From Alabama to Alaska, big game hunters rely on three types of hunting optics to increase their chances of a successful hunting season. Whether you’re scanning thick wood for a moose or searching for a black bear in a distant meadow, binoculars are something no big game hunter can do without. And when it comes time to part a distant mountainside to locate a mule deer in a bed or inspect the trophy quality of white-tailed deer in local alfalfa fields, a telescope is essential for long-range observation. . Finally, a reliable scope allows a hunter to make an accurate shot with confidence when it comes time to pull the trigger.
Buying optics can be a daunting task, especially for new hunters who don’t understand that the optics you’re using can make or break your hunt. Good optics allow you to find animals you might not otherwise see, especially at prime time in low-light conditions in the early morning and late afternoon. Many hunters balk at the high price associated with binoculars, spotting scopes, and rifle scopes. But Vortex has long been known for producing high-quality optics at prices that allow hunters to invest in all three major categories of big game hunting optics without breaking the bank. The Viper line, in particular, is what we’ve recommended over and over again to hunters who want to carry a full set of top-tier optics and still have money left over for other important hunting gear.
I spent my entire first year on the MeatEater team reviewing the Viper 10x42s. From long rainy days in the rain forests of Prince of Wales Island to endless hours searching for black bears in the mountains of Montana, the Vipers got the job done. They’re light and compact, but their grippy rubberized chassis is tough and waterproof. High-Density XR coated glass provides clear resolution and excellent light transmission early and late in the day. The Vipers fit on a tripod and come with a comfortable Glass Pack chest harness. The 10 x 42 model is an excellent choice for an all-purpose binocular. I recommended the Vipers to a couple of fellow hunters who used cheap binoculars and couldn’t believe how much more they enjoyed long viewing sessions.
For years, I didn’t carry a spotting scope because I thought they weren’t really necessary and added a lot of weight to the pack. But once again, in my first year on the MeatEater team, I packed a Viper scope and learned that they’re worth taking on backcountry hunts, but they’re also a valuable scouting tool for hunters everywhere. At long distances, where binoculars don’t do much more than tell you you’re looking at a deer, the Viper 20-60 x 85 Spotting Scope can tell you if you’re looking at a doe, young deer, or big buck. That’s important whether you’re planning a long drive through steep, rugged terrain, or driving through a farm field to take a preseason inventory of your local deer herd. Remodeled and updated for 2018, the Viper HD spotter has increased clarity and resolution, is easy to operate, and has a compact profile. It’s waterproof, fogproof, and the Armor Tex coating protects the lenses from scratches. We prefer the angled model for a more comfortable glazing position.
To turn any big game rifle into a tack driver, you need a good scope. Fortunately for hunters, telescopic sight technology has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. But in many cases, those advances have come at a high cost to the hunter. But with the Viper 4-12 x 40 PA, Vortex created a superior, affordable scope. I have one of these mounted on my .30-06 and have found no reason to consider a different scope. Its many premium features are typically found only in scopes costing hundreds of dollars more; there are too many to list them all here. Coated lenses and ultra-low dispersion glass are crystal clear. The waterproof, fogproof and shockproof construction allows it to withstand bad weather and still hold a scratch after a lifetime of recoil impacts. A side parallax focus provides a clear image no matter the range. Vortex’s Dead-Hold BDC Reticle allows shooters to judge hold points for any caliber or bullet weight. Lastly, the variable power boost can be set low for hunting without moving in thick cover or turned up for long range shots.
The entire Viper line is a solid choice for hunters who want high-quality, durable, high-performance optics. And you get Vortex’s no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee. Run him over with your truck; throw it into the campfire; no matter. Vortex has you covered.