as it would on, say, a really reflective street sign or a metal side of a building.”


To make choosing the best rangefinder for hunting an easier task, think about how far you plan to shoot. Your surrounding environment can heavily impact your max distances, so this can be a great place to start.

“Guys like us in the Midwest here, or out on the east coast, may never really hunt beyond 400 yards,” Hamilton says. “And so, getting something like the Razor HD 4000 here […] may just be a little bit excessive. But if we were going to be going out and hunting out west quite frequently, where the distances are far greater and, oftentimes, we’re on plains or mountains with greater distances, maybe this is the right choice for you.”

Remember, the numbers associated with rangefinders represent their ranging abilities off reflective targets. Hamilton says a good estimate of how far your rangefinder can measure non-reflective targets like deer, elk or other animals is to divide the listed number by two.

BONUS PRO TIP: You can also take into consideration your rangefinder’s main season. If you plan to use your gear solely for archery season, look for archery rangefinders that cater to those specific needs. If you need to range targets on the shooting range, shooting rangefinders can help you measure pinpoints for repeated accuracy.

Rangefinders can help you stay on-target with precise measurements for an ethical harvest. Use these hunting Pro Tips to equip yourself with the right rangefinder for your outdoor needs.

Found your perfect accessory but aren’t quite sure how to use it? Set your sights on these optics Pro Tips on how to use a rangefinder.