Hunting is a fun but a serious and tough hobby. You usually need a bit of skill and the right equipment that will get you to the right places and give you the right features at the right time.
As hunting is an outdoor sport, hunters usually need a hunting GPS and such type of things cannot be compromised on. It is undoubtedly better to buy a good device than being sorry later if you bought something that was not worth the money.
One of the most important things to consider when going hunting is using a good hunting GPS. When dealing with gear like hunting GPS, believe me, buying the right one can really make a difference for you. Only then you will be able to enjoy hunting and explore new terrains with no fear and no hesitation.
Best Hunting GPS 2019
|Garmin GPSMAP 64st||8.1 oz||2.6"||8 GB|
|Garmin eTrex 20x||7.8 oz||2.2"||3.7 GB|
|Garmin GPSMAP 64s||8.1 oz||2.6"||4 GB|
|Garmin eTrex 30x||8 oz||2.2"||3.7 GB|
|Garmin Oregon 600||7.4 oz||3"||1.5 GB|
1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st – Best Hunting GPS For the money
This here is really a GPS device made specifically for hunting. Why do I say that? Well, other than the fact that it is first on our list, it is a device used and loved by a lot of hunters. It is also one of the best-selling hunting GPS devices out there in the market. Those who have used this GPS unit have nothing but good things to say for the device. Now let us get behind the reason for its success. Garmin’s GPSMAP is first of all, very lightweight, weighing about 230 grams with the batteries inside. Secondly, its display is so good that its readability under sunlight is perfect.
With a size of 2.6 inches, the color display is great for a lot of people. The resolution at which the device displays is 160 by 240 pixels which mean crisp text for the size given. It works perfectly fine with gloves and works fine under extremely cold temperatures. A notable thing about the device is that it comes with a 1-year subscription of birds’ eye, an online service, which helps you easily download your waypoint onto the device. It has an upgradable memory capacity of up to 8GB, which is more than enough for a single hunting trip, in fact, for multiple trips even. The device supports USB interface of high speed, which is extremely convenient. The device is equipped with a dual battery system, meaning, it can be used with removable AA batteries or rechargeable NiMH battery which can easily give a backup time of 16 hours. You get the ability to connect the GPS device with your smartphone wirelessly using Garmin connect and can also live track your location and also share it. This way, you can share the data with your family and friends.
This device uses GLONASS as its source of data and includes thousands and thousands of Topo Maps. The accuracy is perfect within a range of 3 meters. The device also features a barometric altimeter which tells you the altitude. With all the features of this device mentioned, now you know why it’s so popular amongst so many hunters and is on top of our list. It covers most of the necessary features along with some additional features which a hunter GPS unit must have.
Usually, this device is preferred by professionals but beginners don’t need to be scared if they wish to get this device as it is not that difficult to use and you can get countless tutorials on YouTube to help you learn how to use the device
2. Garmin eTrex 20x – Best Budget Hunting GPS
This device here is a GPS unit which you can get under 200 dollars. This one is the upgraded model of the Garmin eTrex 10x. The eTrex lineup is quite popular and most hunters prefer to use models of the eTrex series. This particular model includes some additional features over the eTrex 10x. This model falls in the mid-range category GPS units which makes it a good pick by new and experienced hunters alike. Let us dig deeper into its features and other things it has to offer. Garmin has put a lot of focus on the additional features and upgrades over the 10x.
The eTrex 20x has been upgraded to a 2.2-inch display that is highly readable under bright light and sunlight. The image is outputted is at a resolution of 240 by 320 pixels, giving a crisp and sharp look. The display offers 65K colors which are good enough in terms of the liveliness of the screen. The device comes with a memory of 3.7 GB which can be upgraded as it has a micro SD card slot too. So you can easily pop in a bigger memory card and load more maps into the device.
The navigation is made easier in this GPS unit as you can load hundreds and thousands of maps from TOPO 24K, BlueChart, HuntView, BirdsEye satellite imagery and many more. You will need to subscribe to these services individually though as this device does not come with a free initial period subscription. That will cost you a little extra so if you have a bigger budget, you might want to consider subscribing to one of these services to get the additional maps which are definitely going to come handy during your hunting trips if you happen to travel a lot. The size of the display on the device is 1.4 by 1.7 inches and included in the package is a worldwide base mapping along with shaded relief area.
The Garmin eTrex 20x has a GPS receiver that is WAAS enabled and supported by GLONASS as well as HotFix. This device works just as well in dense forests and areas thick with long bushes. This device can easily be connected to your personal computer or laptop with a micro cable so that you can transfer data between the two devices like transferring data between your phone and computer. The eTrex 20x supports GPX files which enable downloading cache for geocaching and other things so that they open up instantly the next time they are used. The device automatically stores important information like location, hints, terrain, description of the area, and other important key points. That means you don’t have to manually enter the coordinates anymore.
