Moultrie Products
binoculars for elk hunting
Contributors to this thread:
wi-bowhunter 06-Oct-09
wyobullshooter 06-Oct-09
BullCrazy 06-Oct-09
ElkHuntr 06-Oct-09
dennisomfs 06-Oct-09
drahthaar 06-Oct-09
Steve Jo 06-Oct-09
Gold Miner 06-Oct-09
Matt 06-Oct-09
Huntsman 06-Oct-09
Elk Hunter 06-Oct-09
wi-bowhunter 06-Oct-09
Spencer Broshko 06-Oct-09
jims 06-Oct-09
CountryRaskal 06-Oct-09
goyt 06-Oct-09
Caddisflinger 06-Oct-09
elmer 06-Oct-09
CurveBow 07-Oct-09
Stickflinger 07-Oct-09
Ziek 07-Oct-09
MntBiker 07-Oct-09
Matt 07-Oct-09
Amoebus 07-Oct-09
jdee 07-Oct-09
Jwillman6 07-Oct-09
AZBUGLER 07-Oct-09
Matt 07-Oct-09
scrapwood 07-Oct-09
DigitalHunter 07-Oct-09
TD 07-Oct-09
midwest 07-Oct-09
Jahvada 07-Oct-09
howler 07-Oct-09
wi-bowhunter 09-Oct-09
wi-bowhunter 09-Oct-09
jcastinado 09-Oct-09
Bowman 05-May-17
Dollar 05-May-17
Trial153 05-May-17
Elkhuntr 05-May-17
Kurt 05-May-17
BULELK1 05-May-17
Beendare 05-May-17
Fulldraw1972 05-May-17
IdyllwildArcher 05-May-17
Kodiak 06-May-17
midwest 07-May-17
ElkNut1 07-May-17
jdan 07-May-17
Fulldraw1972 07-May-17
tcosmic 07-May-17
From: wi-bowhunter
I have been thinking about getting a new pair of binoculars. What do you guys feel is the best power of binos for elk hunting?


From: BullCrazy
I carry 10x42 Swarovski SLC's. For me they are the perfect binos because they have a great field of view, good power, aren't too big and heavy, and are awesome in low light. That's what I would look for if I were you.

There are a lot of good brands out there, I would recommend buying the best pair you can afford, might as well buy something really good so you never have to buy another pair.

From: ElkHuntr
8x32 Leica

From: dennisomfs
8-10 power, light weight (even with a bino shoulder type strap, they get heavy), good low light function, waterproof....I use the zeiss diafun which is about 14oz, but has great optics on par with the 20+ ounce binos....for bowhunters, you may not really need the big, high powered(and expensive) binos that many recommend....

From: drahthaar
I have 10x40 ziess now. If I was in the market for a new pair and had the $$$ I would take a hard look at swaro 8.5x42. I think these are the cats butt.

If you are really steady or mostly sit and glass or have a rest, 10s work great.

From: Steve Jo
I have 10x42 swaros I was honestly thinking about just leaving them at home from now on though.

I dont do much glassing for elk

How many folks dont take binos elk hunting?

Mine are light...ish 2 pounds is a chunk

From: Gold Miner
10x50, I can't imagine not having them with. Early morning and late evening they are great for locating the elk. Never leave home without your binocs.

From: Matt
Power depends of where you bowhunt, but 8x or 10x with a 4mm exit pupil. I persoanlly use 10x for almost all my hunting for the increased magnification and better low light performance.

Leaving binocs at home is ounce wise and pound foolish.

From: Huntsman
10's are great for glassing at a distance. I prefer 8 power because I tend to use them alot inside the timber. I use my "eyes" often while calling, still hunting, or putting the sneak on a bull that's mouthing off. Next to wind direction, spotting that bull before he see's you is the most important aspect of close range hunting.

From: Elk Hunter
Vortex 10x42 Razor's or Viper's. I personally have the Viper's and I love nice and compact and there not as big as the razors. Great in low light. Talk to ElkNut (aka Paul) that's who I got mine from, Really good guy to buy stuff from.

