What Is The Best GPS For Hunting?


Having the best hunting GPS in your possession can prove to be a real lifesaver.

While out hunting, you may become so focused on your target that you start to lose track of your environment. You become so locked in that you don’t even notice that you’ve walked into unfamiliar surroundings.

In some cases, you may also become so entranced with what you’re doing that you forget about the time. Suddenly, you’re stuck deep in the woods with no idea of where you need to go because there’s no sun to light the way for you.

Even if situations don’t take a turn for the worse, a hunting GPS can still come in handy if you want to be more efficient. You will be able to find ideal hunting spots faster by referring to the GPS.

To learn more about how you can find the ideal hunting GPS, check out the different products and considerations that are included below.

Top 5 Hunting GPS Reviews

Garmin GPSMAP 64st

You don’t necessarily have to find yourself lost in the wilderness to find a GPS useful. Depending on what features it provides, a GPS may even enable you to coordinate a hunting trip better so that things will go smoothly.

This Garmin creation is an example of a GPS that will prove immensely helpful during the preparation process.

Its BaseCamp feature is a program that allows you to set specific routes and waypoints while also keeping your maps organized. You can use it to create a specific course for your hunting trip. Thanks to the included BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription, you should be able to create courses based on highly accurate data.

Since the routes you create using BaseCamp can be easily shared with friends, everyone involved in the trip can be briefed on the hunting route to take even on the day itself.

TOPO U.S. 100K maps are pre-loaded into this GPS. If that’s not enough, you can continue to add more. This GPS provides you with 8GB of internal memory and you can add to that by inserting an SD card.

You can also use either replaceable or rechargeable batteries inside this GPS.

The small-ish display does leave something to be desired though. Some users may struggle interpreting the data displayed by this GPS because of the 2.6-inch display.

Pros
  • Comes with the BaseCamp program
  • Bundled together with a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription
  • Offers 8GB of internal memory
  • Works with both replaceable and rechargeable batteries
Cons
  • Display is on the smaller side at just 2.6 inches

Garmin Montana 680t

More and more of the electronic devices we use today are starting to resemble smartphones. The GPS is no exception.

This Garmin creation comes pretty close to looking and functioning like a basic smartphone. Its design has been simplified so that it can fit easily in your hands. While it’s larger than most of the hunting GPS devices you’ll see on the market, it doesn’t cross over into the territory of becoming bulky.

It even comes with an 8-megapixel camera, although it’s a superfluous addition at best.

This GPS device is not just about being slick and cutting edge though. When it gets right down to it, you will be able to rely heavily on this GPS device for accurate navigation.

The Track Manager feature is a particularly nice addition that allows you to organize your routes while simultaneously keeping track of where you’re going. The tracking feature can be activated and deactivated whenever you want to.

With a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription and TOPO U.S. 100K maps included in this GPS, you will also have plenty of location data to use when it comes time for you to come up with routes using the Track Manager.

You can also view all of that easily via the 4-inch, dual-orientation display. Users can continue to interact with the screen even if they’re wearing gloves, which is a nice plus.

There’s no denying the fact that this Garmin GPS is an impressive device, but whether it’s worth nearly $500 is another matter altogether.

Pros
  • Sizable 4-inch display included
  • Touchscreen works even if you’re wearing gloves
  • Offers access to the Track Manager feature
  • You get a 1-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery
Cons
  • Price tag attached is remarkably high

Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator

When it comes to purchasing any piece of outdoor equipment, you always have to take into consideration the value proposition offered by the item in question. If it’s expensive, you have to determine if its features are good enough to justify the price. If it’s inexpensive, you have to check the features to see if they are still up to snuff.

This Garmin GPS device is a budget offering, and after checking out its features, you will likely conclude that its features remain more than helpful.

The BaseCamp feature that displays topographic map data is good for plotting out hunting routes. The TOPO 24K maps included also point to what you can expect to see once you’re exploring certain spots outdoors. The maps are very detailed.

3.7GB of internal memory are offered inside this GPS device, and if you need more room for additional maps, you can mount an SD card.

You will probably like this Garmin GPS a lot if it’s the first offering from the company you’ve ever used. If that’s not the case though, then you will probably find it lacking in a few ways.

