Best Scope For Deer Hunting 2023 – The 4 Top Optics

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The hunting of wild deer has been a great American pastime for countless generations. In fact, venison meat has occupied a place at the dinner table from the time of Native Americans and pygmies.

That said, deer hunting it’s not just a hobby. It’s an integral part of our American culture.

What is more, conservation efforts funded by hunters have made it so that most states now actually have a surplus of deer, and hunting is required to keep the population in check and ensure harmony in the biological ecosystem.

To hunt a deer, though, you must ensure that the bullet hits the target. For this, you will need a top-quality rifle with the best scope for hunting deer. Today, I’ll deal with the latter.

Having tested more deer hunting scopes in my life than I can count, I’ve compiled a list of my top four favorites. The following scopes are the best of the best, and you can rest assured that they will take your deer hunting game to the next level.

Best Rifle Scopes for Deer Hunting – My Top Picks

1. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope, 3-9X 40mmBushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm

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As one of the best rifle scope manufacturers in the business, Bushnell never fails to impress. And guess what, this Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn deer hunting scope is no exception.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

There’s a lot to like with this scope. The first thing is, of course, the asking price. At this price range, I guarantee you won’t find a better option. As for using the scope in the field, I found it incredibly practical.

First, because the scope only weighs 0.81 pounds, it’s incredibly lightweight, meaning it won’t disrupt your shooting. Additionally, the scope comes built with a fast-focus eyepiece, which allowed me to sight-in to my target, acquiring it quickly even if it was moving fast from my perspective.

Another thing I love is the proprietary DDB or Dusk & Dawn Brightness lenses that afford fantastic clarity, particularly during the dusk and dawn hours of the day (when many animals like deer are most active, as hunters will attest).

These lenses work in conjunction with the “Multi X” reticle, which I found very easy to use and enjoy. Additionally, the 40 mm objective lens ensures the scope always collects enough light for your needs (it did for me, at least).

As for the range, I could easily use the scope for tracking or sighting deer both at closer and longer distances. The 3-9x magnification is more than enough to ensure precise hunting. Trust me on this one.

The only real downside is the lack of notations on the windage and elevation turrets. I always like it when the scope has them, as they offer good feedback and the opportunity to control the scope even more precisely. You’ll have to remember what you set them to since there aren’t any markings on the sides.

I also found the eye relief to be a bit too harsh. It made using the scope a bit uncomfortable after a longer period. Other than that, though, it’s one of if not the best scope for deer hunting, especially if you consider its price.

Product Highlight

Since I love hunting at dusk, for me, the most significant highlight of this Bushnell scope is its Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) lens. It offers exceptional clarity when hunting at both dusk and dawn, which are the hours when deer are the most active.

Key Features

  • 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Dusk & Dawn Brightness lens
  • Multi-coated optics
  • 1/4 M.O.A fingertip windage and elevation adjustment
Pros Cons
  • Very affordable
  • Made of high-quality and durable materials
  • Lightweight and easy to mount
  • DDB lens
  • Great magnification range
  • Lack of markings on windage and elevation turrets
  • Eye relief is a bit harsh

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Bushnell
Weight 13 oz
Eye Relief 3.3 in
Magnification 3 – 9x
Field of View 14.9 – 40.3 ft at 100 yds

My Verdict

Overall, this Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn riflescope is my favorite scope for deer hunting. It’s affordable, offers exceptional precision, and after using it for years, it’s yet to disappoint me. At this price range, you won’t find a better scope for hunting deer. That I can assure you.

My Rating: 5/5

2. Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Diamondback 3-9x40 SFP Riflescope Dead-Hold BDC MOA

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Next on my list is the Vortex Optics Diamondback. Those of you who read my reviews know how much I love Vortex scopes. This scope perfect for deer hunting only proves why.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the Diamondback is how sturdy it looks. It’s made of high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum, which makes it look incredibly durable. And after several hunts, I can confirm it doesn’t only look but is very robust.

And speaking of using the scope, I found it very precise and comfortable. The scope is multicoated, providing a clear bright picture. I used the scope at default 3-9x magnification settings, but other sizing options are available.

