Nikon Arrow ID 3000 - Budget Bowhunting Rangefinder
The Nikon Arrow ID 3000 is a new bowhunting rangefinder that builds on the success of past Nikon models. In size and appearance it reminds us of the popular Nikon Aculon budget rangefinder; however its more advanced feature set is more reminiscent of the Prostaff and Riflehunter models. So did this combination of models plus a few new twists produce a worthy archery rangefinder?
The housing on the Nikon Arrow ID 3000 rangefinder is very similar in appearance and quite likely the same as used on the Nikon Aculon with both having the same look and ultra compact physical dimensions. It is worth noting that while some pictures make this rangefinder look black it is actually a very dark green. At the rear of the unit is an adjustable eyepiece to focus the rangefinder to your eyes and directly below the eyepiece is the battery compartment. The top of the unit has two buttons for operation. The power/range button is nearest the eyepiece, while the mode button is closer to the objective lens and is only used when changing settings.
True Horizontal Range
The Arrow ID 3000 comes with Nikon’s ID technology which stands for Incline/Decline, and as you might have guessed is their version of angel compensation. This ID technology gives you the true horizontal range to the target or in other words the “shoot as” distance to the target. For most hunters this true horizontal distance only comes into play on rare occasion when the angle of the shot is very steep. Bowhunters on the other hand often encounter these severe angle shots when hunting from a treestand, here even a small differences in line of sight yardage and true horizontal range can be a problem when using archery equipment.
Nikon equipped its Arrow ID 3000 with their Tru-Target technology. This feature lets the user choose how the unit should handle a split reading by setting the unit to either First or Distant mode. A split reading occurs when the rangefinder picks up more than one object while ranging. So for example if this rangefinder hits a branch at 15 yards and a deer at 50 yards on one press of the button, the range it returns depends on the mode you have it set in. When bowhunting we are often ranging through branches, grass, or bushes as we try and get close enough to make a shot, so the Distant mode almost always makes the most sense. So in this example when the rangefinder is set to Distant mode it would return 50 yards the distance to the deer. Conversely, if set to First Target priority the rangefinder would have returned 15 yards, the distance to the branch.
While the housing borrows heavily from the Nikon Aculon and the ID and Tru-Target priority modes come from their higher end Prostaff and Riflehunter models, the 4x magnification is new for a Nikon rangefinder. Often when using a rangefinder having a little extra magnification is a good thing especially when trying to range small targets at several hundred yards. However, with bow hunting we are usually doing the exact opposite, which is ranging a relatively large animal like a deer at close range. Here a lower power rangefinder offers more field of view and makes finding and ranging a large or moving animal easier. Although, a higher magnification like 6x isn’t a deal breaker as many people have used 6x or higher power rangefinders successfully for archery hunting. That said, all else equal for a bowhunting rangefinder we will take less magnification like 4x and more field of view if we can get it.
Set Up and Use
As mentioned earlier settings are changed by way of the two buttons on top of the unit and is the only time the “mode” button is used. Your options include: yards or meters, line of sight or angle compensated distances, and First or Distant target priority. For most of us we will set the unit up to measure in yards, angle compensated distances, and Distant priority and not frequently or ever change these settings. To use the rangefinder simply press the power/range button once to turn on the display and then press once to range a target and the distance will be displayed. The Nikon Arrow ID 3000 is also equipped with a continuous range mode. To use this continuous mode, or scan as it is sometimes called, simply press and hold the power/range button and the display will update the range info as you move from target to target for up to eight seconds.
The Arrow Id 3000 features a black LCD display and measures distance to the nearest whole yard. Nikon lists the max range as 550 yards which easily covers all bowhunting ranges. The display screen is pretty uncluttered in true Nikon rangefinder fashion; however the distance is now reported underneath the reticle as opposed to above it like on other Nikon models. The unit also displays the distance to the nearest whole yard or meter with +/- 1 yard accuracy out to 100 yards. The display will put a “Y” or “M” after the range to let you know if you are ranging in yards or meters. Next, toward the bottom of the display the letters “ang” show when the unit is in the ID angle compensated mode. Finally, the rangefinder display also lets you know wether you are in First or Distant target priority mode by way of a small icon.
With the word Arrow right in the name of the rangefinder it is pretty obvious that this unit was designed for bowhunting. However, because of its feature set it should also work pretty well for the occasional rifle hunt or target shooting session assuming the ranges don’t get too extreme. Also, while not as efficient as the rangefinders designed for golf; the Nikon Arrow ID could probably get you through a round of golf every now and again. Just be sure to set it to First Target priority and utilize the scan mode to have it working as much in your favor as possible for this use.
The Nikon Arrow ID 3000 has all the features and technology a good bowhunting rangefinder should have and not a bunch of unnecessary modes and options it doesn’t need. Angle compensation for those steep angle shots, distant target priority for ranging through cover, and 4x magnification for a wide field of view to help locate large targets quickly at close ranges; not really a whole lot more you could ask for in an archery rangefinder … well except for an affordable price. Good news on that front as well, Nikon managed to keep the price on the Arrow ID 3000 to under $200.
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