8 Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting in 2023 – Reviews & Buying Guide

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Let me share my tested reviews of the best binoculars for elk hunting with you so that you can become a better elk catcher.

For hunting an elk, you will need to figure out the best hunting tools, the best season, the best time of the day, and the best location. The essential hunting tool on the list is binocular. With a binocular in the thick woods or across the hills, spotting an elk from a distance becomes easy.

You obviously can’t move around in the broad woods to track down an elk from one spot to another. Therefore, get yourself an efficient and reliable binocular to prevent yourself from getting tired while finding an elk in the huge forest. 

It’s simple:

‘With a binocular in the thick woods or across the hills, spotting an elk from a distance becomes easy.’

So what are some significant features of the best binoculars for elk hunting? For instance, you need to see elks from a long distance, so your binoculars should be able to show distant objects clearly. If you want to buy a binocular that makes elk hunting easier for you, read the following reviews and buying guide to find out what to look for in a binocular for elk hunting. 

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Our Top Favourite Picks

Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 8x42
Vortex Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Eye Relief:16.5mm
  • Exit Pupil:4.2 mm
  • Linear Field of View: 319 ft/ 1000 yd
  • Angular Field of View: 6.1 degrees
  • Close Focus:5.1 ft
  • Height: 5.8 in
  • Width: 5.3 in
  • Weight: 24.6 oz
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binocular
  • Model Name: 191042
  • Brand: Bushnell
  • Color: Black
  • Model Year: 2013
  • Sport Type: Hunting
  • Dimensions: 5.28 x 4.02 x 6.89 inches
  • Suggested Users: Unisex-adult
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof
 Steiner Optics Predator Series Binoculars 8x42
Steiner Predator Series Hunting Binoculars
  • Brand: Steiner
  • Color: Black
  • Close Focus: 6 yds
  • Focus System: Fast-Close-Focus
  • Weight: 26.1 oz
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.9 x 2.5 inches
  • Waterproof: Submersion to 3 ft

The 8 Best Elk Hunting Binoculars

1. Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars

Best Overall
Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 8x42
10/10 Our Score


  • Style: 10×42
  • Brand: Vortex
  • Color: Green
  • Material: Composite
  • Sport Type: Hunting

Vortex Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars

Vortex Optics Viper HD binoculars with 10x magnification are great for hunting. The magnification power is enough to let you spot an elk from a far distance easily with a clear and bright view. The quality and the comfort are together to ensure you an amazing hunting experience.

As they are waterproof and fog proof, you don’t have to worry about them getting impaired in rainy weather, which is a great concern for hunters. Like most of the other hunting binoculars, Viper HD is also a roof prism making it easy and comfortable to carry and grip with the size.

The size of lenses and coating on them gather enough light to give bright results even in low light conditions, making it easier to spot elks in the deep woods. With the lens and magnification power, I had spotted elks that were not visible to my fellow with a binocular of 8x magnification. 

However, the eyecap covers are hard to remove and put back on, which are problematic for hunting birds or animals moving around. It takes a lot of time and gets annoying for hunting. I also noticed that the eye relief is not sufficient for glasses wearers. Although I don’t wear glasses, the eye relief seems to be only enough for people without glasses.

  • Cheap in price
  • Sharp and bright images
  • Focus is great 
  • Interesting low light performance
  • Eye cap covers are hard to adjust
  • Eye relief length is short for glasses wearers

2. Bushnell Legend Roof Prism Binocular

Best Value
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
9.8/10 Our Score


  • Style: 10×42
  • Brand: Bushnell
  • Color: Black
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof
  • Sport Type: Hunting

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binocular

Bushnell’s Legend Ultra HD binocular are among the best binoculars for elk hunting. They offer a 10x magnification level that lets you see focused views from far distances. I didn’t notice any blurry vision while looking at the distance. Also, the brightness in low light conditions satisfied me for hunting purposes. 

While searching your hunt, you need to be very efficient and fast. This binocular is designed for providing the comfort of easy carrying with the lightweight body and the carrying case made of fine material. Moreover, the package also includes neck straps to keep the binoculars at hand that is easy to attach and remove. 

