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Hunter’s Handbook is the official student “how-to” information pipeline of the International Hunter Education Association. As the experts in teaching safe, ethical and successful hunting, we are here to provide tips, tools, and great video content as well as offer you a place that you can learn more about your love and favorite past-time—hunting.  Spend some time with us.  New content is added monthly, and we are excited to share our expertise with you.  We wish you a lifetime of safe and memorable experiences in the outdoors.

Choosing the right binocular

Binoculars are important to hunting because of the simple fact you can’t shoot what you can’t see. Binoculars help you spot game and allow you to determine from a distance – field judging, it’s called – if that is an animal you want to pursue. Therefore, they can save you miles of walking and stalking.

choosing the right binocular

Binoculars are important to hunting because of the simple fact you can’t shoot what you can’t see. Binoculars help you spot game and allow you to determine from a distance – field judging, it’s called – if that is an animal you want to pursue. Therefore, they can save you miles of walking and stalking.

 

binocular hunting

Think about it. You spend more time looking for game than actually stalking. You may be glassing a distance sagebrush-covered hillside for mule deer or picking through nearby thick cover, leaf by leaf, twig by twig, to see if you can spot an antler or patch of hair or catch the twitch of a whitetail’s ear.

 

 

You get the point. Just as good optics are important in a riflescope, so are they important in your binocular. (“Binocular” is the correct term, not “binoculars” or “pair of binoculars.” The “bi” refers to the twin barrels of the single binocular unit.)

 

So, a good binocular is investment. Buy the best you can afford, and take good care of them. Look for a binocular from a reputable company that backs their products with warranties, preferably a lifetime warranty, in case something goes wrong.

 

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Choosing a binocular is not as complicated as it may appear, from looking at a large display in a sporting goods store. First, a quick word about magnification, which is designated on the binocular. For instance, the 8 in 8x32 denotes a magnification factor of 8. The 32 denotes the diameter in millimeters of the front lens, called the objective lens. The larger the objective lens, the more light it lets in, which affects resolution and clarity, especially during low-light situations, like dawn and dusk. Generally speaking, large objective lenses provide more detail than smaller ones.

 

 

 

If you plan to glass long distances, such as wide open antelope country in the West, think higher magnification. On the other hand, if you’re a hard-core whitetail hunter who rarely leaves the treestand, you may not need high magnification and large objective lenses.

 

A good place to start is with today’s top-selling binoculars: 8x32 and 10x42. Decent magnification, without the hand-held shakiness of higher magnification, and good light transmission at ends of the day. Either will cover a wide range of hunting conditions, and are available in a wide range of prices.

 

Look for a binocular with multi-coated lenses. Lens are a discovery of a Zeiss engineer who in the 1930s discovered coating lenses with magnesium fluoride increased light transmission. Today’s binoculars feature multiple layers of coatings that, among other things, enhance light transmission, provide scratch resistance and improve viewing in wet, rainy conditions.

 

Also look for well-made binoculars with sturdy construction and water resistance. And look for “nitrogen filled” binoculars, in which nitrogen gas has replaced air between lenses to prevent internal fogging, an important characteristic especially in the changing temperatures and weather conditions that can come with hunting.

 

You may see acronyms and initials on the binoculars, such as ED, FL and HD (extra-low dispersion, fluoride-containing and high-definition, respectively) which may be something you want to consider, budget willing.

 

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A good place to start is with a popular brand with a solid reputation for quality, like Zeiss. Their entry-level TERRA line provides Zeiss’ trademark quality components and construction – and clear, crisp images at reasonable prices. But, you should also check out their powerful mid-range Conquest line or the leading-edge Victory line.

 

Do your homework, then visit a local sporting goods store for side-by-side comparison, which will help you see which binocular is best for you. Start your research at zeiss.com.