Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting (2020): Sturdiest Waterproof & Shockproof Models With Multi-Coated Lenses, Wide Field of View & Higher Magnification Ranges–Fully Tested & Reviewed
- Robert Stevens
I remember spending a lot of my time hunting with my family as a child. The adults used to hit their targets constantly and it could be frustrating for the less experienced few. The difference between us and the adults was that they were using binoculars and we weren’t. Looking for elk in an environment with many other similarly colored objects is hard. There were a lot of rocks with bullet holes in them at the end of the day.
When I got older my father gave me his old set of binoculars and that was the day that changed my hunting experience. I could differentiate between elk and rocks so quickly and my aim was always true. I've been able to try many different brands throughout my life and prepared a list of the best binoculars for elk hunting that you’ll find today.
Every one of these binoculars has pros and cons but they are ideal for hunting elk in many environments. The buying guide can help you decide between the best devices out there.
What You Will Get Here
- Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
- Elk Hunting Binoculars: Buying Guide
- Why are Elk Hunting Binoculars So Great?
- Our Top 5 Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting
- Top Pick: Adorrgon 12x42 Powerful Binoculars
- Also Great: SkyGenius 10x50 Powerful Binoculars
- Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binoculars
- Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars
- BRIGENIUS 10x50 Binoculars
- Other Notable Brands
- Care & Maintenance
- Use & Safety Tips
- A Word from RangerExpert
Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)
Adorrgon 12x42 Powerful BinocularsRead Full Review
SkyGenius 10x50 Powerful BinocularsRead Full Review
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism BinocularsRead Full Review
Bushnell Falcon 133410 BinocularsRead Full Review
BRIGENIUS 10x50 BinocularsRead Full Review
Elk Hunting Binoculars: Buying Guide
Binos, also known as field glasses, are widely used optical devices that are highly popular among elk and other wild animal hunters, shooters, bow hunters, adventurers, hikers, mountaineers and so on. Unlike the monoculars, these are able to create a 3D image. Let’s talk about some of the basics of binoculars.
Apart from the construction, durability and lens coating, the main questions we get from our audience are about the power vs. objectives, and lens sizes. We often bump into numbers such as 10x42, 8x56 or 15x56. Here, the first numbers (8, 10 and 15) indicate the Power. The power indicates that it is 10 times greater than what the human eyes can see. The higher the power, the narrower the field of view.
So, in any case, you’d lose the field of view if you crank up the power of your scope. Now, let’s shed some more light on other basics about binoculars that you need to focus on if you plan to get one for elk hunting in particular.
Hunting binoculars do not need to be as strong as riflescopes. A magnification power of 10x is usually enough and you will be able to keep your view steady. Whether you want the magnification to be adjustable or not depends on your preference.
2. Objective Size
Objective lens diameter
Specifically, for hunting, an objective lens diameter of between 40 and 42mm is ideal. The larger the diameter, the more detail you will be able to see, so this size works well.
You want an eyepiece that is big enough to be comfortable but small enough for your whole eye to be able to see through it.
3. Field of View
This is the area of space that you can see when you are looking at something that is 1000 yds away. If you are hunting a fast-moving elk, then the field of view is not that important. A large field of view is important if you want to view larger and more open spaces. However, for bowhunting purposes, you might require a bigger field of view as the shooting range is lower.
4. Exit Pupil and Relative Brightness Index
Magnification plays a part in how big the exit pupil will be. The objective lens also affects the exit pupil size. Higher exit pupils tend to allow more light transmission to give you brighter views. A high brightness index will make it easier to view games in darker settings.
5. Prism Type
Being more affordable it does not work as well as a roof prism, but it will do the job it is intended for.
These are more expensive but are preferred by hunters because of how lightweight and functional they are.
6. Focus Type
Centre-focusing is better for sets that are going to be used by more than one person. Otherwise, individual focusing is better if you are using it alone because you won’t need to adjust it often.
7. Eye Relief
Eye relief is usually only important for people who wear glasses of any sort. If you do and you want to view deer clearly, then a larger eye relief will work better for you. Some devices come with adjustable eye relief for different situations when you might not wear glasses.
8. Optical Quality
Coatings on the lens surface are meant to regulate light transmission for clear and glare-free views. The most common types of optical coatings include phase correction coatings, anti-reflective coatings, metallic mirror coatings, and dielectric mirror coatings. Apart from them, here are other coatings that you should also know of.
It is functional without a coating, but glare and loss of light will be a disadvantage.
Although not as great as a multilayer coating, it will still reflect light for great views.