These binoculars are made of magnesium and are durable, with a coating on the lens to ensure water, dust, and fog protection. Just as easy to carry, the binoculars are easy to adjust. In my opinion, these are one of the best binoculars for the money. They easily compete with binoculars available at much higher prices.

Bushnell binoculars have twist-up eyecups that let you adjust the eye relief distance suitable for you from the two different lengths. Also, the rubberized coating lets you hold the binoculars with a firm grip making them comfortable for hands.   

 Moreover, some additional accessories come with Bushnell binoculars, including a carrying case, strap, microfiber bag, deluxe binocular harness, and a cleaning cloth that comes in handy for hunting and hiking.

  • Focuses well
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable to use 
  • Useful additions
  • Amazing optics quality
  • Lens covers are a little loose

3. Steiner Predator Series Hunting Binoculars

Steiner Optics Predator Series Binoculars 8x42
9.7/10 Our Score


  • Style: 8×42
  • Brand: Steiner
  • Color: Black
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof

Steiner Predator Series Hunting Binoculars

Steiner Optics Predator hunting binoculars are indeed the best choice for hunting elks. They are strong and efficient, providing great focused and clear images. While hunting, the most useful feature of a binocular is the efficient focus with clarity, and the Steiner binoculars rock for it with the Color Adjusted Transmission vision. 

With the 10x magnification power, these binoculars are great for spotting your hunt easily. Moreover, these binoculars are lightweight and easy to handle even with one hand. In addition to these advantages, the autofocus of this binocular is easily adjustable with the diopter, and you don’t have to reset focus again and again.

Now the drawbacks, the binocular is waterproof but not very well fog proof. The lenses get foggy sometimes and take a while to get clear back. Also, the lens cover is low in quality and feels that, if not used carefully, can break easily from the center. 

In short, this binocular is overall great for hunting at an affordable and reasonable price with minor issues. I definitely loved them during my hunting experiences and was satisfied with the price I paid.

  • Crystal clear images
  • Efficient Autofocus
  • Light to carry 
  • Fair in price
  • Lens cover are not of good quality
  • Short neck strap

4. Nikon MONARCH 10×42 Binoculars 

Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 10x42 Binocular
9.6/10 Our Score


  • Brand: Nikon
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Rubber
  • Weight: 1.35 pounds
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof

Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5

Hunting an Elk gets more adventurous and fun with efficient binoculars that increase the chances of spotting an elk easily, and if you are looking for a binocular for that, I recommend this binocular. 

Hunters need a wide field of view, and Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 binoculars with 10x magnification provide almost 51.3 degrees field of view with clear and sharp results. For comfortable grip and carrying, this binocular is light in weight with good lens size and is made of quality material as well as is rubberized coated for durability. 

Don’t worry about the rain and fog conditions for using these binoculars, as they are designed to be water and fog-resistant. Besides, everything in this binocular is easily adjustable, including focus, eyecups, and lens caps that can be turned down.

You should buy this binocular before going on an elk hunt. It will not disappoint you for the long-distance searching of your prey with adequate magnification power. Also, the binoculars prove to be cost-effective and sturdy for use for a long time.       

You should for sure buy a carrying case separately for this binocular. The ones that came with it are fine but should be more protective for adventures. Overall, the binoculars do not have any noticeable drawbacks.

  • Easily adjustable
  • Bright and clear images
  • Wide field of view 
  • Cost effective
  • Carrying bags strap is short

5. Vortex Optics Diamondback Binoculars

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars
9.5/10 Our Score


  • Style: 12×50
  • Brand: Vortex Optics
  • Color: Green
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars

Vortex Optics Diamondback binoculars provide the best result for long distances; therefore are suitable for elk spotting. With the 12x magnification and multicoated lens, the images are bright, sharp, and focused. You can have a wide view of the area without any chromatic aberration or color distortion.

Easy to carry and efficient performance with the durability of Diamondback binoculars make them reliable for hunting. They are durable and well protected with the Armortek coating on the lenses and rubberized coating on the chassis. The coating also helps with the grip. 

For eye relief, these binoculars have adjustable eyecups to allow you to use them comfortably. Also, the focus is easy to adjust with the adjusting wheel at the center of the binocular. As needed, it is water and fog-proof that lets you hunt in all weather conditions.