3. Garmin GPSMAP 64s – Light & Bright Screen
We are here with the GPSMAN 64s which needs to introduction really. It is a GPS device popular amongst the professional hunters out there who want a good hunting GPS. This is one of the professional hunting GPS devices. This thing has a larger screen than many, with a size of 2.6 inches and has a color display. In terms of portability and usability, the 64s is really lightweight, weighing about 230 grams which makes it easy to use and store in the pocket. The good thing is that the batteries are included in that approximate weight. Although this device has dual battery options, having the option to be powered by the usual AA batteries or rechargeable battery pack, this device works better with the AA batteries.
Coming to this thing’s technical specs, this device is equipped with a compass with 3 axis. Also, the 64s has a barometric altimeter which will tell you your altitude. The GPS itself is very sensitive and powerful and gives you accurate location within a range of 3 meters. This one also includes an optional ANT sensor which can give you the feature of heart rate monitoring, heat sensing, temperature sensing, and many other things. Also, this device can be paired with various other sensors for getting additional data. The 64s can also be connected to your smartphone wirelessly, sharing data in the process. This will allow you to share your location data with your friends and family in real time.
You can also share map data from your phone with the GPS device so it’s a two-way process. Live data can also be shared and uploaded using the Garmin app which can be tracked by your relatives when you are out hunting. The 64s, like the 64st, also includes a 1-year BirdEye subscription for precise and accurate location finding. The device also has built-in base maps so you don’t really need to download additional maps on your first trip. This device also has a memory of 8GB internal, with an option for SD card to be installed. A great feature in this unit is that it supports the action camera and can be connected to one for quick shots.
4. Garmin eTrex 30x – Good Value
Garmin is back again, this time with its eTrex 30x. We already covered its 20x models and now we shall look into the 30x model and see what this thing has to offer is different from its sibling models. Out of a few things that the eTrex 30x shares with the 10x and 20x is the screen size and colours. The eTrex also has a screen of size 2.2 inches along with a colour screen of 65K. Reading the screen in sunlight is easy and clear like the rest of the models.
The resolution though has been upgraded. With a resolution of 240 y 320 pixels, looking at the map and other content becomes a pleasure as the screen is bright and the vision is crisp and clear because of the resolution in relation to the screen size. The dimensions of the unit itself are 2.1 inches by 4.0 inches by 1.3 inches, making it a compact device which you can carry easily and store in your pocket without trouble. The eTrex 30x is equipped with a 3 axis tilt compass, which is an electronic compass with a barometric altimeter that is able to detect changes in the atmospheric pressure, giving you a precise altitude. With that, you have the option of plotting barometric pressure over different time to make a chart.
The GPS receiver is quite sensitive and WAAS enabled and features HotFix satellite prediction for quick and accurate positioning. The 30x is able to quickly and accurately locate your position and is able to maintain strong GPS signals even in thick forests and rich bushes so that accuracy is not compromised. It comes with an internal memory of only 3.7 GB but has the option of micro SD card so you can insert a card bigger than internal storage to accommodate your extra maps and data. The SD storage can be upgraded to up to 64GB. You can use maps from different services like TOPO 24K, BlueChart, BirdEye and many more. You will have to pay for the subscription of BirdEye though as a free subscription isn’t included in this package. This device can easily track GLONASS as well as GPS satellites together at the same time. While using GLONASS satellite, the time for the receiver to lock on is quick when compared to using GPS satellite. That said, this device is definitely a good deal for the money and used by the professionals as well.
5. Garmin Oregon 600 – Best Professional Hunting GPS
Last on our list but definitely not the least is the Garmin Oregon 600 model. The reason why this one is on the list even is that it has some great features that are commendable. The Oregon 600 offers some great things for the price offered which is why it earns a place on this list. So let’s talk about the device. The Oregon 600 features a multi-touch display which sets it apart from the non-touch screen devices we covered. The reason why this device is last and not first is that the price isn’t as good for the features when compared to the other devices on the list.
Anyways, this device has a large screen of 3 inches since it has a touchscreen. The display offers great readability when it comes to viewing it under direct sunlight. You may question the durability of this one because it has a touch screen but surprisingly it is actually very durable and can withstand minor drops and some tough situations without simply breaking. Like a smartphone, this device can automatically switch between portrait and landscape view as it’s tilted, making it easy and quick to view information as you like. This thing also features the option to be powered by either AA batteries or a recharging NiMH battery pack.
