Summer Scouting with the Best Hunting Optics
July 17, 2017
July is the official start of summer glassing season. Across whitetail territory, antlers are starting to really take shape and it's pretty easy to tell the mature bucks from the junior models. Of course, this gets even easier if you happen to use quality optics during your evening glassing sessions.
For this particular whitetail addict, I don't step out of my truck without a tripod-mounted spotting scope and binoculars. The binos provide the opportunity to scan distant soybean fields for the hint of a fuzzy tine or two poking out of the greenery while the spotting scope allows for closer, more meticulous study of the tine owner and his buddies.
As the sun dips and the glassing gets more difficult, binos play an even larger role because they tend to allow for better low-light viewing than spotting scopes. This matters, because even during the lazy summer months, some of the biggest bucks on the landscape take their time heading out to the buffet.
If you're into watching summertime bucks, but need an optics upgrade, we've got you covered. Following are 11 killer options.
Bresser Condor 10x42 Binocular
If you're short on cash but long on the desire to observe deer doing what deer do, consider Bresser's latest — the Condor 10x42 Binocular. With a 4.2mm exit pupil, fully multi-coated lens, and BaK-4 prisms, the Condors don't operate like binos that will only set you back $100. They also tip the scales at only 1.5 pounds and are built on an aluminum housing that is coated in hard rubber to ensure they'll survive the rough-and-tumble handling of any diehard whitetail hunter.
Bushnell Excursion HD Binoculars
Bushnell's budget friendly Excursion HD Binoculars are offered in two sizes, with the 10x42s an obvious choice for hardcore whitetail hunters. They feature a wide field-of-view, BaK-4 roof prisms, and fully multi-coated optics. Excursions are also 100-percent waterproof, fogproof, and designed with a large, lockable center focus knob. You almost have to use them to appreciate that, but what it does is allow for precise focusing — even while wearing gloves — and is a welcome gift in low light.
Cabela's Instinct Euro HD 10x42 Binoculars
When it comes to optics, anything European tends to be a great starting point. There are a few things they do across the pond pretty well, and one of them is producing lenses and other binocular parts. Cabela's knows this, which is why their Euro HDs offer excellent clarity, superior light transmission, and a durable, ergonomic design. The 10x42s only weigh 31 ounces, meaning not only are they a breeze to carry into the whitetail woods, but double as excellent backcountry binos as well.
German Precision Optics Passion HD
I got the chance to use these GPO 10x42 binos for three days in South Texas recently while hunting free-range axis deer. It's safe to say that by the end of the hunt, I did not want to give them back. These binos are some of the best I've ever used, which stands to reason when you consider they use GPObright lens coating technology, offer an incredible field-of-view, and much-appreciated eye relief. They never fogged up on me once, and were exceptionally lightweight and compact. For a company I'd never even heard of, I went away very impressed by the quality of these optics. Very. Impressed.
Leica APO-Televid 65
This 65mm spotting scope is offered in a straight-view or angled-view model, with either featuring multi-coated, AquaDura lenses. It is designed with a die-cast magnesium, nitrogen-filled housing to keep it lightweight and extremely durable, and operates with a patented dual focusing device. Leica has churned out some unbelievable stuff in recent years and the APO-Televid 65 is no exception.
Leupold BX-2 Tioga HD Binoculars
It's pretty hard to go wrong with Leupold products, which is definitely the case with the new BX-2 Tiogas. These binos, which are available in four options ranging from 8x42 to 12x50, utilize the Twilight Max Light Management System to increase optical performance in low-light situations, but doesn't stop there. Twilight Max also optimizes the wavelengths that pass through the binos, which gives the viewer a crisp, clear look at distant bucks in all conditions. Naturally, the Tiogas are backed by Leupold's Full Lifetime Guarantee.
Maven Optics S.1A
Mavens aren't cheap, but they are worth every penny. I spent some time behind the 80mm S.1As this spring and can't remember ever coveting a spotting scope quite as much. If you're serious about summer scouting (and happen to travel to mule deer or elk territory occasionally), you'd be well-served to fork over the dough for the S.1As. They utilize a fluorite objective lens to deliver, clear, crisp viewing well after the sun has dropped below the treeline. They also offer unbelievable edge-to-edge clarity and weigh a shade under 65 ounces, making them easily packable.
Nikon MONARCH HG
For two decades bowhunters have used Nikon MONARCHs to scout and hunt, and this year they've released the HGs in both 10x42 and 8x42 options. The HGs are designed with Nikon's new Field Flattener Lens System, which when paired with a wide field of view, provide an undistorted view of the landscape and seriously clear viewing all evening long. MONARCH HGs are built on a lightweight yet durable magnesium alloy body, and are backed by the No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy for as long as you own them.
STYRKA S7 Series
Choose from 8x30, 8x42, and 10x42 offerings in Styrka's S7 Series lineup. The 10x42s, which weigh 23 ounces, are designed with Fully Multi-Coated lenses. They are also waterproof and nitrogen purged. For scanning rolling alfalfa fields at last light, the S7s offer a linear field-of-view of 341 feet at 1,000 yards and a twilight factor of 20.5. Eye relief of 17mm is standard on these compact binos.
Tract TORIC Binoculars
Newcomer to the optics world, Tract has already developed a loyal following amongst hunters thanks to their quality. The TORICs are designed with Enhanced Ocular Design, which provides plenty of eye relief and a wide field of view while simultaneously minimizing the blackout that can occur with improper eye positioning. They also utilize Ultra High Definition Technology to maximize all parts of the optical system including the Phase Correction Coated Roof Prisms and Extra Low Dispersion Glass, amongst many other integral parts. TORICs are also waterproof and fogproof.
Zeiss Terra ED Color Binoculars
Anyone looking for high-end performance without having to take out a second mortgage would be well served checking out the Terra ED Color Binoculars from Zeiss. They are offered in 8x32, 10x32, 8x42, and 10x42 models, all of which feature SCHOTT ED glass and MC multi-coated lenses. What this means is that these lightweight and waterproof binos promise what Zeiss is famous for — unbelievable light transmission and overall viewing clarity in all conditions.