You can use them with a tripod for general purposes, but for elk hunting, I don’t think a tripod is required to use them on the go. With the great quality carrying harness and bag, I am satisfied with my price for this binocular. For me being an enthusiastic hunter, spotting my prey has become more fun and easy with this model of the Vortex.

  • Perfect size
  • Easily adjustable
  • Efficient 
  • Works well for night visions
  • Slightly high price
  • Short carrying straps

6. Nikon PROSTAFF 7S Binoculars

Nikon 16003 PROSTAFF 7S 10x42
9.3/10 Our Score


  • Brand: Nikon
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Rubber
  • Sport Type: Hunting
  • Water Resistance Level: Water Resistant

Nikon Prostaff 7S 10×42 Binocular

You can for sure rely on Nikon ProStaff binoculars for spotting an elk. Well designed and well protected to be used in all weather conditions. I dropped it on my last climb while searching for prey in the woods, but the rubber-armored coating saved the binocular from the slightest scratch. 

It has adjustable rubber eyecups that allow the viewer to adjust eye relief suitable for them with a wide field of view. Viewing at any adjustment and magnification does not cause chromatic or spherical distortion.

Moreover, these binoculars provide enough brightness for a clear and sharp view with the required lens size, even at night. It surely is the best binocular to buy with adequate features needed for hunting. 

Also, the size is not too big nor too small, just the perfect size with the perfect grip. The chassis is made of strong material, and all parts, including lens covers, eyecups adjustments, and focus wheels adjustments, are great.

It is easy and efficient to adjust, making it comfortable for immediate focus adjustment. Although they are expensive compared to other hunting binoculars, the price is justified with all the qualities. Moreover, the carrying case and strap are made of nice material.   

  • Great focus
  • Compact
  • Sharp view 
  • Wide field of view
  • Night vision could be better

7. Bushnell H2O Binoculars

Bushnell H2O Roof Prism Binocular 10x42mm
9.4/10 Our Score


  • Style: 10×42
  • Brand: Bushnell
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Rubber
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof
  • Eye Relief: 17 Millimeters

Bushnell H2O Binoculars

Bushnell H2O binoculars are great in size and strong enough to be used for elk hunting trips. Being waterproof, you can use them in all weather conditions, including foggy weather. The binoculars are strong enough to last for a long time bearing the hardships of hunting.

Like most hunting binoculars, they offer the same magnification power and focus for long-distance elk hunting. 

Also, the lens size is adequate to gather enough light for a bright view. With 10x magnification, the field of view as written in the description is 305/102 feet at 1000 yards, wide enough to spot an elk in wide areas. 

Images produced are sharp and clear with the roof prisms mechanism and multicoated lens. Moreover, with the roof prisms, the size is suitable for viewing comfortably, and due to their lightweight body, you can carry them in the case or around your neck with ease. With the rubberized coating, the grip is non-slippery and comfortable. 

I am satisfied with the image quality as there is no noticeable color distortion or chromatic aberration in the wide field of view, even at the edges. For this price, Bushnell H20 binoculars are well made for hunting. Lens covers are attached properly, and the case, as well as the strap, are great for use. 

  • Well Designed
  • Amazing quality
  • Great accessories 
  • Durable
  • The attached carrying case is sometimes annoying
  • Eyecups are not adjustable

8. Carson 3D Waterproof Binoculars

Carson 3D Series
9.4/10 Our Score


  • Style: 10×42
  • Brand: Carson
  • Color: Black
  • Eye Relief: 16mm
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof

Carson 3D Series Binoculars

Carson 3D Series binoculars have adequate sized lenses and magnification for a focused and bright image. The view is very clear for long distances with a wide field of view of about 314 feet at 1000 yards, therefore is great for hunting in the deep woods or wide-open areas.     

It is comfortable to use and carry as much as should be for hunting. They are efficient in a way that the focus is easy to adjust, letting you focus at different distances quickly. Also, the eye relief is long enough for glasses wearers.

This binocular comes on the list of affordable best compact binoculars for hunting at this price. It includes amazing quality useful accessories. Keeping the case attached to the binocular even while using is a unique feature of this model.

It lets you keep the binoculars safe and at hand for use. Besides a carrying case, it includes a neck strap, shoulder harness, lens cover, and lens cloth. All the accessories are made of great quality material.   