They have more than one layer of an anti-reflective coating so are the most popular. They are also the most expensive.
Higher quality glass can stay clear for longer and is more resistant to scratching and damage.
9. Image Quality
This is more important for bird watching and sight-seeing. Hunting requires that you can tell the difference between elk and objects. Because you won’t use them too often, you can get away with average image quality for hunting.
10. Size and Weight
If you plan on traveling or walking a lot while holding it then weight and size are important. Lightweight and compact binoculars are easier to travel with, but they are normally more fragile.
11. Rubber Coating and Water Resistance
Durability is as important as other features of your device. A rubber coating can reduce the risk of water and shock damage for all environments.
Sometimes you will get a few accessories included in your purchase such as a carrying bag. The lens caps that are usually provided will protect the lenses from damage. A strap may also be included for easy transport when you are walking and viewing.
The cost of the best tools available can range from just $30 to $500 depending on the brand that you choose. No doubt more expensive versions tend to be of higher quality than cheaper options.
14. Weather/Fog Resistance
It is always a good idea to get optic tools that are weather and fog-resistant. If this is a feature of your device, you can use it in any environment or weather. It will allow you to use it for longer because weather resistance adds to the durability.
15. Hinge Location
The hinge is normally central to make it more comfortable to adjust the device while you use it. Make sure the hinge is in the right place because it can affect the accuracy of your views.
16. Image Stabilization
Image stability depends mostly on how strong the magnification is. A stronger magnification will normally make the image more unstable because it will be smaller.
Why are Elk Hunting Binoculars So Great?
Telling the difference between the game you are hunting, and other objects can be difficult. This is most prominent when you are hunting from a distance because it’s difficult to differentiate small objects. Elk hunting binoculars can eliminate this problem for you and make hunting much more enjoyable.
Another advantage is that you can use them for more than just elk hunting if you wanted to. Your aim will be truer, and you will shoot more games when you use these devices to find them in your hunting grounds. On top of that, all our recommended models come under $1000. So, they are also budget friendly.
Our Top 5 Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting
The lightweight design and powerful optics make the Adorrgon our top pick on this list. Being lighter than some other products on our list, it works well if you want to hike with them. The large eyepiece adds comfort to the mix, and you can hold them sturdily with the non-slip grip. A fixed magnification of 12x is more than enough to find game on the hunting grounds.
An objective lens at 42mm allows enough light to give clear and bright views when out hunting. Not only does it make images clearer, but it works in sync with the magnification to make finding elk or moose a quick process. Multi-coated lenses at an HD effect to everything you see when you look through them. One of our favorite features is that it comes with a lens cap, cleaning cloth, and carrying strap included.
You can use this device in low lighting conditions without any problems, but the experience in complete darkness will not be the same. Shock-resistance is another great advantage of the Adorrgon binoculars. This means they can get a few bumps without being damaged. A durable build along with fog-and water-resistance makes this optical tool ideal for hunting in different environments.
More affordable than some other options on our list this is a great product for beginners and people on a budget. Because they are so easy to use, your whole family can use them and benefit from the amazing optics. You can make it a gift for someone special or buy it for personal use when you are hunting.
|Field Of View||305 ft/1000 yds|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
This is our top pick because of all the features and accessories that it comes with. To add to that, it is affordable and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The magnification is perfect for hunting elk and the image quality is second to very few others. You can use it in any environment, and it can be used by adults and children alike.
The Adorrgon is great for beginners as well as professionals, and you will not regret spending your money on it.
The SkyGenius is also great and comes with a few accessories included. These accessories are four lens caps, a carrier bag, a carrying strap, and a lens cloth. It might not be as lightweight as some other binoculars on our list, but it is still comfortable. A 50mm objective lens makes it possible to transmit a lot of light for brighter views. Using the 10x magnification you will always find what you're looking for.
Multi-coated lenses make light transmission even better and you can use them in situations with low lighting. Odorless rubber is used for the armor and the anti-slip grip makes it more comfortable to use. Because of the safety features put in place for the SkyGenius, it can be used by any member of the family. The lens coatings are corrective to minimize the amount of distortion that can occur when you’re hunting.
Knobs are available to help focus the binoculars and we found it easy to do it quickly in between views. At the same time, the eyepieces are adjustable to offer you different lengths of eye relief depending on who's using them. The cups are covered in comfortable rubber that can suit you regardless of whether you wear glasses or not.