All scopes come with a 40 mm objective lens, though. It provided me with enough light to accurately hit my target from afar, so I’m certain you will find it as accurate as me.

The lenses are improved further thanks to the dead hold BDC (or bullet drop compensating) reticle. This is perfect for estimating the bullet drop of your shot when hunting deer at longer distances.

However, the feature that impressed me the most was the precision glide erector system. It ensures very accurate tracking for the metal-on-metal precision turrets situated on either side of the optic’s body. Therefore, compensating for windage and elevation is highly consistent.

I’m not a fan of the Diamondback’s eye relief, though. I mean, it’s not terrible, but I did find it a bit uncomfortable when used at maximum magnification.

Product Highlight

Although I find this Vortex scope great overall, the best feature is the precision glide erector. It made using the scope so much easier, providing me with improved precision.

Key Features

  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Precision glide erector system
  • Dead hold BDC (bullet drop compensating) reticle
Pros Cons
  • Relatively affordable
  • The precision glide erector system for improved precision
  • Durable and made of top-quality materials
  • The BDC reticle helps estimate bullet drop
  • Lackluster eye relief at maximum magnification
  • Some users complain about random defects

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 14.5 oz
Eye Relief 3.3 – 3.5 in
Magnification 4 – 9x
Field of View 14.8 – 44.6 ft at 100 yds

My Verdict

Vortex Diamondback is a perfect example of why so many people love Vortex scopes. Whether we’re talking about deer hunting scopes or other types of game, Vortex always delivers.

This Diamondback is one of my personal favorite scopes for deer hunting. Indeed, if it weren’t for that eye relief, it would be able to challenge Bushnell for the first spot on my list. Still, it’s a great scope, especially if you consider its low price.

My Rating: 4.75/5

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 Dead-Hold BDC Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x44 SFP Riflescope Dead-Hold BDC MOA

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Yes, I know. Another Vortex. But trust me, it wouldn’t have a place on my list if it wasn’t for its quality. And once again, Vortex doesn’t disappoint.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

So far, I’ve used this scope for medium to long-range shooting. If that’s the range you’re looking for, then this Vortex is just perfect. That’s all I have to say.

The extensive zoom range of 4-12x and an equally large 44mm objective lens ensure a large bright picture, which allowed me to hit long-range targets with ease and precision.

Additionally, Vortex’s trademark dead-hold BDC reticle does a great job of predicting bullet trajectories and is ideal for situations where you have to estimate holdover. The second focal plane reticle maintains the same size as the reticle across varying powers, allowing for seamless zooming in and out experience.

Very generous eye relief of 3.9 inches keeps your eyes out of harm’s way. I could use it for several hours without any discomfort.

Multicoated, anti-reflective lenses provide a very vivid picture with true contrast, which seems almost HD quality. The contrast and color clarity allowed me to spot my game even with the thick forest cover blocking my vision.

I also loved the adjustment turrets. They have a maximum internal adjustment of 50 MOA with a gradation of one-quarter MOA per click. They can also quickly be reset to zero. It saved me a lot of the hassle of reversing counting clicks.

Another feature I like about the reticle is the red dot, which, as I found out, can cut through all the dust and fog, focusing on the game.

Is there anything wrong with the scope? Well, while it offers a good picture, I found it to become slightly distorted at higher zooms, which can be annoying as you want to focus on the deer at longer distances.

Product Highlight

What makes the Vortex Crossfire II stand out is the addition of the red dot. It really helps with focusing on your prey, easily cutting through the fog and dust.

Key Features

  • Multi-coated optics
  • 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof
  • Dead-hold BDC
  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Addition of the red dot in the reticle
Pros Cons
  • Generous and comfortable eye relief
  • Affordable
  • Great for medium to long-range shooting
  • Anti-reflective lens
  • Red dot for improved precision
  • Slight parallax
  • Distortion at higher zoom settings

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Vortex
Weight 17.7 oz
Eye Relief 3.9 – 4.4 in
Magnification 4 – 12x
Field of View 8.4 – 24.7 ft at 100 yds

My Verdict

Although it has its downsides, Vortex Crossfire II is an excellent rifle scope for deer hunting. It’s perfect for medium to long-range shooting, offering a fantastic and clear picture. I especially love the addition of the red dot, which improves the precision even further, ensuring you always hit your target.