Elk Hunter

From: wi-bowhunter
Thanks a lot for the recommendations. I think that I am leaning toward the swarovskis. What is the difference between the el model and slc model?

There are some really great responces posted here. I use 10x42 leica geovids for more open country and mountain hunting for sheep and goats. Then I use a small pair of 8x32 swaro Els for hunting in my home province of ontario for moose, bear, and deer. In the end buy the best glass you can afford. If you are looking for high end binnos look at leica and swaros. For a mid range price you can't beat the swaro SLC, and the ziess conquest.

From: jims
My preference is 10 x 40 or 42! Just remember..what you pay for is what you get! 10 power is a little high to handhold in windy conditions or with a pack on but it is still possible. I almost always sit down and glass. You couldn't go wrong with Leica or Swarovski. I have Leica and they have stood the test of time..believe me I beat them up in rain, sleet, snow, mud, and rock!

I use my 10x even in the thick timber to try to spot an elk's ear, leg rump patch etc. It is my opinion but I think you'll be a lot better off w/10x than 8x. I would be lost without my 10x binocs PLUS spotting scope!

I love my Leica Duovids... 8-12x42. Kind of the best of both worlds in a compact, somewhat lightweight frame.

...whatever you choose, be sure to "feel" them out...and think about what they will weigh after hanging around your neck/shoulders all day.....kinda like the difference between lugging around a 4 1/2 lb bow or a 3 1/4 lb bow...doesn't sound like much until crunch time....

From: goyt
I have both 8 X 32 and 10 X 40. I use the 8 X 32 for elk unless I am just glassing to locate elk. If I am on the move I am carrying the 8s.

10x40 leuopold wind rivers. I wouldn't leave home without them. I wouldn't go any lower than 40 mm. You lose a lot of low light capability with the smaller lenses.

Try em all and buy the ones that you like the best, regardless of price or brand.

From: elmer
10x42 or 10x50...

From: CurveBow
I have Leupold WInd River 10 x 40. I don't glass per se, but look at elk that I do see to ID bulls, etc. I would no sooner leave them in camp as I would my release! Always carry them in a harness deal.

Deer hunting in stands, I carry them in a backpack...


From: Stickflinger
Not a horn hunter so why would I need binos for hunting elk??? Like to have them when I'm hunting mule deer but never pack them on elk hunts.

From: Ziek
I have Swarovski SLC 8X30, and EL 10X42, and my wife has the SLC 10X42. We both prefer the 10 power for all our hunting. The 8X just get used for hiking anymore. The optics are the same in the EL and SLC. I prefer the ergonomics of the EL. And if you don't wear glasses, they now have the rubber contoured eye cups available for all of them.

If you really enjoy hunting and being in the outdoors, not just out to kill something, there's a lot more to enjoy with binoculars than just judging trophy quality!

From: MntBiker
I broke the piggy bank a purchased a 8 power Swarovski range finder, really liked them. I didn't pack my 10x42s only the range finder this saved some weight out of my pack, but I did notice the short comings in glassing at a distance. For elk hunting it was a trade I could live with.

From: Matt
"Not a horn hunter so why would I need binos for hunting elk???"

So you can see them before they see you. It makes it easier to kill them that way.

What many folks make the error in assuming is a binocular's value lies solely in its ability to magnify an object. What many folks fail to realize is that they also have the ability to focus in a very narrow plane which our eyes cannot. By doing so, binoculars can allow you to "see through" brush and trees and see what is on the other side. With that, you can often spot animals through cover, and not when your eyes meet theirs after you step out from behind said cover.

A secondary benefit is the light gathering and increased definition that they can provide. As obvious as elk can be due to their color, they can be close to invisible in timber if their body is behind a tree, or if they are in deep shadow. On a number of occassions I have found an elk's head with my binocs that was not discernable with the naked eye which kept me from making a move that would have gotten me busted.

And without binoculars, how many times have you put the stalk on a barkless pine log?

From: Amoebus
I have the Swaro 8.5x44 EL. Good weight - with the harness, you don't notice them. I had to get glasses in the last year and could NOT get used to using them. Finally worked with my eye doc on contacts that that makes a world of difference.

