Who chooses to hunt with only binocs - no spotting scope?

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Len Backus, May 12, 2009.

  1. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

    May 2, 2001
    I just received a pair of the new Vortex Kaibab model 15x56 binoculars that I am evaluating for Vortex Optics. Wow, great quality. More on this unit later.

    Anyway, it got me to thinking about trying to go lighter this fall when hunting out west. Usually I carry 10x42 binocs plus 12-40 spotting scope plus tripod.

    The 15x56 binocs may be enough...leave the other stuff in the car.

    Anyone else do something like this?
  2. 7mmSendaro

    7mmSendaro Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2007

    When hunting in the Newcastle, WY area, I generally only carry a pair of 10x42 Leupold binocs for most hunting. The spotting scope stays in the truck unless I am going to a specific "long range" look out point. That being said, I generally have a 15 or 20 power scope on the rifle if I need to evaulate an animal at long range.


  3. Southpaw

    Southpaw Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2007
    One of my friends I hunt with has 15X Swaro SLC"S. For me I can't hold them still enough to use them effectively while standing. I don't have this problem with my 10X binos.

    One thing I have done with the 15X bino's is to sit and use my Stoney Point shooting stix between the lenses (both legs held together) and rest them on one hand and focus them with the other.

    As 7mmSendaro said you can always take a better look with your scope if you like what you see through your bino's.

    I have to say, lighter may not always be better, but it sure is nice.

  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    When I'm stand hunting I always carry a good set of binoculars and a spotting scope clamped
    to the blind in the general direction to be hunted.

    There is nothing better than a 30x to 40x spotting scope to score a deer/elks antlers on the
    hoof also it helps pull the game out of the brush when he won't expose himself.

    I personally don't like using my rifle scope to look/spot game because I have been on the
    receiving end of this and it does not feel very good to look up and someone is scoping you
    out with there rifle pointed directly at you.

    When looking at a large area I will use the binoculars to catch movement and then use the
    spotting scope for the last word.

    When doing a lot of walking I rely on a set of 10x40 zeiss to do the job.

    For short range (300 to 400yrds max) I use a set of 8x28 compacts that will fit in your shirt
    pocket . this is mainly turkey,hogs, and varmints.

    A lot of the hunting hear in texas has age, point and score requirements and in this environment
    nothing can beat a good spotting scope. Because ground counting will get you in trouble most
    of the time.

    So I use what ever is best for the type of hunting I am going to be doing, ( Weight is not an
    issue ) and carry all three with me and decide when I get to the hunting location what to carry.

    Just my way of hunting

  5. Southpaw

    Southpaw Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2007

    I agree with you on using your/my scope as a spotter. I tought hard about how I worded my post, saying only to do it after seeing something I like through the bino's. I have been shot at 3 times in my years of hunting. All 3 times I was in fairly open terrain and wearing Blaze Orange. Thankfully they were all near misses. This in large part is why I haven't hunted in my home state of California in about 25 years. I would never use my scope as my primary optics, nor will I hunt with anyone who does!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Only about 25% of my hunting is done from a stand, I agree with you that when hunting from a stand weight is not an object. I always have my options in the truck. Last year I bought a carbon fiber tripod with a quick change head so I can have my good camera and my spotter with me, I also made a rest for my tripod. I can switch from one to another in about 5 seconds.

    Safety First, Always

  6. Bud Martin

    Bud Martin Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    Len, we have never had much luck with the bino's that were over 10 power either and I can tell you for sure if you leave your spotting scope in the truck or camp you'll be kicking yourself for it.
  7. Seven Oaks

    Seven Oaks Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2009
    The less stuff I carry, the better off I am. Having said that, I just hunt Whitetails down south where the ranges don't get much over 400 yds.

    Had I been blessed enough to live out West where the view can be 3 times that, I don't see how you could get along without a spotting scope, especially with 43 yr. old eyes like mine.

    Besides the stories my Dad told me, I don't know squat about hunting out West, other than if I can't see it, I can't sneak up on it and shoot it.


