Recon Made Easy: Top Binoculars for 2012

As a 12-year-old, beginning bowhunter, I thought binoculars were unnecessary for deer hunting. After all, the deer needed to walk into 20 yards or less, and if I couldn't see what was going on then, I didn't belong in the woods. Of course, during those early years every legal deer was a shooter, and I didn't have much of a need for field-judging rack size or probable maturity.


Over the years, I realized the benefit of seeing an approaching deer so I could get ready for a shot. I began to understand the need to investigate a strange brown spot in a soybean field while still-hunting or scan the far reaches of a picked cornfield before sneaking into my stand. It became abundantly clear that binoculars belong in the deer woods.


Then I went on my first Western hunt with my dad in Wyoming for antelope. That hunt opened my eyes to a lot of things, but arguably most important was we learned good glass isn't merely a tool in our arsenal, but perhaps the biggest crutch worth leaning on. The lessons learned on the open, sagebrush-studded prairie followed us home as we returned to the world of whitetails.

Since then, a quality pair of binoculars has been strapped to my chest like a newborn child in one of those hands-free baby transporters. And like a newborn child, I take great care not to forget my binos, and to protect them as much as possible.


How much money you're willing to spend on binos is probably the number-one deciding factor on what exact model ends up riding home from Cabela's with you. Price tag aside, consider a few things. The first is that all binoculars will feature two numbers, like 8x32 or 10x42. The first number represents the amount of magnification. The second number represents the objective lens diameter. This number is far more important when hunting whitetails because the larger the objective diameter, the better a pair of binos will be at gathering light, with all else, such as glass quality, being equal.

Beyond magnification and objective lens diameter, factors like overall weight and durability come into play. A few minutes with your hands on different glass will tell you plenty about the other features. Following are 13 of the best options worth checking out.

More Bow Accessories

Bow Accessories

Your Gear Checklist For Backcountry Bowhunts

Dwight Schuh - June 22, 2016

Question for Bowhunter: My group has been hunting elk in Colorado in an area accessible by...

Bow Accessories

Custom Strings Increase Bow Performance and Accuracy

Mike Carney - July 29, 2016

There are many reasons why bowhunters go the route of custom string sets, but three are

ATA Show

6 New Archery Release Aids to Consider for 2019

Colton Bailey - January 11, 2019

Check out our roundup of the best new release aids from the 2019 ATA Show!

See More Bow Accessories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×