Golf vs Hunting: Can You Use a Golf Rangefinder for Hunting?

Golf and hunting are two vastly different sports. And yet there is one element where the two share similarities: locating their targets.

In both games, the player and the hunter are not only at a distance from their targets but also need to learn about their exact location. And it is where the two sports use similar equipment – a rangefinder.

What are Rangefinders?

A rangefinder – often called a range-finding telemeter – is a device that measures how far away an object is. The term “telemeter” is a Greek word that means “far away.”

Rangefinders were popular in the surveying industry. And over the years, industries like the military and photography started using it for various activities. And finally, it found itself in the worlds of golfing and hunting.

The fact that the two sports use a rangefinder for different activities makes people question if they can use a single device for both games. The answer depends on various factors, and before concluding, it’s better to analyze the characteristics of the two types of devices.

Golf Rangefinders vs Hunting Rangefinders

Many people assume that golf and hunting rangefinders are not two separate items and that they can be them interchangeably. But that isn’t the case.

Both products have different uses and have been manufactured for different purposes, and their only similarity is that they use laser technology to detect their targets.

Characteristics and Usage of Golf Rangefinders

Golf rangefinders look the same as hunting rangefinders, but they have some features significantly different from those used in hunting activities.

The first distant feature that most people may notice is the device’s flag-lock feature that allows it to lock the flag for accurate distances.

The other feature relates to the built and battery life of the device. Since golfers play almost daily to practice and improve their game, golf rangefinders come in designs that let players play for long periods.

Manufacturers use high-quality components to produce a durable, sturdy device with a long-lasting battery. And since these components are pricey, golf rangefinders are expensive.

Golf rangefinders use “first target mode” when locating objects, which means that they ignore background targets and focus on small objects closer to the player/person using the device.

In most golf rangefinders, the slope detection feature is unavailable, and it is because using the feature isn’t allowed in golf tournaments.

Also, this device doesn’t account for bad weather conditions. These rangefinders are unsuitable for such situations and don’t have a weatherproofing feature.

Hunting Rangefinders: Characteristics and Use

Hunters use rangefinders to locate their targets – most of them are far away from the hunters. This device uses “distant target mode,” which further uses far-sighted technology to locate the targets at distances.

One feature that sets this rangefinder apart from golf rangefinders is that hunting devices must locate moving objects (animals). These devices ignore the objects close to the hunters and focus on the farthest target. Another unique feature of hunting rangefinders is their color.

They are mostly available in camouflage prints. This is because hunters must be discreet and blend in with the surroundings when locating animals. They may get in trouble if they somehow become visible to their targets.

Hunting rangefinders’ magnification feature is also different from golf’s. The latter provides magnification of up to 6x. The maximum distance that most golf rangefinders provide is 300-400 yards.

People may use a device that can detect targets at long distances for hunting, and they need to cover 1,000-1,500 yards, which is why hunting rangefinders provide magnification up to 10x. This equipment also focuses on durability.

These devices are made to last longer and withstand extreme weather conditions. Hunters are out in rough terrains, trying to spot a target, and they can’t predict how the weather will be or other related details. Hunting rangefinders have weatherproofing features.

Can You Use a Golf Rangefinder for Hunting?

All we have discussed brings us to one important question: can a golf rangefinder help hunters? Should a person who is into both hunting and golf use their golf rangefinder during their hunting stints?

Can You Use a Golf Rangefinder for Hunting

The general rule is that hunters should avoid using a golf rangefinder. Why so? The following factors identify the stark differences between the two devices:

Color of the Device

Golf rangefinders are not available in camouflage colors and mostly come in shiny white. The problem with this color is that it allows light to reflect – it doesn’t absorb the light.

And as the light reflects, it alerts the prey of trouble. Sensing the danger, the animals will run away, and hunters will miss the target. Hunting rangefinders should ideally be designed to help hunters blend in.


Golf courses are huge but different from the jungle and forests where hunters find their targets. Hunting devices must have at least a 7x magnification feature, and some hunters think that magnification up to 10x is ideal for hunting.

Golf rangefinders can maximize up to 6x, which is significantly less than ideal.

Slope Feature

In most golf rangefinders, the slop feature is either disabled or not unavailable. Golfing tournaments don’t allow golfers to use the feature while playing.

But hunters cannot ignore these features when hunting, and people who use a golf rangefinder for hunting will be disadvantaged.

Some devices allow players to turn on the feature when required, but this ease comes with a price. And rangefinders that come with the feature are expensive.

Weatherproofing Feature

Golfers don’t have to be careful about the weather. The game will be suspended/paused if it starts to rain. They don’t have to keep playing the game during severe weather conditions.

But hunting is different. Hunters are out under the sky – come what may! On that basis, devices that have weatherproofing technology go a long way in helping hunters meet their goals.

Golf Rangefinder on a Hunting Trip: Is it a Mismatch?

Some people may take a golf rangefinder with them on their hunting trip. There are certainly no restrictions on using this device for hunting.

The similarities between the two can allow players to swap their uses. Some features may help hunters locate the target while using a golf rangefinder.

Laser Technology

Both devices use laser tech to spot the target, and golf rangefinders will use the same method to locate a nearby target. It shows that the device can be taken for hunting as it will help locate the target, albeit to some extent.

Long Battery Life

One advantage of using golf rangefinders is that they have a long-lasting battery, which means hunters can carry on with their sport for long periods. These devices are built for long games of golf and are great for long-term use.

Things to Consider When Buying Hunting Rangefinders

Hunters will find it better to get a hunting-specific rangefinder if they want their hunting trips to be successful. Some tips can help people buy an appropriate device for themselves.


You buy a product based on the features it offers; the same principle applies when you’re shopping for a rangefinder. A good hunting rangefinder will have a magnification of up to 10X, a fast-scan mode that can help it detect moving animals and an angle-compensation mode. All these features will play a great deal in precisely locating the target.


Hunting rangefinders must withstand all kinds of tough conditions. The device you choose should have a sturdy build so that it can work well even during extreme weather events. In hunting, people have to locate a moving object, so hunters have to ensure that the device is capable enough of locating such targets.

Target Mode

Hunters must pay attention to the background settings when locating their targets. A hunting rangefinder’s distant target mode ignores the objects that are nearby and focuses on the one at a distance.

If you’re still not sure how it works, you may ask for assistance when buying the device and let a customer representative explain to you how the rangefinder accurately locates far-away objects.

Weight and Design

On hunting trips, you’re always on the go. If your target keeps moving, you have to change your position too to come closer to the animal. Since a lot of moving is expected in hunting, these rangefinders should be lightweight.

It’s not possible for hunters to carry heavy equipment when they’re running and chasing their targets. Similarly, these devices should be compact so that they can easily fit in the hunters’ kit without much issue.

People should consider all these factors when buying a hunting rangefinder for themselves and improving their hunting targets.


Golf rangefinders are great equipment with unique features. However, they are not hunting-specific and fail to provide features that are required for hunting. Those who are into hunting and golf should get separate rangefinders and prepare their kits accordingly.

Golf rangefinders may work well during a one-off event, but they are only reliable for short-term hunting. There are so many options for both beginner and experienced hunters when it comes to choosing a rangefinder.

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