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Thread: Binos or Spotting Scope?

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    Default Binos or Spotting Scope?

    I am starting to buy my gear and I was wondering should I go for Binos or a Spotting Scope for my hunts? I'll be attempting to do all kinds of hunts here in AK. Is there a reason why to do binos over spotting scope or vise-versa or could either do the same job, just personal preference? Thanks y'all

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    You are going to eventually need both. Especially if you get into sheep and goat hunting. I recommend buying binos first. Buy the best you can afford to start out with because you will eventually want to upgrade. I feel naked if I go hiking or hunting without binos so I rarely leave them home even I'm just small game hunting.

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    Also what power should I go for?

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    I agree with bnkwnto. As the binos are generally most convenient.

    I'd go big and get a pair of Swaro's binos (8x or 10x) and a Swaro spotting scope. If it doesn't work out for you, you can sell them as someone on here would be greatful to potentially buy them used in reciprocation for such great advice.

    Good luck!

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Deffinitely go for binos first. It's not as easy to scan with a scope than it is with binos.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Bino's, 10-42. You'll want Bino's over a socpe at first. Bino's are for "finding" game, scopes are for actually looking at what you found. Trying to pull a scope out of your pack or carry and set it up every 10 minutes really would be a pain. You'll be kicking yourself within the first half hour of a hunt if you have the scope and no binos.

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    I'll buck the trend and say get a spotting scope. One like the Leupold Gold Ring compact 10-20x40mm (15.8 ounces, 7.5" L) will work like a monocular (which I greatly prefer) and work as a spotting scope at 20x. It won't eclipse small binoculars for carry around your neck or huge glass for spotting that sheep of a lifetime across 8 canyons, but it won't break the bank and will fill a big % of your needs.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    Abel, that's a great way to think of it. By putting it that way I am going more towards binos for my first. I'm not looking to spend my entire years budget on Swaro's but good idea Wet lol.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Definately binos first....

    If you went with a spotter first then something like a Zeiss Dialyt or Leupold compact that has a relatively low power will make scanning easier. Even at 15x, my Dialyt is pretty tough to use handheld.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member cusackla's Avatar
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    I say it depends on what you are hunting. If I am hunting Sheep or Goat than I would not go without a Spotting Scope! No way No How!
    If I am hunting Moose, Caribou, Black Bear or anything else where I am mostly spotting game and glassing for long periods of time, than I would go with Binos.
    My preferred method is to hunt with a partner. One has a Spotting and One has the Binos, than take turns locating and judging game.

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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Gamer, if you have a tight budget, like me, check out the Vortex's. Lots of guys here like them as I've seen through recent threads too. I have the Diamondbacks in 10x42 and love em.

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    Get a pair of Vortex 10x50 Diamondbacks to start out with. If you walk and spot and stalk you will want a Bino Buddy or some other similar harness so the weight isn't on your neck from a single strap.
    As you hike along you will stop every minute or less and look through them to scan the country side for 5 or 10 seconds. Try doing that with a spotting scope.
    When it comes to holding optics steady and looking at something the size of a bear or caribou at 500 yards 10 power is about the max. Anything more than that and you just can't hold it steady enough without putting it on a tripod.
    Looking through a spotting scope for any length of time and you will end up with a headache from eyestrain since you only use one eye at a time and you will always gravitate to looking through it using your dominant eye.
    A spotting scope can be handy but you need to learn to glass first and that means bino's. I have Swarovski Bino's but the Diamondback 10x50's I bought for my son are about 90% as good as the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL's I use.

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    I didn't know Vortex's ran that cheap. Vortex is a great brand and those might be the ones I get. Thanks for the heads up again Abel.

