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Thread: Good Spotting Optics

  1. #1

    Default Good Spotting Optics

    This is my first year hunting as a resident. Where I come from in PA we don't use spotting optics. Heck, half the shots at whitetails are in a thicket at 30 yards. Here it is much much different. Anyway, I am picking up a spotting scope and I am just not sure which one. I never really used or had a need for them I thought so I would get some of your opinions.

    I am going to be hunting bear, bou, moose etc. I have no idea what optics to get. I know I want something that fits in my pack easily, is light and clear. The prices run from hundreds to thousands. What would be a good scope for hunting up here?

    I don't want to go more than $800.00 which from what I have seen should get me a good scope.

  2. #2
    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Default Leupold gold ring

    I have a Leupold gold ring HD and I love the thing it is very clear and compact in size I cary it around in my pack when I am hunting all the above and it fits nicely. The power on it is a 12-40 but higher zoom capabilities are rarly used because after you go to a certin point it is useless due to the fact that you get a lot of distortion from heat waves and shake from wind or your hand etc. The Gold ring is in the price range that you stated but for a bit more you can get the HD version and in my opinion is worth every penny. I was looking for the same thing in a scope that you stated and ended up picking up the Leupold because it met all my needs. As far as compact and easy to cary and great clarity I dont think that it can bebeat for the price.
    When I bought this scope I looked through cabelas and sportsmans and the cheapest place I found it was at a place called the Impact area down here in Soldotna and he beat cabelas price by almost 200 dollers but that was almost 4 years ago I think I paid right at 900.00 for it through Travis there.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0321Tony View Post
    I have a Leupold gold ring HD and I love the thing it is very clear and compact in size I cary it around in my pack when I am hunting all the above and it fits nicely. The power on it is a 12-40 but higher zoom capabilities are rarly used because after you go to a certin point it is useless due to the fact that you get a lot of distortion from heat waves and shake from wind or your hand etc. The Gold ring is in the price range that you stated but for a bit more you can get the HD version and in my opinion is worth every penny. I was looking for the same thing in a scope that you stated and ended up picking up the Leupold because it met all my needs. As far as compact and easy to cary and great clarity I dont think that it can bebeat for the price.
    When I bought this scope I looked through cabelas and sportsmans and the cheapest place I found it was at a place called the Impact area down here in Soldotna and he beat cabelas price by almost 200 dollers but that was almost 4 years ago I think I paid right at 900.00 for it through Travis there.
    Is this the one you are referring to?

    http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-...ing-scope.html

  4. #4

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    doug at Cameraland has an outstanding deal on the Minox 62 spotter with a wa fixed eyepice. Get a really good 735 manfrotto tripod with a bogen head.
    Practice with it during the summer to get used to it. You will be doing extremely well.

    Your other option would be to try to find one of those Nikon ED 50 mm spotters with 13-30 X eyepiece. That little critter is probably one of the most compact excellent little outfits you could get.

    You know...You also could get one of the enclosed Bushnell zoom rubber elites60 mm with zoom eye piece and a cheap window mount that you could mount to your pack and put the rest of your cash to binocuars. They are probably more important anyway.

    Sincerely,

    Thomas

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    Default

    Might be off topic but I have a question. Do you have a good set of binos yet? If not then buy them first. You don't really need a spotter for hunting bear, bou, moose, etc. But you definitely need some good binos. But, a spotter is a must for sheep hunting and comes in handy for the others at times depending on how and where you are hunting.

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    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Might be off topic but I have a question. Do you have a good set of binos yet? If not then buy them first. You don't really need a spotter for hunting bear, bou, moose, etc. But you definitely need some good binos. But, a spotter is a must for sheep hunting and comes in handy for the others at times depending on how and where you are hunting.
    +1 on this. You will be spending more time looking thru your binos than you will a spotting scope, make sure you spend some $$$$ on a decenct set of binos first. Doug from cameraland is running some pretty good Nikon spotting scope/bino packages right now.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I also agree on a good set of bino's first if not having any. I use nothing but Leupold optics, Gold ring series. Mainly due to the fact that its awesome stuff and its made right here in the good ole USA!!

    I have the above linked spotting scope. This item is by far the best I have used unless you jump in price and go with a swarovski or Leica upper end stuff.

    The difference in quality and price can be drastic when looking at optics. Personally, I want optics that can be used to their fullest potential. If your glassing a sheep at 1500 yards, I wan crystal clear image where if needed, I can easily count rings.

    The scope is a little bit more than what you budget is, but personally, if possible, I would save a bit more and get the best I could. I am not saying these are the best out there, but IMHO these are the clearest, very compact, user friendly, and so on spotter in that price range. Shop around too. I have seen a few in aklist before for sale or keep an eye peeled on here too.just make sure you get the original reciept from the owner if you buy used just in case of warranty issues.