The binoculars are strong, well designed, and durable with a lifetime warranty. You can enjoy a great 3D view without worrying about any scratches or dirt with the protection of rubberized armor coating.  

  • HD Optical System
  • Incredible Range
  • Bluetooth 
  • Applied Ballistics
  • Tech issues
  • Little Pricy for newbies

Buying Guide: Features of Best Binoculars for Elk Hunting

As Elks are already hard to find as they are rare than deer. Therefore, getting the best binoculars for elk hunting is more important to gratifying your adventurous elk hunting experience. Without a useful binocular, you might miss the elk around even if you are hunting at the right time and right place.


When choosing a binocular, buyers usually determine the magnification power, lens size, durability, portability, prisms quality, and field of view. The same goes for elk hunting binoculars. So make sure to get the right binos keeping in mind the following aspects.    

1. Lens Size

Lens size is the second number of the two numbers written with the model name. A larger lens size means that a binocular will gather more light with big lenses, and the binocular will show a more bright image even in the low light. 


Elk hunting in the deep woods means that there will be low light in the woods, so having a binocular that can show a bright image despite the low light conditions is essential for hunting. 

Usually, 42 or above the size of the lens is considered adequate for hunting purposes.

Unfortunately. a bigger lens size means that a binocular will be heavier. So don’t choose a binocular with too big lenses that make it difficult for you to carry around for hunting.       

2. Type of Binocular Prisms

There are two types of binocular prisms: 

  1. Porro Prism: In Porro prisms, the lenses and prisms are adjusted in an N shape making the binoculars bigger and heavier.
  2. Roof Prism: In the roof prisms, the prisms are attached straight to the lenses. In this way, they take less space. Therefore, roof prisms are lighter and smaller in size than the Porro prism binoculars.

For elk hunting, you need a binocular that is comfortable to carry around while walking around to track down your hunt. Therefore, most of the hunters use a roof prism binocular. Also, the quality of prisms adds to the quality of the image. Choose a binocular with efficient lenses and prisms for high-quality images.    

3. Magnification Power

The magnification power should be high enough to let you see elk from long distances. Also, in the forests, you need to focus through the woods to spot your hunt. The first number from the numbers written in the model name is magnification power. Generally, a binocular having 8x or 10x magnification is used for birdwatching and hunting. While a binocular with 20x magnification can magnify 45 feet away object with a clear result.


Magnification above 10x can also be used for hunting elk, but the field of view decreases as the magnification power increases. Moreover, for having a broad view to spot elks in the wide areas a wide field of view is necessary. Therefore, choose the binoculars with magnification power that don’t affect your field of view.

4. Reliable and Durable Binoculars

Hunting an elk is a rough job. But weather conditions or the dirt and rough paths should not stop you from enjoying elk hunting. Your hunting strategies and tools, including binoculars, should be reliable enough to let you hunt efficiently.


A binocular for hunting should be water-proof and fog-proof hunting in the rainy season. Also, the material of binoculars should resist any dirt or water. Mostly rubberized binoculars are used for hunting. They are well protective and comfortable for grip. 

Besides the construction, a binocular with multilayer coating on lenses and quality image results is reliable for hunting as it will give bright and sharp views through the lens for spotting animals easily.        

Ensure that the size and weight of your binoculars (which majorly depends on the size of the lenses) are suitable for you to carry easily while hunting. A heavy binocular will be difficult to use and carry in your bag. 

5. A Broad Field of View

A broad field of view lets you view around widely at a time. It means you can watch more areas increasing the chances of finding an elk sooner. However, in the mechanism of a binocular, the higher magnification power can decrease the field of view, and lower magnification power increases the field of view.

On average, a binocular with 20x magnification power has a 3.3 degrees field of view, and a binocular with 8x magnification has 7 to 8 degrees FOV. So a binocular with 8x or 10x will be better than 20x if you want a wide field of view to keep an eye on the roaming elks.

6. Measurement of Eye Relief

Eye relief length is a concern for eyeglasses wearers. If you wear glasses, make sure that the eye relief is almost 18mm in length to let you see through the binoculars comfortably; otherwise, if your eyesight is fine, there is no need to worry about it. 


Remember, higher magnification power and big lenses decrease eye relief for glasses wearers. An adjustable eye cap for binoculars will solve the problem of eye relief for you.   

