The thrill of hunting is an unparalleled feeling. Scouting out the territory, tracking down your quarry, stalking and cocking your gun or bow, and then pinning it down until you realize that you no longer know where you are.
This is a common scenario for the vast majority of hunters; even the most experienced ones, given that most hunting territories are located outside civilization.
Consequently, you can’t even depend on your cellphone to show you the way when you’re lost, since you’ll be outside the reception area.
These best GPS for hunting from the list below, however, can make all the difference.
So that’s what we’re going to look at today, along with a comprehensive GPS buying guide to help you with your purchase and make your hunting experience worry-free.
See the full product review below.
The 8 Best Handheld GPS for Hunting
So we’re jumping right into our top picks for the top GPS devices currently available on the market. We’ve put a lot of thought into this, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands!
1. Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide with High-Sensitivity GPS
Garmin is a GPS manufacturing brand that has been around for a solid 3 decades, and there’s a good reason why they’ve come so far. You may already know them for their highly accurate GPS products, and you might also have been pointed in this direction if you’re looking for the best Garmin GPS for hunting.
Now, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, or it might not. This little 90s cellphone-looking device is one of the most reliable GPS devices out there, thanks to its having both GPS and GLONASS integrated into it. Furthermore, the quad-helix antenna enables this thing to have great satellite reception.
The word “worldwide” in the name owes itself to the extremely useful topographical maps in this thing that cover almost the entire globe. And the high sensitivity GPS unit manages to store all that info thanks to the 4GB internal memory. Impressive!
We’re also a big fan of its lightweight design, along with the easily readable display size of 2.6″ and the accessibility of the buttons and navigation system. Another great feature is the best hunting GPS ability to send you smart notifications and sync up with Garmin Connect.
With all of the great features we’ve discussed, we do have some issues with the battery life of best GPS for hunting and hiking; we don’t think the best hunting GPS device is entirely suited to relatively longer hunting trips. While that can be a deal-breaker for some hunters, it’s good to remember that the GPS device does come equipped with a dual power mode, which we think compensates nicely.
And on that note, if you’re out hunting for easy quarries like birds and rabbits, then we have reason to think you won’t really find any disadvantages while using the best GPS radio for hunting.
You may also look for Garmin GPSMAP 64st that contains preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps and a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription.
2. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking & Hunting GPS
Yep, another Garmin product (and certainly not the last!). This retro-looking thing with its extremely convenient wrist-strap is on our list for a lot of reasons – keep reading to find out what they are. From our study, this one is the best waterproof Hiking & Hunting GPS.
Equipped with a dependable and super-sensitive GPS receiver system, this stylishly monochrome little device is the perfect companion for those venturing out into deeply shaded forests and echoing canyons: basically, if you’re a hiker, you’re going to love this thing.
That’s also due in part to the integration of HotFix technology.
What’s that? Well, HotFix, a feature available exclusively on Garmin devices, is basically jumped-up satellite prediction technology. Its purpose is to drastically lessen the acquisition time of your satellite positioning, which enhances up the device’s overall performance in terms of accuracy.
Also, this GPS for hunting and fishing includes TracBack feature, which, as the name might suggest, allows you to trace your route backward. Another very convenient feature is that this thing is waterproof, which only adds to its overall reliability.
Plus, with a display resolution of 100 x 64 pixels and display dimensions of 1.42″x0.91″ inches, visibility is easy. If you’re out till dark though, you might need a secondary light source to see what’s going on.
We think this device would be almost perfect if not for the fact that it uses only one power source option. Since it’s powered by 2 AA batteries, you’re sometimes going to burn through them pretty fast. Moreover, the GPS hunting devices include barometric altimeter to have safer trips. So, if you’re going on a particularly long hiking trip, remember to come prepared with extra batteries!
3. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
Yep, we’re back with another Garmin series. Remember the eTrex 20 from earlier? Well, this is basically a lower-performing version of that, but don’t let that make you believe it’s not worth your time. Here’s what we like about this little yellow GPS system.
The eTrex 10 is a simple, straightforward, and to-the-point little machine. With a very compact body that will barely take up any space in the palm of your hand, it nevertheless comes with a 2.2-inch monochrome display that allows you to access all the information you need whenever you need it.
Quite impressively, this best budget GPS for hunting device also incorporates WAAS-receiving capabilities (WAAS stands for Wide Area Augmentation System, originally developed to aid in air navigation). Together with the device’s GPS and GLONASS support, you’ll rarely be plagued by concerns about accuracy while using this device.
Not just that: like most other Garmin hunting GPS trackers, this unit also incorporates sHotFix feature which as you may know by now, is a technology that greatly enhances accuracy.
