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Thread: How important is a spotting scope

  1. #1

    Default How important is a spotting scope

    I have been contimplating buying a spotting scope. Will be in
    The Fairbanks area in August going to hunt mostly caribou and moose while stationed there. Cabelas has a 20 percent sale the fourth of July and I figured this is my opportunity to equip myself for the hunting to come. So my question how important is a spotting scope while hunting in ak. Would it be better to just upgrade my binos . Spotting scope I'm looking at is the leupold hd so if I can better use that 1000 elsewhere I would like to hear your in put. Usually I would wait but 20 percent off is hard to turn down


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  2. #2
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    Though I do not have a ton of experience in Alaska (one hunt last year for moose), but live in Colorado where we sheep, goat, elk, mule deer, black bear, blah blah blah hunt. When moose hunting last year, the last thing we needed to weigh us down was a spotting scope. It was so thick that it would not have helped anyway. Good binoculars were far more important than the spotting scope. If you are stalking mule deer, goats, or sheep, then yes its a need, otherwise I would spend my money elsewhere. Caribou and Moose can be accurately judged with bino's. Just my $.02

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    Member Matt83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakota boy View Post
    Cabelas has a 20 percent sale the fourth of July and I figured this is my opportunity to equip myself for the hunting to come.
    Went to Cabelas website to check this out, however they are not offering any spotting scopes for their fourth of July sale.

    http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/brows...3Bcat144127980

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    Member powderhound's Avatar
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    I completely agree with the above post. I have hunted moose primarily with my sweet Minox bino's. Very seldom would a good spotting scope helped me on any of those hunts.
    Now last year, I got seperated from my hunting buddy who had the only spotting scope in camp on a sheep hunt. Needless to say, I felt helpless. Could see many sheep, but I was not in good enough shape to climb every peak every day to lay my eyes on a potential full curl ram.
    Thats where a spotting scope really shines!
    Not so much for any of my moose hunts.

  5. #5
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    It really depends on your hunt area and your targeted species....

    For moose, I'd probably just upgrade binos since they're primarily hunted in tighter territory below tree line but for caribou or sheep hunting in the high tundra or mountains a spotter is nearly a must have.

    I like caribou hunting in the early season when the animals are still up high and more thinly dispersed...a spotter will help you find more and better bulls at much longer distances.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  6. #6
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I will disagree with the above. If you are only going to hunt moose in the forest of the valley or along rivers then the bino's will be fine. If however you plan to go and hunt the higher elevation moose or the interior where the general plan is to get up high and glass then a spotter will be invaluable at determining legality without having to try and stalk every moose that looks close to legal. I wasted most of a day stalking a moose that my bino's showed as a fork horn only to get within 150 yards and see that it had low brow tines (3 points/side) and was thus illegal. Had I taken my spotter along I would have dismissed that moose and my cousin and I would have pursued a cow in another area we had spotted from the same vantage point since he had an antlerless tag. On the same moose hunt we spotted a band of 6 rams and could tell nothing about them with the binos but had I been carrying a spotter I would have known if I needed to call in sick the next day.

  7. #7
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I recomend getting a good binocular. As above threads mentioned, Moose will be in thicker stuff plus the weight saving will be a plus. Later, when going for Sheep and Goat it's imperative you have a good spotter. Welcome to Alaska and thanks you for your service.

  8. #8

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    The twenty percent off sale is a military sale here in Texas

  9. #9

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    My suggestion would be to first, get the best binos you can afford up to $3K and then go for the scope. Unless you're a sheep hunter, you can live without the scope, but you'll hate cheap binos all around.
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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    if you have the resources to get a spotter...why not. better to have one and never need it than have to pass on animals because you are unsure of their legality. i'd take mine on moose hunts, save you alot of brush busten by counting that extra brown tine...
    caribou, i'm picky so i'm not gonna go after one unless its a monster...i'd take my spotter for sure. if i was interior bear hunting i'd leave it, if i was in an any bull area for moose, i'd leave it. but if there are legal restrictions...i'll have it.
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    Dakota Boy: So what are the specs on your binos? If you desire to upgrade those .. I would do that first.

    A spotter helps with seeing holes in the paper targets without having to walk down range. For me, my binos often glass farther than I desire to walk. And on occasion, have to laugh when I set up the spotter, look through it a bit, and then see a moose (or other game) walk out less than 100 yards away.

