Tips for Choosing the Right Binoculars and Hunting Optics

Tips for Choosing the Right Hunting Optics

It is no question that having quality binoculars and hunting optics can help you to be a better hunter. Seeing game animals is half the battle while hunting. Quality optics helps you scout areas, appreciate the scenery and see opportunities that you may not have noticed without optics. When choosing optics, I look for the best quality optics I can afford. Good optics are not cheap and I want to make sure that my investment in quality glass lasts a lifetime.

I carry 2 pairs of binoculars, a rangefinder, a spotting scope and a scope on my rifles on just about every trip into the outdoors. This may seem like overkill but the majority of hunting I do is in wide-open terrain where I am glassing miles of canyons, mountains and open prairie. When I go into a stand, I carry a small set of binoculars and the rangefinder. Each situation is different and requires a different hunting optic.

Full Size BinocularsFull Size Binoculars

Binoculars come in two varieties: full size and compact. Full size binoculars are my go to optics for 90% of my hunting. They are my most trusted optics in the field. I have used porro prism style binoculars in the past when my budget for hunting was minimal and they worked for several years. Most hunters opt for more expensive roof prism binoculars ranging in 42-50mm objective lenses. With western hunting, I prefer 10x binoculars for most of my glassing. I have used 15 by 56 binoculars in the past but I find their weight makes it hard to keep steady. I do not often use them unless they are mounted on a tripod. Over the years, I have worked hard to minimize the gear I carry into the field so I have ditched my heavy 15 by 56 glass and traded them in for a great set of 10 by 42 binoculars and a small set of compact binoculars. These are easy to slip into my pocket for long stalks or prolonged sitting in a tree stand where I am often only glassing in conditions under 100 yards. This year, I am using the Vanguard Endeavor ED II 1042 binoculars. I have found them to be excellent optics at a reasonable price of $399.00. These are great binoculars that will not break the bank and come with a full warranty. Roof prism binoculars can range in price from $200.00 to $3,000.00 and this year we focused on binoculars that are affordable and offer value.

Compact BinocularsCompact Binoculars

When I am going on a stalk or sitting in the treestand, I want a pair of binoculars that are light, easy to focus and fit in my cargo pocket on my pants so that they are out of the way when drawing my bow or making a quick shot. This year we used the Nikon Trailblazer Compact 10×25 Binoculars and found them to be tough as nails. They offer a rubber-armored body, waterproof design and easy to use controls with a central focus knob for easy viewing. These are nowhere near as good as full-sized binoculars but they work well and provide the quick magnification we need with one handed use. These are also priced right at $89.99. Having compact binoculars allows me to slip in to treestands or go on stalks while remaining as light and mobile as possible.

Spotting ScopesSpotting Scopes

Spotting scopes are essential if you are hunting big terrain. We often hunt canyon ranches. Having a spotting scope allows us to zoom in on big deer and get a real sense of how big that animal is before we spend hours stalking up a mountain or across several canyons in pursuit of a deer. With a magnification range of 20x to 60x and an 82mm objective lens we have settled on using the Endeavor HD 82A for our spotting scope. We have used many of the great high-end spotting scopes costing well into the $3000.00 range but for the money the Endeavor HD 82AS priced at $449.99 does the job for us and gives us a quality image at a long range. Spotting scopes require a tripod or window mount. We like the Vanguard because it has relatively lightweight tripods and a window mount that works extremely well.


Read more hunting optic tips here.

By Kevin Paulson – HuntingLife.com

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