How to Choose the Best Binoculars for Hunting?

March 31, 2021


How to Choose the Best Binoculars for Hunting? - March 31, 2021

Our eyes are our main weapon in hunting. Good eyesight helps us to see an antelope standing in the shade or a bobcat lurking in the grass. But often hunting conditions, long-distance, bad weather do not allow us to see the target well. In this case, binoculars come to the aid. Although there are quite a few different accessories for good viewing on the market, experienced hunters rely on binoculars. Let's find out How to Choose the Best Binoculars for Hunting and what criteria they must meet.

What are the characteristics to choose binoculars?
The first point to pay attention to is reliability and endurance. Binoculars can have many advantages: small weight, ergonomic body, and so on. But above all, it must be designed for harsh use conditions. This means that when hitting a stone or falling from a height, its internal part will not be damaged. Yes, there will likely be scratches and dents on the body, but the main thing is that the lenses and the internal light transmission system stayed intact.
Also, when choosing binoculars, you need to look at other important criteria. But they depend on how you will hunt – at a great distance in an open field or hiding in the crown of a tree waiting until a deer or elk come closer.

Short-Range Hunting
Short-Range Hunting is also sometimes called treestand hunting. Many hunters believe that good binoculars are not needed at all for such a hunt. Although binoculars could become a useful tool. With binoculars, you can take a closer look at the bushes in front of your location or a line of young trees. Perhaps you will notice a deer horn or a fox's ear. Often it happens animals lurk from a hunter and are waiting for the right moment to run past him.
Besides, binoculars will help you to find a wounded or downed animal faster. After the shot, you do not need to spend a lot of time looking for the target, simply look through binoculars and immediately determine the place where it is.
Some hunters do not take binoculars on treestand hunting, arguing that it is inconvenient to hold it in their hands for a long time. But there are several life hacks for this case. If you are hiding in tree branches, place your binoculars right on them. If you are standing near a tree, lay your hand with binoculars on the lowest branch if possible. If it is not possible, lean yourself against a tree to steady your body for a more stable hold on the binoculars.Also you can try to use a tripod.

Long-Range Viewing
Long-Range Viewing is possible only in the field or mountains, where you can choose a point for maximum viewing of a large area. Usually, binoculars for such hunting are bought with high magnification. But for binoculars to be useful, you need to keep them very steady and don’t shake. If you can hold the binoculars in your hands without trembling, you are lucky. But in most cases, hunters take a tripod with them. Due to this simple device, you get two benefits – the image will be steady and you will be able to observe the territory comfortably sitting on a chair.

Features for hunting binoculars
The first feature that you should pay attention to is the size of the exit pupil. The exit pupil is the point of light that you see on the eyepiece. This is a kind of window through which you will see the image. A successful hunt depends largely on the size of this point.
To find out the diameter of the exit pupil, you do not need to look through the characteristics of the binoculars. Simply divide the diameter of the lens by their magnification. The gotten number is the diameter of the exit pupil. For example, your binoculars have 8x magnification and 32 mm lens diameter. Its exit pupil diameter is 4 mm (32: 8). For characteristics 6x-36 mm the exit pupil will be 6 mm (36: 6).
All binoculars with exit pupils up to 4 mm darken the image and reduce the field of view. Also, in such models, the point of light has a smaller diameter than the pupil of our eye. The best diameter for hunting binoculars exit pupil is from 4 mm and more.
Exit pupil is just the one criterion by which you should choose binoculars for hunting. There are several other moments to look out for when buying.

What size should binocular lenses be for hunting?
The first thing you should know is that large lenses can gather a lot of light. Due to this, the image will be bright and clear. But binoculars with large lenses are very heavy and not always suitable for long-term observation. Another plus of large lenses is that they have a much larger field of view than models with small lenses.
The diameter of the lenses is indicated on the body of the binoculars in millimeters. The best option for all types of hunting is considered to be a 40 mm lens diameter. They capture a lot of light, have a good field of view and brightness.
How to choose the lens diameter:

  • Lenses with a diameter of 30 mm and less are suitable for hunting in the daytime or when good illumination. At dusk, in cloudy weather, with poor visibility, they will capture little light and the image will be dark.
  • The most popular lens sizes are from 40 mm to 50 mm. Each hunter chooses the best option for himself. Why are these sizes so popular? Most animals come out of their hiding places at nightfall or dusk. For you to see the target well, the lenses must not only have a powerful magnification but also capture as much light as possible.
  • If you do not like bulky optics, better choose a light model with a small lens diameter. These binoculars are also in demand in the market, but their field of view will be much smaller.

Large lenses can reflect sunlight, but mostly it depends on the glass coating. There are several coatings to reduce glare and help capture as much light as possible. When the light enters the lens, it bounces from all glass surfaces. But some of this light never reaches our eyes.

What’s the best magnification for hunting binoculars?
Magnification is one of the controversial criteria when choosing binoculars. Some hunters tend to buy the models with the largest possible magnification, and some, on the contrary, choose binoculars with 3x magnification and are sure that this is enough for any type of hunting.
Binoculars can be of two different magnification types – fixed and variable. Fixed means that the lenses can zoom in on the object only a certain number of times. Variable means that the lenses have multiple zooms in options. For example, 3x-40 mm means that the binoculars lens diameter is 40 mm, and the magnification is 3x. Second example: 3-9x-40 mm. This means that the lens diameter is 40 mm, but they can zoom in 3x, 4x, and more times, but not more than 9x.
Fixed is good for quick shots, binoculars will always be ready-on. In case of good visibility, binoculars with a small magnification are suitable for close-range hunting as well as for big-distance hunting. Variable can be adjusted depending on what you want to see. For example, you have chosen a target but want to take a closer look at it. Or you need to see the farthest viewpoint of the area.
Here are a few more tips on how to choose a magnification:
  • High magnification “steals” the field of view. While you are looking at something in the distance, an antelope or a wild boar may well run past you.
  • 6x-8x magnification is considered to be the best. You will have a big enough exit pupil, the field of view, depth of view, and a brighter image.
  • 10x magnification is great for long-range hunting. If you are standing on top of a mountain or lying on a large rock waiting for your target, you do not need to see what is happening a few meters away.

Good magnification requires a steady holding. If you can hold the binoculars in your hands and do not move, then feel free to take a model with high magnification. If you find it difficult to hold the heavy binoculars for a long time, choose the option with a smaller zoom-in.

What kind of weather will you throw at them?
Hunting conditions can be different. And if you are not going to hunt only in dry, good weather, you should think about the resistance of your binoculars to weather conditions. It must be water and fog proof, protected from dust, moisture, and condensation. Also, the fog-proof model contains argon or nitrogen gas instead of oxygen, to prevent moisture appearance inside the lenses during temperature changes.
Weatherproof models must also be waterproof. Look for this mark on the body of your binoculars. There also must be a mark that confirms that the device has such characteristics. Sometimes waterproof versions are optional and you need to note that you require them.
Rubber-coated binoculars to keep their original appearance longer and do not get scratched when dropped. Besides, the rubber coating will absorb poundings, and reduce the likelihood of dropping if your hands are wet.

Let’s sum
Good binoculars need to be durable and ready for any challenge that may happen while hunting. But it should also suit your individual preferences for weight, size, viewing range, and more. Do not stop on the first model that meets the required criteria, compare prices, read reviews of other buyers. Then the chances of buying the perfect binoculars will be much greater.

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