Hunting has its moments of thrill, excitement, and challenges. But no hunter wants to experience the feeling of ‘being lost.’ But in the wilderness, with practically nothing to fall back on and the same type of vegetation everywhere, getting lost is actually easier than you imagine. You miss a turn, and you can be lost for good. What do you do then? Gone are the olden days when hunters traveled in groups and followed trails. And, while carrying a hiking compass makes sense, it’s very limited compared to the wealth of information a GPS can deliver.
GPS comes really handy in helping hunters with their direction, calibrating the sun rise and sun set timings and adhering to hunting regulations. For example, with a GPS you will never get delayed and overshoot the time in the forest just because you are lost. With the GPS, the chances of such instances are scarce.
But deciding on a hunting GPS can be really complicated. Moreover, all GPS are not meant for hunters are either. There is some feature or other that may be missing, but the hunter may not be aware of it. This is primarily the biggest problem. If you have never used a GPS before, there are chances that you may not be sure about what to look for in the GPS. You may pay a lot of money but not get what you are actually looking for in the specific GPS that you decide upon.
This is exactly we decided to make the task a lot easier for you by helping you narrow down your choices. We have shortlisted some of the best hunting GPS that can truly address your necessity, suit your budget and help you optimize the benefit of technology to the hilt.
5 Top GPS Units for Hunters
1. TOPO U.S. Maps – Rugged, Color, Multi-Satellite plus a Barometric Altimeter
This sleek rugged GPS unit is considered one of the best hunting GPS for more than one reason. The Garmin GPSMAP 66st comes equipped with a 3″ color screen (diagonal) and is packed with features that make this our top pick for hunting GPS unites.
The 66st features a beautiful LCD screen which enables you to read even in bright sunlight. The very effective GPS and GLONASS receiver and the quad helix antenna ensure superb reception and signaling facilities. This GPS also includes a 3-axis electronic compass and wireless connectivity. It also has 8 GB internal memory space, and you can also insert a microSD card. It has a separate slot for the same.
Moreover, there are 100,000 pre-loaded TOPO U.S. maps along with this GPS. This means that accessibility and imaging is not a problem in most wild terrains that you visit. The 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription adds to this feature by enhancing the quality of the images and the information that you get using this service.
What makes the deal even sweeter is the Barometric Altimeter. This helps you predict potential weather changes with far more precision even where radio frequencies may not work without interruption. If you are in areas that are susceptible to sudden weather changes, this is an extremely important feature and helps you to stay updated with the possible changes in the weather that is expected.
2. Garmin inReach Explorer – GPS with 2-way Communication
The inReach Explorer is another sleek GPS unit that features prominently in the list of the best hunting GPS that you can buy. It operates using the Iridium Satellite Network and offers high-quality two-way satellite network.
There is one stand-out feature that sets Garmin’s inReach Explorer out from the rest: two-way communication. Using its satellite connection, you can both send and receive text messages. It can also report your position on a trackable map for those back home and pull down weather information, too.
The Iridium Satellite network also brings in the relative reliability of the service. Wherever you may be in the world, this satellite network will help you maintain your bearings with precision at all times. This is one of the world’s most powerful satellite constellations. It does not have any gaps or fringes in its overall network coverage.
It also comes equipped with an SOS communication system. It helps the user interact with the search and monitoring team in times of need and stay in touch if a rescue process is underway. It also enables you to write 160-character messages and easily navigate between messaging, tracking and the like.
The Earthmate app helps you to convert any of your smart mobile devices into a navigation tool with interactive facilities. This works on both iOS and Android devices. The adjustable tracking facilities enable you to track your trips and record coordinates elevation and speed. So while you are out in the wild, your family will be fully aware of your location at all times without any fail.
3. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hunting GPS – Sunrise/Sunset Timings
This is yet another sleek and effective offering from the Garmin stable. The Foretrex 401 is a rather slim GPS that has to be mounted on the wrist. It is one of the best hunting GPS as you are free to use both your hands after wearing this on your wrist. This small device is actually a brilliant combination of a very sensitive and waterproof GPS receiver, electronic compass and also a barometric altimeter.
You can easily connect the Foretrex to your computer or through a USB and additionally, you can also choose to connect it wirelessly to a device. This ensures a better degree of connectivity and greater prospects of communication.
There are several advantages to using this GPS. Using this, you can seamlessly retrace your steps and the entire journey. So as long as you are carrying this, you can relax about getting lost. The electronic compass and barometric altimeter work together to give you exact bearings at all times.
The battery life is another big plus. It has a 17-hour battery life with replaceable AAA batteries. So replacing these is never a problem anytime during your trip. Moreover, the Foretrex records all your trips. Therefore all your data and trips are stored.
