As a big game hunter, you know that what animal you’re after when out hunting determines the type of equipment you need. Each animal has its own preferences in terrain and unique behavior, placing different demands upon you and your gear.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of four products that will help you find the best spotting scope for elk hunting. To do this we’ll be looking specifically at the quality of optics, magnification range, durability, and size and weight.

In the end, we couldn’t help but love the Kenai by Leupold, for reasons you’ll see in a bit, but each of these scopes has what it takes to deliver the high performance you need when trekking through the mountains and hill country in search of your next trophy elk.

Our Pick: Leupold Kenai HD 65375 Spotting Scope

Our Pick
Leupold Kenai HD Angled Spotting Scope

Recommended For: Anyone looking for a very versatile spotting scope that lends itself well to other applications, such as birding, digiscoping, and use at the shooting range.

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Update July 2019: The Leupold Kenai  is no longer available for purchase. Check out the new  Leupold Kenai 2

While this may be the largest spotting scope on this list, weighing 5.6 pounds and measuring 18.6 inches, this spotting scope was designed for the big game hunter hiking it across the open prairie or meandering through the mountains and has all the features you need when out after elk.

One of our favorite features is that this spotting scope for hunting elk comes with two eyepieces: one with a magnification of 25-60x to provide you with highly detailed images close-up and at a distance. A wide-angle 30x eyepiece to give you high color contrast of the entire field. It also has fully multi-coated optics, a retractable lens shade that is built into the body of the scope, and a wide 80mm objective lens.

This very versatile spotting scope has all the features you need when out in the bush, yet still lends itself well to other applications, such as birding, digiscoping, and use at the shooting range. Fully waterproof and fog-proof due to the nitrogen-filled magnesium body, the Kenai also features a built-in, rotating tripod port that makes mounting and dismounting any tripod easily.

Runner-Up: Swarovski Optik ATS 80 HD 49614 Spotting Scope

Swarovski Spotting Scope HD-ATS 80 HD

Recommended For: Anyone looking for high-quality optics and would not mind buying a separate eyepiece for the scope.

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It’s hard to go wrong with the high-quality optics found in any Swarovski spotting scope. Admittedly, this is one of the larger and heavier hunting spotting scopes on this list, measuring just under fourteen inches and weighing just over four pounds. The optics in this scope are some of the best quality you can hope for in scope, with a large 80mm objective lens and fluoride-containing HD lenses. This provides you with highly detailed images with total color fidelity, high contrast, and amazing details, regardless of poor lighting.

Featuring a proprietary lens coating to provide greater image clarity and make cleaning easier, this spotting scope is waterproof to a depth of 13 feet, dustproof, fog proof. It has a shockproof rubber armor coating on its aluminum body. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. Although many owners consider this the best spotting scope for hunting elk, it does not come with an eyepiece.

On the one hand, this allows you to purchase an eyepiece with the right magnification range per your preferences, and that will best suit the location where you’ll be hunting. But on the other hand, this adds expense and makes this scope unable to be used immediately.

Value Pick: Vortex Optics Razor HD RZR-65A1 Spotting Scope

Value Pick
Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope

Recommended For: Hunting elk. Loaded with features to provide high-quality images.

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This spotting scope is a great choice for hunting elk as it is loaded with features to provide high-quality images. The magnification range of 16-48x provides plenty of power to see distant targets, and the 65mm objective lens lets in plenty of light to get a clear view of whatever you point it at.

Made with HD (high density) ED (extra-low dispersion) glass and featuring proprietary XRPlus fully multi-coated optics, this elk hunting spotting scope will provide high-resolution images and true color fidelity. The XRPlus coating consists of multiple anti-reflective coatings of all air-to-glass surfaces, allowing for maximum light transmission and providing you with the brightest image possible.

It also features triplet apochromatic lenses that, combined with the HD glass, give you consistently sharp colors and contrast. This spotting scope is also lightweight, coming in at only one pound, and comes with a view-through carrying case.

Also Great: Minox MD 50 W 62225 Elk Hunting Spotting Scope

Also Great
Minox MD 50 W 62225 Angled Spotting Scope

This compact angled spotting scope is a great lightweight choice for the range or the field.

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This is a great lightweight spotting scope with a magnification range of 16-30X that still provides plenty of power to see the distance while not weighing you down. This bad boy is considered by many to be the best spotting scope for elk hunting. It is a mere 8.4 inches long and weighs only one and a half pounds, yet it has a generous 50mm high-resolution objective lens to pull in the light and give you the crisp, clean images necessary to spot that bull elk on the next ridge over.

The optics also feature a proprietary multi-layer M coating, providing high color contrast and detailed images. The nitrogen-filled rubber armored housing makes this a rugged scope that is fogproof, dustproof, and waterproof to a depth of five meters. It also features a swivel tripod connection for increased usability when attached to a tripod. However, this lightweight, compact spotting scope for elk hunting can also be hand-held at lower magnification levels, making it a more versatile choice.

What is the Best Spotting Scope for Elk Hunting 2024?

These four spotting scopes more than cover the necessary requirements you have when out in the field in search of trophy buck. Each of these scopes has the ruggedness and durability to withstand heavy field use and the high-quality optics and magnification range needed to see at a distance.

Narrowing our initial list down to just these four was difficult, so you can imagine our struggle in choosing the best of the best. While we really loved the compact size, weight, and versatility of the Minox MD 50, The sheer power, high-end optics, and included the second eyepiece of the Leupold Kenai Spotting Scope did us over, 

Sources and Official Brand Websites:

Swarovski Optik  |  Vortex Optics Leupold  Minox MD | Optics Talk

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