7. Some Useful Additions

Having all the features mentioned above, a binocular alone is not enough. You will need some things in addition to it for your hunt. 

Carrying Case

A carrying case comes with almost all good binoculars to easily carry them around. A carrying case should be made of durable material. 

Strong Neck Strap 

However, as you cannot carry the case on the hunt with you, only the straps for binoculars for putting them around your neck will make it easier for you to keep them at hand whenever needed. But it’s better to keep binoculars in carrying cases to protect them from damage when not in use.

Rain Guards

Moreover, even if they are waterproof, the lenses of binoculars need some extra protection from rainwater. Rain guards are specially designed for this purpose. You can keep them with you while hunting in the rainy seasons. 

These considerations and additions for binoculars will let you enjoy a good elk hunt by helping you find an elk easily and save your time. So keeping these in mind, choose the best binoculars for yourself as per your preferences from the list of best binoculars for elk hunting.


What power binoculars do I need for elk hunting?

You surely need a binocular that offers a clear and focused image for hunting at long distances or in the woods. The higher magnification power of a binocular gives a more clear image. But higher magnification can decrease the field of view, which should be wide for hunting. Therefore, an 8x, 10x, or 12x magnification power is usually considered suitable for elk hunting.    

Is 8×42 better than 10X42?

8x means lower magnification power than a 10x. But depending on the purpose of your use, 8x magnification is also more than enough for general uses. Only that with a 10x, you can see more magnified views. 

Conclusion – Best Elk Hunting Binoculars

For elk hunting, you need a clear and bright view of the surrounding. Vortex Optics Viper HD , Bushnell Legend Ultra HD and Steiner Optics Predator binoculars provide the best clarity for spotting your prey with 10x magnification power. Like most hunting binoculars, both have roof prisms that make them easy to handle for the user. These are also affordable for hunting purposes and are highly durable. Depending on your requirements, you can buy them for elk hunting or any other from the top list.

Additional Common Questions

What is the optimal power for binoculars when elk hunting?

When embarking on your exciting elk hunting adventure, the binoculars you choose play a significant role in the success of the hunt. More specifically, the power of your binoculars is critical in spotting and following your target. Ideally, you should aim for binoculars that hold a power range from 8X to 12X. Still, it’s fair to note that 10X to 12X can give slightly better results depending on your distance from the elk. It’s important to remember that higher magnification power can lessen the field of view. Furthermore, the ideal objective lens size ranges from 42mm to 50mm. With my years of experience, I found this power and objective lens size to strike a good balance between sight and binoculars size. Just remember to take into account where you’re hunting, as different environments might require adjustments.

Are 10×42 binoculars a suitable choice for elk hunting?

Indeed they are! Elks are spectacularly large creatures that won’t easily blend into the background. Therefore, binoculars with 10×42 specifications are definitely great, contrary to a situation where you’d be trying to spot a elusive coues deer. Though results vary due to individual judgment and hunting conditions, I recall my late-season elk hunt years ago where 10×42 binoculars served me perfectly, despite the challenges of the season. Ultimately, your experience may be different but generally, these specifications are considered suitable.

Which are the best binocular brands for hunting?

The best hunting binoculars bring the faraway close, withstand the elements, endure rugged use, and deliver crisp, clear images. Some brands consistently proven to meet these requirements over the years include Steiner, Nikon, Leica, and Zeiss. Personal preference may also play a significant role as the feel and comfort of binoculars can sway a user’s opinion. For example, a friend of mine prefers Vortex binoculars, enjoying the brand’s quality and customer service. While all these brands offer quality, the final decision will often come down to personal preference, hunting conditions, and budget.

What is the ideal magnification for hunting binoculars?

Specify a binocular’s magnification can make or break your hunting experience. As a seasoned deer and elk hunter, the best magnification for hunting binoculars I found is usually within a range of 8x to 10x. It’s an optimal range that provides the ability to effectively locate and follow any moving target. Among the several pairs I’ve used over the years, compact, lightweight binoculars such as the Sideview 8×21 and Sideview 10×21 have proven to be excellent companions due to the comfort they provide during hunting. The 8x magnification, in particular, stands out for tracking moving targets.

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