4.5 stars show that this is one of the best optical tools available on the online market. With an aluminum body, it will last longer and be useful in any environment. It is also weather-resistant for harsher weather and humid situations.
|Field Of View||367 ft/1000 yds|
|Eye Relief||0.7 inches|
This top-rated device offers everything you will need to spot elk successfully. The magnification is great for differentiating animals and it is affordable as well. Although it is heavier than some other options, it is easy to travel with regardless. The lens cloth that is included will help you keep your lenses clean and well maintained.
A great feature about the SkyGenius is that it can be put on a tripod if you want to do that. It also comes with a 1-year warranty for anything that may go wrong.
You will be able to hunt in any weather with the Bushnell H2O. It is both water and fog-resistant to endure the harshest weather conditions and almost any time of the day. A magnification power of 10x is ideal for hunting elk and the 42mm objective lens provides enough light transmission. You will be able to see clearly in situations of low lighting as well as during the day.
It was easy to grip the Bushnell because of the non-slip rubber armor that surrounds the durable body. It also helps add to water resistance because rubber is waterproof and shockproof as well. The center focus knob will make it easy for more than one person to use it because adjusting is easy. The eye relief is average but might not be enough for you if you wear glasses.
It is heavier than our top pick, which is a slight con, but it is still easily transported. The tube is nitrogen purged to prevent the lenses from fogging up in humid or cold environments. Roof prisms offer only the best optics and they are lighter than Porro prisms. Along with the great prism, the lenses are fully multi-coated for the best light transmission possible. It allows you to view in darker conditions as well as light conditions.
The Bushnell H2O is the most expensive set of binoculars on our list and rightfully so. They are high-quality making them one of the best available on the online market. A limited lifetime warranty is included in the price.
|Field Of View||305 ft/1000 yds|
|Angle Of View||7.8°|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
The Bushnell H2O wouldn’t be on our list if it was not worth the title. The price might be the only disadvantage that comes with this device. Great optics that can be used by any member of the family will make hunting elk much more exciting. Weather resistance is in high demand for western hunters which is why this device is ideal for them.
A limited lifetime warranty makes it easy to see that this brand has confidence in its product. This is one of the best-rated binoculars for elk hunting that deserves your attention.
Even though the magnification of the Falcon is not as powerful as the other devices, it is enough to work well for hunting. The objective lens is also smaller but light transmission is a pro of this optical tool. A magnification of 7x and an objective lens of 35mm will give you clear views regardless of the lighting. It is a lightweight option that makes walking easier when you are on your way to the hunting grounds.
Dropping this device is not an option with the non-slip rubber grip pads that are comfortable in the hands. We found it easy to move around without dropping them even in wet conditions. The field of view is large so you will not be able to see too much detail, but you can easily find elk with the Bushnell Falcon. The Porro prism may be heavier than its alternative, but it is just as functional and makes a more affordable product.
Affordability is a plus side of this device because Bushnell makes expensive binoculars as well. For beginner hunters and people on a strict budget, this is probably a better option if you want a set of Bushnell’s. Unfortunately, it is neither water nor fog-resistant so you will need to make sure you only use them in dry conditions. Storing them in a cool, dry place is also important.
It might not be weather resistant, but the materials that are used for the body and lenses are high-quality. You will get a durable device that comes with a 2-year limited warranty when you purchase this device. It’s also ideal for shed hunting.
|Field Of View||420 ft/1000 yds|
|Warranty||2-year limited warranty|
If you are a beginner on a tight budget, then the Bushnell Falcon will be a good addition to your hunting kit. It is durable and affordable with good optics and an ideal magnification power. Besides the fact that it is not weatherproof there is not much to say about this bad device.
The 2-year limited warranty will keep you covered while you learn to use it properly. Remember to store it in the right conditions because it is easily damaged by humid environments.
With a magnification of 10x this is a powerful set of optics for hunting in different environments. The large 50mm objective lens will give great light transmission even when it is darker outside. It is heavier than some of the other options on our top 5 list, but you can still travel with it easily. Aspherical lenses that are fully multi-coating will reflect light to make images even brighter.
Shock resistance is a feature of this device that is increased by the rubber outer armor. It is a non-slip armor that will also prevent you from dropping your binoculars. We found it easy to use even while walking or moving around. It is also durable to make sure that it will last you for many years to come. Because the field of view is large, you can follow fast-moving elk when you are out hunting.
The Brigenius is affordable making it ideal for beginner hunters or anyone on a strict budget. An 18-month warranty adds to the list of pros and you will not be disappointed with the warranty terms and conditions. The center focus knob is a great addition for families because it can be adjusted depending on who is using it. If you want to teach your child how to use an optical device, this is also one of the best devices to do that with.
|Field Of View||367 ft/1000 yds|
This is one of our favorite brands that are not well-known because the quality of the optics is amazing. It is a device for hunting families that love the sport. It makes it easy to share by adjusting the focus whenever you need to. The affordable price and 18-month warranty make it a perfect purchase for beginner hunters.
