What To Look For When Buying Hunting Binoculars? Our Guide

Written by 

Steven 

Updated on: 

October 12, 2021

Our Guide To Buying The Best Binoculars For Hunting

Having a good pair of binoculars for hunting is very important, not only does it allow you to spot subjects from far away, but you can also spot dangers around you and keep track of movements that might not see from afar.

Like any pair of binoculars, you should be looking for the right specs for hunting in your pair, this should mean a rugged design, good magnification, wide field of view and larger exit pupil for viewing low lit images. 

In our guide below we will cover why you should use binoculars for hunting, what type of binoculars to use, the best magnification for hunting binoculars and top features to consider in your model.

We have also put together a list of the best tips for hunting with your binoculars, so without further chat, let's get into it!

Why Use Binoculars For Hunting? 

Hunting is one of the activities that need binoculars as an essential tool if they want a successful hunt, visibility is an important part of hunting and having some good quality binoculars can make spotting targets much quicker and easier. 

If you are on the edge about whether or not you should invest in a hunting binocular model we have listed the benefits of using binoculars for this activity down below. 

  • Locates targets - Having some binoculars on hand when hunting can help you locate and target animals from afar and prevent confusion with other objects. This allows you to plan and strategies. 
  • Eliminates risks - With your extra vision, you can also make sure to eliminate any risks of hunting something else or becoming prey yourself by spotting where predators are. 
  • Allows you to observe - Not only can you identify subjects from afar but you can observe dangerous animals too without having to get too close, allowing you to be at one with nature. 
  • Has multiple uses - Hunting binoculars do not just have to be used for hunting, you can use them for birding binoculars too or even for watching sporting events!
  • Helps with long-range scouting - Binoculars for hunting that have a wide field of view allows you to scout an area fully before you go into it, this will make sure the territory you are entering is safe and clear.
  • Stops you from endangering other animals - A pair of high-quality binoculars will allow you to identify animals with much more accuracy and avoid any risks of endangering others. 

Porro Prisms Vs Roof Prism Binoculars For Hunting 

When finding quality hunting binoculars you will be faced with a choice of Porro prism and roof prism binos, both have their advantages and disadvantages with Porro prism binoculars often being the more typical choice. 

We will compare both kinds of hunting binocular types below to help you decide which type is best for you. 

Porro Prism 

Porro prism binoculars are the more affordable and old school binoculars for ease of use, they use two right-angled prisms which face one another and have an objective lens tube away from the eyepieces, this increases the light transmission seen in the image for better performance in low-light conditions. 

These types of binoculars offer ample magnification and a great field of view for bird watchers and scouting faraway animals.

The downfalls of Porro prism binos have to be their size which is often more bulky and heavy, they are also a little less durable than roof prism binos with less having waterproofing.

Pros 

  • Affordable. 
  • Excellent in low-light conditions. 
  • Great field of view. 

Cons 

  • Heavy. 
  • Less durable.

Roof Prism

Roof prism binoculars are the more modern type of binos and typically include two prisms that are separated by an air gap for a longer light path which helps with 90-95% light transmission. 

The expensive binocular model is much more streamlined to make it the better type of compact binoculars for hunting when you will be holding them for long periods

Negatives of the modern roof prism binoculars have to be their smaller field of view and high price, some also argue these designs have a poorer image quality.

Pros 

  • Compact binoculars. 
  • Lightweight. 
  • Great durability. 
  • Better magnification.

Cons 

  • Limited field of view. 
  • Expensive.

Conclusion - Which Type Of Binocular Should I Choose For Hunting?

To conclude, we recommend choosing a roof prism pair of binoculars if you are looking to do long-range hunting more often as the compact-style binoculars have great magnification and excellent image quality. 

However, if you can't afford it Porro prism binoculars are still a great choice for hunting, especially if you are after a wider field of view for tracking animals. 

What Magnification Do I Need For Hunting?

As well as working out what prism type of binoculars you need for hunting, you should consider the power of the magnification too as this will determine how well you can see the farthest objects. 

The magnification of your binoculars is the X number that you will see on the binos specifications, for hunting, you want a standard magnification of either 8x or 10x if you want to be doing target spot from a distance. 

Anything higher will be harder to keep stable when viewing images and will limit your field of view which is important for tracking animals when they are on the move. 

As well as the magnification you need to consider the objective lenses size too which is the second number, this is what controls how much light is seen in your image, with the bigger objective lens being better for low-light conditions. 

The larger your objective lenses size is when hunting the heavier the binoculars will be, however, so if you are looking for your binos to stay compact then you should ensure your objective lenses size is not over 50mm. 

Top Features To Look Out For In Hunting Binoculars 

Now we know the main points about choosing your initial hunting binoculars we can get into the essential specs and features you need to be looking for in your best hunting binos.

Not only do you need to be considering the power of your hunting binoculars but you have to make sure it has lens coatings and a durable design too. 

We will list the main specs to watch out for in your model below. 