The other key advantage is, of course, the sunrise/sunset times, and all other hunting-related information is fed into the device. That means it becomes a one-stop shop for all types of communication requirements.
4. Garmin eTrex 30x Handheld Navigator – Built-in Sensors
This Garmin handheld device is the upgraded version of the original eTrex30. The eTrex 30x has an improved screen resolution, and that makes the display way more readable than earlier. The eTrex range is legendary for its affordable pricing and durability, and this one does not disappoint in anyway. This is an extremely useful and versatile navigation device and can be used in ATVs, cars, boats, bicycles and even hot air balloons.
Additionally, it also has an expandable internal memory. The 3-axis compass along with the barometric altimeter provides an improved navigation quality and ensures that the user’s convenience is not compromised at all. The geocaching GPX files help you to easily download geocaches. This also helps you get all kinds of relevant information about the location and terrain on the click of a button.
The WAAS-enables GPS is known for its high-sensitivity receiver and makes it one of the best hunting GPS. This coupled with the HotFix satellite prediction gives locational details even in remote regions. The receiver of this GOS unit easily tracks both the GPS and GLONASS satellites. This speeds up your overall navigation process to a large extent.
5. Garmin Montana 680t Hunting GPS – 1-Year Subscription of Birdseye Satellite Imagery Subscription
This is another topnotch handled GPS device that easily makes it to the list of the best hunting GPS for a range of features that it offers. It is a rugged GPS/GLONASS unite with 8 mp camera and pre-loaded topo maps. So that means you get quality and speed simultaneously in one go. The overall package is quite compelling and provides you with a range of navigation options in one go.
The 3-axis electronic compass with barometric altimeter guarantees lightning speed navigation along with a far higher degree of accuracy. The barometric altimeter also allows users to stay on top of the climatic changes ad potential forecast of rain and bad weather even in regions not covered by the radio network.
Another major advantage is that you do not have to manually feed in your coordinates every time. The geocaching GPS files make printouts redundant with all location related information and terrain details right at your fingertip on the click of a mouse. This undeniably enhances the quality of service and support extended to users over any time period.
The highly sensitive receiver easily tracks down your position with greater accuracy and maintains it too. So however remote you may have ventured into the wilderness, there is this network tracking you all the time.
Tips for Buying The Best Hunting GPS
So when you go out to look for the best hunting GPS, it is very important that it has some key features. They are not just important to get your bearings, but often they are crucial for a successful and hassle-free hunting experience. As a result, it is extremely important that you watch out for devices that offer you a range of options and manage to highlight relevant information in every possible way when needed.
Time When Sun Set & Sun Rise: There are several regulations that you may have to adhere to while hunting. Especially the time when it starts and ends have to be adhered to rather strictly. Most times this is synchronized with the sunrise and sunset timings. But as the earth is revolving around the time, there is no constant sunrise and sunset time. It changes every day. So it makes sense to go for a GPS that already has a calendar of the time when the sun sets and sunrises. In this way, it helps you to undertake hunting activities legally without any hassle whatsoever.
Altimeter: This is essentially important to get you an insight into the barometric pressure. When you are out in the open on a hunting spree, this is very useful information. The changes in the barometric pressure help you to analyze the weather condition closely. So if the pressure goes down, it means that the cloudy weather or the rains may worsen. On the contrary, if the pressure increases that most times indicate a continuation of fair weather. This is particularly important for hunting trips. It makes sure that you are stuck with bad weather and unplanned hindrances.
Weather Forecast Radio: The weather band radio is another key feature that you must insist on while looking for a hunting compass. This will help you with a minute to minute forecast of the weather conditions. This is a very important pre-condition for long hunting expeditions when you are out in the open for an extended period. Normally this feature is also associated with a two-way radio that enables effective and necessary communication if required. In this way, you can stay updated on the weather front and also communicate with fellow hunters and your family if required.
Need for An Electronic Compass: Any normal GPS unit will give you the direction when you are moving. But the problem is how to get the direction when you are not moving at all. An electronic compass helps you fix this problem. This will give you direction even when you are standing still. That means wherever you may be, however, you may be, you are sure to get your bearings with an electronic compass. That makes this a very important addition to the GPS unit that you eventually select.
Therefore looking for the best hunting GPS is not a joke at all. Essentially a GPS unit involves significant investment. This necessitates that you are able to choose the most effective one. Traditionally every model will offer something special. But if you want to make an impact, make a list of the features that you need and the money that you can spare for the same. That will enable you to choose the most useful one.
The idea is to not just choose a GPS that gives you accurate direction but also helps you to maintain your bearings appropriately. This will ensure that wherever you may go out hunting, you can be very sure about your location and communicate with your family as often as required.