Best 2-Way Radios for Hunting (Updated 2017)

Best 2-Way Radios for Hunting. Most hunters enjoy the challenge of heading into the woods due to which hunting is a popular pastime. However, if you go with a group, there are some communication issues that can interfere with everyone’s ability to hunt game. So it is important to invest in 2-way radios for people who prefer to hunt in pairs or large groups. Some of the best 2-way radios for hunting which are going to look at in this article are:

Why Use a 2-Way Radio?

Some hunters tend to use cell phones and text message, but I believe it is not the best way to communicate while on a hunting trip. While cell phones don’t make noise, but it is limited otherwise. For instance, you need to look down when sending text messages, and would probably miss the buck passing by. Also, you can talk only to one person at a time using cell phones whereas 2-way radios allow you to talk to your entire group at the same time.

There are some essential tips which you need to follow to make most out of your two-way radios:

  • Read instructions and user manual carefully
  • While hunting, find a channel which has less chatter
  • Always use an earpiece
  • Familiarize yourself with the emergency alert button

Best 2-Way Radios for Hunting

Evaluating the best two-way radios for hunting trips requires research and careful consideration of your priorities as they can make a difference to your final purchase decision.

Similarly, evaluating the personal experience of other hunters also goes a long way. This is because, despite the claims on the box, most 2-way radios do not have the same reach in wooded terrain that they report having. This means your efforts to stay in touch with group members as they head further afield will be unsuccessful.

It is also important to keep in mind that relaying the location of the game via electronic devices is illegal in some states. It is important to be aware of local laws and use your 2-way radios appropriately to avoid fines or other penalties from legal agencies.

Some of the important points to consider while evaluating two-way radios are:

  • Durability
  • Water Resistance
  • Range
  • Quality of Headset
  • Weather Information
  • Battery Life
  • Privacy Codes

Durability

Hunting involves navigating rough terrain, water sources and various other challenging paths, usually in weather that is wet or cold – or both. People get cold and fingers get clumsy. You might have an adrenaline rush when hunting and the related jitters and high energy level.  For these reasons, it is normal for equipment to fall or get dropped during hunting trips

A good 2-way radio should be able to withstand being dropped from a height (like a tree stand), or onto a hard surface like a rock or being under a heavyweight if a person falls on the pocket holding the radio. For that reason, the radios that are made to withstand pressure have a higher chance of surviving a fall against a hard surface or from a height to the ground.

Water Resistance

Dealing with water crossings and inclement weather, like rain and snow is par for the course on a hunting trip. A two-way radio will also be used in the rain or snow and exposed to precipitation. It also could be dropped during a water crossing. Therefore, it is desirable to have a radio that can withstand a high level of water exposure.

Range

Radios boast of ranges that reach as far as 50 miles. However, this range is not tested in hilly terrain and therefore, it is a good idea to consider personal anecdotes from anyone who hunts in the same area where you are planning your trip. This will give you a far more realistic view of the range to expect from a specific set, brand or variety of two-way radio.

Quality of Headset

Using two-way radios is helpful to keep in touch with others in your hunting party. However, they are not helpful when a loud beep or static unexpectedly comes across, scaring away game in the area. Therefore, a good quality radio should link effectively with a headset, allowing you to stay in touch with the group and keep unexpected noise to a minimum.

A good headset will be comfortable to wear and will also connect with the radio reliably. The quality of the headset is an important factor to consider while selecting the best 2-way radio for hunting trips.

Weather Information

NOAA weather channels can be very important in areas where the weather changes quickly and a warning can make the difference between getting in safely and being lost and risking illness, injury or death. A radio with a NOAA weather channel included will be important for the safety of your entire group.

Battery Life

It is essential that the battery of the two-way radio lasts through your hunting trip. For those who expect to get in a full day of hunting, it is important that the battery supports over 8 to 12 hours of woods time.

Privacy Codes

Some two-way radios come equipped with a set of privacy codes that can be used on each channel. This keeps communication within the group and cuts down on traffic from other hunters who may be in the same area and also using two-way radios for their communication.