The Oregon 600 also connects to both, GLONASS as well as GPS satellites, allowing you to easily get your route, location, and track. This GPS unit also features a 3 axis electronic compass that also has an accelerometer for tilt which shows where you seem to be heading even if you stop moving. It can detect the altitude similar to other devices by detecting the atmospheric pressure with the help of its barometric altimeter. You can also easily share your data including your paths, tracks, your waypoints and geocache with other devices with wireless capability and that is 50 times faster when shared with other Garmin devices.
Overall, the reviews by users for this unit is good and many prefer to buy the Oregon 600 as it gives them the benefit of touchscreen over buttons which other devices have, making the operation of the GPS a lot easier and quicker than button operated GPS units.
Hunting GPS buying guide and FAQs
You have come this far and now you know the best hunting GPS systems out there in the market which you can buy. You have all the options wide open in front of you on a single page so you don’t need to go anywhere else for more information. But you may have lots of questions regarding hunting GPS. No worries, we are still here and still with you and answer all your questions which you may have related to hunting GPS.
This information is extremely beneficial for those who are new to hunting and those who do not have a good idea about different hunting gear and equipment. If you are new to hunting, you will get an insight to how hunting GPS work and why they are so useful to the season and experienced hunters and also how you can get the best out of your hunting GPS.
Why should I buy a hunting GPS?
Simply, the right hunting GPS will make your hunting trip a lot more fun and very much easier, to say the least. A hunting GPS will help you know where you are and offer many more features which will come handy while you are out there on your trip.
Let us say that a hunter is deep in the trees and he has got a good game in sight, locked on. He concentrates and stands still, stops breathing and then decides to take a shot. Unfortunately, the hunter misses the vital point he should have hit and the animal runs frantically, running deeper into the woods. The hunter runs after the animal in hopes to not lose it but soon he finds himself lost, not knowing how deep he has come in the woods and the way back. If he had a good hunting GPS, he could have easily tackled the situation without losing much. Now, you don’t want to be this person, do you? Of course not! So now you know how important a hunting GPS can be to a hunter out in the woods.
But when it comes to buying a hunting GPS, it can get really confusing and scary, thinking which one to buy because, the market will be full of so many different brands and manufacturers of hunting equipment and specifically GPS system so you will have to be careful and knowledgeable in choosing just the right one for yourself as cost and some specific features can vary greatly from person to person. Luckily for you, you are in the right place as we have all the basic information you need regarding hunting GPS, the best hunting GPS systems out there and their pros and cons, so even if you are new to such equipment and new to hunting altogether, you do not need to worry one bit. So just sit back, relax and just read on to find out the best hunting GPS systems out there you can buy and everything about them.
So what exactly is a hunting GPS?
If you are familiar with a car GPS system, and the GPS system in your smartphone, then this hunting GPS is nothing different. GPS is the abbreviation for global positioning system which, as the name suggests, tells you your position and location. You can use this device anywhere to locate yourself. Hunting GPS systems are made specially to comply with the requirements and necessities during hunting. These are small handheld devices which help you to reach to certain places you may have planned to travel to and especially, extricate yourself in a situation in which you happen to have gotten lost, maybe deep into the woods or in rough and rugged terrain.
This hunting GPS is small in size, small enough that you can easily tuck it in the side pocket of your jeans or tracking pants so that your hands don’t have to be full. Some hunting GPS systems come with additional features that are vital during hunting such as heart rate monitor, and a feature built-in the device that measures the ambient temperature that the hunters can use for information regarding animal habitat. Sometimes, temperatures can give hunters useful information like the kind of animals that usually live under the given temperature. Heart rate monitor can be also extremely useful in letting the user know his vital signs and if he needs to take care of himself, drink water or is lacking oxygen. Now, most hunting GPS systems offer such features which can be considered a good deal because these features are really something that would come handy in certain situations.
Other than the added benefits, GPS systems fundamentally do the job of tracking you so that you can go and move to various locations without losing or forgetting the path to your previous locations if you need to get back to those.
If smartphones already have a built-in GPS system, why get a hunting GPS?
It is true. The GPS in your phone will more or less work the same way and do the same job your hunting GPS will do but still, there are some things that differ between the two. Your smartphone is simply not built to be used in hunting terrains. Why? Well, let us take an example in which you have just bought a brand new shiny smartphone for a good price. It is loaded with all the features you could possibly want in a smartphone. It has got a GPS too. You take it with you hunting and you accidentally drop it in a puddle of mud. Would you want that? Of course not! And there is a high chance that your smartphone may not even survive and you definitely do not want that! So this is where hunting GPS systems come in the picture.