I went hunting a few years back with 2 new guys. We met back at camp after the first day and they both reported there were no elk in the area. I brought one of them out the next morning and we sat looking over a hillside when the sun came up. He didn't have binoculars and said "See! No elk!". The timbered hillside we were looking at (1.5 miles away) contained 8 bulls and 2 other groups of cows/calfs. The next morning we worked our way into the timber and had a good shot at one of the bulls (missed). The area is heavily hunted and the bulls don't make much noise so binoculars were a big help.

The rest of the hunt he borrowed a 10x42 Pentax binoc that I brought along.

I think the type of binoc depends on a lot of factors - such as:

Do you have $2000 to spend on a pair?

Are you using these just for western hunting or are you going to use them whitetail treestand hunting most of the time?

Is the area you hunt fully timbered?

Do you know a nice, rich birdwatcher who isn't using them in September?

From: jdee
Swarovski 8.5 x 42 EL works really, really good for me.

From: Jwillman6
I use 10x42's. I almost bought 10x32's to save weight. Weight is always an issue when mountain hunting. I would make 28-29oz. my maximum.

Just don't understand the weight issue. That being said, I doubt I'd run around with a pair of 15's around my neck. You get used to whatevever weight of binoculars you have. I never leave home for any kind of outdoor activity without my swarovski 10x42 SLC's. I wear them on a harness and would feel naked in the woods without them. They are not the lightest out there by far, but they are what I am used to wearing.

Like others have said, there are many uses for binoculars. I use mine to glass at first and last light over a mile away and use them at 40-100 Yards while still hunting through timber. This year my boy and I used them at night to look at the stars and moon when we got back to the truck too.

From: Matt
"Just don't understand the weight issue."

Throw me in that camp too. IMO binocs are just too important to give up their utility due to weight considerations.

I don't know... killed another bull this year without my bino's... not really sure how?

From: scrapwood
Steiner Predator 10 x 26

I'm mostly in timber and on the move, so I mostly glass standing up. They're easy to hold and work with one hand (while holding bow in other hand). These are so light I hardly notice them, even at after a long day. They're small but have great glass and are very good in low light conditions. Same magnification 10 x 42's, just a smaller FOV.

10X42 is more than likely going to work best for you. If you get quality 10X42, you have a great field of view (over 6.0) and you also get that little extra power to glass a little farther which you might encounter while elk hunting. 12 powers, usually are bigger and usually weigh more. I say that because 12X42 don't let in much light, so you would more than likely going with a 12X50. There is also more distortion with a 12 power. You can get around this by going with a porro prism design bino, but these are going to be bulkier, so most people go with roof prism binos (straight barrel). With a 10x42, you're going to have an exit pupil of 4.2. YOu devide the objective lens (42) by the magnification. THe human eye, for an amiddle age man, can absorb somewhere around 4 mm of light. Make sure to take this into consideration when picking a pair. If the exit pupil is less than your eye can absorb, you're not going to be able to maximize your binoculars in very low light condition. After you decide on the power, (i have nothing against 8X42 either), you need to look at quality. There are 7 peices of glass usually comprised in the barrel of a binocular. 8 in swarovski EL's. Each peice of glass reflects a little bit of light. THat means, for example, if each peice of glass reflects 5% of the light coming through, that's that only 69.8% of the possible light that could reach your eye. This is why some binoculars look brighter than others. They put special coatings on the glass to reduce reflection. The better the coatings, the more light you're going to have coming through the binocular. ALso take into consideration the material of the housing, the warranty, and the quality of glass that could be inside the binocular. YOu don't need the most expensive, but definetly don't go cheap. I really went spend less than 300 dollars on a pair, if you want my true opinion. Leupold does make a pair of acadias for 200, that are really good, but other than those, don't bother, you'll just get frustrated in low light. Right now I have 2 pairs. 10X42 Cabelas Euros (made by meopta). Great glass, bright, but really heavy. They rarely leave my car because of this. THe other ones I have are 10X42 Swarovski EL's. Best binoculars made in my opinion, and I've looked through a lot of binoculars, in various conditions. I sold them for 3 years, so I would also compare and contrast ever binocular in the same price range and in every kinds of light conditions. Hope this helps.