    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  8. gamehauler

    gamehauler Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    I can tell you did allot of thinking on your wording
    And I believe you did a fine job:)
    A lot of variables to be considered about what to carry
    so I am having a very hard time making a reply to the topic.
    When I am going to be in a ground blind or tree stand for Archery
    I only carry my inexpensive Nikon 10X25's
    For ALL of my other hunting I have my Swaro 10X42's.
    If I am packing in some ways it depends on the terrain
    and which gun I will be carrying.
    I may only take my Swaro 15X56 if I don't expect to glass
    over a mile or so since I can get a good feel it it is worth
    checking out at a closer distance.
    If I need to cover a larger area the Swaro spotter is in the pack.
    We will not even go into tripods and doubler's in this forum.

    Now,:rolleyes: back to where I think Len was headed with this topic:)
    We do allot of team work hunting in AZ meaning MORE than one
    person spending allot of time behind GOOD glass.
    If I am not the shooter and do not have to pack the rifle
    I am fully stocked with all my optic since we never know.
    So yes I hunt only with my optics and enjoy it.
    I was hunting,,:) and my hunting may have harvested an animal.

    ?Would I only hunt with optics and not a gun?
    Not right now but as my body ages I may be limited to that.
    Anyway, if I can not pound the hills I pray I can help another hunter
    to harvest the trophy of his dreams:)
  9. 7mmSendaro

    7mmSendaro Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Let me confirm, I ONLY use the rifle scope on something that is confirmed to be an animal with the binocs. I never use it as a primary spotting tool. I do use the scope to confirm animal size once I am sure of what I am looking at using binocs.
  10. cross

    cross Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2007
    Yes. I carry my 15 x 58 Minox binos with me when I'm elk hunting and find that I use them more than my 10x42s or my spotting scope. However, I consider them a tripod mount optic. I find that they're fantastic for being able to glass right into the brush on the far side of canyons for hours where my 10s just don't give me enough magnification and my spotter makes my eyes go buggy after 20 or 30 minutes. I do find that more often than not, I'll spot something that requires further investigation and if I don't have my spotter, I either have to get closer or wait for a long time to ensure that what I'm seeing isn't worth watching. I often find myself carrying my 10x42s around my neck with my 15x58s AND my spotter in my pack. It's very heavy but when I do find a place to sit and glass it's a great combination.

  11. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    It completely depends on the terrain and which rifle I'm using. If it's wide open terrain and I'm using the 338AM, bino's alone just won't cut it. I use my Kowa ED with 20-60xED eyepiece along with my 10x40 Zeiss Bino's. If it's less open and I'm using my 7RM etc. Then I'll just use my Bino's.

    Last season, I carried the Swaro LRF, Zeiss 10x40, Kowa spotting scope, tripod, PDA with Exbal, 18lb 338 Allen Mag, lunch, water etc. Good thing we were staying within 4 miles of the ATV and only at 10,000ft altitude :rolleyes:! I only carried it all for around 30 miles during the Elk hunt!

  12. gebhardt02

    gebhardt02 Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2008
    Most of my hunting is with 10X binos only. The spotter will stay in the vehicle. The area typically dictates if you need a spotter though. If I'm in the hills, binos only. But if I will be in wide open spaces and can see quite a bit of distance, the spotter MAY come along. Generally though, 10X gives me enough info as to whether I want to get closer for a better peek. I don't mind the hike.
  13. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2002
    I use a pair of carl zeiss jenna 7x40 EDF's as a primary optic, do not carry a spotter.
    Here over 60% of the shooter bucks you spot are lost somewhere between the binocs, the rangefinder and the rifle. couldn't imagine adding another step in the process.
    My objective is get them in the riflescope as soon after locating them as possible, because more than likely your gonna get 1 chance to attempt the shot, if your on the spotter you won't be ready.
    A deer at 700-900 yards on the heavily timbered ridges can disapear much quicker than you think, I know this! so find a decnt racked buck with the bino's, make your decision as to whether you want him as your watching the wind and waiting for the shot window, at the first operatunity for a good safe shot........send it!
  14. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2008

    Ridge Runner has it right in my opinion if you are hunting bucks or bulls and just want a good head. I use a pair of 7X35 Leitz binos and have never had any trouble judging an animal even at distance as to whether he was good enough to take.

    On the other hand if you want a 350 bull and you are looking at what appears to be a 320 bull a good spotting scope is a must.

    I packed a spotting scope in the backpack for years and finally concluded the extra weight was not worth packing. Now it stays with the horse or on the quad.