Multi day and spotting scopes

Barkoff

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Do most of you lug along spotting scopes on multi day backpack hunts, or is the weight too much to take a long?

For those who do, what is the ideal power you would take along for a five day hike into the Sierras?

Am I right in thinking that the big 80MM would weigh too much to haul up a mountain?

I imagine most sheep hunters find a spotter essential, but how about high country mule deer hunts, do you bring the spotter along?

Thanks for the advice.
 



brave52000

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I always have my spotting scope with me. I use a Vortex Nomad 60mm, it weighs 37oz, which seems to be a good weight to haul around in your pack for days on end. I personally feel that an 80mm scope is too heavy. You get more light gathering capability, but with the time required to make a stalk, a few extra minutes of spotting is not worth the extra weight for the trip IMO.

As far as power goes, I rarely go over 35X on mine. It goes to 60X, but since the wind is usually always blowing in the high country, too high of power is impossible to stabilize.
 

SierraFool

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I have a nikon 16x42 spotter...its fairly cheap, not real lite but it has saved me countless stalks and miles of figuring out if I need to investigate a group of animals or not. I dont think you really need a high end 60-80mm scope in the backcountry unless you are field judging animals.
 

Zbearclaw

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I got the Nikon 13-30 50mm ED scope, weighs a pounds.

I would take that thing anywhere anytime, even if glassing were only a slight possibility, it is that light. The optics are great, and I never ever question bringing it.

I will easily carry more weight in burrs and thorns in my gear than this scope weighs.


I do know quite a few guys that consider their 80mm, and even 60mm scopes too heavy for anything but a true monster trophy hunt. I am not a trophy hunter at all. I only take it to know what my binos found for me, and if it is worth the 2000' drop and 2000' climb to where the buck is. I'd shoot a spork and smile like a puppy with two peters, but want to know it is a spork I am looking at, or a 4x.

Some folks think magnification is a big deal, but hunting where I hunt the country, wind, and heat waves dictate the magnification used, not the ability of the optics.

Even on a cool day at distances you would use high power heat waves are killer. Try looking at something from two miles away at mid day and you will define frustrated.



So to end, I will never hunt even remotely open country without this scope. Heck now that I think about it my rangefinder weighs right at half what this spotter does. If that doesn't say how light this thing is I don't know what does.
 

Barkoff

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My grandfather just passed away and left me a couple of grand. My first reaction was to pay off some bills, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided that was the wrong thing to so. Pay a bill off, then its gone, that's that, so I decided to buy something I'll have forever, his last gift.

I have a pair of Nikon 10X40's and they seem OK to me (I have never even looked through a good pair of expensive glass), but one friend advised to get a pair of quality 10X40 with the money instead of a spotter. Another recommended the Nikon 13-30 50mm ED that weighs only a pound, for around $700, 25 yr warranty.. that Zeiss is the last spotter I would ever need, but with eye piece will run about $1300 (demo sale) and be over three pounds plus tripod..

This is what I need to think about.. many choices, the Nikon and a hand loading RCBS kit, or a pair of quality 10X40's, or the Zeiss spotter.

I had my self convinced that a good spotter can go a long way in finding deer in their beds, but others say binocs are fine for doing the same. I have found myself looking across canyons unable to see into the low oaks or scrub bushes and thought a spotter would be nice to have...but also three pounds of weight plus tripod.

I think what I'll do first is take my Nikon 10X40's to a glass store and put them up against a pair of Leicas or Zeiss and see just how much a difference we are talking about. I could always buy good binocs today that without a doubt I will use every time anytime, and buy the Nikon spotter next year.

Tough problem to have, huh? Too bad I had to lose the old goat along the way, but 96 years old ain't exactly cheated. I'm gonna miss that old guy, but that old line rings true..."life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone" and his last year that is exactly where he found himself.

Thanks again for any advice.
 

Zbearclaw

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I almost dropped the savings on Swaro binos, the dealer I was talking with was a hell of a good guy and since he knew I was active duty and money was short in supply told me to try the Cabelas Alaskan Guide 10x42 and love them. He also recommended Khales for a good bargain.

Also the newer Cabelas Euro binos are supposed to be the cat's pajamas.

Binos find bedded critters, sitting behind a spotter for an hour is like listening to the wife complain, it sucks.


For the price of a zeiss spotter I would get either the Alaskan guide or Euro binos, Nikon 50mm ed scope and a good lightweight tripod and know you got a few decades worth of good gear for less than it should have cost.

But for a big spotter, if that is what you need, this Nikon is not it. You do sacrifice the light gathering as it is only 50mm vice the 80mm on big glass. But I know at least a handful of hardcore guys that leave their $2000 spotter behind even in wide open country because it weighs so much, I have no such thoughts with the 16oz Nikon ED.
 

