How to Use Your Binoculars and Spotting Scope to Hunt Elk, Mule Deer, and Antelope

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When it comes to hunting, detecting the hunts is one of the most challenging tasks. That’s because the preys are smarter than you to sense you first. The use of magnifier optics like binocular and spotting scope makes it easier for you to stalk the hunts without making them aware. However, these optics will not that much useful if you don’t know how to employ them.

In today’s guide, we will let you know how to use your binoculars and spotting scope to hunt elk, mule deer, and antelope. They are some of the most challenging big game hunts out there. Making use of the right optics will increase the chances of your success in hunting significantly.

Recommended Optics for to Hunt Elk, Mule Deer, and Antelope

There are spotting scope and binoculars available on the market for a variety of purposes. However, not all of them will be a great suit to detect your prey in a harsh hunting environment. Let’s see what to consider while picking the optics for hunting.

Spotting Scope

Spotting scopes are more used for surveillance, birding, astronomy, and viewing land when compared to hunting. As a result, most of them available on the market are not properly optimized for hunting. To pick up the right spotting scope, you will require considering the below-discussed aspects:

Make sure that the spotting scope arrives with a good magnification range, around 15x to 30x. Along with it, the diameter of the objective lens needs to be around 60mm to 80mm. The magnification range will help you to see in the long-distance while the big objective lens will aid you to see a sharp, bright, and clear view.

Make sure to consider the other features like the field of view, exit pupil, eye relief, lens coating, and lens quality to be assured of smooth performance. Try to avoid the cheap spotting scopes as much as possible as they cannot offer much help.


Compared to the spotting scope, you should go for a lower magnification range while selecting the binoculars. You may go for the larger magnification range but they will produce a shaky and unclear image. Typically, it is recommended to go for an 8x to 10x magnification range to be assured of a sharp and smooth image. For the specified range, go for 40 to 60 mm diameter of the objective lenses to get a bright image every time.

Also, try to go for the roof prism binoculars as they are lightweight, compact, and flexible. The roof prism also withstands rough uses and harsh hunting environments.  Some other things you need to consider while selecting a hunting binocular include lens coatings, external armor coating, the field of view, eye relief, etc.


Tripod is an underrated hunting gear but it can further enhance your viewing experience to easily sense the prey. When it comes to the things like binocular and the spotting scope, stability is the key behind getting a sharp and detailed view. It can help you to get a vibration-free and steady view while viewing things far away on high magnification. One specific thing you look for in the tripod is the ball bearing, which allows you to pan left and right easily.

Go for a tripod that is adjustable to assist you in different types of terrains. It should be made of quality materials to withstand the rough environment for a long time. Avoid the plastic-made tripod. Instead, go for the all-metal constructions as the sun and dust can quickly wear out the plastic. The good thing about the Tripod is they are cheap compared to the benefits they offer.

How to Make Use of the Optics for Hunting?

The wide-open hunting zones have enough fold, creases, and shadows to hide even the biggest elk out there. Your binoculars will come as great help to detect the hidden treasures on the wood. Whether you are into mountain or low-country deer hunting, it will offer you some certain advantages to mule deer, elk, or whatever it is.

Begin with looking through your binoculars. If you have the tripods, make use of them to stabilize the gear. The next thing you need to do is to scan the entire surroundings for the prey. If you think you have spotted a herd, make use of the spotting scope. The spotting scope will help you to be assured of the prey by giving a brighter and detailed view.

One certain thing we want to look for is the movements. Even in the shadows, you should perceive the movements of deer, elks, and antelope. Once you detect the prey far away, how to remember the exact location while tracking? Well, you need to follow a landmark or something as a reference to the location. Make sure to keep an eye on the hunt with your spotting scope.


Can you use binoculars as a spotting scope?

The answer is both yes and no. You can use a binocular to scan a large area. However, you will require a bigger magnification of the spotting scope for a better and detailed view. So, we recommend using both binoculars and spotting scope for the best result.

How much magnification does a spotting scope need for hunting?

Anything between 15x to 30x magnification range is enough to observe the targets. You may go for a bigger magnification but it will become hard to sight. If you prefer going for a bigger range, make sure to use a proper tripod.

What should I look for in a hunting optic?

Check the magnification range, optic quality, optic coating, eye relief, etc. from your hunting optics. Also, make sure that they are made of quality and weatherproof materials to deal with the harsh hunting environment.

What size of eye relief is suitable for me?

If you don’t have any issues with eyesight and don’t require wearing glasses, you can go for any standard size of eye relief. For those who require wearing a glass, bigger eye relief is a must. It should be around 15mm.


You may own premium binoculars and spotting scopes from the top brands. But if you don’t know how to use them, they will not add any value. We hope that you will be able to employ the optics to be more efficient on your hunting journeys.

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