Finding a mature Marco Polo ram or Mid Asian Ibex in this vast terrain requires the best optics and the skill to use them.

What are the Best Hunting Binoculars?

This is a dangerous question, as everyone has an opinion on this. Regardless of your opinion on brand, magnification, etc..the right hunting binoculars are one of a hunter’s most valuable tools. Behind your senses and intelligence, the right hunting binoculars can make the difference between success and failure especially if you are a spot and stalk hunter. If you hunt in the Western U.S., Canada and Alaska or are a mountain hunter not only do high quality hunting binoculars increase your odds of success, they help you avoid wasted time,  hikes and climbs (Don’t get me wrong, even if you don’t hunt out west or chase sheep and goats, good hunting binoculars are still very valuable even if you primarily hunt heavy timber or from stands and blinds, as they still help you spot game before it spots you, plus they make it easier to determine age class and trophy quality).

Glassing for trophy Arizona Elk
High quality Hunting Binoculars can make the difference between success in failure in the vast open expanses of the Western U.S.

As hunters, we are at a disadvantage when it comes to our physical capabilities versus an animal’s. So, to be successful, hunters need to use all of their senses as well as develop knowledge, experience and tools to effectively put those senses to use. One of the greatest assets we as humans have is our ability to build and create tools to help us perform better. Well for hunters, Binoculars are an incredibly tool that helps us perform better and have more success on our hunts.

As to which Binocular is best – there is really no one size fits all as the best hunting binocular is going to depend on what type of hunting you are doing. Hunting Binocular’s come in different magnifications, 8x, 10x, 12x, 15x the higher the number the more magnification you get, but at the price of field of view and image stability. The other consideration is the size of the objective lenses (these are the lenses on the front of the binocular), which control image quality and light, but also impact size and weight. So the “Best Hunting Binoculars” are a personal decision based on what you find that works best for you and how you like to hunt.

So with that being said, I am going to go out on a limb and say that for most of your hunting needs, the best all around binocular is going to be either an 8×42 or 10×42 as they will give you enough magnification to spot animals at long distances while having a wide enough field of view to see more easily, while having large enough objective lenses to provide image quality and light gathering for lowlight conditions. I personally love 10x42s and have used them on more hunts than I can count and as my go to hunting binocular they have never let me down. They provide enough magnification that I can spot most of the animals you would spot with a set of 15x50s, the tradeoff is that I can’t see the same level of detail, which is why I usually carry a spotting scope as well.

If you do a lot of spot and stalk Mule Deer hunting or sheep hunting, or you don’t want or can’t afford binoculars and a spotting scope, then you may want to consider stepping up to a set of 15×50 hunting binoculars mounted on a tri-pod. This is where you could also switch to a spotting scope, however for extended periods of glassing a pair of 15x binoculars are going to be much more comfortable and result in less eye strain and fatigue, which means you are more likely to find more animals.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my spotting scope, but if I have to spend an extended amount of time trying to keep one eye closed, it gets uncomfortable. So my preference, when possible, is to locate an animal with my binoculars then switch over to my spotting scope to get a better look. I will say, a pair of 15x50s on a tripod really are a joy to use for extended glassing sessions, especially when trying to locate sheep or bedded mule deer.

Shad elk hunting in some big country. Important to use hunting binoculars to cover as much country as you can so you don't hike yourself into the ground.
In country like this, I love to let my hunting binoculars do the walking for me, it saves my legs for when it really matters.

No matter what magnification you choose to go with, I want to encourage you to invest in the best quality hunting binoculars you can afford, as it will make a huge difference in image quality, image stability, and lowlight visibility. I have personally used Swarovski 10x42el’s for years and they are phenomenal, but they are also really expensive. Recently, I got my hands on Vortex’s new 10×42 Razor HDs and I have to honestly say, I can’t detect a noticeable difference except maybe a little less clarity right at first light and last light (and we are talking “a little”) at almost half the cost of the Swarovski’s they are tough to beat.

Vortex 10x42 Razor HDs an excellent hunting binocular for the money.

The Vortex craftmanship is truly on par with the Swarovski’s. My 10×42 Razor HDs are solid, comfortable in the hand, provide excellent eye relief, easy to adjust (locking diaopter allows you to adjust focus specific to both eyes, and the fine focus adjust knob is smoot and precise). You get all of this in a relatively compact and not overly heavy package. The Vortex Razor 10×42 HDs are Argon Purged to make them waterproof, shock proof and fog proof. Plus, Vortex includes a top notch hunting binocular harness that is very comfortable, useable and has some excellent storage features.

I think the Vortex 10×42 Razor HDs at $1299.99 are an absolute value for high quality glass when you consider a pair of Swarovski 10x42el will run you almost $2700, plus Vortex products come with their amazing VIP lifetime warranty, so you know your investment is protected. You can learn more about Vortex and all of their great hunting binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, red dot scopes and rangefinders at

For those of you who want a wider field of view, more stable image or maybe spend more time hunting in heavy timber, I would recommend you look at a set of 8x42s, again Vortex has a whole line of hunting binoculars to fit your needs and your budget. 8×42 hunting binoculars will give you a wider field of view which is very useful in brush and heavy timber where light gathering and field of view are more important than overall magnification.

If you are in the market for a hunt, new hunting binoculars, spotting scopes, rangefinders or hunting gear and apparel and find yourself needing some assistance don’t hesitate to email me at

Happy Hunting


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