Like bows, arrows and broadheads optics are constantly changing. As technology advances, so do binoculars and spotting scopes. Optics are lighter, brighter and more durable than ever before. Many Midwest bowhunters consider optics nothing more than an accessory that they can take or leave. Thinking that way is a mistake. Good optics can help you spot more game, locate travel routes and help you cover ground. Here’s a look at some of the best optics for 2017.
Alpen Optics has earned a reputation for providing great glass at a reasonable price. A great example of that is their Teton 10X42 binoculars. They are built with all the bells and whistles including ED HD glass, BAK4 prisms with Alpen’s exclusive SHR™ metallic coating for bright, sharp, high resolution images, twist lock eyecups and large eyecups for a full field of view. In addition, the Tetons are waterproof, sealed and nitrogen-filled for guaranteed internal fog-free performance. It is easy to see why they have built a loyal following.
LEUPOLD BX-5 SANTIAM HD
More western hunters are choosing to use 15×56 binoculars because they offer a great field of view and lots of magnification. If you like to scout from a distance, check out the new Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD. These binoculars are perfect for the bowhunter who wants to bring their subject up close and personal. At the heart of the Santiam binoculars is the extra low dispersion HD lenses and the twilight max light management system. These features will help you pick out a bugling bull at last light or spot a monster buck as he makes his way across a food plot. To make light transmission even better, the binoculars are built with Abbe-Koenig prisms. These binoculars have it all and are perfect for the serious bowhunter.
Nikon continues to offer the Monarch 7 in a compact 8×30 and a 10×30. Both versions are less than five inches wide and have a lightweight fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate resin that is coated in a rubber armor. The binoculars offer crystal clear viewing, thanks to Extra Low Dispersion Glass and multi layer prism coatings. They are fog proof and waterproof. Both models are as light as a feather, weigh about 15 ounces which makes them perfect for the bowhunter on the go.
MSRP $399 (10×30), $379 (8×30)
SWAROVSKI EL 32
When it comes to optics, many consider Swarovski to be the Cadillac. There is no question Swarovski makes top end glass. Their optics can be expensive, but the odds of ever having to buy another pair of binoculars again are slim. The EL 32’s are a great option for the bowhunter who spends a lot of time in a tree. They are lightweight and easy to handle, thanks to the wrap around grip. The 8×32 binoculars provide plenty of magnification for deer hunting and are super clear, thanks to Swarovski’s German glass. The EL series of optics comes with the SWAROBRIGHT lens coating, which makes the viewing experience more enjoyable because the color of what is being viewed is bright and clear.
MSRP $2,443 (8×32)
A new name in the optics business is TRACT Optics. This company sells optics directly to the consumer, eliminating the middle man. Their most popular binocular is the TORIC 10×42. These binoculars won the 2016 Outdoor Life great buy award. With features like high definition ED glass, fully-multicoated lenses a rubber armor magnesium alloy frame, you can see why they are so popular. The TORIC bino’s are also fog proof and waterproof so they can withstand anything the outdoors can dish out. They come with long eye relief so they won’t give you a splitting headache.
MSRP $664 (10×42)
BUSHNELL TROPHY EXTREME
The Trophy Extreme 8×56 from Bushnell are perfect for the bowhunter who wants great glass without breaking the bank. 8×56 optics are great when you are glassing at first light or in the evening, just before dark. The Trophy Extreme binoculars are built with BaK-4 prisms and have fully multicoated lenses so they are clear and bright. Other key features that make them user friendly include a 3 step twist-up eyecups and a diopter adjustment for precise adjustments.
MSRP $165 (8×56)
Vortex Optics has a new binocular that has a built-in rangefinder called the Fury HD. With these binoculars, you can glass for deer and range the shot. These binoculars are perfect for the bowhunter. The rangefinder even comes with angle compensation, which makes the Fury HD more bowhunter friendly. The Fury comes with other features bowhunters will love including XR fully multi-coated HD lenses, easy-to-use center focus wheel, a durable rubber housing, and last but not least the Vortex lifetime warranty that has made them famous.
MSRP $1,599 (10×42)
ZEISS TERRA ED
Most German made optics cost a small fortune, but Zeiss is breaking the mold with their new Terra ED binoculars. These binoculars come with many of the high-end features found on German glass for a fraction of the cost. These binoculars come with German multi-coated lenses that are crystal clear. This has always set German glass apart from other companies. These binoculars are small and compact, which makes carrying them around your neck or in a backpack easy. The best thing is the price. They retail for less than $450.
MSRP $369 (8×32), $449 (10×42)
OUTDOORSMANS DIGISCOPING ADAPTER
We all enjoy taking pictures with our smartphone, but sometimes zooming in on a subject can be difficult. The Digiscoping adaptor from the Outdoorsmans makes zooming in much easier. Now you can easily attach a spotting scope or a pair of binoculars to your smart phone and snap cool pictures of bucks, bulls or anything else. The adaptor can be attached easily to just about any smartphone/optics combo.