From: TD
I'm always torn between 10x and 8x. The 8x are fast and handy, easy to use offhand, even one-handed in a second. 10x just aren't as steady and if I'm winded or the wind is blowing I need to sit down or otherwise steady myself. But they are handy at times to have the extra bit of power.

Usually I opt for the 8x. The theory being very seldom would I totally miss something with the 8x I would see with the 10x. Usually it's more a matter of "what is it? bull? cow?" than "I can't see them". I'm not a trophy hunter by any means but I've been trying to be more selective lately. The extra power is valuable for that no doubt.

Can't imagine any hunting with no binos. Shot a bedded bull this year I spotted at 150 yards through the timber, just a little patch of hair in the binos. Without using the glass I likely would have never even known I bumped him as he would have gotten my windline in minutes.

From: midwest
10x42 Vortex Razors. Excellent glass for the money. I have used them side by side with Swaro SLC in all kinds of lighting situations, and I can't tell the difference.

I can't imagine hunting of any kind without my glass. Adds WAY too much enjoyment for me, besides the obvious advantages.

From: Jahvada
10X42 cant go wrong with the razor but the viper is a bit smaller and still good glass..

From: howler
I like the Vipers also, vortex is great glass

From: wi-bowhunter
Thank you all very much for your suggestions. I ended up ordering a pair of razors from elknut yesterday. It seemed like there was a lot of good reviews on these and the warranty sounds pretty great as well. Thanks again

From: wi-bowhunter
Thank you all very much for your suggestions. I ended up ordering a pair of razors from elknut yesterday. It seemed like there was a lot of good reviews on these and the warranty sounds pretty great as well. Thanks again

8x32 Swarovski attached to the Crooked Horn Outfitters bino harness. I don't head to the woods with out them.

From: jcastinado
Vortex 10x42 Razors - and I agree with many of the points Matt and others brings up about weight and overall use of binos vs spotting scopes, etc.

From: Bowman

Bowman's Link
I bought my Nikon Prostaff 7 10X42x "camo" binocular last year & love them.

From: Dollar
Anyone try the Maven bino's made in Wy?Custom bino's available in various camo pattern's.

From: Trial153
Seeing that your leaning towards Swarovski, I have both the SLC HD and Els. If I had to chose just one for everything it would be my 10x42 SLC's however I tend to use my 8x32 more often for elk hunting, lighter and lower profile. The 8x magnification is plenty for elk in most county and there compactness lends itself to my aggressive style.

From: Elkhuntr
more bino options then ever, especially since 2009 when this thread was started. my favorite all around are 8x32. I had leica for many years. I now have sightron and for the price, they are very good.

From: Kurt
Depends....timber I like my Leica Ultravid 8x32 the best. For open country the Swarovision 10x42 EL are better.

For $999.00 I totally just love my Euro HD's 10 x 50's

Provided with a great warranty from Cabela's.

Good luck, Robb

From: Beendare
Laughing and nodding my head at the same time while reading Matt's posts above! Lots of good options out there now....where we only had a few good options 24 years ago when I bought my SLC's

From: Fulldraw1972
Matt's posts are spot on. Even though I don't do much glassing for elk. Bino's are still needed. I have never used 8's so I couldn't weigh in on them. 10 x 42's is all I have ever used. There a good all around size. This year I bought a pair of vortex razor hd's. Looking forward to elk hunting with them.

8 year old thread.

From: Kodiak
I've done a fair amount of elk hunting and I conclude that an 8x32 is the best. Light,handy,plenty of light gathering.

From: midwest
"8 year old thread."

lol....I saw that Steve Jo had posted and thought "holy crap, he's back!" Then saw the date. What a let down.

From: ElkNut1
Ha Ha, I enjoyed Matt's thoughts as well! Much of it is so true! 10X42 for me!


From: jdan
I leave the 10X42 Swarovski at home and take the 8X30 Swarovski for Archery. Perfect size.

From: Fulldraw1972
"8 year old thread."

Holy batman thread resurrection

From: tcosmic
I bought a pair of Maven 9x45 they had good ratings at dusk.

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