The eTrex 10 also stores the information it gathers while tracking you. This means you can look up elevation points on your specific route, along with plotting waypoints on that route.
There is an obvious lack of some of the features you might expect from a more heavy-duty GPS, like topographic maps or a dual battery. If those features are important to you, it’s probably best to skip this unit; however, all the features we have just discussed, pretty much make this the best hunting GPS for the money; don’t burn a hole in your wallet!
4. Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
The Garmin eTrex 20x system is a favorite of many who have been committed to buying Garmin products for years now. Even with an extremely lightweight and portable body—weighing only 5 ounces—this little guy definitely packs a punch.
First up is the 65K color display, measuring 2.2 inches. We appreciate it for its high readability, meaning you’ll have an easy time reading this thing even on the sunniest days out on the hunt. It’s easy to see why many claims this is the best handheld GPS for hunting, given the impressive features despite its size.
And despite its size, this Garmin packs an impressive 3.7 GB of internal memory. That’s what allows it to carry a pre-loaded global base map while also allowing you to load a number of maps, including BirdsEye satellite imagery and HuntView (although you will have to pay a subscription fee for the former, we think it’s an important addition).
Do note, though, that if you are someone who prioritizes their GPS device’s ability to sync information up with your computer, you might get a little frustrated with this thing. The interface isn’t exactly the most intuitive, and there is definitely a bit of a learning curve. Also, for the satellite imagery feature, you need to pay some bucks additionally. However, given the price, we think it’s a small price to pay!
5. Bushnell D-Tour Personal GPS Tracking Device
Yes, we hear you: enough of Garmin, already! There are quite a few decent GPS devices out there that don’t come with a more recognizable brand name tag, and this unit from Bushnell is certainly a good example of that.
So, what do we like about this thing? Well, first of all, it’s surprisingly accurate despite incorporating only GPS. Its ability to track and store information regarding temperature, distance and location are also quite helpful.
But what really makes it stand out is its back-tracking capability (which is in the name!). This feature can identify and record up to 5 different locations and also stores a maximum of 48 hours of trip data. And it does this with dependable accuracy.
And yes, this product is endorsed by Bear Grylls, the world-famous adventurer, and survival instructor. That might seem like a big deal, but it’s good to remember that celebrities do get paid to endorse products.
And on that note, we do think that you could find a better GPS for the price. For starters, this unit doesn’t have a color display, which is something we’ve come to expect most GPS devices in this price range to have.
Now, while that does sound like a definite drawback to some of us, the fact still remains that this is a highly accurate tracking device with the capability to record up to 48 hours of trip data. Plus, the grayscale screen also means that there is little to no concern regarding AAA batteries life which makes it the best GPS for upland hunting.
6. Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide GPS
This sleek little GPS system from Garmin looks like one of those very first touchscreen display smartphones that would make you look cool to your friends if you had a unit back then. But it doesn’t just look great; it performs admirably too, and it does so at a pretty impressive price point.
Equipped with a host of impressive features, the Garmin Oregon GPS is bound to be a worthy companion on your hunting/hiking trip. With a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and 3-axis compass, you’ll always have your bearings in every way possible, no matter where you are.
And of course, by now, you already know that the vast majority of Garmin devices integrate both GPS and GLONASS satellite reception capabilities. This increases the accuracy of the device’s positioning capabilities.
Also, the best GPS tracker for hunting incorporates Bluetooth and ANT technology (which stands for Adaptive Network Topology). This allows you to share, wirelessly, your tracking information, the routes you are taking, and specific points along your route, as well.
We do agree that the battery system could be improved upon. That might seem like a common issue with Garmin products, but we would argue that, once again, the Garmin Oregon is a small price to pay for such high-performing products at affordable prices which can be used in all weather conditions. And once again, you can enable the dual battery system of the Garmin Oregon 600.
7. Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger – Orange
SPOT is a name that has become almost synonymous with satellite messaging. This little GPS device from them that we’re going to review today is one such manifestation of their satellite messaging technology.
With an extremely lightweight and compact body, this little thing exemplifies all that you would need from a decent satellite messaging device. What that basically means is, not only does it track your location, but it also shares that information with your loved ones.
The usage of the device to send updates and text messaging to previously selected contacts about your whereabouts is simple, easy, and effective.
Its main use for many, though, lies in its ability to send SOS alerts. These will obviously come in handy in emergency situations, which makes this messenger almost a necessity to own for those hikers and hunters who are venturing into remote places where cellular satellite reception doesn’t reach.
The interface of the SPOT gen 3 is simple and easy to navigate, with clearly marked buttons and no confusing functions. Getting help on the waypoints is as easy as 1-2-3.
Having said that, you should know that the accuracy and effectiveness of satellite messaging, no matter the effectiveness of the device, can often differ greatly depending on where in the world you are.
