How to Choose a Spotting Scope for Hunting

Spotting scopes make a valuable piece of gear in a hunter’s toolset. Whether your hunting involves looking for game in the large, open plains or in the country settings, a spotting scope will help you find the game with ease. In addition to that, you will be able to watch the game from a distance without disturbing them, plan your shot and boost your chances of firing accurately.

If you are looking to get a spotting scope for hunting, you are probably wondering where you to begin. While picking a spotting scope for hunting ultimately trickles down to individual preference, the plethora of models available out there make the selection process more daunting.

Each spotting scope is made in its own unique manner so you have to find a model that fits your hunting style and habits in the best manner possible. If you are looking to take your hunting skills to the next big level but having a hard time finding the right spotting scope, we are here to help. We have a break down of the important factors you should take into considerations when making your selection.

Without much ado, let’s get started, shall we?

Types of Spotting Scopes

When looking to buy a spotting scope for hunting, understanding the type that works best for your individual needs goes a long way  in ensuring that you make the right selection.

Spotting scopes are available in two different types: angled and straight-tubed. Both the designs are ideal for hunting however, each model has its set of advantages in certain situation.

Angled Spotting Scopes

Angled spotting scopes have the eyepiece set at a 45-degree angle. In most cases, straight spotting scopes better than their straight counterparts when it comes to hunting. This is because of how comfortable they are on both the eyes and neck, particularly during prolonged hunting sessions.

Moreover, most angled spotting scopes feature a rotatable eyepiece, which gives you the flexibility to adjust it into different angles until you find a viewing angle that is most comfortable. The angled design also allows for group sharing among users of different heights as it is much easier to look through from a lower position.

Straight Spotting Scopes

Straight spotting scopes have a straight eyepiece design which gives them a long and straight profile. They are easier to pack for a hunting trip where you are required to pack a lot of other hunting gear, as they have a more compact size.

Straight spotting scopes are ideal for use from an elevated position where you have to look for game at a lower elevation. With the straight design, you can also use them together with binoculars, if your hunting expedition requires switching optics.

Features to Consider in a Spotting Scope for Hunting

After you have decided on which spotting type you will go with, it is time for you to now narrow down your options by considering the following factors.


The magnification range of a spotting scope offers is the first feature you should take into consideration. In the spotting scope configuration, it is the first set of numbers before the “x”.

Most spotting scopes have a variable magnification that spans from 20x to 60x. If your hunting involves looking for game at extremely long distances, you should pick a spotting scope with a high magnification. The higher the magnification, the easier it will be for you to find the game.

Furthermore, look for a spotting scope that offers a vast the magnification range. It will give you the flexibility to zoom in and out on targets effortlessly, based on the how far they are and the nature of the hunting environment as well.

Objective Lens Diameter

The objective lens diameter of a spotting scope goes hand in hand with magnification. It is measured in millimeters and is the number after the “x” in the configuration of the scope.

The larger the objective lens diameter is the better. It will gather more light to ensure that the images generated are bright and rich in detail even at the highest magnification.

However, the larger the objective lens is, the heavier the scope weighs. So, as you make your selection put that into consideration.

Field of View

The field of view in a spotting scope indicates the area you can see at once without moving it around. It is expressed as a range in feet @ 1000 yards. For example, a spotting scope with a 108-60 feet @ 1000 yards indicates that the field of view at the lowest magnification setting is 108 feet and 60 feet at the highest magnification setting.

The larger the field of view the spotting scope offers, the easier it will be for you to find game and keep track of those that move fast.


The next feature to consider is the built quality of the spotting scope. You will want your spotting scope to be durable and rigid enough to weather rough handling that comes with hunting and any other thing nature throws at it.

To achieve that, the spotting scope has to have a robust housing that is made from the highest quality materials money can get you. Quality construction also goes a long way in ensuring that the scope is reliable even when you are hunting for the first time in unfamiliar terrain.

Focus Adjustment

Focus adjustment is the other thing you should take into consideration. All focus knobs in scopes will let you adjust the image on the scope for maximum clarity, but how they operate is what makes them different.

Single focus knobs have a single dial to adjust the focus. Most of the spotting scopes have this type of focus. It offers precise image focus, but it takes a while to dial-in compared to other focus knob styles.

Double focus knobs have two knobs, coarse and smooth focus knobs. Spotting scopes with dual focus knobs make it effortless for you to make the adjustments in a more precise manner.

Helical focus knobs have a ring around the spotting scope body. It is this ring that you use to bring the image into focus. Spotting scopes with helical focusers help you make the adjustments quickly and are really helpful when you are viewing objects that change distances rapidly.

Eye Relief

Eye relief indicates the distance you have to stand away from the spotting scope and have a comfortable viewing experience. Whether you put on eyewear or not, ensure that you pick a spotting scope that offers a long eye relief and a generous eye box.

This will ensure that you get to viewing the targets comfortably. A long eye relief also alleviates eye fatigue when you are hunting for a lengthy period of time.


The weight of a spotting scope can make or break your hunting expedition. With a heavy and bulky scope, you will have a difficult time carrying it around. It might even interfere with how you shoot.

To have a hunting expedition that is not just rewarding, but also memorable, look for a lightweight and portable spotting scope. It will be more convenient to carry around together with your hunting firearm and any other gear. A light scope is also easier to use, compared to a heavy and bulky one.


Last but not least, ensure that the spotting scope you get is built to survive in any weather condition. When you go out hunting, you aren’t always guaranteed that the weather condition will favor you. It might start to drizzle or rain when you are in the middle of your hunt.

For all-weather reliability, invest in a spotting scope that is waterproof, dust proof and fog proof. With such a scope, you will be able to use it safely even in the most unforgiving weather conditions.

Read Also

Spotting Scope Vs Binoculars for Hunting

When it comes to hunting, you can either use a spotting scope or a pair of binoculars. Each has its pros and cons and is more suitable for use in certain circumstances. If you are a hunting enthusiast, you can get both and interchange them depending on the nature of hunting and hunting distance.

Spotting scopes have higher magnification than binoculars. This makes them the ideal option for hunting at extended ranges. They are also the best for hunting at large, open plains where you have to scan for potential targets from faraway or when you have to maintain a considerable distance from the game for your own safety.

On the other hand, binoculars give you the flexibility to pursue game at both close and long ranges depending on the magnification the binoculars have. With the compact and lightweight design, they are more portable than spotting scope and also ideal for hunting in different environments. Binoculars also offer a wide viewing angle which is not just important for effortless glassing, but also for quick target identification.

But in the end, it all trickles down to your hunting habits, style and personal preference.

Final Thoughts

We do hope that you have found this post on how to choose a spotting scope for hunting helpful. With a quality spotting scope at your disposal, you will have an easy time finding targets in any hunting environment and hone your hunting skills in the long run.

Finding the most suitable spotting scope for your hunting needs takes some research, but no matter what your budget or individual needs and hunting habits are, there is a product out there for everyone.