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When it comes to crucial hunting gear, a pair of binoculars is at the top of almost every hunter’s list. Not only do they allow you to spot your quarry from long distances, but they can help you plan your next move or survey the terrain. Choosing the best hunting binoculars can make or break your hunting experience, but you need to know what to look for.
With so many options in optics, it can be a challenge to know what to look for. There are many great brands out there, all producing amazing products. Here are a few key factors that a hunter should consider when trying to choose a new pair of binoculars for hunting.
The size and weight of binoculars will directly correlate to the magnification range it provides. Binoculars will have two numbers, for example, 10x42. This means that the magnification is 10 times and the objective lens size is 42mm. Magnification is how much closer the image appears to your naked eye and will allow you to see further distances.
On the other hand, objective lens size refers to the diameter of the front lens of the binoculars. A larger objective lens will be larger and heavier but allow for a brighter image (especially in low-light conditions). The larger the objective lens, the more light it can capture. This can be especially important during the early morning hours and late in the evenings when most hunting is done.
Many high-end hunting binoculars are designed with special coatings that can reflect up to 99.7% of the available light, making them ideal for use in low-light conditions such as dawn or dusk when many big game animals are most active
When choosing binocular magnification for hunting, many sportsmen lean towards something in the middle of the road for magnification such as 8x or 10x. These binos typically have an objective lens size of 40mm or 42mm. While binoculars come in lower and higher magnification powers, these provide a good balance of size, weight, portability, and clarity.
If you need something with a little more magnification for long-distance glassing, a 12x or 15x might better suit your needs. These are great for hunters in western states or areas where a lot of land can be viewed at once. For thick or otherwise close encounters, however, an 8x pair of binoculars will always be reliable and easy to handhold.
Another important aspect of choosing binoculars is the field of view (FOV). The FOV is the width of the view that you can see through the binoculars. A larger FOV will give the ability to see more of the surrounding area, making it easier to spot animals on the move. On the other hand, a smaller FOV will restrict your view and could mean missing something.
The FOV is measured in feet at a distance of 1000 yards. The best hunting binoculars will have a FOV of 300 feet or more. No matter what magnification of binos you are using, having a larger FOV will help spot more animals.
Fun Fact: Some of the most advanced hunting binocular models are equipped with built-in rangefinders.
Hunting can be rough on equipment, and binoculars are no exception (that's why you need a good bino harness). Because they are used so often, they can often receive the brunt of the abuse. This is why durability is a crucial factor to consider when looking at binoculars. Not every brand is created equal, and some will last much longer than others.
To find the most durable binoculars, take a look at the variety of materials that they are constructed of. Many binoculars have a rubber exterior that acts as armor against bumps and impacts. Straight metal binoculars can also be very durable but will tend to weigh a lot more than those made of hard plastics and rubber.
Some binoculars will also include features such as waterproof seals and fog proof guarantees. Look for models of binoculars that include a durable construction and additional seals and glass coatings to ensure the highest levels of durability. This will help your binoculars last for many years, even after plenty of abuse.
To find the most durable binoculars, it pays to look at online reviews. If an expensive piece of hunting gear such as binoculars breaks on a hunter, they are sure to let others know about it. This can be a good indication of whether or not a particular brand or model will stand up to the test of time.
Last but certainly not least, the price tag of binoculars should come into play when choosing a new pair for hunting. Everyone has different budgets, and luckily there are many brands and models to accommodate every need. Just be aware that the amount of money that you spend on your binoculars will not always correlate to the quality you are receiving.
Binoculars can cost as much as thousands of dollars or as little as $20. While the very cheap models should be avoided due to quality and clarity issues, you definitely do not need to spend thousands of dollars to get a great pair of binoculars. Set up a budget of how much you can reasonably spend on binoculars and start your search with those that fall into that category.
Another thing that often goes overlooked is the warranty offered for specific brands and models of binoculars. Some companies offer amazing warranties that will fix or replace your binoculars free of charge should you scratch, drop, or otherwise break them. This can bring some excellent peace of mind while hunting in the event you accidentally damage your binoculars.
Other warranties may cost you a little bit of money to get your optics repaired, while other companies do not offer warranties at all. This should also be taken into consideration when it comes to getting the best bang for your buck.
Choosing the right binoculars for your next hunting trip can make the overall experience much better. Finding the best balance between magnification, objective lens size, field of view, durability, and price will lead a hunter to an excellent pair of binoculars that can serve them for years to come. While it can be challenging at times with so many options out there, staying patient and searching for the right pair of binoculars will elevate anyone’s hunting game to the next level.
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