Out in the wild, with a hunting rifle in one hand and a pair of binoculars in the other, stealth is key for a good shot and for survival. Camping a few miles away amongst feeding deer, you’re camouflaged behind the bushes with your weapon on target, your finger on the trigger, and your eyes on the mark. You miss, and all that patience goes to waste. How could have this been prevented? A pair of the best binoculars for hunting is the answer. If you had a great set in your possession, you would’ve had a better sight on the target due to higher magnification plus the proper way of shooting and that deer would’ve been your prize.
|First Choice||Leupold 116723 Yosemite Binoculars||$$||5/5|
|Second Choice||Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x 42mm Roof Prism Binocular, Realtree AP Camo||$$$||4.6/5|
|Third Choice||Nikon 7295 Monarch ATB 10x42 Binocular||$$$||4.6/5|
|Fourth Choice||BARSKA X-Trail 20x80 Binocular with Braced-in Tripod Adapter||$$$||4/5|
With hunting seasons always right around the corner, a pair of hunting binoculars will not only strengthen your arsenal but will also serve the purpose of a lookout against predators and locator of fast-moving prey by bringing long range objects up close to you. However, there are many things you need to consider before purchasing them.
Features of Good Hunting Binoculars
Many features must be considered when you’re searching for the right pair of binoculars before purchase. Hunting binoculars are designed to stay by your side as you master the wilderness. They’re modeled to be light as possible and are designed to camouflage into your surroundings. Trophy-winning binoculars must have a list of qualities that assist you during the hunt. These features include:
- Excellent magnification
- A wide field of view
- Durable, protected lenses
- Relative brightness
- Eye relief
Magnification refers to how enlarged an image is through the lenses compared to its actual size. Binoculars function to bring distant things into a clear, close-up view. For hunting, 8x to 12x magnifications are ideal; these numbers mean the animal you’re looking at will appear eight times or twelve times larger than it is in real life (the number before the “x” in binocular numbers you see simply refers to how many times the image is magnified). However, increasing the magnification reduces the field of view. This is the side-to-side measurement of the circular viewing field. It is defined by the width in feet or meters of the area visible at 1000 yards or 1000 meters. For hunting, a large field of view is required. Hunting binocular offers wide-angle eyepieces to increase the field of view compared to normal eyepieces.
The lenses used must be anti-reflective and waterproof. If you’re hunting during the day when the sun is shining brightly, it’s necessary that the lenses do not reflect light and make usage harmful to your eyes. Nor should using the binoculars under humid conditions make the lenses fog up from inside.
The eye relief is the distance of your eye from the lens. A good hunting binocular set should have adjustable eye relief for those who wear spectacles. Without this, people with glasses can’t see well. The most fundamental of all though is how cost-effective the device is. Does it fit in your budget and still represent quality? Good binoculars will provide you all of these elements, so check out how some of the best stack up below.
These binoculars carry high precision and a smart design. They’re designed particularly for people with small hands and faces who find it cumbersome to use larger models. The pair comes in at a reasonable price of $100. Features include:
- Multicoated contacts for optimum brightness
- Twist-up eyecups for comfort as well as convenience
- Fog-proof and waterproof with regard to durability as well as clarity within harsh conditions
- Close-focus distance of 10 feet
- Excellent value for the price
- Very quick, smooth focus
- Set comes with a padded case, padded neck strap, and lens-cleaning cloth
- Great for spotting moving animals
- Restricted magnification of 10x
- Many customers find these small
- Sometimes you have to squint to see through these
For the most part, these Leupolds represent great value for the cost. They’re best suited to teenagers or smaller adults who will be able to see better through them; people who are average-sized and above may have trouble with the eye relief not being broad enough. If you’re just learning to use binoculars while hunting, these can make a great pair to train on.
Featuring the Yosemite Binocular, here is a short video that adds more information to our current review.
It is a reliable hunting binocular which will greatly assist you and further improve your hunting skills.
The Nikon Monarch features a professional roof-prism optical design. It includes Nikon’s unique Eco-Glass for all lenses as well as prism components. This results in improved low-light brightness, edge-to-edge sharpness, and higher definition for about $400. Features include:
- 100-percent waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof
- Ultra-rugged, rubber-armored roof-prism style
- Extensive eye relief for comfort and convenience
- Available in 8x or 10x magnification levels
- Durable rubber coating; some customers call these “bulletproof”
- Available in black or RealTree camouflage print
- Easy to use with eyeglasses
- Some customers report that the eyecups have been found to be fragile and easy to break
Although this is an expensive pair of binoculars, they’re every bit worth the higher cost. They’re extremely durable, save for the somewhat unstable eyecups, and they also let in plenty of light, making them great for twilight and dusk conditions as well as normal daytime use. Most customers report these are worth the investment and work well for any nature lover, whether you like to watch birds or hunt.
The Barska X-Trail 20×80 Binoculars offer large objective lenses to maximize light transmission along with generous magnification to make spotting targets easier. The green-colored lenses decrease glare within bright, sunny environments. The multicoated lenses produce a viewing connection with clarity as well as highly contrasted pictures for about $100. Features include:
- 20x magnification along with 80mm objective lens
- Multi-coated optics efficiently utilize light transmission
- Braced-in tripod-mounting post
- Tough and long-lasting rubber armor with non-slip hold
- Light 1-pound weight
- Build and material quality are satisfactory
- Focus wheel is very smooth
- Tripod adapter is sturdy and easy-to-use
- With the high magnification, the field of view narrows
- At over 13 inches long, these are rather large
If you’re looking for binoculars that feel like great quality without breaking the bank, these Barska lenses will work very well for you. These perform better than you’d expect for large optics that only cost about $100. However, their overall size is very large (they’re more than a foot long), so these would be best suited for the hunter who’s posted up in a tree stand or somewhere that the set could stay mounted to a tripod, because the bulk can get in your way while on the move.
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars are lightweight, waterproof, and fog-proof. They provide ideal magnification and have an ultra wide field of view. With long, adjustable eye relief, these are easier for people with glasses to use. They cost about $225. Features include:
- 10x magnification, 42mm objective lens binoculars
- Exceptional optics with ED Prime Glass
- Wide band coatings (for anti reflection)
- Rain Guard HD water-repellent lens coating
- Ultra wide field-of-view with long eye relief
- Locking diopter
- Comes in RealTree camouflage print
- Great quality similar to top-of-the-line models
- Crisp, clear images
- Great for tracking moving targets (and even seeing hummingbirds)
- Production defects seem to be common
Most customers who’ve purchased these binoculars report that they are a definite step up in quality and work as well as some of the truly high-end models. The main issue seems to stem from production and that these sometimes come with permanent lens flecks or quality-control issues like the eye pads twisting. This is easily remedied by returning them for a suitable pair. Bushnell offers a 100-percent money-back guarantee as long as you send the defective pair back within a year of purchasing.
Among all the options above, the Bushnell Legend Ultra stands in first place, being the most efficient and closest to ideal (assuming you get a well-made pair without any defects right out of the box). The price is also pretty reasonable, all things considered, as these are a bit of an investment but will last you for years if you maintain them well.
In second place are the Leupolds. They’re very close in comparison to the Bushnell Legend Ultras; however, their smaller size does make them a little more difficult to use if you aren’t a smaller size.
In third place, you’ll find the Monarch ATB. This rank has little to do with the overall quality (these are excellent), and is mostly because of the high price.