Hunting deer has been a popular method of getting food for millennia.
Right from the early days of cavemen, we’ve enjoyed the communion of man and beast, using our wits to read the land and track these noble creatures across great plains over days and even weeks to finally hone our sights on the kill.
Now, these days, even though we might not be hunting for meat (although some people still eat venison around the dinner table), the tracking and killing of deer are still popular in America, one of the great sports conducted with not bows and arrows but with high tech hunting rifles.
The accessories and design of your rifle will determine the difference between a successful and failed hunt.
One of the most essential parts of a hunter’s rifle is the scope. This is the best method for hunters to be able to chart the movement of their game from long distances.
A good scope will also enable you to get that highly accurate shot, allowing you to line it up in the crosshairs to within a fraction of an inch.
Scopes have been specifically designed to include laser-pointed sights that can aid your hunting in dim lighting conditions, making them perfect for use in the dusk or early morning light.
But where can you find the best rifle scopes to hunt deer? What unique attributes does a deer-hunting rifle scope need to have to successfully get the animal in your sights for that crucial shot? How much can a rifle scope for deer be looking to set you back in terms of price?
Well, don’t worry hunting enthusiasts, because we’ve got a list of some of the best rifle scopes for hunting deer currently available on the market.
We’ve also got a buyer’s guide that will help you determine what to look for in the best rifle hunting sight, along with some frequently asked questions.
OUR TOP PICK
Our first rifle scope is one that has an exceptional asking price, making it one of the cheapest scopes on our list.
It weighs less than a pound and won’t result in your rifle being too top-heavy or unbalanced.
The material construction is very durable, able to stand wind, rain and hail over a long period - introducing the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope.
The main appeal of this scope is the dusk and dawn feature that gives you brilliant clarity in both low lighting and foggy conditions.
The 40mm lens will collect enough light for optimum visibility, allowing you to magnify your target for up to 3x and 9x power. You can track deer at both long and short ranges.
The construction of this scope is solid steel, so it’s easy to mount on your gun, keeping fixed even during windy conditions, which will be very important when tracking through the brush when the weather suddenly changes.
- This lightweight build of this rifle scope is perfect for people who don't want something that they’re going to have to drag along behind them on a hunt. Being nimble and able to move at a moment’s notice is crucial for hunting deer.
- The weatherproofing abilities of this rifle scope make it ideal for tracking and killing deer in obscure conditions like fog, rain and hail.
- The Dusk and Dawn all-encompassing lens will allow the maximum amount of light to get in, increasing visibility and making sure those deer show nice and clear against the dim backdrop.
- You can control the magnification of this scope with ease, making it good to use in lighting or weather conditions that you expect to change suddenly.
- The main downsides of this scope are the lack of notations on the windage and how low the turrets are elevated over the gun.
Our next rifle scope is one that is manufactured by one of the oldest and most renowned optics makers in the world.
It has a ballistic reticle with numbered lines that you can extend up to 80 yards, which makes it a great accessory for long-range shooting.
It also has a very powerful superzoom, resulting in one of the most reliable scopes on the market - introducing the Zeiss Carl Optical Conquest Rifle Scope.
The design of this scope is very minimal and sleek, making it ideal for storage and lowering the amount of snagging on the undergrowth.
It has standard one-inch rings and an HD lens system that will enable you to see your fast-moving target with crystal clarity. The lenses themselves are coated to make them extra weatherproof.
You also get a warranty of 5-years with this scope, which will give you that extra assurance against breakages - this is a company that has the utmost faith in their product and are willing to prove it!
- With the long-range reticle, this is perfect if you want to track your deer from a long distance to prevent startling them.
- The warranty means that you can use this one for up to 5 years, allowing you to exchange it after a certain length of time even without damages.
- The design of the scope makes it ideal for storage and reduces the number of scratches and nicks.
- The barrel of the scope is sealed tight, making it the perfect waterproof unit to take with you if you're hunting in wet conditions.
- The price - with all the long-range features and design durability, you can expect to pay a higher price for your scope.
This next rifle scope is manufactured by a major player in the global optics field, making a wide range of scopes that are ideal for several skill levels, from beginner to professional.
You can use this scope easily in mixed terrain, with a one-piece aluminum grade that is purged of gas and fully sealed so as not to let water in - introducing the Nikon Prostaff P3 Predator Hunter Riflescope.
This is a great rifle for mid-range hunting conditions, the solid aluminum body is sealed to make it waterproof and fogproof.
The lens is multi-coated, resulting in 90% light transmission, which makes it great for operating in low lighting conditions.
When it comes to target accuracy, this is a great rifle for shooting. It has Bullet Drop Compensation technology that accounts for the natural downward curve of bullets and makes adjustments so that you won’t lose the trajectory of your shot.
This is a good gun for entry-level hunters, making up for the shortfall in their natural shooting abilities.
- If you are new to the hunting game and are worried about the trajectory of your shot, then this is a great rifle scope for you, with plenty of technology to make up for the natural shortfalls of your hand-eye coordination.
- The Bullet Drop Compensation will make sure that your bullet finds its target nine times out of ten.
- The O-ring is sealed, making it waterproof and fogproof, the perfect unit to be used in low lighting situations.
- This is good for hunting on mixed terrain, allowing you to track fast-moving targets through woodland and dense thickets.
- Some users have complained that the level of view on this scope is lower than some of the others.
Our next rifle scope is by Vortex, a company that has long been a leader in high value, making it perfect for those who are wanting to save a few dollars without sacrificing the quality of their rifle.