My Rating: 4.5/5

4. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 X 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,

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And last but not least, I present to you the Athlon Argos BTR scope. Although it lands as my fourth choice, it’s still a solid deer hunting scope and a great option for a beginner.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

Since this scope utilizes a first focal plane (FFP) reticle, you’d expect working great when shooting long-range. And it is. The reticle seems to shrink or grow in size as you zoom in or out of your prey. That makes for a very clear picture on the huge 50mm objective lens.

The glass-etched reticle is an illuminated Mil-dot reticle, which is excellent for long-range accuracy. Most FFP and mil-dot reticle scopes in the market today are at least twice the price.

Moving on to the adjustment turrets, the total elevation and wind adjustments possible are 18 Mil with the graduation of 0.1 MIl and 5 MIl adjustment per rotation. I found them easily resettable and able to hold zero entirely accurately.

As for the picture, the multicoated lenses provide a very clear and high-contrast picture, as is required when shooting deer long-range. However, I did notice some loss of clarity at higher magnifications.

Another con is eye relief. For the long-range scope, I’d expect something much more comfortable. A mere 3.3 inches isn’t enough, and it did disrupt my shooting experience.

Product Highlight

The highlight here has to be the FFP reticle. It makes this Athlon scope a perfect choice for long-range deer hunting, offering incredible precision and a very clear picture when shooting long-range.

Key Features

  • 100% waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof
  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • First Focal Plane reticle
  • Multi-coated optics
  • Illuminated reticl
Pros Cons
  • FFP reticle that ensures incredible precision when shooting long-range
  • Affordable
  • Made of top-quality and durable materials
  • Easily adjustable turrets
  • Uncomfortable eye relief
  • The picture tends to lose clarity at higher magnifications

Basic Parameters

Manufacturer Athlon
Weight 29.6 oz
Eye Relief 3.3 in
Magnification 6 – 24x
Field of View 4.5 – 16.7 ft at 100 yds

My Verdict

If you’re looking for a long-range rifle scope for deer hunting, this Athlon Argos should be your top choice. However, as an overall deer hunting scope, there are better options on this list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an excellent scope, I just think it lacks the versatility of the other three.

My Rating: 4.25/5

What to Look for in a Scope for Deer Hunting

Because a deer is not a small animal, deer hunting requires cartridges that pack some punch. You need to get a scope based on the stopping power of your bullet and the amount of recoil you can expect.

Here’s a quick list of some of the cartridges used for deer hunting:

  • 6.5 Creedmoor
  • .308 Winchester
  • .30-30 Winchester
  • .30-06 Springfield
  • 7mm Remington Magnum

You need to get the best scope for deer hunting, which will suit these caliber rounds and also suit the prey you will be hunting. Here’s what to look for:


The magnification range is probably the most critical feature of any scope. Deers tend to get spooked if you creep up too close. So your best bet is to hunker down and hit them long-range. As a result, magnification is of primary importance. Don’t settle for anything with less than 9X max magnification.

If you’re shooting long distances, it’s also helpful to have a parallax adjuster which takes out the parallax at long distances.

Objective Lens

The larger the objective lens, the more light will come in through your lens, making for better and bigger pictures. If you’re shooting long distances with very high zoom, you would want as much light as possible to come in.

However, if the objective lens gets too big, it’ll become heavy, and it would be a problem carrying that around.

Multicoated Lenses

You need your scope to produce bright, clear, crisp images with perfect contrast from dawn to dusk. Depending on whether you’re a morning person or a night person, or if you want to hunt all day, you’ll need a scope that produces perfect images even in low-light conditions.

Multicoated lenses are a must because they allow maximum light transmission, which is an absolute necessity.


If you’re spending the big bucks on a scope, you would want it to last you a long time. Cheaper models are going to give way after only a few shots, let alone a year.

Scopes made out of aluminum alloy are the best when it comes to avoiding scratches and wear and tear. You also need lenses that can hold the fort. Nitrogen-purged lenses are usually waterproof, dust and fog proof, and even shock-resistant to a high degree.