These are built to be durable, rugged, tough, and waterproof and shockproof. It is the purpose of the hunting GPS system to be used in rough terrains full of water puddles and even mud puddles. You will not have to worry about accidentally dropping your hunting GPS in a puddle of water, mud, or straight on a rock. It will not break like that. But these qualities are those which a hunting GPS should have. Not every hunting GPS gear offers every feature we listed above. Because there are numerous brands and manufacturers out there, you will find this gear in numerous quality and standards with varying price so while it is heavily tempting to get the cheapest hunting GPS system you can buy, it is not a wise choice as compromising in such equipment and gear can cost you heavily in a hunting situation.
Things to look for when buying a hunting gps
As I mentioned above, some of the things that a hunting GPS should have, there are a few more important things which you should definitely consider when you are about to buy a hunting GPS for yourself on your first trip if you are new to hunting.
Build quality and durability
This is the most basic thing a hunting GPS system should have. Relating to our smartphone GPS example, it can be emphasized on how important the durability of a hunting GPS is to a hunter. Without a strong body, the hunting GPS will be of not much use because, in hunting situations, a hunter tends to drop his handheld gear a few times the hunting GPS is not supposed to break after a single fall. So it is extremely important to check if the hunting GPS you have your eyes on, is durable enough and feels solid in the hands when you hold it. If it is, that is good. If it feels cheap, it is better to leave it and look for something that feels more solid and rugged when you hold it.
Battery Life of the device
Since GPS needs the power to work, a hunting GPS is equipped with batteries for the GPS system and other features to work. You can relate the battery of that of a hunting GPS to a smartphone battery. You do not want your smartphone to die in the middle of an important phone call because it’s either not charged or the battery life stinks. Hunting trips occupy quite some time of a hunter so it is very important to note the battery life and backup timing of a GPS device. Some GPS devices have removable battery option while some high-end hunting GPS device has strong built-in lithium-ion batteries. The latter usually perform better in terms of battery timing and backup.
If your GPS goes out right when you need it the most, you will find yourself in some deep trouble so it is wise to not compromise in terms of battery backup. Check the device for which type of battery it uses, its charge time and backup time. The battery should at least keep the GPS running for a few hours straight because hunting situations do not wait for anyone. You can check battery information on the device’s back or package.
As we discussed, the basic purpose of a hunting GPS system is to tell you your location and help you get to a location you have set or want to set. But with there, there are some additional features that come with these devices, like the heart rate monitor, temperature sensor and geocaching. The heart rate monitor keeps you updated on your heart rate and related things so that you can make necessary steps in order to keep yourself healthy, up and running with enough energy to tackle the different situations you may face while hunting.
A temperature sensor can help you get the ambient temperature and tell you if you need to put on additional clothing if it is getting too cold or to take off your jacket if it gets too hot so that your body gets less stressed and you feel good while tracking and running during your hunting trip. Most hunting GPS systems, as I mentioned earlier, now feature most of these additional things but some still do not so check with the brand and manufacturer if they offer such features with their device or if you really need them all.
In dense forests and remote terrains, smartphones usually get little to no signals at all, which is why you are unable to make contact with your friends and family. In such terrains, smartphone GPS also fail to perform properly due to the density of trees and lack of a clear sky. In such situations, the hunting GPS device has to perform fully because that is what it is built for and that is its prime purpose. Being unable to perform in such situations, and your hunting GPS will be just as useless as your smartphone. But manufacturers know why these things are important and that is why hunting GPS systems have a stronger signal catching strength which does not hinder the performance and allows you to work with it without any problems.
This factor is especially important when you are going to a new area or forest and don’t know much about the place. Nonetheless, you should look for and buy a hunting GPS that can perform in any given terrain or area, whether with a lot of trees, dense forest or barren land. The purpose of a GPS is to give you your accurate location and that is exactly what it should do without hesitation or any problem. The GPS should maintain maximum signal strength no matter where you take it.
Data Sources used by the GPS unit
GPS system needs data to show on the screen. Similar to what your phone needs. There are two main types of data sources which GPS systems use to gather the data from. One, from the US GPS system or second, from GLONASS or full for, a global navigational satellite which is operated and deployed by Russia. There may be other sources as well but these two are the most well-known sources used by GPS systems. The GPS uses these sources to access the map which you see on your screen and on your smartphones. Without these sources, the GPS will simply not be able to show you anything and the purpose of a GPS will be lost.
