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Thread: Should I Take a Spotting Scope?

  1. #1
    Member PacWestFishTaxidermy's Avatar
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    Default Should I Take a Spotting Scope?

    I have an "any Ram" tag for a small hunting area (starting the 26th). I will be flown in and dropped off at the top of the area. Since I can kill any ram, I was thinking I might not need a spotting scope for this hunt. I would love to save the weight. I am not looking to shoot a young ram or anything (7+ years old) but I don't feel like I need to age them from a mile away for any reason. My 10 power Swaros should get me a decent look at any animals. I won't be walking many miles at all or crossing/climbing many mountains, so what would you do? Save weight and take just high quality binos, or take a spotting scope anyway? I don't feel I need a spotting scope on this one but I am open to someone changing my mind. Thanks for any thoughts and/or wisdom.

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    Member Ak_Predator's Avatar
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    I like to use my spotter simply to get a stable look at animals. My spotter weighs all of about a pound and is crystal clear. I figure a pound is worth it to me... I think it boils down to if you're going to spend some time sizing animals up or take whatever opportunity you get right away... Best of luck either way!

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    Member pa_pride's Avatar
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    I'm not a sheep Hunter, but if you're flying im....whats another 2 lbs?

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Depends in the terrain... with good 10x42s you can find a ram from more than a mile under most conditions. From a half mile you can tell 3/4 from full (ish) curl.

    The weight of the spotter when combined with the weight of the tripod isn't inconsiderable- and it's bulky weight that gobbles up pack room at that.

    I'd leave it behind- simple is good.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    If I recall that spotter of yours is pretty heavy? Any ram, good binos, getting in pretty close for the shot which gives you a good look as well.....I'd say you're good to go.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member tekla's Avatar
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    Normally I would say no way. But you have a very special circumstance. I would leave it at home and think about how much weight you saved the whole time. Next sheep hunt bring it with and remember the good time when you didn't have the stress of judging legality and enjoyed the weight savings. I am jelous. Good luck

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PacWestFishTaxidermy View Post
    I have an "any Ram" tag for a small hunting area (starting the 26th). I will be flown in and dropped off at the top of the area. Since I can kill any ram, I was thinking I might not need a spotting scope for this hunt. I would love to save the weight. I am not looking to shoot a young ram or anything (7+ years old) but I don't feel like I need to age them from a mile away for any reason. My 10 power Swaros should get me a decent look at any animals. I won't be walking many miles at all or crossing/climbing many mountains, so what would you do? Save weight and take just high quality binos, or take a spotting scope anyway? I don't feel I need a spotting scope on this one but I am open to someone changing my mind. Thanks for any thoughts and/or wisdom.
    I would say bring it. I enjoy watching sheep thru a spotter on a side of mountain. I would not sacrifice the scope if it was me.

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    I looked through 10x zeiss that had as much resolution as my Nikon spotter. I would take them in a minute if I owned some. Although they cost 4 times more...
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russp17 View Post
    I would say bring it. I enjoy watching sheep thru a spotter on a side of mountain. I would not sacrifice the scope if it was me.
    Agreed with that reasoning. The biggest ram we saw on our first hunt of the season was 7/8 (maybe 15/16 if splitting hairs), but even after we knew he wasn't legal I spent quite a bit of time just watching him. That's one of the small joys of being in the mountains - just watching those white mountain ghosts.

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    I'd bring it for sure. Not only is it fun to watch things with a spotter, I think you will also want it to determine if those white specs are even rams at long range, and if so, are they mature enough that you would want to chase them. If you aren't looking to be doing too much traveling, then a spotting scope can do a lot of walking for you.

    Heck, at least bring it as far as base camp.

    I packed my 85mm up the mountain this weekend on a caribou hunt. It's a heavy beast, but I sure didn't regret it when I got to scope out some great rams and eyeball that antics of some goofy caribou a mile out.

    Yk

  11. #11
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with Russ, Brian and Yellowknife - definitely worth it for watching critters while in the field. And as Yk said - when you spot that white patch tucked under a rock from a mile away, you'll be glad you have your spotter with to confirm whether it's a sheep or an old patch of snow or a white rock.

    There's no way I'd go on a hunt in the mountains without my spotter. I could find a lot of other ways to lose 2 pounds if it was that much of a concern. Even the smallest any ram hunt area has vistas spanning several miles. I've often regretted leaving my spotter behind while hiking in the high country, but I've never regretted bringing it along.

    A little over a month ago, I hiked the Crow Pass trail with my wife. After hemming and hawing on whether to bring my spotter, I decided to cut the weight and just bring my 10x Vortex binos. Sitting on a point, I spotted four sheep at just under a mile. With the binos I could tell one for sure was a ram and figured the other 3 to be based on proximity and body size. Hiking closer, I got to what measures about 0.45 miles (via Google Earth). From there I could definitely tell all 4 were rams, with 1 being a good ram (full curl +/-) and the other three being 1/2 to 3/4 curl rams. But I couldn't tell if I was looking at a just barely 7 or 8 year old ram or a really good 9 or 10 year old ram. And I've regretting not bringing my spotter since.

    In 2010 I pulled the any sheep archery tag around Eklutna Lake. Even though the area I hunted was no more than 3 miles by 2 miles on the map, a spotter was imperative for determining if distant white spots were indeed sheep (bedded, partially hidden behind rocks/in shadows). I know I spotted sheep I wouldn't have seen with binos alone. Plus being able to tell from a mile out in less than ideal situations (shadows, rain, fog, etc.) if the sheep I'm looking at is a ewe, young ram, or mature ram.

    My $.02
    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Carpenter creek

  13. #13

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    Looking at it from the Pro/Con side of it:
    Pro - good practice, helps pre-plan the stalk (best approach or eliminates the unapproachable), replaces reading material
    Con - weight, ahh? can't think of anything else
    I'd take it because all it replaces is three cans of beer (size and weight equivalent)

    Enjoy the journey

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    If he's talking about the same scope I think he is, I do believe it weighs about 4 pounds.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member PacWestFishTaxidermy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    If he's talking about the same scope I think he is, I do believe it weighs about 4 pounds.....
    I have a different scope for hunting. I use that heavy thing for the range. All good advice from everyone that is backed by experience. Very much appreciated.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PacWestFishTaxidermy View Post
    I have a different scope for hunting. I use that heavy thing for the range. All good advice from everyone that is backed by experience. Very much appreciated.
    How big is the one you have for hunting?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    Carpenter creek
    As soon as they come up with a way to take hunter's safety and actually kill an animal online behind a screen and keyboard, you might actually be a hunter too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    How big is the one you have for hunting?
    2 lb 13 oz

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PacWestFishTaxidermy View Post
    2 lb 13 oz
    Yeah...almost 3 pounds is getting up there a bit. I can understand your hesitation. It's really hard to say. You could get up there and need it bad, or the complete opposite and not need it at all. If you plan on taking a ram that's around 7 years old, then there's really no need for that much judging to take place. If you find some rams with your binos and get in close for a good shot, then the binos or your rifle scope may be all you need to see that ram you want. You may want to bring it to where you fly in just to decide from there what direction you may want to go. Meaning, you may see a flock of sheep one direction and with the scope see that they are all ewes and lambs. But you may see some other sheep in a totally different direction and be able to tell at a distance that they have headgear. After that if you feel you won't need it just leave it there. At least then you'll have that option. But if you feel that you can't justify it just because of the weight situation in the plane, then personally, I doubt I'd take it.

    Either way....

    Good Luck...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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