Binoculars are a central part of any respecting hunter’s kitbag. Being able to see prey over long distances is vital for tracking and eventually getting the kill.
A hunter might need to see across wide fields, valleys, plains, and forests in order to track the animal they’re looking for.
This is all part of the fun, thrill, and ritual of working for your food – but that’s not to say it’s easy.
Birds of prey and other predators have eyesight that has been tailored over years of evolution to single in on small objects in the distance – but as humans, we have eyes that are evolved for many other things.
Whilst we might not have the most impressive eyesight in the animal kingdom – what we do have are big brains that can invent things to help us.
That’s where binoculars specifically for hunting come in. There are specific magnification specs that you’ll need to buy to make sure you can see over vast distances when you’re out there in the wilderness.
So you’re looking for binoculars that will help you out on your hunts – but there are so many options! You’re a hunter, not an expert on binoculars – how can you know which pair will be the best for you?
What Is The Best Magnification For The Kind Of Prey You’re Tracking?
And what about accessories – are extras like tripods really important? If you find yourself overwhelmed then don’t worry! We are here to help you with that.
This article has been created to guide you through the world of binoculars – we’ll take you through 5 of the best on the market, summing each one up with a to-the-point list of pros and cons.
We’ve also included an extensive buyers guide, written to break down each common feature of binoculars for you to consider – as well as a handy Frequently Asked Questions section to answer any of the more in-depth questions you might have by the end.
So let’s magnify the buying process and begin!
What Do Binoculars Do For A Hunter?
Although shotgun, rifle, or bow are the most common weapons to make a kill – you will often need a better pair of eyes.
Buying a good pair of binoculars that are properly suited to the kind of prey you’re hunting will allow you to properly identify that you’re making the right kill.
It’s important to practice ethical hunting, and getting a good look at the prey from a distance before taking a shot is something you should always consider.
The other main reason that binoculars are helpful for a hunter is when determining the kind of landscape around you.
Hunting often means hiking, and a good understanding of the terrain around you is vital for safety, as well as successfully tailing an animal that you want to bring home as food, or a trophy.
Binoculars allow you to get a proper look around before making any commitments, which is great for the cautious, calculated hunter!
Best Binoculars For Deer
When hunting deer, you’ll need binoculars that are full-sized and can see up to great distances.
Below are two options we think would be great for those looking to hunt deer – the first being a more lightweight option, the second something a little bulkier.
If you’re looking for a pair of binoculars that are lightweight and easy to carry around with you, but also offering incredible clarity – then these Vortex Crossfires might be the one for you.
With 10x magnification and 42mm lenses, this pair of binoculars has been made for great images over vast distances.
We found them to be very impressive considering their size, and a great, lightweight companion that would be very easy to take out on hunts.
They have adjustable eyecups that mean no matter the shape of your face, it’s likely these binoculars will be comfortable for you.
They are also covered in a tight layer of rubber armor, which means two things – first of all, they are unlikely to slip out of your hand, and secondly, they have strong protection against collision.
- Clarity – Great clarity for their size and good resolution.
- Eye Cups – very comfortable and adjustable to different types of faces.
- Water/fog protection – allows for protection against fogging-up in various climates.
- Focusing – sometimes difficult to focus over vast distances, which can be frustrating.
- 10x magnification & 42mm objective lenses, these Crossfire HD binos are optimized with select glass elements to deliver exceptional resolution, cut chromatic aberration and provide outstanding color fidelity, edge-to-edge sharpness and light transmission.
- Fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Roof prism design is valued for greater durability and a more compact size.
- Adjustable eyecups twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses. Center focus wheel adjusts the focus of both binocular barrels at the same time. Diopter (located on right eyepiece) adjusts for differences in a user's eyes.
- Rubber armor provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable external protection. Binoculars are tripod adaptable allowing use on a tripod or car window mount.
- Nitrogen purging and o-ring seals provide water and fogproof performance in all environments. Rugged construction withstands recoil and impact.
It would be hard to make this list without adding Vortex on more than once. They’re a great company that has a whole range of sleek, simplistic, and powerful Binoculars in their listing.
These Diamondbacks are sure to be any hunter’s dream, with many options in terms of style, but with the same kind of sturdy design quality and features.
