Since the dawn of time, mankind has been drawn to the thrill of the hunt. Yet over the millennia, the need for man to hunt has lessened, leading to what was once considered necessary for survival to becoming more akin to a hobby or pastime.
Despite hunting’s altered role in our society, any hunter worth his salt still knows there is little reason to head into the bush without an effective way to spot and track his prey.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the best binoculars for hunting sold through Amazon.com – both in terms of sheer performance and overall value.
Not surprisingly, Vortex practically owns this list. Their unique – and arguably industry-leading – blend of performance and value continues to set them apart from the competition.
Bushnell Fusion Binocular Review
Three options: 8×32, 10×42, 12×50
You’ve probably seen these beauties on the various TV hunting shows, but if you’ve somehow missed them, pay attention because these binoculars can single-handedly change the way you hunt forever.
While they are quite a bit higher up the price scale than most of the pairs on this list, the Bushnell Fusion fits the old adage “you get what you pay for” to a “T”.
Setting aside their revolutionary built-in rangefinder that can give you an exact distance to a target of up to one mile (yes, you read that right), they come fully equipped with XTRÒ technology for ultimate light transmission, as well as BaK-4 prisms with PC-3Ò phase corrective coating for superior resolution and clarity.
What truly sets the Fusion apart, though, is their revolutionary rangefinder. Among its amazing features is specialized modes for both bow and rifle hunting, as well as a VSI (variable sight-in) mode that allows you to select any one of four automatic distance options while in Rifle Mode.
It also features Angle Range Compensation (ARC) from -90° to +90°, as well as a Selective Targeting System that includes Automatic SCAN, BullsEye and Brush modes.
In short, these binoculars are sure to make your next hunting trip one you’ll never forget.
Vortex Viper HD Binoculars Review
Widely regarded as one of the best mid-range values, the Vortex Viper HD include many of the features typically found in much higher-priced glasses but at hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars less.
The lenses are perhaps what truly set these apart. Made from high density, extra low dispersion glass with phase correction and anti-reflective coatings, these lenses give you an unparalleled view of your target.
In addition, they allow for outstanding transition between sun and shadows while still maintaining a high quality image.
One particular feature that seems to be extremely popular with these glasses is the locking diopter, which allows you to adjust the glasses to customize your focusing needs for each eye – individually.
The housings also receive high praise. They are very rugged and well built, and can certainly take some abuse.
Covered with what Vortex calls “ArmorTek, the rubberized coating provides outstanding no-slip holding and easily absorbs the bumps and falls that are inherent in any hunting trip.
Overall, you’re unlikely to find a better value than the Vortex Viper HD when you take both performance and price into account.
Leupold BX-3 Mojave Pro Guide HD Review
Another staple on the market, Leupold added these to their product line earlier this year and they were an instant hit.
With the BX-3 Mojave Pro Guide HD, Leupold set out to deliver high-definition performance geared toward professional guides, and boy did they succeed.
The specially coated extra-low dispersion lenses deliver exceptional resolution and color, which makes it almost laughably easy to pick out game in heavy brush.
The open bridge and ergonomic design combine to make the BX-3 Mojave Pro Guide HD incredibly easy to use, while also ensuring unmatched performance and durability. These binoculars also come tripod-ready, and are completely waterproof and fog proof.
The ultimate difference with these comes straight away when you bring them up to your eye, and instantly find a full field of view in perfect clarity. Leupold has once again outdone themselves and put another topnotch product in hunters’ hands.
Swarovski Optik El Swarovision Binoculars
Here’s one for the hunter that lives by the “price is no object” philosophy in its purest form, but this entry also happens to be one of the finest glasses on the market.
I know what you’re thinking: at almost three thousand dollars, it better be! If there’s one thing Swarovski does well, however, it’s binoculars (and optics in general).
The El Swarovision family is – for good reason – one of the most highly regarded lines of binoculars available, thanks in large part to its unmatched image resolution and almost otherworldly clarity and contrast.
These binoculars are a dream to use in any kind of situation or lighting, but it is in the low light conditions of early morning and twilight where you’ll truly notice the difference between these and other models.
The El 8.5×42’s are ideal for almost any type of hunting, and their fluoride-containing HD lenses will minimize color-fringing and give you a contrast-rich field of vision to ensure you have every chance to hit your target.
Add to that the Swaroclean coating on the outer surface of the lenses, which guarantees a non-stick effect that makes them a cinch to clean, and you have a pair of binoculars you can enjoy for a long, long time.
Nikon 7549 Monarch 7 Binocular Review
Nikon is not necessary known for its products outside of the digital camera market, but you would be fouling yourself if you didn’t take a second glance at the Nikon Monarch 7.
These 10×42 beauties are ideal for a wide range of activities, but they can easily be configured to provide an exceptional boost to any hunting trip.
The Monarch 7’s employ fully multicoated lenses and, combined with Nikon’s next generation phase-corrected prism coatings, offer their user brilliant images rich in both detail and contrast.
In addition, Nikon’s superb Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass lends perfectly to rich, luminous images that can easily rival the quality of larger objective hunting binoculars from their competitors.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the Monarch 7 is also built to take a beating over years of outdoor activity.
With their rubber-coated exterior, the Monarch 7 is designed for all-terrain activity, whether you’re climbing a mountain or tracking game deep in the woods. They are also completely water and fog proof for your peace of mind.
Best Hunting Binoculars for the Money
Nikon PROSTAFF 7S Binocular Review
If you’re looking for ultimate bang for your buck, look no further than the Nikon PROSTAFF 7S. As mentioned earlier, while while Nikon is more commonly associated with photo cameras, the 7S comes into the market as a low-priced and serviceable alternative to their high-dollar counterparts – albeit at 8×42 instead of the more common 10×42.
You may sacrifice a small amount of magnification with the 8x, you make up for it in the amount of light the lenses can bring in – which can be critical when you’re in the field during low light dawn and dusk periods.
As you might expect the 7S comes with limited features beyond the standard stuff, but there are also few better options.
Bushnell Trophy XLT Binoculars Review
Our final entry on the list is a more modest offering from industry staple Bushnell. With the Trophy XLT, you won’t get the image quality or cutting edge features of their more high-end models, but you will get a highly durable pair of hunting binoculars that offer world-class optics at a fraction of the price.
The Trophy XLT also boasts fully multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms which, when working in tandem, combine to deliver razor-sharp images at the most critical game movement periods.
In addition, all level of hunters will fall in love with the soft-touch thumb grips, which further improve handling ease and make spotting their prey that much easier.
Throw in a fast focus system and flip covers for the objective lenses, and you’ve got a top-end set of hunting binoculars.
When it all boils down to it, however, a hunter’s choice of binoculars really comes down to a combination of their own personal feature hierarchy, brand preference and, of course, budget.
The diversity of brands and features on this list is sure to provide plenty of options to satisfy any hunter searching for their next pair of hunting binoculars.
I wish you luck with your research into your next optics purchase, and hopefully the options this list will help you hit that record haul you’ve been after on your next trip into the brush.