A scope with a lifetime warranty would also be a very wise investment.

Eye Relief

With the amount of recoil from the bullets usually used in deer hunting, if you want to keep your eyes protected from injury, you need generous eye relief of at least 3.5 inches.

That’s especially true when shooting from an unorthodox position. You stand a chance of the scope hitting your eyes if you don’t have sufficient eye relief. And trust me, it’s not the most pleasant experience.

A buffer space of 3 to 4 inches is crucial in selecting a scope.

You might also see which is the best scope for 17 WSM.

The Reticle

If you’re shooting long-range, you need your scope to compensate for the bullet drop over long distances. Having holdover positions and bullet trajectory prediction systems helps a lot.

Target turrets should be lockable and resettable to zero. You need to be able to hold zero perfectly. An illuminated reticle also helps a lot in the dark.

Best Scope for Deer Hunting – FAQs

What are the requirements for a good deer hunting scope?

The greatest deer hunting scope may differ depending on where you hunt, the conditions you’ll encounter, and whether you’ll be hunting deer or elk.

For whitetails, mule deer, and elk at closer ranges and during daylight hours, a basic 3-940 scope should suffice. In fact, for deer shooting, this is arguably the most popular and optimal scope magnification.

However, if you plan on hunting in remote areas where you won’t be able to obtain any easy shots under 100 or even 200 yards away, you’ll need one of the best long-range rifle scopes available. A 6-1850 deer hunting scope helps you to zoom in considerably further and view much clearer images than previously, allowing you to fill your tag on difficult-to-hunt animals.

In addition, the best rifle scopes and best rifle scope manufacturers will almost certainly have lens coatings and protection. Coatings minimize glare, boost light transmission for sharper photos, and protect the lens from dirt, debris, and water, among other things. Bushnell’s new EXO barrier has revolutionized the game, and it’s extremely cool and works great!

What are rifle scope numbers?

There are two numbers in a rifle scope standard. The first number indicates the magnification, while the second indicates the objective lens diameter. As an example, an 8.550 specification denotes a scope with 8.5 magnification and a 50 mm objective lens.

Is a 50mm deer hunting rifle scope better than a 40mm?

The difference between 40mm and 50mm scope objective lenses is minimal. In addition, contrary to popular belief, a 50mm lens does not always imply a brighter target image. A 40mm scope with a high-quality lens and coating can perform the job equally as well, if not better.

What is eye relief on a scope?

The distance between the outer surface of the eyepiece lens and the region where the exit pupil is created is known as eye relief (eyepoint). You can see the entire field of vision without vignetting when looking through binoculars from the eyepoint.

What is better: 2 MOA or 4 MOA?

A 4 MOA dot is best for close ranges, while a 2 MOA dot is best for longer ranges.

How far can you shoot with a 3x magnifier?

As a rule of thumb, every additional magnification factor gets you about 100 yards of engagement distance. So 3x gets you about 300 yards, which is about as far as most people are effective with a rifle in any event.

What is an example of a parallax?

The term “parallax” refers to the apparent movement of objects when viewed from different positions. An everyday example of this is seen driving on the highway: when you look out the window, electrical poles near the road seem to zoom past, while trees in the distance appear to slowly drift by.

At what distance does parallax matter?

If shooting out to only about 300 yards or so, you do not really need to be concerned about parallax. However, if you commonly shoot beyond 300 yards, then your scope should truly have parallax adjustment to clear up your target focus.

Wrapping Up My Deer Hunting Scopes Review

And that’s a wrap on my review. As you can see, finding the best scope for deer hunting takes some consideration. Putting your heart into your research, though, is a must. Nothing can ruin your hunting more than a low-quality scope. I know that better than anyone.

That said, choosing any of the scopes above is the best shot for smooth and precise shooting. For me, the best rifle scope for deer hunting is Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn scope.

It has everything you want from a deer hunting scope, offering incredible precision and performance at a low price. The remaining three don’t fall far behind, though.

That said, pick one and take your deer hunting game to a whole new level. And for any more tips, guides, and reviews regarding rifle scopes, feel free to browse my other articles, here at Scopes Reviews.