    What ever unit you buy, if purchased locally, ask the store to hold your CC for you and you will be back in an hour or so. Take the scope out and try it out, if you like it and it works for you, bring it back and buy it. If not, take a different one and keep trying)
    Take a youngster out when you go, it will change his/her life forever!!

  8. #8
    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Default Thats the one

    Quote Originally Posted by dvarmit View Post
    Is this the one you are referring to?

    http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-...ing-scope.html

    This is the one that I was talking about. I will also agree with having a good set of binos too as you spend a lot of time looking through them. I use my Khales a lot but I also use the spotting scope as binos also I just turn it out to the 12x setting and mount on my tripod this scope is very friendly on the eyes and has a wide field of view I can look through that for a long time. Check down here with Travis at the impact area he was able to beat that price by a quite a bit and he can get just about anything for you at better prices than most. I try to use him as much as possible

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Might be off topic but I have a question. Do you have a good set of binos yet? If not then buy them first. You don't really need a spotter for hunting bear, bou, moose, etc. But you definitely need some good binos. But, a spotter is a must for sheep hunting and comes in handy for the others at times depending on how and where you are hunting.
    Nope not off topic at all. I bought a decent pair of Nikons and really like them. I can see the nuts on a nat at 100 yards but I am not sure I could sit all day holding them up to my eyeballs. That is another reason I was looking at a spotter. Could be wrong though and it is more gear to carry (spotter and bino's) I probably wouldn't carry the bino's if I had the spotter.. Humm. now you got me thinking.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaboku68 View Post
    doug at Cameraland has an outstanding deal on the Minox 62 spotter with a wa fixed eyepice. Get a really good 735 manfrotto tripod with a bogen head.
    Practice with it during the summer to get used to it. You will be doing extremely well.

    Your other option would be to try to find one of those Nikon ED 50 mm spotters with 13-30 X eyepiece. That little critter is probably one of the most compact excellent little outfits you could get.

    You know...You also could get one of the enclosed Bushnell zoom rubber elites60 mm with zoom eye piece and a cheap window mount that you could mount to your pack and put the rest of your cash to binocuars. They are probably more important anyway.

    Sincerely,

    Thomas
    I looked at the Nikon ED's but not the Bushies or the Minox. Interesting comment on the Bino's. I mentioned earlier that I bought a pair but now you both have me thinking I should have sunk more money into Bino's.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by steeliekingfisher View Post
    I also agree on a good set of bino's first if not having any. I use nothing but Leupold optics, Gold ring series. Mainly due to the fact that its awesome stuff and its made right here in the good ole USA!!

    I have the above linked spotting scope. This item is by far the best I have used unless you jump in price and go with a swarovski or Leica upper end stuff.

    The difference in quality and price can be drastic when looking at optics. Personally, I want optics that can be used to their fullest potential. If your glassing a sheep at 1500 yards, I wan crystal clear image where if needed, I can easily count rings.

    The scope is a little bit more than what you budget is, but personally, if possible, I would save a bit more and get the best I could. I am not saying these are the best out there, but IMHO these are the clearest, very compact, user friendly, and so on spotter in that price range. Shop around too. I have seen a few in aklist before for sale or keep an eye peeled on here too.just make sure you get the original reciept from the owner if you buy used just in case of warranty issues.

    What ever unit you buy, if purchased locally, ask the store to hold your CC for you and you will be back in an hour or so. Take the scope out and try it out, if you like it and it works for you, bring it back and buy it. If not, take a different one and keep trying)
    Your telling me you can count rings on a sheep a 1000+ yards using that Leupold HD mentioned in the above post?

    I like the idea behind leaving the CC with the shop and trying out the glass. Oddly enough I never thought of that.. Thanks

  12. #12

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    Let's talk about Bino's verses Scopes.

    I couldn't see myself glassing hill sides all day and having to keep bringing bino's to my eyeballs. Seems like my arms would get tired and sore. That is why I was leaning toward a good scope.

    I was making an assumption, from what I have read, that taking bears up here was primarily a spot and stalk if you were not baiting. Which means, sitting and glassing hillsides all day.

    I probably shouldn't have made assumptions considering this is my first "real" year hunting up here. Come hell or high water I am going to kill a blackie this year. It's just a matter of whether I am carrying bino's or a scope

  13. #13
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    Top of the line binos are a must have. And it is MUCH easier to glass for hours with binos over a spotter. Just try closing one eye and looking through a toilet paper role at your tv for an hour and see how you do. An eye patch helps but still....