One of the drawbacks of using this device is undoubtedly the feature that you have to pay for an annual subscription in order to continue using it. It’s not really an unreasonable requirement, however, given that you will be using their messaging system.
8. Magellan eXplorist 350H Handheld GPS
Although now discontinued, the Magellan Explorist is undoubtedly one of the most intuitive products to come out of GPS technology specifically geared towards hunting a game. Don’t worry; it’s still available through Amazon Renewed, and here’s why we think it would appeal to you.
What we love about this product is that it’s straightforward. With clearly defined and easy-to-use navigation buttons (numbering only 5 on the whole device), this handheld GPS is ideal for American hunters who require only basic information about their surroundings.
Designed with the hunter in mind, this thing comes with all the features an experienced hunter might require. It’s equipped with GPS hunting boundary information for up to 40 different U.S. states and a topographic map to enhance usability.
The screen is extremely easy to use, with the ability to track the number of important pieces of information while hunting, such as game prints, stool, sightings, and even secondary data such as your bedding area. Once again, this is a pretty straightforward device, and it’s for straightforward hunters who know what they’re doing.
Now, the simplicity can actually be a pitfall for many tech-savvy hunters of today who want a little more information to work with. You can’t expect any fancy features from this thing like the other devices we’ve reviewed thus far, but we think that for a decent GPS hunting experience, this amount of information is good enough.
In the nearly 5 decades that it has been around, GPS technology has come a very, very long way; the highest-end GPS trackers on offer today can be very sophisticated, while some are simpler.
The process of finding the best GPS for mountain hunting, therefore, can be a little confusing. So here are a few of the things you need to look out for.
Buying Guide for The Hunting GPS Tracker
Interface / Display
How the interface of the hunting GPS units is designed dictates how usable it will be. Some GPS units have large and clearly visible buttons that allow you to access the functions swiftly.
On the other hand, more sophisticated models tend to have a more complicated interface with more buttons. This is due in part to the fact that they have a larger number of features.
Some GPS devices also have a backlit display, which allows for higher visibility. This is ideal for those who are hunting or hiking in the dark. If you’re only out during the daytime, however, you can obviously skip this part.
Additionally, certain devices will also allow you to toggle between a portrait and landscape viewing mode. We personally think that this isn’t an entirely necessary feature, and such features usually tend to add to the price tag.
What works for each user obviously varies, so choose according to your needs.
The majority of GPS devices source their location data from the widely-used GPS system, while many others use GLONASS (Global Navigational Satellite).
While both are equally efficient in aiding you to figure out where you are, some users opt for devices with both options. This increases the overall accuracy of the device.
However, if you go for such a device, then be prepared to shell out a little extra.
The whole point of using a GPS unit is to help you accurately track your location, right? And this is difficult to do without a GPS unit that has a proper map to plot the sequences on.
Generally, a GPS device will come configured with basic road maps with high-land areas and water bodies mapped out, and we think that’s good enough.
However, if you’re going on a particularly long hiking/hunting trip, you might benefit from a higher-quality topographical map feature like the Garmin Oregon 650t with two AA batteries. Once again, this will usually increase the price of the device.
Note: Don’t forget to check the water rating of the chosen product if you are hunting in wet conditions.
How to Use GPS for Hunting?
Any successful hunting often depends on the Geolocation Type with Real-Time Mapping Technology. Moreover, using the best GPS watch for hunting makes the hunting processes more users friendly and more effective.
A GPS device (that means global positioning system) is the latest device every hunter should take along with them to make a successful hunting end-of. With this GPS device, hunters can get a detailed mapping of the hunting area with some other services.
So here we are going to write how to use GPS units for hunting. If you want to make your hunting effective and successful, you should grab the brief.
Let’s get started.
5 Ways to Use Handheld Hunting GPS:
A GPS device can act as a multi-functional device in your hunting session. Five ways by which you can use a GPS device during your hunting, are written in below here-
- Firstly, use your GPS unit to find the nearby trail to reach your hunting spot.
- Mark the trees (at least six) during your walk session.
- Use your GPS device to keep some critical notes so that you can trace the previous location easily.
- Follow the scouting rules. Mark each thing you can watch on your GPS.
- Once you have scouted the hunted area using your GPS, now plan for hunt.
Way Number One:
When you are in a deep forest or a new, unfamiliar area, it is quite possible to get lost from the trail. In that case, a GPS unit can reduce the possibility of getting lost in a deep forest or a hunting spot.
As a hunter, you may have the hunting experience to assume the hunting area by getting some audio clues to form some nearby public spots. Utilizing those audio clues cannot be sufficient, always deciding the place where you are presenting.
However, getting some audio clues from the nearby railway station or the nearby airport might not possible always. Using a GPS device could be the only handy option in that case.
