Squinting from bright sunlight can quickly cause a headache, decrease your ability to identify game, or see movement. Sunglasses are an obvious answer, yet the wrong pair can easily ruin a hunt and allow that once-in-a-lifetime trophy to slip away. Bright sunlight is especially difficult for me because I once had an industrial accident that required eye surgery. I was very lucky in that it didn’t affect my vision, yet I’ve become keenly aware of eye protection and of maximizing my vision. The right glasses can make you a much more successful hunter, and can be very inexpensive to boot. Keep these four factors in mind when you’re selecting your next pair of sunglasses.
1. Can you shoot with them on? This may sound like a silly question, yet most sunglasses sold at high-end stores block shooting vision. Your first motion when considering a new pair should be to simulate shooting your bow or rifle. Can you see across the bridge of your nose when aiming, or do the frames block your vision? Don’t think for one second that you’ll remember to take those glasses off when a monster buck steps into the open. You won’t. If you plan to hunt in your glasses, they must allow full vision.
2. Consider “shade” glasses. For $10 bucks or less, you can buy a pair of yellow “shooting glasses” designed for eye protection. I always carry a pair in my pack and use them early and late in the day. The difference in acuity is absolutely amazing and they provide excellent eye protection when riding in an open vehicle, in wind or rain, and during shooting.
3. Consider prescription and bifocal sunglasses. These will be more expensive, depending upon your prescription, yet are well worth the money. Bifocals are especially important for detailed work and for seeing close-up objects clearly, which can save your bacon on an important equipment repair, even reading a GPS.
4. Finally, consider the durability of the glasses. Personally, I’d love a pair of rubber, squish-proof glasses and don’t give one hoot about how they look. Do the optics you’re considering fold flat enough to carry in a day-pack or in your pocket? If not, be sure to get a protective case and a lanyard so they can hang around your neck when not in use.
Check these products to complete your sunglasses quest: