Can I use a golf laser rangefinder for hunting? Can I use a hunting laser rangefinder for golf? I don't want to buy two laser rangefinders if one will do the job.
The answer is, yes, you can use a single laser rangefinder for both golf and hunting, if you are careful to choose a laser rangefinder that has the appropriate features and menu options for both golf and hunting. Not all laser rangefinders offer this versatility, however, so you need to read the specs, carefully. Then, too, laser rangefinders that work for both golf and hunting will typically cost more, but not as much as buying separate laser rangefinders for golf and hunting.
First, let's look at what makes a golf laser rangefinder perfect for hitting the links, then do the same for a hunting laser rangefinder. This will explain why you need to be careful when choosing a laser rangefinder that can be used for both golf and hunting.
A lower priced golf laser rangefinder has what we call nearest target priority software - software that automatically seeks the nearest target, namely the flag, and at the same time ignores distant objects beyond the flag. This makes sense, because the flag is always the nearest target, unless you happen to find yourself back in the woods after a bad shot.
A lower priced hunting laser rangefinder is equipped with distant target priority - software that seeks distant objects and ignores objects that are close. This is variously called zip mode, brush mode and so on among the manufacturers. This is very appropriate for hunting because you are nearly always in a situation where you want a laser rangefinder to ignore close objects and seek game beyond the brush.
If you choose a golf laser rangefinder for hunting that only offers nearest target priority, you are going to be frustrated when using it for hunting because the rangefinder will be seeking out the nearest objects in front of the game, rather than the game animals themselves. That's not what you want when you need to get a reading in a hurry before your trophy buck disappears. In the same vein, if you try to use a hunting laser rangefinder for golf that only offers a distant target priority mode, you are going to have a devil of a time targeting the flag, because the rangefinder will keep wanting to target objects behind the flag, rather than the flag, itself.
The key to finding a rangefinder for both golfing and hunting is selecting a model that can switch back and forth between nearest target priority and distant target priority via a menu option. Fortunately, nearly all mid-priced laser rangefinders offer this option, but be sure to read the specs for all features before making your purchase to ensure you have what you need. There are other feature differences between golf laser rangefinders and hunting laser rangefinders, but these you can work around when switching between golf and hunting. A menu option that allows you to switch between nearest target mode or distant target mode is a deal breaker.
Other features to consider if you plan to use your dual purpose laser rangefinder mostly for hunting is waterproofing or at least weather resistant. A laser rangefinder that is camouflage-colored is also preferred by many hunters. If you plan to use your versatile rangefinder mostly for golf, it makes sense to choose a smaller, lighter model or one with software designed specifically for golf, such as those that aid your club selection.
Finally, here are a few golfing and hunting rangefinders you may want to consider. For a golf laser rangefinder that can also be used be used for hunting? Try the Bushnell Elite 1500 Golf Laser Rangefinder 205100. It offers a selectable nearest target mode (Bullseye mode) and a distant target mode (Brush mode) and it's waterproof. If you're going to be hunting more often than golfing, try the Nikon 1200 Team RealTree. It offers Nikon's Tru-Target ranging system which provides flexible viewing with your choice of first target priority mode or distant target priority mode - just what you want in a laser rangefinder that can be used for both golf and hunting. The camo color may not be the latest in golf style, but the Nikon 1200 will still give you great performance the next time you're hitting the links.
While there are differences between hunting and golfing rangefinders, we have a great selection of multi-purpose rangefinders that will give you great performance for both applications. For more information of laser rangefinders in general, check out our How to Buy a Laser Rangefinder page, and for more on Golf-specific features check out our How to Buy a Golf Rangefinder article. OpticsPlanet brings you more than just great products and prices; we also give you the information you need to make a smart purchase.