  12. #12
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I will disagree with the above. If you are only going to hunt moose in the forest of the valley or along rivers then the bino's will be fine. If however you plan to go and hunt the higher elevation moose or the interior where the general plan is to get up high and glass then a spotter will be invaluable at determining legality without having to try and stalk every moose that looks close to legal. I wasted most of a day stalking a moose that my bino's showed as a fork horn only to get within 150 yards and see that it had low brow tines (3 points/side) and was thus illegal. Had I taken my spotter along I would have dismissed that moose and my cousin and I would have pursued a cow in another area we had spotted from the same vantage point since he had an antlerless tag. On the same moose hunt we spotted a band of 6 rams and could tell nothing about them with the binos but had I been carrying a spotter I would have known if I needed to call in sick the next day.
    Excellent summary of why to take a spotting scope moose hunting, not just sheep.
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  13. #13
    Member ArcticNorseman's Avatar
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    Dakota,

    If your bino's are lower-end that fog-up, fade out-of-focus, or aren't really shock-proof. I'd recommend upgrading those first to some that are fogproof, shock-proof etc. I have a pair of Bausch & Lombs I bought 17 years ago and thought they were really good, except for fogging up. Then, I used a pair of Swaro 10X42 ELs . . . ****! Those are nice! I understand they're $2000 or so, but there's a reason for that & I'm sure there are some in the 10X40 to 12X50 arena that cost about $1000, but provide much the same capabilities as the Swaros.

    As for a spotter, I bought a Pentax PF 65 ED 20-60X65 a few years ago for about $550. It works great whether at the range, counting tines, or judging rams up to 3 miles. It's heavier than most spotters, but I don't really mind the weight. The better optics literally outweight the packing issues.

    If Cabela's is having a good sale, look at the possibilty of getting both. Searching sites like Eagle Optics gives you a ton of options for mid-priced optics, and you might be able to snag and upgrade on the bino's as well as land a good spotter for $1000 total.

  14. #14
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Usually forum sponsor cameralandny.com has the best deals. Tons of show samples with full warranty in like new condition for great discounts! Call and talk to Doug or just keep an eye on the optics forum as that is where he posts the latest list of deals.

  15. #15
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdelarm View Post
    My suggestion would be to first, get the best binos you can afford up to $3K and then go for the scope. Unless you're a sheep hunter, you can live without the scope, but you'll hate cheap binos all around.
    I hear this a lot and the geardo in me wants to agree but in the last few years very solid upper-mid grade glass has come out that will get people into very serviceable optics without sacrificing that much. I personally have Minox HG 10x43 bins and a Pentax PF65EDII scope. I have glassed with Leica, Swaro, Leupold gold rings and vortex Talons recently. I rate the Lupy's the lowest and the swaro/Leica the highest but the difference between the Swaro/Leica and the Minox/Vortex was much smaller than the massive chasm in price would suggest. I have $1250 total invested in my glass at this point and if I had cash in hand to upgrade one of them tomorrow it would be the spotter since I feel that I have more to gain in usable image quality there vs "upgrading" my Minox HG's.

  16. #16
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcticNorseman View Post
    As for a spotter, I bought a Pentax PF 65 ED 20-60X65 a few years ago for about $550.
    This is probably one of the best bangs for your buck on a spotter, lots of great reviews.

    I hunted for years with just binos then decided I needed a spotter and now I wonder how I did it all that time without the spotter? I never leave home without it and use it almost as much as my binos. Like Lujon, BRWNBR, and hodgeman pointed out they can save you some walking and stalking on sublegal animals or an animal you would not shoot.

  17. #17
    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    Dakota Boy,

    I agree with LuJon and Brwnbr. A spotting scope will save you lots of walking and possibly other problems by determining if that moose is legal. If you aren't concerned, then use binos.

    Randy

  18. #18

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    spotting scopes are for sniper clown wanna-be's. look through a spotting scope all day long, you won't be able to see clearly. If you can't get within 200 yards of an animal you want to shoot, just give it up. you are not a hunter. spotting scopes are worthless. if you need anything more than a good pair of 8x42 binocs, you need to rethink your strategy.

    I am not trying to be confrontational, that is just the truth.

  19. #19
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    So are sheep hunters spotting scope sniper wannabes?


    I'd gladly spend the coin to glass an entire drainage versus hiking another 5 miles to find out that might-be ram is a non-shooter.

  20. #20
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    Dakota boy binos will only do so much for you. Can you be successful without a spotter, of course you can but to me a spotter is something I never go without even moose hunting and caribou hunting. In brush country(moose country) with binos you sometimes find things in the brush that look like antlers and unless its moving you have to either get closer,zoom in with a spotter, or hoof it(if you can). If you wait you may miss a great oppurtunity if it is a bedded moose. Also as mentioned great for checking legality on moose. On caribou I use it to judge antlers.. even when I am brownie hunting I use it to find beddeb bears in the brush. Not too long ago on Kodiak found a bear in what looked like a whole in the middle of a brushless hill and cause of my spotter I could get a better look and it turned out to be a nine foot bear with out my spotter I may of overlooked that spot since in my binos it looked like a clump of dirt.

    without a spotter this may be your only view...

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