DEERSLAM

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Really depends on the hunt for me. But if I'm packin a spotter it's my Swaro 60mm. If I'm huntin horn you better believe it's in my pack. I have no problem with the weight because it's going to save my legs and lungs by being able to judge critters at long range while sittin on my arse. A quality spotter is worth it's weight in gold on a trophy hunt...IMHO.
 

brave52000

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If your going to go for a big 80mm spotter, look into the Vortex Skyline ED. It sells for $699, while i've never looked through it, the other Vortex optics I have are top notch, and i'm sure the Skyline wouldn't be any different. Can't beat the Lifetime Warranty!
 

Barkoff

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (brave52000 @ May 11 2008, 10:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
If your going to go for a big 80mm spotter, look into the Vortex Skyline ED. It sells for $699, while i've never looked through it, the other Vortex optics I have are top notch, and i'm sure the Skyline wouldn't be any different. Can't beat the Lifetime Warranty![/b]

I have never heard of Vortex before I started researching glass a few days ago, where are they made, how is thier customer service?
 

brave52000

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I believe they are made in the good ol' US of A. Their products have full unconditional lifetime warranties! I've had to use the warranty when I lost the cap for the tripod adapter on the front of my Razor's. They took my address and within a few days I had a new cap.

Here is a link to the official website, the MSRP's are higher than you can get them for online. I've always ordered from Eagle Optics, their prices are good, and they have an 30-day money back guarantee on all orders.

Vortex Optics-Official Page

Eagle Optics
 

barel74

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Always have my spotter with me. On a warm day, any power over about 35 pics up heat waves. Mine goes to 60, but never go that high, due to the heat waves and stability.
 

Barkoff

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So would most of you say you use the spotting scope more for judging quality or finding deer in their beds?

I had finding deer in their beds after the sun comes up on my mind more so than any trophy hunting...with that in mind would you still put emphasis on a spotter, or just a good quality binoc?


While we are on that subject, what is your preference regarding 8X42 vs 10X42, do you believe the 10X will find you any more deer than a quality 8X?

Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

DEERSLAM

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I use a spotter for judging the hardware. Trying to glass deer up with a spotter is tough using one eye. It can be done but I don't recommend it.

If you are just going to be trying to glass up deer the 10x is a great all around power. Now of course some, including myself, mount 15x's on a tripod for serious glassing but again it's personnal preference on how much weight you are willing to carry in the field.
 

BackCountryHNTR

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Barkoff, It all depends on the terrain and style of hunting.

For me the binos are more important than the scope...That's why I got the best binos I could afford (Vortex Diamondbacks 10x42), and a scope that I could carry around to help me find deer, goats, bears, etc... not really to judge racks though...If I could only buy one, I will definitely buy the best binos I can afford and do without a scope...IMHO Binos in 10x are very good all around optics
 

Barkoff

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Thanks for that, I have been convinced of just that. I have decided on a quality pair of glasses, and have decided I'll probably opt for the Leica Ultravids (can't beat that passport warranty), the only question now which ones, the 10X42 or 8X42.

I just finished Cameron Haynes book where he defines anything under ten power a waste of time, but have received a lot more advice recommending the 8X's

It seems that many advocate the 8X as a steadier crisper view which will aid you more at picking up dear in their beds than would the extra 2X

Many seem to believe there is less eye strain with the 8X, steadier view, wider field of view, easier to focus, brighter...well just about everything but the extra 2X

Agree, disagree?

Opinions welcome

Thanks.
 

BOWUNTR

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I have a backpack spotter (old Bushnell stalker) and lightweight Velbon tripod with Jim White head. This is my lightweight backpacking setup that I only use for evaluating headgear. Works great. Although I do see a Swaro 60 spotter in my future. I rely on it often and it almost always goes with me.

I've used 10x bino's for over 20 years and would not even consider the 8x for glassing open country. 2x is a big difference IMO. I just recently went to the Leica Geovids 10x42 and have never looked back. I've always had a range finder delima... no more. My bino setup is complete. My 2 cents. Ed F
 

BackCountryHNTR

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For the more "open" country here in the West...I'll go with the 10x. It's just a great balance between 8x and 12x.

The "eye strain, steadier view, wider field of view, easier to focus, brighter" mostly depends on the quality and characteristics of the binocular, not the magnification power, specially between an 8x and 10x. Also, if you use/hold them correctly 10x is not more shaky than an 8x IMHO...regardless, get the ones that you like better and feel more comfortable with...there are so many good options out there, but for best value, I cannot recommend enough Vortex Optics, just my 0.02.
 

Arrowslinger

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Deerslam and Bowuntr have spent more time behind glass than years i've been alive, if they say 10x's...i'd listen.
 

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