There’s no free BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription provided.

The display, which measures at 2.2 inches, is also quite small. You will likely need some time to get used to it after working with the larger displays found on many other GPS devices.

From a value standpoint, this Garmin GPS is a smart purchase. However, those with money to spare may be better served investing in something else.

Pros
  • Grants access to the BaseCamp feature
  • Display remains easily readable under the sunlight
  • Easily affordable
  • Features detailed 24k TOPO U.S. maps
Cons
  • Display is very small at 2.2 inches

Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS

Evaluating this Garmin GPS device involves closely scrutinizing its display.

On the plus side, it’s 3-inches big, easily readable in the sunlight and you can continue to work with it even if you have some gloves on. The dual orientation capability is a welcome addition as it can make navigating easier. You also don’t have to worry about the screen cracking quickly as it can hold up to strong impact.

Unfortunately, the display is also quite sensitive. Your settings and maps can get all jumbled up if you’re not careful. It will take some time to get used to how sensitive the touchscreen is so that you can start using this GPS device more effectively.

You should know that the more detailed TOPO 24K maps are featured inside this GPS, but the free BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription is not.
Days before you set out on your hunting trip, you can make use of this GPS device’s BaseCamp feature to plan out your routes.

Feel free to bring this Garmin GPS with you even on extended excursions outdoors. Since it can operate using both replaceable AA batteries and the rechargeable NiMH batteries, you should be able to get plenty of service time out of this device.

You will be limited in terms of how many maps you can upload though. With only 1.5GB of internal memory to work with, you may not be able to include all the information you want to inside this GPS.

Pros
  • 3-inch screen can be used even with gloves on
  • Makes use of TOPO 24K maps
  • Compatible with both rechargeable and replaceable batteries
  • BaseCamp feature is installed
Cons
  • Screen can be overly sensitive
  • Only gives you 1.5GB of internal storage

Garmin Inreach Explorer+

At its core, a GPS device is a piece of safety equipment. You purchase one because you don’t want to end up lost in unfamiliar territory with all kinds of dangerous elements surrounding you.

When it comes to GPS devices designed with safety in mind, it’s hard to beat this offering from Garmin.

One of the standout features of this GPS device is that it allows for two-way text messaging from anywhere. If you were involved in some kind of accident and need help, you can pull this device out and text a loved one for assistance.

You do need a subscription to make use of that texting feature, but it’s a reasonable price to pay for some highly useful benefits.

If the situation turns really dire, you can activate this GPS device’s SOS function and alert the search and rescue monitoring center to what’s going on.

A cell tower is also not needed for those features to work. You can seek help no matter where you are as long as you are subscribed to the satellite service.

This GPS device also enables you to track and subsequently share your current location with your loved ones so that you can be found faster.
An issue worth highlighting regarding this GPS device is related to its user interface. It is very outdated. In emergency situations, you don’t want to fiddle around with a confusing UI.

This is also an expensive GPS device, but the safety features still make it a smart purchase.

Pros
  • Can send text messages even with no cell towers nearby
  • Comes with an SOS function
  • Device allows you to track and share your location
Cons
  • This GPS makes use of an outdated user interface

The Hunting GPS Buying Guide

To find out more about what you should see in a quality hunting GPS device, please take note of the upcoming considerations.

Display

It doesn’t really matter how many maps your GPS device can hold or how quickly it determines your current location if it can’t do one specific thing and that’s show information properly. That is precisely why the display size is so important when it comes to GPS devices.

If the screen on your GPS isn’t big enough, you won’t be able to interpret any of the information it is conveying.

At a bare minimum, the screen on your GPS device should be about 2-inches big. Anything smaller than that and you’ll be struggling to see the data. It would be better though if the device was outfitted with a screen larger than 3 inches.

Aside from the display size, you should also take note of how the screen performs under sunlight. You will want something that can remain readable regardless of how bright it is outside.

GPS devices with screens that can be used even while wearing gloves are also good to have if you’re hunting in cold weather environments.

Battery Life

Just as with any electronic device, the GPS is still bound to the power of the batteries it uses, and you will want very strong batteries inside this important piece of outdoor equipment.