This sight has great stats when it comes to short-range work and is more than capable of hitting long-range targets too - introducing the Vortex Optics Diamond Riflescope.
This scope gives you 2 options of reticle: the classic V-plex or a Bullet Drop Compensator. Both of these will give you more of a dead center hitting point, depending on the distance of your target.
If you want to hit something at a shorter range, you should use the V-plex, with the BDC for longer range targets.
It has a sealed O-ring aluminum body, making it a mean option for withstanding the winds and rainy weather.
With a multi-coated lens, you’ll be able to keep your scope bright and clear, which is especially useful in low lighting conditions.
- Vortex gives their rifle scope purchasers a great warranty, which will be that added incentive for entry-level hunters who might want to switch this one out for another model.
- When it comes to having a reliable hunting rifle scope, having an adaptable one is very important, as you can mold it to whatever conditions you’re operating in, whether it be rain or shine.
- The BDC gives the entry-level shooter more chance of hitting their target dead-on, accounting for the dip in the trajectory that happens with all shooters.
- The build quality of this scope is very impressive, with all the sealed components that you’ll need to keep it dry and clear in humid and wet conditions.
- The eye box of this scope might be slightly too narrow for the more experienced shooters.
Our final rifle scope is one manufactured by Nikon, who is known for producing world-class optics not just for rifle scopes, but for eyeglasses and photography too.
This sniper rifle operates in both short and close range, making it probably the most adaptable of the lenses on this list - introducing the Nikon ProStaff Riflescope.
It has a very accommodating eye relief, which is great for hunters who are going to be fixed to their lens hole for hours on end.
This is a scope that is specifically designed for mid-range hunting, although you can get a lot of versatility out of this unit.
Like a few of the other rifle scopes on our list, this one is fitted with Bullet Drop Compensation, which will make an ideal choice for beginning hunters who might want that little technological hand when it comes to aiming and shooting.
It also has a sleek stainless steel body that will prevent it from snagging on trees and overhanging debris.
- The magnification system is very adaptable, meaning that you can take this unit on a short-range or long-range hunt.
- The design of the scope is very simple and easy to store, it is also constructed from a lightweight metal material that won’t cause any imbalance in your rifle itself.
- The bullet drop compensation technology gives you a much better chance of having a dead straight shot, with a wide lens that allows for maximum light collection, making it a great unit for low lighting conditions.
- This scope has hundreds of great reviews and is used by hunting enthusiasts across America.
- The focus of this scope is non-adjustable, which might be okay for newbie shooters, but seasoned hunters might not like the lack of flexibility.
Best Rifle Scope For Deer Buying Guide
When buying a hunting rifle for you and your deer, you’ll probably need to be aware of the style of hunting that you’ll be doing, as well as the conditions that you can expect to be operating in.
However, there will be a few basic capabilities and features that you’ll want so that your next deer hunt doesn’t turn into a slog.
How Good Is The Magnification?
The most critical feature for a scope will be the magnification, as deers will get spooked and run away if you get too close.
Unless you can blend in noiselessly with your surroundings, then you’ll probably want something that can be extended for a few hundred yards.
Ideally, you’ll want nothing less than a 9x magnification. If you’re shooting from a longer distance, you’ll also want a parallax adjuster that will remove the displacement of your object in your sight when shooting.
How Much Light Will Your Scope Collect?
The larger the lens, then the more light that it will be able to accommodate. This will give you brighter pictures and make your target more visible.
However, you might need to offset the size of your lens with the strength, as the larger lenses do get very heavy, which will affect the way you hold your rifle and ultimately your accuracy. This will also contribute to the overall load of your gear, which you will want to keep low.
Is Your Lens Multi-coated?
For any type of hunting, you’ll want a rifle that can operate in all levels of visibility, especially dawn and dusk lighting.
If your scope is multi-coated, then that means it will let in the maximum amount of light as possible.
How Durable Is Your Scope?
If you are spending a lot of money on your scope, then you’ll want something that is built to last in all conditions. Some really inexpensive scopes will give out after just a few shots, let alone last you for months on end.
Most of the scopes we’ve listed above are made from a metal alloy. This is a great material that is resistant to rust and the usual nicks and scratches that you might get in the undergrowth.
Lenses that have been purged of gases will not degrade as quickly. Lenses with sealed O-rings will also be a lot more resistant to water, which will be crucial for maintaining your scope’s integrity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do People Hunt Deer?
Deer are a very challenging target for hunters, being very fast and easily spooked creatures, it is seen as more of a victory tracking and killing them. They are wary, intelligent and extremely nimble, able to traverse vast distances of variegated terrain in incredibly speedy time.
This is a creature only to be matched by the most expert hunter. If you make the smallest mistake, the deer will detect you and be out of your crosshairs before you have time to blink.
Deers also have antlers, which is great for trophy hunting, you can mount one of these majestic creatures on your mantelpiece. Deer meat, also known as venison, is also very delicious, known for a mild flavor. It is still enjoyed by many different communities across America.
What Is Eye Relief On A Rifle Scope?
Firing bullets from your gun makes it kick back, causing your sight to impact against the socket of your eye. So to protect your eye from injury, you’re going to need something that gives you ample eye relief.
To avoid serious injury to your eye, you’ll want at least 3.5-inches of rubber or soft material between your scope and your eye. If the scope hits your eye with enough force, then it can crack your socket and put you out of the hunting game for a few weeks or months.