July 27, 2022
Our eyes fail us sometimes when we’re in the stand or blind, which is why it’s critical to use the best binoculars for bowhunting.
Binoculars help you identify deer and game in the field, count antler points or see whether that doe really is a nubbin’ buck you don’t want to shoot.
Binoculars are important, of course, but so are good sights on your bow and rangefinders to accurately determine distance. All of these components work hand-in-hand. At the annual Archery Trade Association show in January, companies introduced a wide selection for hunters. Here are some of the best new optics for bowhunting this year.
Garmin Xero A1i Pro
Garmin incorporates some features from the original unit and adds more to the new Xero A1i Pro digital rangefinding bow sight.
Whether you’re an early adopter or still on the fence about such items, there’s no denying the Xero A1i Pro and similar sights have some cool technology.
Built into the 18-ounce unit (counting the mount), the A1i Pro automatically calculates and displays the distance to your target. It has dual pin colors, so you can set specific distances and then find it quickly during the draw and shot.
You can fine-tune it for micro adjustments, and easily and quickly move the pins to longer distances should you need to take that kind of shot. You can stack the pins for estimated maximum distance for your bow based on the arrow speed, draw length and arrow diameter.
Range distance is up to 100 yards on game and 300 yards on reflective targets at rest or full draw. The waypoint projection feature pairs with compatible Garmin GPS device (sold separately) to show the target’s exact location when the shot or range was taken. The unit detaches easily, is sunlight visible, and has battery life of up to a year on three AAA lithium batteries.
$1,299 | garmin.com
Burris Oracle 2, Oracle X
Burris updated its new Oracle 2 rangefinding bow site based on customer feedback about the original Oracle. New or updated features include improved Auto-Brightness Detection, Manual Brightness Control (lower levels), waterproofing and more accurate arrow drop calculations. The Oracle 2 weighs 20 ounces and operates on a CR123 battery that provides more than 2,000 rangefinding cycles. It displays distance to 500 yards on reflective targets and 200 yards on deer or other game. Price is $959.
For crossbows, the Burris Oracle X offers a built-in laser rangefinder activated by a wireless remote or the scope’s range button. When you depress the button, the Oracle X instantly displays the distance to your target. It also shows the exact aiming point by factoring the angle of your shot, and that will stay accurate whether you zoom between the 2-7 power range. The Oracle X weighs 30.8 ounces, operates more than 3,000 cycles on a CR133 battery, and ranges to 500 yards (reflective) and 200 yards (deer, game). Price is $1,079.
Bushnell Fusion X
Bushnell moves into long range with its new Fusion X rangefinding binocular, with a 1-mile range capability featuring its ActivSync display system. This new display system moves from red to black readouts automatically, based on changing light conditions, but retains the high definition and optics expected in a 10x42 binocular.
You’ll get black readouts in light conditions, such as daytime sun, or red conditions in dark situations such as dawn and dusk, or in a ground blind or on cloudy days.
It also offers near/far ranging modes so you can focus on a specific target, bow and rifle ballistics info based on angle, and reliable shields against the elements thanks to IPX7 waterproofing and Bushnell’s Exo-Barrier lens coatings.
$699 | bushnell.com
Two new binoculars from German Precision Optics give users choices on power — 8x32 and 10x32 — while offering rangefinding capabilities and a host of other features. Both have the "GPObright" high-transmission lens coatings and double-HD laminated 32mm objective lenses. Spy a target and don’t know the distance? Press a button and with immediate speed, the Rangeguide’s laser displays distances on reflective targets to 800 yards. They have true-range angle technology and the scan mode calculates three readings per second. For bowhunting or with rifles, the Rangeguide should get a solid look for next season.
$1,099 to $1,149 | gpo-usa.com
Leica Rangemaster CRF 2400-R
Leica designed its new Rangemaster CRF 2400-R specifically for hunters and with bowhunters in mind. The 2400-R reaches out to 2,400 yards on reflective targets. Your bow won’t shoot that far, but the unit’s Equivalent Horizontal Range technology will help you out to 1,200 yards on shots. Your bow won’t shoot that far, either, but it’s good to have, right? The unit displays ranges in decimal figures out to 200 yards, which is perfect for 3D shooters. The LED display also adjusts automatically to light conditions. It weighs just 6.5 ounces and has an AquaDura coating to repel water and dirt.
$550 | leicacamerausa.com
Leupold RX-1500i TBR/W
Leupold is no stranger to hunting situations and bowhunters now have an affordable, bow-specific rangefinder — the RX-1500i TBR/W. The unit’s bow mode shows arrow drop out to 175 yards, along with distances to 1,500 yards on reflective targets, thanks to the well-known and time-tested Leupold DNA ranging system. Also cool is a Trophy Scale feature that lets you measure game in the field. Think that buck scores 150 inches but you’re not sure? Find out with Trophy Scale. Maybe best of all is the affordability of all these features in a lightweight, ergonomic package.
$299 | leupold.com
Sig Sauer Kilo 5K
Sig Sauer has multiple divisions for hunting, optics, ammunition and military/law enforcement, and all of them are expected to stand on their own. But as with any good company, folks talk about what they’re doing with this or that and work together. Hunters get the benefit of that cross-communication in the Kilo5K rangefinder, the next generation of its Kilo Series.
Designed for bow and gun hunters, the Kilo5K ranges reflective targets out to 5,000 yards, semi-reflective (trees, for example) to 2,500 and game animals to 2,000. It’s designed with Applied Ballistics Ultralite for cross-support with the Sig Sauer BDX External connections with Kestrel and Garmin devices, and can drop waypoints of ranged targets into the BaseMap app via Bluetooth. That doesn’t even count other features such as fog mode, First-Best-Last targets and extended range mode, all powered by Sig’s proprietary LightWave DSP Gen II capability. It’s a powerful, cool hunting tool.
$779 | sigsauer.com