Diamondbacks are all about incredible resolution without being too bulky. We found these binoculars to have some of the most impressive picture that we had ever seen, with great clarity of color.
Like almost all other Vortex binoculars, they are coated with the same rubber armor and adjustable, twisting eyecups that allow your eyes to be comfortable no matter what.
For their size and affordability, you most likely won’t find another pair of binoculars that have the same kind of clarity of image.
- Image – great clarity and color fidelity.
- Size – lightweight and easy to carry around with you.
- Case – well-made case with included chest straps.
- Quality – not as high quality as other state-of-the-art binoculars.
- 10x magnification & 42mm objective lenses, these Diamondback HD binos are optimized with select glass elements to deliver exceptional resolution, cut chromatic aberration and provide outstanding color fidelity, sharpness and light transmission
- Fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission with anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Dielectric coating provides bright, clear, color-accurate images. Armortek coating protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt
- Adjustable eyecups twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses. Center focus wheel adjusts the focus of both binocular barrels at the same time. Diopter (located on right Eyepiece) adjusts for differences in a user's eyes.
- Rubber armor provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable external protection. Binoculars are tripod adaptable allowing use on a tripod or car window mount.
- Argon purging and O-ring seals provide water and fog proof performance in all environments. Rugged construction withstands recoil and impact. Includes glass Pak harness.
Best Binoculars For Elk
For Elk, we recommend having binoculars that have a more all-around quality.
You will need something for spotting them over great distances, but also something that will allow you to get a better look if you’re up close.
Here are some of the best binoculars we could find for if you’re specifically hunting Elk.
These are great binoculars if you’re looking for something simplistic but powerful. They have great quality for fast-moving objects – like Elk across a valley, for example.
These binoculars also have night vision, which allows you to have good visibility even when the wilderness goes dark and you’re still trying to get the kill.
One thing we found particularly great about these binoculars is their ease of focus – we found that when trying to quickly focus on an object in the distance, these binoculars got it done faster than some of the others we tried.
We mostly suggest these binoculars for beginner to intermediate users – so if you’re looking for something much more complex, these might not be the ones for you.
- Picture – great picture quality for their size and simplicity, though not as great as more state-of-the-art binoculars.
- Adjustable – easily adjustable.
- Focus – Quick to focus.
- Night vision – the picture isn’t bad during low-light.
- Protection – no rubber armor, makes them feel a little dangerous.
- Comfortability – less comfortable than others we found, mostly because of a lack of specific features that make fit easier to your eyes.
- [Professional Powerful Binoculars] SkyGenius 10 x 50 Binoculars Designed with 10X power magnification, 50mm large objective lens, and 367ft/1000yds large field of view are ideal for fast-moving subjects such as bird watching, driving, sports events
- [Weak Light Vision with Quality Optics] Design of Aspherical lenses and multi-layer coating guarantee excellent light transmission and well improve image brightness, contrast, and quality. birding binoculars can be used at night, but not in complete darkness
- [Durable, Solid and Anti-slip Grip] Durable structure with odorless rubber armor for shock-resistance and Anti-slip grip, making it not only in decent appearance of more wear-resistant, but also perfect for outdoor activities such as climbing, hiking
- [Easy to Focus] Corrective optical coating are great for color fidelity and minimize distortion. Diopter System adjusting the imbalance vision of both eyes. The smooth and large center focus knob makes it simple to operate and easy to focus (Adaptable to tripod). Note: Product list: 1 * Binocular, 1 * Bag, 1 * Strap, 1 * Cleaning cloth , 4 * lens caps, but not including tripod.
- [Adjustable Eye Cups] The rubber covered eyepiece can be twisted up and down for different people adjusting a proper eye relief. The eyeglass wearers can adjust the eye relief through rising eye cups and feel more comfortable
If you’re looking for something a little more sturdy and complex, we recommend these Trophy Roof Binoculars by Bushnell.
They are green in color and made of a sturdy rubber, which makes them both waterproof and protected from damage. They have also been protected against fogging up with sealed eye rings and nitrogen.
This set of binoculars also comes with a harness that allows you to keep them off your neck – no heavy, hanging pair of binoculars that you’ll have to lug around with you.