    When it comes to glassing with binos for hours you just learn how to sit, lay, kneel, lean, etc.

    If your binos are so-so quality your eyes will get tired before your arms do.

    If you are satisfied with your binos then get a decent spotter and carry both. Binos for glassing large areas and spotter for checking out the critter to see if he's worth stalking.

  14. #14
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    a spotter is quite specialized and completely unnecessary. getting to a spot where it will be best utilized is most of the work. and it is more difficult to protect from the elements than binos. I personally prefer to hike a lot for my hunts, or maybe it just turns out that way, but to me the spotter kind of hunt is a rarity.

    I do have one set up in the house for spotting the mtn for browns and blacks but that is another story..




    90% of time I just carry binos. I would prefer to have at least 2 pairs of binos, one that gets used for water activities and one nice pair for on land hunting/hiking. Then maybe think about a scope but if you can watch the nature channel from your living room the spotter is indispensable.


    it is like setting up a television and a vcr though. binos you just pull out and use. very different functions.

  15. #15

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    Alright, I hate to change the topic since I really started with a scope but what would a good pair of bino's be? The Nikon's I have are decent but not compared to the bino's I think you guys are talking about.

    I have used, well looked through, some spotting scopes will ground hog hunting and honestly, it did strain my eyes but I thought that had to do with the quality of the scope. Snyd's post about looking through a toilet paper roll all day was about right on the money in my limited experience.

    So, as far as bino's go I would definitely want something light and easy to carry but other than that it's up in the air. Can someone give me a couple of pairs around $800.00?

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by dvarmit View Post
    Alright, I hate to change the topic since I really started with a scope but what would a good pair of bino's be? The Nikon's I have are decent but not compared to the bino's I think you guys are talking about.

    I have used, well looked through, some spotting scopes will ground hog hunting and honestly, it did strain my eyes but I thought that had to do with the quality of the scope. Snyd's post about looking through a toilet paper roll all day was about right on the money in my limited experience.

    So, as far as bino's go I would definitely want something light and easy to carry but other than that it's up in the air. Can someone give me a couple of pairs around $800.00?
    If the Nikons you got are the Monarch's I really don't see a need to upgrade them over getting a spotter. They are IMO some of the best binos for the dollar. I know several folks that have them and while the difference between theirs and my swarovski binos is obvious I think you'd be better served by running the Nikon binos and getting a spotter.

    But if you are looking at upgrading your binos, I'd take a long hard look at these binos:

    http://www.cameralandny.com/optics/minox.pl?page=62157

    Mountian View sports wanted $1200 for this exact pair. I got a set for my wife from that website for Christmas. Spend many a'hour swapping between my swaros and these while hunting with my wife and can't really see the difference plus they are around 30% lighter than my swaros.

    The leupold gold ring is a great spotter (the one mentioned above). I have a swaro spotter now and recently sold a Zeiss both are great spotters as well. All of them can be had for less than $1500.

    My advice would be to get the number on the cameraland website a call and ask for Doug or Neil. Tell them the price range you are looking for and what you plan to do with your spotter or binos and they'll get you hooked up with what best fits you for your price point. Good luck and I hope ya nail a black bear.

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    Bowhunting World August 2009 had a good field test on Binos and spotting scopes. Some of the results were surprising. I bought a replacement set of binos after reading it and couldn't be happier.

  18. #18
    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvarmit View Post
    I couldn't see myself glassing hill sides all day and having to keep bringing bino's to my eyeballs. Seems like my arms would get tired and sore.
    versus stopping everytime you see something in the distance, setting up a tri-pod, finding the dot, then discovering its a brush bear?? Buy a nice spotter if you already have a nice set of binos. Use the binos to find the animal, set up the spotter to be 100% sure. If you are just going to find a single hillside and sit there all day, then yeah, a spotting scope would be fine. But a part of "spot and stalk" hunting still includes getting to your site, moving sites if there is no sign, etc. Lots of chances to see game outside of just sitting on a hillside that you are going to wish you had your binos for.

  19. #19
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have a set of Minox bino's and they are great! Doug from Cameraland sells them for a good price and they are hard to beat $ for $. I have put them up against the Leupy gold rings and to my eye the minox are a bit brighter and quite a bit lighter weight! I am interested in trying the Zen-Ray bino's that have been getting excellent reviews as of late, they may be a good option to save a few bucks and still get quality glass.

    I use my bino's constantly! When I am out and about they live in an AK guide creations chest pack from the moment I get dressed in the morning till I climb in the bag at night!

  20. #20
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    Like 'Lanche said, the Monarchs are good (wifes/backup pair for me) glass for the money. They are HANDS DOWN better than the same price point Leupolds...

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