Storing it in a cool, dry place is important if you want it to last long.
Other Notable Brands
Let’s take this space to mention the names of other reputable brands and their popular hunting binocular models that also deserve attention:
Vortex Optics (also known for their spotting scopes), Nikon (Monarch), SOLOMARK (known for their Night Vision binos), Aurosports, Bestguarder, Celestron, Snapzoom, Carson, PAIPU, Gosky, Leupold, Toyuugo, USCAMEL, SWAROVSKI ,OWLED, AOFAR, Sunagor, Upland Optics, TecTecTec, Eyeskey, Horn Hunter, UNEGROUP, Primos, LTOOL, Bijia, Occer, BARSKA, Limechoes, Optics, and Gogogo.
Care & Maintenance
Secure them in your jacket
If you are actively running around or jumping while you are hunting, secure your device in your jacket. Preventing them from unnecessary bumps will help you use them for longer.
Clean the lenses regularly
Use lens tissue or cloth to clean your lenses because it will prevent them from being scratched. You can use some lens cleaner to get rid of any oil and stubborn dirt as well. Use earbuds to clean the inner corners of the lenses which will remove small dirt particles. Don’t forget to wipe the body of your tool because it needs to be clean all over.
Store them properly
Storing these devices in humid areas can cause the growth of fungus on the lenses. If this happens the optics are at risk of being damaged by this aggressive fungus. A cool, dry area in the carrying bag should work well for storage purposes.
Use & Safety Tips
Focus your binoculars
Try focusing on something around you with both of your eyes open and turn the central focus knob. You can then close one eye and fine-tune the image with the focus knob.
Choose the right set
Go through this buying guide to make sure that you are choosing the best set for you. Look at the specifications to find out details about each option and decide which is best for your needs.
Clean your device
Cleaning both the lenses and the body is important in maintaining your device. The lenses will stay clear and give you good views while the body will stay clean and waterproof.
Use lens caps
If you receive lens caps and a bag then use them. They are made to keep your device safe and help it last longer. Replace the lens caps after each use and cleaning.
A Word from RangerExpert
Anyone of these best binoculars for elk hunting will suit any deer hunting enthusiast. The information we provided in this buying guide will help you make the best decision as per your preferences. It is always important to remember that proper maintenance is just as vital as choosing the right device.
Our favorite on this list is the Adorrgon 12x42 Powerful Binoculars because they are affordable and have the best optics. There are many other options available out there, but these are, as with our other recommended sports equipment, by far the best and you should consider them first.
1. What are the best binoculars for hunting?
Ans. Our team of experts put the best selling binos from the leading manufacturers to test. After a series of research and testing sessions, we shortlisted the top 5 models including Adorrgon 12x42, SkyGenius 10x50, Bushnell H2O Waterproof Binos, Bushnell Falcon 133410 and BRIGENIUS 10x50. Check out their full reviews above.
2. What size objective lens do I need for hunting?
Ans. There is no way to choose the best size for hunting because it is dependent on how far you are shooting. It also depends on the magnification you are using because higher magnifications work well with large objective lenses. Bigger objective lenses will also give you brighter images.
3. What is the preferred magnification to use for hunting?
Ans. This is also dependent on the distance that you are shooting at. The further away you want to shoot, the stronger your magnification should be. Generally, hunters use scopes that have a magnification ranging from 3x to 9x which is sufficient.
4. What binos will suit me if I wear glasses?
Ans. The best thing to do is to choose what you prefer. The only aspect of the binoculars that you must pay attention to is the eye relief. If you wear glasses, it is better to get a tool that has larger eye relief to give you clear images while being further away.
5. How are optics useful during elk hunting?
Ans. There are different ways to use optics when you are deer hunting. You can use binoculars to find the animals and look at your surroundings. You can also invest in a riflescope to give you higher accuracy when you are shooting the elk.
6. What binoculars should I use for long-distance viewing?
Ans. You’ll need a strong and high magnification range for long-distance viewing. At the same time, they should have larger objective lenses and some more features to give you clear images. You could also consider a high-end rangefinder binocular pair.
7. What does multi-coating mean?
Ans. If lenses are multi-coated, they have more than one layer of coating on them. Multiple coats on a lens do not ensure that they will be better than other brands. They do take longer to make though, and if you use them correctly, they can be amazing.