...your guide to using optics.

Choosing Binoculars for Hunting

Any hunter who has spent much time in a deer stand, climbing the Rockies searching for elk, or even calling turkeys in a spring forest is aware that using binoculars can improve the odds of success as well as simply increase the enjoyment of the outdoor experience. Properly using binoculars will open your eyes to animals and scenery you may have never noticed otherwise.

A good pair of binoculars can be a lifetime purchase, and will provide you years of pleasure. So when you’re looking for a binocular best suited for hunting, consider low light performance to be a key qualification.   After all, a hunter can expect game to be most active at dawn and dusk.  For this reason, most hunters prefer full sized binoculars with 42-50mm objective lenses.

When it comes to magnification, much will depend on the terrain and game you are hunting.    The wide field of view provided by lower power binoculars (8x or 7x) is great for scanning wooded tree lines and agricultural fields for deer and turkey.  With a wide angle binocular, you’re more likely to see that trophy buck lurking around on the edges of the herd. 

When hunting game in open areas with little cover such as the mountains of Wyoming and Alaska, you’re going to get the best views at a distance with 10x binoculars.  A popular size binocular for a lot of western hunters is a 15x56.  Keep in mind that at magnifications above 10x, binoculars become difficult hold steady without degrading the image quality unless you’re using a tripod.

Durability and ruggedness should also be a key component for a binocular that is expected to perform in unpredictable weather conditions and in remote areas.  A roof prism binocular is going to hold up better to high moisture and various degrees of impact better than the traditional porro prism style binoculars.  Almost all roof prism binoculars on the market these days are waterproof and internally fog proof.  Fogproof binoculars will be purged internally with an inert gas such as nitrogen or argon. 

Link: Our top binocular picks for hunting.

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