We recommend these binoculars if you’re looking for something tough that will last you for a long time, especially if you hunt all year round in a variety of different weather conditions.
- Sturdy – tough binoculars with thick rubber armor.
- Picture – good picture, with sharp clarity.
- Value – great value considering their quality.
- Heavy – rather bulky binoculars for their power level.
- Bundle includes the Trophy XLT Roof Prism Binoculars, 10x42 millilitre(Bone Collector Edition) + Deluxe Binocular Harness
- Fully multi coated optics deliver ultra bright, razor sharp images
- O ring sealed and nitrogen purged for 100% waterproof/fog proof dependability
- Fast focus center focus wheel, 15.2 milliliter eye relief and only 25 ounce
- Deluxe binocular harness keeps the weight off of your neck and keeps your optics front and center
We wanted to add one more section to show you an example of binoculars with great optics. What this means is a state-of-the-art picture.
Whilst these might be a bit of a worry to take out on a difficult hunting trip with you, it’s worth showing you the option in case you were looking for something that is very high quality.
These are some really great, clear binoculars. They are the winner of the National Geographic Adventure Gear of the Year award, and as soon as you get a look down at them you’ll understand why.
Their optics give you incredible color quality and depth of field, with ED glass which means true color. We found them to be great at all different qualities of light, including darker times like twilight.
They’re also remarkably easy on your eyes. If you need something that will treat you well on long hunting expeditions, these are going to be great for you.
This is partly due to their fast focusing speed, which lets you lock onto clear images without much difficulty or time.
- Optics – extremely crisp and clear optics with true color.
- Comfortability – comfortable on your eyes.
- Fast focus – very fast focus which lets your eyes adjust easily.
- Not many cons with these!
Also available here
- This powerful binocular features a well-balanced lightweight polymer frame, extra low-dispersion (ED) glass, and fully multi-coated lenses for an exceptionally clear, bright, high-contrast image with excellent color reproduction.
- Because of our direct-to-consumer, no retail-markup business model, you know you’ll be getting the best binocular for your buck.
- The C.1 features crystal clear extra low-dispersion (ED) glass, fully multi-coated lenses, and a durable, yet lightweight polymer frame.
- Waterproof, fogproof, and scratch resistant lens coatings will ensure unimpeded field use.
- Maven optics are made with a commitment to you, our customer. All Maven optics come with an unconditional life-time warranty. If your optic becomes damaged or is at all defective (not including deliberate or cosmetic damage that does not hinder product performance), contact us immediately for repair or replacement. We don’t care where or when you bought it or if it was your fault or not – if it's Mavenbuilt, we will take care of it.
So now that we’ve walked you through some of the best binoculars that we could find, it’s important to define why we made the choices that we did.
Below is a series of categories that are vital to consider when browsing either online or in stores for your perfect pair of hunting binoculars.
Magnification is not just as simple as how far your lenses will see. This is an easy mistake you can make when buying a pair of binoculars.
You don’t want something that will just see far, you want a magnification that is suitable for the kind of distance you’re trying to get a clear image of.
For example, if you’re only likely to be hunting your prey over short distances, there is absolutely no point in getting an extremely large magnification. In fact – this is likely to do you more harm than good.
For hunting, we suggest buying binoculars that have 8-10x at minimum magnification.
Make sure you double-check the kind of ranges you’ll need to cover before you go shopping for binoculars.
It’s also worth noting that there is a specific relationship between magnification and field of view. This is simple – the higher the magnification of your binoculars – the less your field of view.
This can have profound effects depending on the information you’re trying to gather with your binoculars, so this is also worth considering.
Generally, you are going to want at least some field of view when out in the wilderness, surveying large distances.
This is one of the most important factors of a pair of binoculars. Consider this – you’re out in the wilderness and you feel as if you’re close to tracking the game you’re searching for.
In the distance you see something moving, but are not sure if it is the animal you’re looking for.
You need to get your binoculars fast so make sure you can get a clear image – but when you look down at them and try to focus on the appropriate distance, they take too long and the animal gets away!
This is the exact situation you will want to avoid, and the reason why fast focus speed on a pair of binoculars is vital. The other reason why focus speed is so important is that it can affect how comfortable the pair of binoculars ends up being.
