From Alabama to Alaska, big game hunters rely on three types of hunting optics to up their odds of having a successful hunting season. Whether you’re scanning thick timber for a glimpse of an elk or searching a far-off meadow for a black bear, binoculars are something no big game hunter can get by without. And when it’s time to pick apart a distant mountainside to locate a bedded mule deer or to survey the trophy quality of whitetail bucks in local alfalfa fields, a spotting scope is essential for long-range glassing. Finally, a reliable riflescope allows a hunter to confidently make an accurate shot when it’s time to pull the trigger.

Purchasing optics can be an intimidating undertaking, especially for new hunters who don’t understand that the optics you’re using can make or break your hunt. Good optics allow you find animals you might otherwise miss, especially in the prime time low-light conditions of early morning and late afternoon. Many hunters balk at the steep price tag associated with binoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes. But Vortex has long been known for producing high-quality optics at prices that allow hunters invest in all three of the major big game hunting optics categories without breaking the bank. The Viper line, in particular, is what we’ve recommended time and again to hunters who want to carry a full kit of top-notch optics and still have money left over for other important hunting gear.

Viper 10 x 42 Viper HD Binoculars

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I spent my entire first year on the MeatEater crew glassing through the Viper 10x42s. From, long rainy days in the rainforests 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 rubber-coated chassis is sturdy and waterproof. The High-Density XR coated glass delivers clear resolution and great light transmission early and late in the day. The Vipers are tripod adaptable and come with a comfortable Glass Pack chest harness. The 10 x 42 model is a great choice for an all-purpose binocular. I’ve recommended the Vipers to a couple hunting buddies who were using cheap binos and they couldn’t believe how much more they enjoyed long glassing sessions.

Viper 20-60 x 85 Spotting Scope

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For years, I didn’t carry a spotting scope, thinking they weren’t really necessary and added a lot of weight to a pack. But again, my first year on the MeatEater crew, I packed a Viper spotting scope and learned they are well-worth toting around 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 that you’re looking at a deer, the Viper 20-60 x 85 spotting scope can tell you if you’re looking at a doe, a young buck, or a great big buck. That’s important if you’re planning a long stalk through steep, rugged terrain, or if you’re driving around in farm country to take a preseason inventory of your local deer herd. Remodeled and upgraded for 2018, the Viper HD spotter has greater clarity and resolution, is easy to operate and has a packable profile. It’s waterproof, fog proof, and the Armor Tex coating protects the lenses from scratching. We prefer the angled model for a more comfortable glassing position.

Viper 4 -12 x 40 PA Riflescope

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To turn any big game rifle into a tack driver, you need a good riflescope. Fortunately for hunters, riflescope technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years. But in a lot of cases, those advances have come at a serious cost to the hunter. But with the Viper 4-12 x 40 PA, Vortex created a superior and affordable riflescope. I’ve got one of these mounted on my .30-06 and I haven’t found any reason to consider a different scope. Its many top-shelf features are typically found only on scopes that cost hundreds of dollars more; there’s too many to list them all here. The coated lenses and extra-low dispersion glass are crystal clear. Waterproof, fog proof, shockproof construction allow to stand up to foul weather and still hold a zero 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 holding points for any caliber or bullet weight. Finally, the variable power magnification can be set low for still hunting in thick cover or cranked up for long shots in open country.

The entire Viper line is a solid choice for hunters that want high-quality, durable, performance optics. And you get the Vortex no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee. Run it over with your truck; knock it into the campfire; it doesn’t matter. Vortex has you covered.