  • Magnification - As we touched on above, the magnification for a good pair of hunting binoculars should be between 8x and 10x, any higher will cut off your field view and be hard to keep stable. 
  • Objective lens size - Your objective lens size shouldn't be too big or small to avoid added weight or poor-quality light in your image, the best objective lenses size is a standard 42mm for hunting. 
  • Exit pupil - In terms of hunting the binocular in question should have an exit pupil of at least 5mm, some mini - binoculars will have a smaller exit pupil which can make you see a darker image through your lens.
  • Lens coatings - Uncoated lenses should be avoided on high-quality hunting binoculars, fully multi-coated lenses or baK 4 prism coatings improve quality optics with their anti-reflection coatings which reduce colour fringing, improving observation and identification of animals.
  • Durability - Hunting binoculars, in particular, have to be very durable, they should be rubber armoured and have waterproofing as well as fog proofing to protect them against all kinds of elements. Your binos should also have some rubber gripping to ensure comfortable holding.
  • Weight - You want to avoid heavy binoculars when hunting, most of the time you will be on the move with your binos handheld and you do not want them to become too heavy to hold for longer periods.
  • Eyecups - The eyecups of your binos for hunting should have an eye relief of over 15mm for glasses wearers and be comfortable with the adjustability, eyepiece lenses are typically made with rubber to be more comfortable.
  • Close focus - A shorter close focus distance means modern binoculars can focus on subjects that might be closer than anticipated, this could be good for looking at close-up animals as well as insects. Around 2m is a great close focus range to look out for.
  • Field of view - For the field of view, your hunting binoculars will have this measured in either degree or per 1000 yards, the larger the FOV then the better your binoculars will be for tracking moving subjects, this will be more limited if your magnification is higher. A FOV of around 345ft is standard on most modern binoculars.
  • Accessories - Most decent hunting pairs of binoculars will have a few accessories included such as a neck strap, carrying case and lens covers to keep your binoculars secure and safe. Some may also have night vision which can be useful for tracking animals at night. 
  • Image stabilisation - If you are interested in buying hunting binoculars that have a higher magnification for faraway target spotting then you might want to get a pair with built-in image stabilisation, this will keep your magnified image still without you having to use a tripod but will come at a higher price. 
  • Warranty - No matter what, your binoculars should have a one or two year warranty for buyers confidence, cheap binoculars for hunting will often not have a warranty so check this beforehand.

Tips For Hunting With Binoculars 

Hunting is not the easiest of activities to do with binoculars, you need to have a lot of patience and stay alert to spot any animals. 

We've listed some of our top tips for hunting with binoculars down below. 

  • Keep them stable - Having a stable binocular is important to increase your chances of seeing animals and reduces eye fatigue. You can either have your binoculars on a tripod or a trekking pole for the best stability. 
  • Select a vantage point - Ensure you are on some high terrain so you have a good vantage point of animals this will keep you hidden as well and help you spot any moving targets from predators. 
  • Keep them clean - Keeping your binoculars clean matters for the quality of modern binocular optics, you should use compressed air to get rid of any dust and a lens cleaning solution with a microfibre cloth.
  • Make sure the sun is at your back - Always position yourself with your full-size binoculars in front of the sun, this gives you better image quality and detail.
  • Stay comfortable - You need to make sure that you are comfortable when looking through binocular lenses otherwise you will not last a long time before you get fatigued. Make sure you have a good eye relief distance and you use a trip to keep them stable.
  • Be patient - Hunting is not a quick activity and you can be observed for a while before you see any game animals or distant objects.

Frequently Asked Questions About Binoculars For Hunting 

What durability features should hunting binoculars have? 

For hunting binoculars, your model should have waterproofing, fog-proofing and rubber armouring to ensure it's protected against any weather conditions or accidents.

Do I need a high magnification for spotting distant objects? 

No, a magnification of 12x or 10x is more than enough for spotting game animals at a distance, any higher you will need a tripod and they will not be as portable too.

What type of lens should I look for hunting in dark conditions? 

A lens with phase coatings and a larger objective lens of 50mm would be better for low-light observation, they may weigh more however as full-sized binoculars.

Is extra long eye relief important? 

Long eye relief is very important if you wear eyeglasses as it stops your image from being cut off when observing through eyeglasses, however for people who do not wear glasses, it is not as necessary.

What do phase correction coatings do on binoculars?

Phase correction coatings on lenses are found on roof prism binoculars and are used for the correct difference in contrast and colours between each lens which is caused by the light splitting into each part of the binocular.

Porro prism binoculars do not need phase correction coating for a sharper image as they do not refract light this way.

Are 10x42 binoculars okay for hunting? 

10x42 binoculars are ideal for hunting as they are still lightweight and easy to hold with a large enough magnification to spot animals but also a generous field of view for tracking.

How much do hunting binoculars cost?

Hunting binoculars can cost anything from £200-£500 and above depending on the features that come with them and their lens quality.

Last Words 

Overall, the best hunting binoculars should be durable and rugged, lightweight, have good quality optics and have a decent field of view with magnification for spotting targets at a distance. Remember that hunting with binoculars takes patience so buying a tripod for extra comfort when spotting can be helpful and reduce eye fatigue.

Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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Steven
Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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