Normally, you will find GPS devices which use data from these sources but it is better to check for it on the units before buying it, to clear any doubts. Sometimes, these systems can go offline or down for some reason. In such cases, GPS units should always have a backup source to fetch the map information from. It is important to check for such sources and backups when buying a GPS unit. A GPS unit should have more than one source where it collects its data from so that you don’t find yourself in trouble if the primary data source goes offline. The GPS should automatically connect itself to its secondary data source without much delay, keeping your hunting trip going without any hiccup.
GPS unit usability and portability
As a GPS unit is a part of hunting equipment, it needs to be with the hunter at all times. That means the hunter needs to manage it too as he or she uses other gear. This is why a GPS unit should be made to be very portable and handheld. This is important because a hunter while hunting, has his or her hands full because he repeatedly needs to see through their binoculars and get their weapon or bow ready according to that. During that, if the hunter feels that he or she needs to set aside all the other things first before taking a look at the GPS, then it will not be fun at all for the hunter.
The GPS should be small enough to be easily kept in the pocket and similarly taken out easily. Some GPS are so portable that they can be worn as a watch on the arm which makes its usability 100%. That way, the hunter does not have to take out the GPS unit out of the pocket and then put it back in after using it. So when searching for a hunting GPS unit, definitely go for one that is highly portable and easy to carry. Even if it does not allow you to be worn like a watch, it should be small enough to at the least be kept in the pocket without making its presence known as a cell phone so that it doesn’t become uncomfortable. If you can find one that you can somehow attach it to hand either with a strap or band, then you’ll have even more fun when you are really out there hunting.
Map presentation quality
Although most hunting GPS units get their data from similar sources, each brand has a different way of presenting that data onto a map designed by the manufacturer that it has patented as well. Sometimes, that presentation of the map and data makes all the difference for a user. Some hunter may like a particular brand for this very reason while another user may prefer some other brand due to its unique interface. This particular factor doesn’t really depend on a specific make or model which may be the most expensive or most popular.
Instead, it really depends on the preference of a hunter. The actual idea of getting a hunting GPS unit for yourself is that the one you choose should be making your task easier and you should feel comfortable while using it in unknown terrain and thick areas with lots of trees and bushes. It is at this time these devices should make sense to you because if you have trouble making out the meaning of what is on that screen of your device at such times, then you will not be able to really enjoy your hunting trip. Instead, you will find yourself trying to figure out how your GPS device works so, go for that device which you find comfortable to use. You can try different devices to see which one works best for you.
Performance and speed
Similar to smartphones, you want your hunting GPS units to work promptly and quickly whenever you need it. That is because hunting situations are quick to change. You may want to quickly pinpoint a location on your GPS after your prey, which you had your eyes on for minutes, runs away deeper into the woods. In this case, also, it is better to get a hands-on the GPS unit to get an idea of its performance and speed. What is the use of the GPS device which is slow to perform and get you a direction to your destination? Speed may not be a problem to those who are new to hunting as they are still learning and need to get used to a lot of things but for experienced and seasoned hunters, speed is very important and if their GPS unit is slow, that could disrupt or delay timings for other things.
Every hunting GPS will come with a screen for displaying the map and other things. If the display of a device is not clear enough, its usability will decrease. Display depends on the pricing of a product and brand name too. A GPS display should be bright, clear and work well under sunlight. If you have trouble looking through the information, your GPS will cost you some precious time during your hunting trip so look for those GPS units which have a bright and clear display and which work well in bright sunlight. Displays of such GPS units should also be sealed properly and tight so that water does not seep in if the device is dropped in mud or a water puddle. Since the display is the only interface for the hunter, if it goes bad due to water or other reasons, the GPS device will pretty much be rendered useless until repaired. In short, you need to look for a hunter GPS unit whose display is clear and bright enough for you to be able to see and make out the map and other information
Last but not least, the cost of something is often looked at first by many people, before even going to its feature part and the rest. It all depends on your budget. Usually, the rule is, the more money you spend, the better the thing you are going to get. While this is somewhat true, that is not always the case. You can get good GPS units for an affordable price as well if you are new to hunting or do not have a big budget that you spend on a high-end unit. As you went through our list of the top ten GPS devices, you should have a clear idea which device is coming under your range but also has all the features. If you are an experienced hunter and seasoned and go hunting often, you can go for mid-priced units which contain all the basic features as well as the additional ones that you may be needed during your hunting period.
Now that you have all the basic information regarding hunting GPS units, like how they work and what you should look for when buying one, it should be now easier for you to select a GPS unit that serves you well. Just keep in mind the GPS unit’s topographical detailing, battery life and portability as these qualities directly affect your usage of the device during the high time. If you still have doubts about some device, the best way to clear them up is by checking other users’ reviews and feedback on the device.