Choosing Hunting Binoculars: A Buying Guide
June 30, 2015
Hunting for Binoculars?
Hunting binoculars are designed to stay by your side as you master the wilderness. As such, while there are major differences in the pairs we offer in this section, there are a few commonalities you can't miss. There will be a marked heft when you hold them, a weight that says, "I can take it." They'll also be comfortable and quick to use - design elements essential to catching the quick flit of a whitetail. With today's advancements in ergonomics and design, every pair of high-quality hunting binoculars feels right at home in the great outdoors.
If you're taking these binocs out in the field, you're looking for a pair of hunting binoculars that you can deem "quality." This concept is difficult to pin down, but certainly indispensible. You'll find a wide range of prices in every size and style, even on our site. If a binocular seems vastly lower-priced than its peers, it's probably too good to be true. Brand is one of the easiest primary indicators of quality. Look for companies like Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski, Vortex, and Leupold. That's not to say don't give other binocular brands a chance - we vet all of our products thoroughly - but that it's a starting point for many.
Choosing Trophy-worthy Binoculars
Because hunting requires finding and tracking wildlife that may be fast or highly cautious and hidden, a good pair of hunting binoculars has a wider objective lens than many standard designs. For early morning or twilight hunting, in particular, you need to bring in as much light as possible entering to your lenses to create a brighter image. Today's hunting binoculars offer a wide range of quality BaK-4 glass roof prisms, which provide edge-to-edge sharpness, and ED glass (extra low dispersion) which renders a true-color image. Lens coatings are another addition to hunting binoculars that maximize light transmission in low-light conditions, like dusk and dawn. Cleaner, high-quality glass and coatings will benefit any kind of hunter.
Of course, with a larger objective lens comes a larger field of view and a larger exit pupil (objective lens divided by magnification). Higher magnification may be secondary to light and field of view when it comes to hunting binoculars, meaning a large objective lens and less magnification would make a great combination. Magnify too high, and that deer will be out of view before you know it. If you hunt from afar, of course, you may want to consider larger or astronomical binoculars with a tripod for your purposes.
Tread Lightly and Carry Big Binocs
Because most hunting requires a fair amount of foot travel and hauling a good-sized load of gear with you, most hunters are willing to sacrifice a little in terms of binocular size and weight. Experienced field and woods hunters will, at times, choose something like an 8x42, providing ample light intake and good magnification. For mountainous or wide-open terrain, a slightly larger 10x50 binocular may be preferable. If you are unsure and feel you need a happy medium, 10x42 hunting binoculars are ultimately the most common choice for multi-purpose use. Happy hunting!