Deep breath. Take the shot. You see a flash of fur and excitedly rush away from your stand to see if you got a hit. You find it (or don’t) and then you turn back and… wait… which way was the stand again? The use of a Hunting GPS unit isn’t necessary but it definitely adds a sense of security and safety to any wilderness activity.
Amazon doesn’t have a list specifically for hunting GPS units, so I did a search on my own to find the ones that seemed most suited. They aren’t listed in any particular order, so read through and see which one would work for you!
Magellan eXplorist 350H Handheld GPS – This GPS unit is designed specifically for hunters. Retailing at $249.99 on Amazon, the device has 3.4 stars, but only a handful of reviews.
- Hunt specific waypoints
- Hunting Boundary information for 40 states
- Boundary Alerts to keep you off private property
- a topographic map contour layer
- preloaded maps
- hunting calendars
- satellite imagery
Bushnell 360500 Back Track Hunt/ – This unit is extremely simple in design, but has some pretty good features. The display and interface do leave something to be desired, however it is more affordably priced at $87.82 on Amazon and has 3.7 stars.
- Logs up to 48 hours of trip data
- Stores and locates up to 25 waypoints
- Includes time, temperature, distances, elevation, latitude and longitude coordinates
- Displays sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset
- Includes barometric pressure readings
- Accurately predicts periods of peak animal activity based on a variety of data
- Weather resistant construction; 1-year warranty
Garmin Rino 655t US GPS with TOPO 100K Maps – Part GPS, part radio, this unit is popular with hunters and can not only act as a traditional GPS unit to direct you back to your stand or camp, but you can also send messages to other units to stay in contact with your hunting party. Priced at $515.71 on Amazon, it’s a little pricey but would be worth it if you hunt in a wide area with a group. On Amazon, it received 3.9 stars.
- 2.6″ 65K color TFT touchscreen, glove friendly display
- Worldwide basemap with shaded relief
- Rugged and Waterproof design
- 5 watt FRS/GMRS two-way radio
- 5 MP autofocus digital camera with automatic geo-tagging
- Built-in barometric altimeter
- 3-axis electronic compass
- NOAA weather radio
- Quad-helix antenna for quick signal even in dense cover
- Built-in Base Camp software
Garmin GPSMAP 60C Water Resistant Hiking GPS – This unit really does a little bit of everything…which may or may not make it ideal for your use. With hunting calendars, the ability to play GPS games (like geocaching) and even road maps, I sort of feel like this unit just couldn’t decide what it wanted to be when it grew up. However, for the light traveler, it might be perfect with just a little bit of everything. On Amazon, it retails for $149.99 from private sellers and received 4.2 stars.
- Sunlight-readable, trans-reflective TFT display
- Integrated outdoor calendar with hunting/fishing times
- moon rise/set information
- Geolocation games, including geocaching mode
- Preloaded waypoints, tracks and routing options
- Records stopped time, moving average, overall average, total time, max speed, etc
- Waterproof IPX-7 standard
- 30-hour battery life (uses 2 AA batteries)
- includes serial and USB interfaces
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS – For the hunter who doesn’t want one more thing to carry, this small GPS unit straps to your wrist and can provide just as much information as the clunky handheld units. It does not display a map, but does provide directions back to your last waypoint. The device is available on Amazon for $174.99 and has 4.5 stars.
- High-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix for improved performance and reception in heavy tree cover or deep canyons
- Keeps track of routes, tracks and waypoints
- TracBack feature retraces user’s path on the easy-to-read LCD display
- Supports dual position readout so user can view current location in multiple formats
- Trip computer
- Sunrise/sunset times
- Hunting/fishing information
- Electronic compass
- Barometric altimeter
Garmin Montana 600t Handheld GPS, Camo – This is just a basic all-around GPS unit. The thing that caught my attention, aside from the same features as everything else was the glove-friendly touchscreen display, which would be incredibly useful when hunting during the colder months of the year and in the early mornings. It also has a bright easy-to-read screen. The device is a little on the higher-end side and is available on Amazon for $499.99 and has 3.7 star rating.
- Bold 4″ sunlight-readable glove-friendly touchscreen display with dual-orientation
- Preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps
- Built-in 3 axis tilt-compensated electronic compass
- microSD card slot to load additional maps
- Supports BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, Garmin Custom Maps, and geocaching
- Share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches wirelessly with other compatible Garmin GPS users.
- BaseCamp software compatible
Garmin 72H Waterproof Handheld GPS with High-Sensitivity – This device is probably more suited to fishing than hunting, with outstanding waterproof features that will allow it to float in the water. However, it also has a pretty good antenna and would be useful for getting a fix under a dense canopy. The display is grayscale, unfortunately, but has a pretty good battery life and the reviews state it’s easy to use, so it might be useful for beginners. It does not have a map function that I can see. The device can be purchased on Amazon for $126.64 and has 3.8 stars.
- Tracks your location in challenging conditions, such as heavy tree cover or deep canyons
- Built-in tide information
- sunrise/sunset times
- hunting/fishing calendar
- Marine-friendly handheld floats in water and is IPX7 waterproof
- USB connection
- High-sensitivity GPS receiver acquires satellite signals quickly
Bushnell BackTrack Original G2 GPS Personal Locator and Digital Compass – This device doesn’t have quite as many GPS functions as the others do, but it has something that is probably even more important if you hunt in a remote location—a personal locator. It can only store three locations, but I would say that’s a pretty even trade for the price of this device. It is available on Amazon and affordably priced at $44.78 with a rating of 3.2 stars. If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t normally get lost, this would be a good device for you just as a backup.
- Compact GPS personal locator with intuitive 2-button design and ergonomic shape
- High sensitivity GPS receiver and self calibrating digital compass
- Stores up to 3 locations
- Compact size to store in your pocket or purse
- Weather-resistant; operates on 2 AAA batteries (not included)
- Digital Compass
Garmin eTrex Vista C Waterproof Hiking GPS – This device doesn’t really have many hunting-specific features, but is more just an all-around outdoors GPS device good for the outdoor or hunting enthusiast. The features are pretty standard, but should suit all or most of a hunter’s needs. It is available on Amazon from private sellers for around $80 and has 4.2 stars.
- Automatic route generation, off-route recalculation, turn-by-turn directions and more help navigate you safely to your destination
- Bright easy-to-read trans-reflective display
- Electronic compass
- barometric altimeter
- Elevation computer
- Built-in base map
- TrackBack technology
- Hunting/Fishing calendar
- Sun/Moon rise/set calculations
- Mini-USB port
- 256-color, sunlight-readable display
- 20-hour battery life
- 24 MB internal memory to store maps
Magellan Triton 400 Waterproof Hiking GPS – This GPS unit is also a sort of basic all-around functional GPS with base maps, a compass to lead you back to where you started, waterproof rugged design and a full color display. It is available from Amazon for $149 and was given only 2.7 stars because of a firmware issue that recent reviews say have been resolved, and due to the lack of printed instructions. This unit seems to have a steep learning curve, so if you’re a beginner it might be your best choice.
- Elevation profile
- Preloaded basemap
- Sunset/sunrise times
- Best time to hunt/fish calculated
- Electronic compass
- Rugged and waterproof to IPX-7 standards
- SD card slot
It can be sometimes hard to balance technology and nature when hunting or fishing in the great outdoors, but GPS units can be very helpful and provide safety and efficiency to your hunt—not to mention alleviating the worry of getting lost heading back to your stand or your truck. No matter whether you use a sophisticated GPS unit or a map and compass, being safe is the most important thing.
So tell me hunters, what GPS units do you use on your hunts? Let me know in the comments!