With seemingly hundreds of binocular options on the market, choosing the correct hunting binocular for your needs can understandably feel like an overwhelming task. By first identifying your priorities, then your wants, you can ultimately determine which hunting bino fits the bill for whatever situation you find yourself in.
In this guide, we’ll keep things simple and help you choose the correct bino based on your needs and wants. We’ll also offer up suggestions from our full lineup of hunting optics to help you nail down the best hunting binoculars for your adventures.
It should be noted that this same approach works across the board with all types of hunting. Whether you’re an eastern white-tail hunter, a western elk hunter, or a turkey hunter in the southwest, the same thought process applies to all species.
Above all, clarity and resolution are an absolute necessity. This should be the top priority. Since not all binoculars are created equal, choose your hunting bino based on quality first. Fortunately, all Maven B Series and C Series binoculars meet and exceed these important clarity and resolution needs.
In addition to optical clarity, identifying what is absolutely needed should be your next consideration. To determine these needs, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:
- What type of habitat are you primarily hunting - dense forest (e.g., hardwood flats, coniferous timber, etc.) or open expanses (e.g., western mountains, sage flats, etc.)?
- How do I hunt (e.g., spot and stalk, tree stand, etc.)?
Both of these questions are interrelated and work off of each other - the type of habitat you hunt directly correlates with how you hunt. Understanding this relationship will help determine which optic configuration will best optimize your needs.
"...if you’re hunting in dense, tighter habitats, you’ll benefit more from an optic with less magnification and a greater field of view."
Generally speaking, if you’re hunting in dense, tighter habitats, you’ll benefit more from an optic with less magnification and a greater field of view - approximately 340ft or greater (ft/1000 yds). These include power ranges from 6x - 9x, with Maven B.1, B.2, B.3, C.1, and C.2 being excellent choices. This combination allows you to see more within your field of vision and to quickly find your subject. Because of this, it’s important to note that bigger is not always better. A higher power optic can make closer subjects difficult to locate due to the required panning and because of the amplification of hand holding movement. Additionally, it’s typically brighter and brings in more light for those critical low-light periods given that a high power will not gather as much light in forested situations which tend to get darker quicker than open fields. And because people in these scenarios are either hunting from a tree stand or by slowly walking through the forest, the wide field of view, low magnification combo is a tried and true recipe for success.
"...if you’re hunting in vast, wide-open spaces, you’ll likely benefit more from an optic with higher magnification and a smaller field of view."
Conversely, if you’re hunting in vast, wide-open spaces, you’ll likely benefit more from an optic with higher magnification and a smaller field of view - approximately 340ft or less (ft/1000 yds). These include power ranges from 10x - 18x, with Maven B.1, B.2, B.4, B.5, C.1, and C.3 being the preferred choices. Since you’ll be glassing objects at greater distances, the higher magnification allows you to narrow down your field of view and bring that focal point in much closer. So, in this case, bigger is better. A smaller compact won’t offer quite the same benefit that a larger objective, full-sized bino will since you’re looking from farther vantage points. Most people typically approach these scenarios by glassing off a vehicle window or a tripod-mounted binocular making a high power optic that much easier to use.
Of course there are pros and cons to all setups, but you’ll vastly improve your optical experience if you can narrow down the answers to these questions.
Once you’ve determined your needs, focus on your wants to ultimately help tailor-fit your binocular to your particular hunting style and scenario. Size and weight are the top contenders to consider since these factors can often make or break your hunting experience.
If you’re a backcountry backpack hunter, you’ll likely prefer an optic that minimizes weight. Though you may benefit from higher magnification, a larger objective (i.e., heavier) optic might not be realistic for your style. Alternatively, if you hunt on horseback, weight might not be an issue. So, if a high power bino will be more effective for your situation, it pays to not skimp on maxing magnification.
If you do most of your hunting in low light conditions you may want to focus on an optic that is designed to maximize a binocular’s exit pupil. The larger the exit pupil, the more light that will enter your eye. Since the optimal amount of light entering your eye is around 5mm, an optic with an exit pupil of around 5mm is a benefit. The more light gathering capabilities, the brighter the optic and thus the better you’ll be able to effectively glass during low light periods of the day.
Other examples of potential wants to consider include: ergonomics, edge to edge clarity, field flattening optical system, tripod mountable, twist-up eyecups, prism type, custom builds, etc.
There are a lot of hunting binocular options available in the market. But, by separating your priorities from your wants, you can narrow down which binocular suits your style, scenario, and personal needs. We pride ourselves on offering a full line of optics that exceeds the needs and wants of hunting optics. Whether you’re looking for our highest performance level binoculars of the Maven B Series, or our mid-level optics of the Maven C Series, our lineup will cover all the bases to get the job done.
If you find yourself with more questions than answers, feel free to give us a call at 800.307.1109 - we’ll help steer you in the right direction to find the perfect hunting binoculars.