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    Without question you need binos. You can't hunt up here without decent binoculars. I would venture to say they may be more important than your gun. You can't shoot what you can't see right? A spotting scope is nice to have but not necessary. I have actually been on some backpack hunts where I left the spotting scope behind to save weight. The real reason for the spotting scope is to judge the size of your quarry. The function of the spotting scope is not really to find game. It takes too long to scan the surrounding countryside with your spotting scope. If you only have money for one of the two, I would get a nice pair of binoculars. And I wouldn't scimp on them either. When it comes to binos, you really do get what you pay for. A really nice pair of leicas or swarovskis really do make a difference if you are looking through binos all day long for days on end. The good binos will eliminate eye strain and you will spot 5 times more game than everybody else. They also allow you to see in low light conditions. If I was working with a limited budget, I would forgo the spotting scope for a year and get yourself some nice binos. Next year you can get yourself a decent spotting scope. The other thing about a spotting scope is you can share one with a partner. Binos is not something you want to share with someone else, but on a typical hunt, 1 spotting scope for two or three guys is sufficient. Unless you are planning on splitting up.

  15. #15

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    Binos before spotting scope for sure. Generally I use binos to find what to point my spotting scope at anyways, so I would opt for the binos first. Plus I really don't like scanning they hill side with a spotting scope. I much prefer to use binos until I find something of interest and then suck it in with a spotting scope.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Without question you need binos. You can't hunt up here without decent binoculars. I would venture to say they may be more important than your gun. You can't shoot what you can't see right? A spotting scope is nice to have but not necessary.
    No, but if you look at it like that then binos aren't absolutely necessary either......right? I really feel that it depends entirely on what type of hunt. Or......if you don't mind hiking a lot. Meaning......you may spot a ram on a distant ridge with your binos, but there is no way you can tell if he's legal or not. But there may be other sheep far away on another mountain in the opposite direction at the same time. If you can't tell if there is a legal ram, then which one are you going to go after? And this could mean a walk of 5 miles or so. Now if you're in deep woods for moose, then no, probably not much of a reason to have a spotting scope. But what about looking for a shooter caribou over wide open spaces? Again, how far are you willing to walk just to see if it's one you want? Spotting scopes can save you miles, and miles, AND MILES, of needless walking........imo.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    4merguide makes a great point... I left the binos at home on a sheep hunt last year. I had no problem picking white sheep out at considerable distance, but who's legal?

    I also like spotters for caribou hunting...seems that I do better finding them by scanning at 15x than with my binos at moderate to longer ranges. I did manage to locate a small bull for my partner this past season with my spotter on 20x at 2 miles that wasn't visible in any of three pairs of binos we had -depsite the bull standing in the broad open.

    Depending on species and terrain you're hunting there isn't really a "right" answer, although most folks will use the binos plenty more than a spotter.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    No, but if you look at it like that then binos aren't absolutely necessary either......right? I really feel that it depends entirely on what type of hunt. Or......if you don't mind hiking a lot. Meaning......you may spot a ram on a distant ridge with your binos, but there is no way you can tell if he's legal or not. But there may be other sheep far away on another mountain in the opposite direction at the same time. If you can't tell if there is a legal ram, then which one are you going to go after? And this could mean a walk of 5 miles or so. Now if you're in deep woods for moose, then no, probably not much of a reason to have a spotting scope. But what about looking for a shooter caribou over wide open spaces? Again, how far are you willing to walk just to see if it's one you want? Spotting scopes can save you miles, and miles, AND MILES, of needless walking........imo.
    4mer, there's no doubt that a spotting scope is nice to have. It is definitely a handy tool to have. But as I said before, you could probably get away with sharing one between 2-3 guys. But, I agree that the spotting scope has saved me walking lots of miles by verifying if the animal in question is legal. But let's face it, when it comes to just glassing and just finding game, not judging game from a distance, without good binos you are usually dead in the water. I'll take my binos anyday over my spotter. If I'm not overly concerned about weight, without a doubt I'll bring a spotting scope along. But when I'm out hunting any game in AK, I am continously using my binos from sunup to sundown. My spotting scope may come out of my pack 5-10 times a day to check something out. But I am looking through my binos hundreds of times a day compared to a few.

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    Good point about game verifying. I don't see me doing sheep and sadly caribou for at least 2yrs but do see the other game with in the next year, so I think I'll buy a good set of binos first but make sure I get a spotting scope before my 1st sheep and caribou hunts.

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    absoutely no question about it BINOS first and quality ones..... then spotter

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