How To Use A Rangefinder For Hunting?

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By William

Are you looking to take your hunting game to the next level? Then it might be time to invest in a rangefinder. Rangefinders allow hunters to measure distances accurately, allowing them to make informed decisions when choosing where and how far away they should shoot. They provide shooters with precision data on potential targets and help you identify terrain features that are otherwise difficult or impossible to assess. In this blog post, we’ll go over what rangefinders are, How To Use A Rangefinder For Hunting, why they’re so helpful for hunting, and some tips on using one in the field. If you’re looking for an edge during your next hunt, read through the information below!

How Does A Rangefinder Work?

A rangefinder is a device that is used to measure the distance between the user and a target. Rangefinders use a variety of methods to calculate distance, including lasers, sonar, and radar.

Laser rangefinders are the most commonly used type of rangefinder. They work by emitting a laser beam that bounces off the target and returns to the rangefinder. The rangefinder then calculates the time it took for the laser to travel to the target and back, and uses this information to determine the distance to the target.

Follow These Tips for How To Use A Rangefinder For Hunting

Practice Estimating Distances

Before using a rangefinder, it’s essential to practice estimating distances. This skill will help you get a feel for the distance to your target and can make using a rangefinder more effective.

First, Check Your Rifle Scope Before The Hunt

Before heading out for a hunting trip, it’s essential to check your rifle scope. A rifle scope that is not properly calibrated or adjusted can significantly affect your accuracy and precision, decreasing your chances of a successful hunt.

Inspect the Scope

The first step in checking your rifle scope is to inspect it for any damage or wear and tear. Look for any scratches, dents, or cracks on the scope body, lens, or reticle. Make sure the lens is clean and free from any debris or dirt that can affect your vision.

Check the Mounting

The next step is to check the mounting of the scope. Make sure the scope is mounted securely and aligned with the rifle barrel. Check the mounting screws and make sure they are tightened to the recommended torque. Loose mounting screws can cause the scope to shift or move during firing, affecting your accuracy.

Adjust the Reticle

Once the scope is inspected and mounted, it’s time to adjust the reticle. The reticle should be centered and aligned with the rifle barrel. Adjust the elevation and windage turrets to move the reticle to the center of the crosshairs.

To adjust the reticle, fire a few shots at a target and make adjustments accordingly. It’s essential to make small adjustments and test the rifle again until the reticle is properly aligned.

Zero-In the Scope

After adjusting the reticle, it’s time to zero-in the scope. Zeroing-in the scope means setting the scope to the correct distance to ensure the bullets hit the target accurately.

To zero-in the scope, select a target at a known distance and fire a few shots. Adjust the scope as necessary until the bullets hit the target accurately. Repeat this process at different distances to ensure the scope is properly calibrated.

Avoid Ranging Your Target At The Last Minute

One of the biggest mistakes hunters make when using a rangefinder is trying to determine the distance to a target at the last minute. Ranging your target as it enters your line of sight may cause unwanted movement which can spook the animal, leading to an unsuccessful hunt. It is best to scan the area around you and get a rough idea of the distance to various areas before you ever spot an animal. 

Do This When You Range Your Target At The Last Minute

If you must determine the distance to your target at the last minute, there are a few things you can do to minimize movement and ensure accuracy. First, switch to a low magnification setting on your rangefinder. This will give you more time to get an accurate measurement without having to worry about the tremor from the scope.

 Second, use your breathing to take your shots. Take a deep breath and hold it while you range the animal or object, then slowly exhale before taking your shot. This technique helps to minimize any unwanted movement and will give you a more accurate measurement.

Pay Attention to the Angle

When using a rangefinder for hunting, it’s essential to pay attention to the angle of your shot. Shooting from an elevated position or down a hill can affect your accuracy, and you may need to adjust your aim.

Some rangefinders come with angle compensation, which calculates the angle of your shot and adjusts the distance accordingly. If your rangefinder doesn’t have this feature, you may need to make manual adjustments to your aim.


How To Use A Rangefinder For Hunting

Use a Steady Rest

Using a rangefinder requires a steady hand to get an accurate reading. Use a steady rest, such as a tripod or shooting stick, to stabilize the rangefinder and get a more accurate reading.

A steady rest also helps you stay on target and can help you take a more accurate shot. Practice using a steady rest before your hunting trip to get comfortable with it.

Ranging Without A Rangefinder

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If My Rangefinder Is Accurate?

To determine if your rangefinder is accurate, test it against a known distance, in different lighting conditions, on different targets and at different ranges, and check for any damage or defects.