The use of privacy codes on a specific channel will also make sure you are only talking to someone in your group, rather than a stranger.

Now let’s start looking at some of the best 2-way radios for hunting which we have shortlisted for you:

BaoFeng BF-F8HP

UV-5R 3rd Gen 8-Watt dual band two-way radio (136-174MHz VHF & 400-520MHz UHF) includes a full kit with a large battery.

This dual-band radio offers three power levels: UV-5R High at 4W, with a battery life of 18 hours, BF-F8HP at 8W, with a battery life of 20 hours and BF-F8HP Mid at 5W and with a battery life of 24 hours. This radio comes with an in-depth manual and extensive customer service support.

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Key features:

  • Most powerful BaoFeng model with 8 watts output power
  • Hardened durable radio shell
  • Large battery size
  • Customizable tri-color display

The radio comes with:

  • 2000mAh battery
  • Antenna
  • Belt clip
  • Hand strap
  • Earpiece
  • Desktop charger
  • An in-depth user’s manual

The extended battery life and high output power make this a great radio that is preferred by those who like the BaoFeng line of radios.

I have found these radios to be useful when I have other UV-5R accessories since they will work with this generation of radio and those previously made. However, the use of these radios in an area where you need privacy codes can be a hassle, since other hunting groups can overhear your group communication.

You can watch the complete review here:

Midland GXT1000VP4

36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio

These radios offer 22 channels and 142 privacy codes to keep communication just between you and a partner out hunting.

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Key features:

  • JIS4 waterproof
  • NOAA weather alert
  • SOS siren

The radio comes with:

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Desktop charger
  • AC wall adapter
  • DC (vehicle) adapter
  • Headsets
  • Pair of mic headsets
  • Belt clips

Midland’s GXT1000VP4 two-way, 22-channel radios are designed in a rugged, weatherproof package and with a range up to 36 miles; they are perfect for almost any hunting adventure.

The radios offer clear communication and a clear sound. They also offer a comfortable grip for all users. They have a reliable belt clip that stays attached when it is needed and can be removed when you need it to be. Using these radios in remote areas where cell service is non-existent has satisfactory results, as does a cross-country trip when there are two vehicles that need to communicate.

The only potential downside is the rechargeable batteries included with the pack may not last 12 hours.

Personally, I found these to be very reliable for use by pairs. We used them in remote areas at a camp and also during a trip across two states in two separate vehicles.

You can watch the review video here:

Retevis H-777 Two-Way Radio (10 Pack)

Long range UHF 400-470MHz signal frequency single band 16 CH walkie talkies with an original earpiece.

This radio offers 16 channels, voice prompt, and a built-in LED flashlight.

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Key features:

  • Voice prompt
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Extreme value for money

The radio comes with:

  • Antenna
  • 1500mAh battery
  • Belt clip
  • Hand strap
  • Earpiece
  • An owner’s manual

These radios offer privacy codes to keep communication within the group. They are covered by a one-year warranty and offer a 30-day return for no reason clause. The Retevis locks out busy channels and has an emergency alarm feature.

The battery withstands moderate use for longer periods making these extremely useful for groups that are going to be out a full day for the trip.

Personally, as a hunter, I find the features of this radio to be highly appealing. I have been hunting in groups where the emergency alarm would have been beneficial, as we had a group member break a leg and struggle to get in touch with others to come to his aid. I also think the privacy codes make a big difference. One area where my group hunts occasionally have other hunters present, so the privacy codes ensure we keep our communication within our group and avoid confusion.

One potential downfall is that antennas tend to wear out or break easily. However, if you are willing to buy the replacement antennas then these radios are well worth the investment for an entire group.

Here is a video demonstrating Retevis H-777:

Conclusion

I hope you like our pick of the best 2-way radios for hunting. All of these radios provide quality accessories and earpieces that connect reliably to the radio. This ensures privacy and a better quality of sound across longer distances.

List of Best 2-Way Radios for Hunting

Again, all these radios are easy to use and will keep the group in communication over a moderate distance in hilly terrain and can stand up to the weather and abuse. Investment in any of these two-way hunting radios is completely worth for this season and those to come.