Best binoculars for hunting
Hunting is an activity that has existed since the beginning of humanity.
In earlier times, it was a fierce struggle for survival.
In the hostile environment of ancient times, man was both predator and prey.
Warrior-hunters would have to attack some wild animals in order to eat, and kill others to defend their clan.
Currently, hunting still exists, but it has become a thrill sport.
The conditions have not changed yet.
The hunter must compete with animals that are very comfortable in their natural environment.
To succeed in his quest, he must equip himself with powerful materials.
Among the necessary equipment are binoculars.
This remote observation instrument is indispensable for watching game from a distance.
Its use is very important for shooting, safari hunting, stalking and any form of remote tracking.
The evolution of technology has allowed us to have a wide choice of binoculars.
However, not all available products are created equal.
So if you’re wondering which binoculars to choose, we’ve put together a buying guide to help you.
Table of contents
- 1 Points to check when choosing hunting binoculars
- 2 The choice of binoculars according to the hunting mode
- 3 Selection of the best hunting binoculars
Points to check when choosing hunting binoculars
Faced with animals with highly developed senses (smell, hearing, sight, etc.), the hunter must arm himself with better equipment to get the upper hand.
A pair of binoculars, a magnifying device, allows him to observe his future prey without being spotted.
But thepurchase of hunting binoculars is not done at random.
Indeed, the market is full of good and not so good pairs of binoculars. Each seller competes with the others to attract their customers. But to choose your device objectively, refer to these criteria for choosing hunting binoculars. They will help you find the ones that meet your needs.
1. The magnification
As a reminder, the magnification is the first number displayed in the technical specifications of the binoculars.
With a pair of 3×25, the magnification is 3 times closer.
This means that a rabbit or a deer that is 300 meters away appears to be 100 meters away.
Hunting requires spotting animals from a distance in order to develop a confident plan of attack.
Therefore, you need a pair of binoculars with a magnification of 7 or more.
Be careful, however, because if the magnification is too high, the image becomes unstable.
It is therefore necessary to stay between 7 and 10 times magnification.
2. The size of the lens
The second number is the diameter of the lens.
This is indicated in millimeters.
Thus, for the 3×25, the lens is 25 mm.
This size defines the amount of light that enters through the lenses.
A larger lens will result in a better image quality.
To get a clearer picture of your game, opt for a lens with a diameter of 40 mm or more.
Note, however, that larger pairs of binoculars are heavier.
This can be a handicap especially for those who have to carry other hunting equipment (rifle, knife, bow, etc.)
3. The width of the field covered
The width of field of view is the widest dimension that the user can see at a distance of 1000 meters.
This field of view is expressed in meters, it can go from 100 m to over 150 m.
Wide-angle binoculars allow for better observation of animals in a herd or flock, or of animals on the move.
A high field of view is more suitable for savannahs or plains.
While a smaller field of view allows you to follow a solitary game evolving in a more covered space.
4. The exit pupil diameter
The exit pupil or eyepiece circle is the round point of light seen on the rear lens when holding the binoculars at arm’s length.
The exit pupil diameter is obtained by dividing the objective diameter by the magnification.
For a pair of 8×42 binoculars, it is 5.25 mm (42 : 8).
For eye comfort, the exit pupil diameter should be larger than the pupil diameter of the eye.
The diameter of the human pupil can vary from 2 to 7 mm depending on the brightness, age and ocular health of the person.
Note that in daylight, the pupil opens between 2 and 3 mm.
At night, it can dilate up to 7 mm to see better.
After the age of 30, this dilation can go down to 4 mm.
You must therefore take into consideration all these data depending on whether you are hunting in the daylight or in the twilight.
5. The twilight index
The twilight index is also an essential concept for the brightness of the hunting ground.
With a high index, the hunter can better see the smallest details of his target.
For math fans, this number is obtained by calculating the square root of the product of magnification and lens diameter.
With 7×50 binoculars, the twilight index is the root of 350, or 18.7.
For the rest, rest assured!
This number is mentioned in the technical specifications of hunting binoculars.
For use in daylight, you need a pair of binoculars with an index below 16.
To track prey in the dark or undergrowth, get a tool with an index higher than 16.
6. The focus
The focusing consists in the adjustment of the lenses to focus the image.
Note that there are binoculars without focusing.
These can be interesting to observe something at a constant distance.
But from the perspective that a boar or deer can move away or close, it is better to have a pair of binoculars with focus.
All types of hunting binoculars are internally focused.
However, there are 2 modes of adjustment.
There is individual focusing when each telescope can be focused independently.
And then, the focus is central when the focusing wheel is in the center of both telescopes, allowing them to be adjusted at the same time.
7. The optical coating
Zebras, lions, cheetahs, antelopes, deer… all of these animals have natural camouflage that allows them to hide from their prey or predator.
You need better binoculars to be able to distinguish these animals with the color of their coat that melts in the landscape.
This is precisely why hunting binoculars need to be fitted with suitable coatings.
The coating reduces the reflection of light on the lenses.
This unwanted radiation can cause either a loss of light or glare.
This has the effect of impairing the quality of the image.
With good coatings, images of a subject are sharper, even if the subject moves on the ground.
If you want to buy better quality hunting binoculars, opt for multi-coated lenses.
Hunting grounds can be hostile.
Dust, water and other dirt can damage your binoculars.
When hunting in the snow or tracking waterfowl, fine water droplets can cloud your lenses.
To remedy this problem, it is important to choose waterproof hunting binoculars.
Waterproofing also helps extend the life of your equipment.
9. Height and weight
The size and weight of binoculars can make them bulky and heavy to carry.
However, large binoculars are often the best for hunting.