The last thing you want is to find yourself in an unfamiliar location with a smartphone getting absolutely no reception and a GPS device with a drained battery.

A device compatible with a high-capacity battery would be great to have in your hunting kit.

Outside of that, you can also get plenty of uses out of GPS devices that are compatible with both replaceable and rechargeable batteries. Bring both types of batteries along during a hunting trip to ensure that you will never run out of power while you’re outdoors.

Memory

Even if you’re not planning to fill up your GPS device with photos, videos, and apps, you still want something that can provide a decent amount of internal storage.

GPS devices have to hold different kinds of data such as maps, custom routes, and caches among other things. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose between those things. An ideal GPS device will allow you to store all of those bits of information.

Try to look for a GPS device with at least 2GB of available internal storage space. Failing that, at least purchase a device that will support the use of an SD card.

Pre-Loaded Geocaches

Geocaching is a popular outdoor activity that is essentially a giant scavenger hunt.

The activity involves using a GPS-enabled device to head on over to a particular set of GPS coordinates. Upon reaching the location pinpointed by the coordinates, you can then look for a container that may contain goodies of some kind.

Many GPS devices already come pre-loaded with caches. If you intend to use your GPS device for the aforementioned activity, it’s best to have one with pre-loaded caches so that you don’t have to waste time going through papers containing coordinates.

FAQs On Hunting GPS

What is GLONASS and should it be present in a GPS device?

Many of the GPS devices available today are offered with a whole host of advanced features, but one in particular that may catch your eye is GLONASS. To be more specific, you may see that some GPS devices also come equipped with a GLONASS receiver.

But what is GLONASS in the first place?

GLONASS is actually an acronym for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema. In case you’re wondering, that translates to Global Navigation Satellite System.

GLONASS is essentially the Russian equivalent of GPS.

That revelation may just bring up another question. More specifically, you may now be wondering why GPS devices come with GLONASS receivers.
The answer to that is very simple. When used apart, GPS and GLONASS have their own strengths and weaknesses. By featuring the two in the same device, you are essentially getting the best of both worlds while patching up their weaknesses in the process.

To put it simply, you do want to see a GLONASS receiver in your GPS device because that means the item you’re using is going to be better at its intended function.

What’s the difference between TOPO U.S. 100K and 24K maps?

It’s common for manufacturers to offer GPS devices that come pre-loaded with TOPO U.S. maps and that’s a good thing. Having a GPS device that already arrives pre-programmed with maps for you to use should make planning and navigating way more manageable tasks.

Notably though, the maps manufacturers pre-load into their devices are not of equal quality. Some will pre-load TOPO U.S. 100K maps and others may feature 24K maps.

Someone who is relatively new to the world of GPS devices may instinctively think that the items loaded with 100K maps are better presumably because they offer more accurate maps. That is not the case in this particular situation however.

100K and 24K are not indicators of how many maps there are. They are indicators of the scale of the maps.

1:100,000 maps are less detailed. They will provide you with a general outline of a larger area, but the map will also show fewer features. 100K maps are not great for plotting out specific routes.

On the other hand, the 1:24,000 maps present greater detail. You should be able to see roads and trails on them, provided that the display on your device is of good quality.

Even if you’re planning to use your GPS device in different parts of the country, you should still prioritize purchasing one that is pre-loaded with TOPO U.S. 24K maps because that item will prove more helpful in the long run.

Why do you need to purchase a dedicated GPS device when smartphones already have GPS?

Tell someone you’re on the market for a new hunting GPS and inevitably, you will be asked why you are even bothering to get one when the smartphone in your pocket already has GPS capabilities.

It’s not hard to understand why people pose those questions. For people who have never used a GPS device, it’s difficult to appreciate how helpful it can really be.

The benefits of using a dedicated GPS device over what a smartphone features are numerous.

For one, GPS devices don’t need nearby cell towers to tell you where you’re currently located. Some even feature the capability to send and receive text messages without the help of cell towers.

Furthermore, GPS devices can also offer pre-loaded features that will take a long time for you to find and download if you’re just using a smartphone.

Using a smartphone as your GPS device is fine if you’re just driving around. However, if you’re going to spend a long time in the wilderness where cell reception is spotty at best, a GPS device is what you need.