By testing your rangefinder in these ways, you can gain confidence in its accuracy and reliability. It is important to note that rangefinders can sometimes provide slightly different readings due to factors such as target reflectivity, angle, and atmospheric conditions. 

How Do I Calibrate My Rangefinder?

Calibrating a rangefinder typically involves adjusting the device’s settings to ensure that it providing accurate readings. The specific calibration process can vary depending on the make and model of your rangefinder, so it is important to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, some general tips for calibrating a rangefinder include testing it against a known distance, adjusting the eyepiece to ensure a clear and focused image, and using a stable and level base when taking measurements. Some rangefinders may also have calibration features that allow you to make adjustments based on factors such as target reflectivity or atmospheric conditions.

How Do I Use My Rangefinder To Determine The Size Of An Animal?

While a rangefinder can help you determine the distance to an animal, it may not provide information about the size of the animal. To estimate the size of an animal using a rangefinder, you can follow these steps:

  1. Determine the distance to the animal using the rangefinder.
  2. Observe the animal through the rangefinder and note its body size in relation to other known objects in the area, such as trees, rocks, or buildings.
  3. Use your knowledge of the average size of the species to estimate the animal’s size based on its apparent size through the rangefinder.
  4. Alternatively, if you have a rangefinder with a built-in reticle or scale, you may be able to use it to estimate the size of the animal based on the size of the reticle or scale in relation to the animal.


It is important to note that estimating the size of an animal using a rangefinder is not an exact science, and there may be some degree of error or uncertainty involved. However, by using your best judgment and taking multiple observations from different angles and distances, you can improve your accuracy in estimating an animal’s size.


How Do I Use My Rangefinder To Determine The Distance To An Animal?

To use a rangefinder to determine the distance to an animal, follow these steps:

  1. Find a clear line of sight to the animal.
  2. Hold the rangefinder steady and point it at the animal.
  3. Press the button or trigger on the rangefinder to activate the distance measurement.
  4. Observe the distance reading displayed on the rangefinder’s screen or through the viewfinder.
  5. Take note of any factors that may affect the accuracy of the measurement, such as target reflectivity, angle, or atmospheric conditions.
  6. Adjust your aim and take additional measurements from different angles and distances to confirm the accuracy of the reading.

Can I Use My Laser Hunting Rangefinder for Golfing Purposes?

While a laser hunting rangefinder can technically be used for golfing purposes, it may not be the best choice due to differences in features and requirements for the two activities. Hunting rangefinders are typically designed to measure longer distances, often up to several hundred yards, while golf rangefinders usually have shorter ranges, typically up to 1000 yards.

Hunting rangefinders may also have features such as angle compensation or ballistics calculations that are not useful for golfing. Additionally, some golf courses may have rules or regulations that prohibit the use of hunting rangefinders on their courses. It is generally recommended to use a rangefinder specifically designed for golfing purposes for the most accurate results.

Are There Any Safety Considerations When Using a Hunting Rangefinder?

Yes, there are safety considerations to keep in mind when using a hunting rangefinder. Here are a few important safety tips:

  1. Always assume that your rangefinder is a firearm: While a rangefinder is not a firearm, it is important to handle it as though it were one to prevent any accidents. Always keep the rangefinder pointed in a safe direction and keep your finger off the trigger.
  2. Do not aim at people: Never point your rangefinder at another person, even if you think it is not loaded. Accidentally aiming at another person can cause serious injury or death.
  3. Use caution in low-light conditions: Rangefinders may be less accurate in low-light conditions, so take extra care when using your rangefinder during early morning or late evening hunts.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings: Before using your rangefinder, take a moment to assess your surroundings and identify any potential hazards, such as nearby buildings or other hunters.
  5. Follow all hunting regulations: Be sure to follow all applicable hunting regulations and guidelines, including those regarding the use of rangefinders.

By following these safety tips and using your rangefinder responsibly, you can help ensure a safe and successful hunting experience.

Final Thoughts

A rangefinder can be a valuable tool for hunters looking to improve their accuracy and success in the field. By following the steps outlined in this article, hunters can learn how to use a rangefinder effectively to Hunting, measure distance, estimate animal size, and make informed decisions about shot placement.

However, it is important to keep safety considerations in mind when using a rangefinder, including treating it as though it were a firearm, avoiding aiming at people, and being aware of your surroundings. With practice and proper use, a rangefinder can be a valuable asset for hunters of all skill levels.