This is because they have larger lenses built in.
Those who don’t want to burden themselves with heavier equipment can opt for the more compact hunting binocular models .
10. The price
The prices of hunting binoculars vary according to their range and brand.
You will find entry-level products costing around €100.
You also have high-end hunting binoculars whose price exceeds 1000 €.
The choice of binoculars according to the hunting mode
Some forms of hunting, such as stalking and hunting with hounds, do not require the use of binoculars.
On the other hand, there are forms of stalking where watching for a game becomes difficult without this special observation device.
These include stalking and stalking.
And in these cases, the hunting conditions vary enormously depending on the animal being hunted.
Indeed, its habitat (forest, savannah, mountains, etc.), the place where it feeds (waterfront, fields, plains, etc.), the hunting period … are all criteria to be taken into account to choose the appropriate equipment.
Here is how to choose your pair of binoculars according to the type of hunting you do.
Binoculars for stalking
Stalking is divided into two types.
First, there is the one that is practiced in the undergrowth.
The environment is therefore shaded, in other words not very bright.
You need a pair of binoculars with a high twilight index.
Indeed, it is a question of tracking the animals during their morning exit or during the twilight, when it wanders before regaining their den.
It is also necessary that the camera is compact and light (the tracking must be done quickly and quietly).
Since the warthog or deer family is on the lookout at this time, the binoculars must be adjusted quickly so as not to lose sight of the game.
It is also necessary to be able to switch quickly from binoculars to weapon in order not to miss the target.
The magnification of 7×50 and 7×42 are the most recommended.
It meets both the desired twilight index (here it is 18.7 and 17.14) and the pupil exit diameter comfortable for the eyes (7.14 and 7).
These binoculars are ideal for young hunters whose pupil dilation in the dark can approach 7 mm.
They are also useful when the light is very low.
The 8×42 and 9×40 binoculars have high crepuscular indices.
They are respectively 18.33 and 18.97.
However, their eye circles are smaller (5.25 and 4.44).
Secondly, there is hunting in the high mountains and hunting in the lowlands.
Spinning is often done in the open at a greater distance.
In this case, high magnification binoculars are required.
We recommend 8.5×42, 9×40, 10×32, 10×40 and 10×42 optics.
Your pair of binoculars should also be light and less bulky, then you have to climb rocky slopes.
When the optics are insufficient, the eyes do their best to adjust to them.
This causes and worsens visual acuity problems.
The most common symptoms of these vision problems are severe headaches.
Stalking requires patience.
The hunter must choose a fixed position from which to watch for wild boar, deer or foxes.
These animals go to their pasture or pastureland in the late afternoon and return to their den in the early morning.
The hunting conditions are easier than stalking.
On his watchtower, it is preferable that the trapper has a pair of binoculars equipped with supports.
This makes it easier to keep a lookout from a resting position.
Considering the brightness during the time of hunting, it is necessary to have devices with a very high twilight index that can go up to a magnification of 12 times.
We recommend 8×50, 8×56, 9×63, 10×50, 15×65 and 15×80 binoculars. These devices are heavy.
This further reinforces the usefulness of a support.
Selection of the best hunting binoculars
Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42, the all-rounder
The Viper HD is a flagship model of the American brand Vortex Optics.
With a magnification of 10x, you will see a lion that is 1 km away as if it were 100 m from you.
This model is equipped with a wide lens of 42 mm.
This gives us an exit pupil of 4.2 mm and a very high twilight index of 20.4.
The field of vision is satisfactory with its 104m/1000m.
This pair of binoculars is made for hunting in European forests as well as for safari hunting in the African savannah.
They are waterproof and equipped with O-rings that prevent water and dirt infiltration.
They can be used in rainy weather or during a sandstorm in the desert.
Bushnell Trophy 10×42, the best quality/price ratio
Founded in 1948, Bushnell is an American brand that inherited Japanese know-how.
This leader in optical equipment for outdoor use is ahead in binocular technology.
Like all the best binoculars out there, the Bushnell Trophy 10×42 features a BaK-4 roof prism and multi-coated lens coating.
It covers a field of view of 110m at a distance of 1000m.
The body of the binoculars are coated with a grooved anti-slip and anti-reflective DuraGrip protection.
This provides an excellent grip.
The magnification to lens size ratio makes these binoculars ideal for long distance hunting.
At ease with the wet elements, they can also accompany you on waterfowl hunts or in tropical rainforests.
Nikon Prostaff 7s, quality at a low price
The Japanese brand Nikon is no longer to be introduced in the field of optical equipment.
Founded in 1917, it has been accompanying adventurers and image hunters in their quest for excellence for over 100 years.
Moreover, the company started in the field of telemetry for military use.
The Nikon Prostaff 7s is the one that offers you excellent results.
This pair of binoculars incorporates a new optical system that the brand holds the secret.
It has a rubber armored shell that protects it from shocks.
The hunter can choose between 8× and 10× magnification.
He can also choose between two lens diameters (30mm and 42mm).
What we like about the Nikon Prostaff 7s
Carson HD Series 3D 10×42, the most aesthetic
This pair of hunting binoculars has a great advantage: its ED glass lenses (ultra-low dispersion).
This allows to correct and eliminate the chromatic aberration (image defect attributed to the binoculars of lesser quality).
It also has an optical coating HD quality, offering a clear and bright image.
If you want to get a pair of binoculars with 10x magnification, then the Carson 3D model should be at the top of your shopping list.
This model is equipped with a 42mm diameter lens, which allows it to catch a lot more light to help you find your prey.
The Carson HD 3D Series has a waterproof and fogproof body.
It is an excellent choice for hunters, birders and outdoor adventurers.