The human eye does not like unfocused magnification – it hurts us and can make us get a headache.
Having a pair of binoculars that can quickly focus will go a long way in the overall comfortability of your experience.
You can double-check the focus speed before making your purchase in a few ways.
Firstly, you will want to see what other customers have said about it – this is usually something that will be pointed out by disgruntled customers if it is bad.
The second way in which you can check si by the quality of the lenses. Generally, if you have a pair of binoculars in your hand we recommend testing out the focusing speed at different distances.
Different binoculars have different levels of protection. When you take your binoculars out on a hunt, there will be times when you need to move fast, even with all of your kit.
There are also times when you will have to traverse difficult terrain. Through all of this, you are going to want a pair of binoculars that have good durability.
Thankfully, most binoculars that are made specifically for hunting, or for being out in the wild, have a solution to this.
Generally, we found that rubber armor is the best for your binoculars. This does two separate things.
Firstly it allows you to have good protection for your binoculars should you drop them or they somehow collide with harsh surfaces.
Secondly, it allows an easier grip. The rubber binoculars we looked at were much easier to keep a hold of, compared to others.
Making sure you buy a pair of binoculars with suitable protection to fit the kind of journey you’ll be embarking on is something you should certainly keep in mind!
Another thing worth keeping in mind is the kind of accessories you’ll be getting with your binoculars. Often, higher-market binoculars tend to include a bag or straps with them, as a courtesy to the customer – but this doesn’t mean that they are of high quality.
As a hunter, you will need a few accessories with your binoculars.
First off you will probably want straps or a harness. Straps are fine enough to hang down over your neck, but this can be very uncomfortable over long periods.
This is why we generally recommend getting a harness with your binoculars – harnesses are usually attached to your chest and allow easy access to your binoculars at any time, without the pain of having them hanging down off of your neck.
Another accessory worth considering, and sometimes included with binoculars is a tripod.
A tripod can be a great addition to your hunting trip, especially if you are pitching up at a specific spot, and would like an elevated pair of binoculars to look through from time to time.
Below is a short FAQ section that will answer some of the most common questions relating to binoculars and hunting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Magnification Is Best For Hunting?
This depends on firstly what you are hunting, and secondly the distances in which you are following it.
That said, we generally recommend that you look for binoculars between 7-12x magnification, with the sweet spot for most situations being between 8 and 10x.
This will ensure that you have enough field of view, but also enough magnification to see small movements. The larger the magnification the more likely you are to need a tripod to keep your optics steady.
Are Tripods Good For Hunting?
Tripods can be used for two main reasons when hunting. Firstly, they allow better clarity when mounting your binoculars.
At magnification above 10x especially, any tiny movement that you make will affect the clarity of the image, so it’s best if you have something artificial to give your binoculars stability.
You can also use a tripod for mounting your rifle if you are using firearms to hunt with.
Are Binoculars Needed For Bow Hunting?
In a lot of ways, it’s more important to have binoculars for bow hunting than it is to have them if you’re using a rifle.
Rifles often have magnified scopes which can be used to judge range and get a better look into the distance – you won’t have this kind of innate magnification with a bow.
A good pair of binoculars is vital for bow hunting and we recommend getting a good pair to go along with your bow and arrows!
Are Night Vision Binoculars Good?
Binoculars with night vision can vary hugely in their quality. Night vision binoculars often have additional electrical components, which make them much larger than normal binoculars and weightier.
Generally, if you’re looking for intense clarity in the darkest of environments, you are going to have to pay higher amounts of money.
Night vision binoculars are a lot more complex pieces of equipment, made for specialized hunting during the nighttime. In recent years night vision binoculars have become more powerful and impressive, so there are lots of options available.
We hope that our guide has helped you to understand some of the best binoculars for hunting that are available for you. We’ve made sure to include a range of different binoculars, with different intentions in mind.
The most important thing to consider when shopping for binoculars before your hunting trip is the kind of animal you’ll be hunting, and the terrain around you.
Providing you keep these in mind, you are likely to make informed choices to find an ocular companion that will be a great friend on your hunts.
We hope that you find the perfect binoculars for hunting, and wish you the absolute best on your next hunting adventure!