Where Are You, How far is your hunting ground? And How far is your Home, all you can know from a GPS device? Though most GPS devices are featuring an electronic compass, you still need to carry an extra compass on your backpack for further efficiency.
Way Number Two:
If the prey goes far by getting wounds on the body during the hunting process, you may follow the blood trail, which the prey is just leaving back while running until its death. So, the fact is, the blood trail might not always be consistent; you may think proper.
If you lose the prey in the middle of the path, you can use the last drop of blood (as a reference point) you have watched. A hunting GPS unit can show you all ways the prey might have gone. Without getting lost in the hunting ground, you also will be able to return your previous position with the help of a GPS as well.
Way Number Three:
The manual process of recording your waypoints might not come at your help during the nighttime. However, you can use a GPS to Recording your hunting Waypoints. You can mark six trees to get a specific path by several tree stands. A GPS device can record your waypoints and return to you at your previous position both in the daylight and at night.
You can use your GPS device to record the waypoints to locate initial hunting grounds; you may want to return. Going back to the hunting spot, erasing some of the tree marks (if they found useless to work out) could be possible if you use a GPS device.
Way Number Four:
You can identify your waypoints more identically by the scouting process. The scouting process works by Navigating at the hunting area. Your GPS helps you assume an overall structure of your hunting area and further help you find the exact location you are trying to reach.
You can keep a note on your GPS unit like- “SIX WHITE OAKS SURROUNDED BY PINES” or “10-POINTER JUMPED HERE” to records your waypoints more effectively. So, after a few hours when you intend to return using the same trail, you can use those notes to identify your previous trail.
Way Number Five:
If you are using your vehicle to reach the hunting area, your vehicle may need some maintenance at that time as well. The interesting thing is your vehicle will keep you an on-time notification if it needs any care to reach on the hunting ground.
This notification is beneficial for you to get a more comprehensive plan to handle any potential hunting issues. You will keep in touch with all updated info about whether your car can reach the hunting spot on time or need any care to go there.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs):
What Does a GPS for Hunting Do?
GPS stands for “global positioning system,” meaning that it shows you your location. But a small handheld GPS app such as the ones you will be using for hunting and hiking, have many more great features including Wi-Fi.
What is the Purpose of a GPS for Hunting?
Being able to track your location will not only help you to keep your bearings but also enable mapping your route both backward and forwards. The GPS for hunting in the mountains record information about your movement, which is essential in emergency situations.
Is GLONASS more Efficient than GPS?
GLONASS has a position accuracy of up to 10 meters, while that of GPS is 3.5-7.8 meters. Other than this, there aren’t many marked differences.
What is a Topographic Map, and Do I Need it?
Although they increase the accuracy of the map, some users tend to think it’s a bit of a hassle to navigate. If minimalism isn’t a concern for you, though, we think it can be immensely helpful.
What’s the Best GPS for Hunting?
Even though we really like all of the GPS devices we have reviewed, the Garmin Foretrex 401 definitely stands out as the top GPS for hunting public land.
What’s the Best GPS for Mushroom Hunting for a Hunter?
Garmin inReach Explorer plus is the perfect GPS for hunting mushroom with a display size of 2.3 inches, lithium ion battery, preloaded Delorme topo maps with onscreen GPS routing, built-in inReach Explorer electronic compass, altimeter, and an accelerometer. The Garmin inReach Explorer plus also allows two-way text messaging from anywhere.
What’s the Best GPS for Duck Hunting?
Garmin GPSMAP 64st is a high sensitivity GPS with a 2.6-inch display size, 3-axis electronic compass with barometric altimeter is the most suitable for duck hunting. If you’re interested in hunting elk, this is also the best GPS for elk hunting. There’re other GPS trackers worth mentioning like garmin montana 680t, Garmin inReach Explorer that provide impressive performance for duck hunting.
What’s the Best GPS for Hunting Dogs?
Link AKC Smart Tracker is the best GPS collar for hunting dogs that allows you to see their activities right from your display of the smartphone. The tracker with a Wi-Fi alerts you when the dog is at too cold or too hot areas.
A GPS device mandatorily needs to carry on the backpack during any hunting process. Therefore, it is better to select the best GPS app for hunting that features the most user-friendly interface with a quality build-up.
A perfect Global Positioning System (GPS) app not only allows you to keep on the right track at the deep forest, it also helps you to get any information until the end of your hunting session. You make sure your GPS device has longer battery life.
As we have seen, many devices could contend for the title of best hunting GPS. Having said that, we are particularly impressed by the Garmin Foretrex 401 for both its features and price.
If you can spend a little extra, though, the Garmin GPSMAP 64s is also
a great option.
Good luck, and may you always stay on track!