What power bios for elk hunting

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by valleysnyper, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. valleysnyper

    valleysnyper Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2015
    Ok so my 3 boys and I are going on an elk hunt next Oct in Colorado, the question is bios or spotting scope ? Also what power ? We are from Wisconsin and new to Elk hunting. Thanks for any help...Gary
  2. dok7mm

    dok7mm Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2015
    Really depends on type of country your hunt takes place in. I used to lug a spotting scope around, but I found a quality set of 10x42 binoculars did just as well for the areas I hunted. A spotting scope gives better detail for judging distant animals. If you go that route, make sure your sons pack it around for you.
  3. predator 22

    predator 22 Well-Known Member

    Apr 2, 2014
    I will second what dok said. A good pair of 10x binos is all you really need imo. I carry a set of Stiner predator 10x42 and love them.
    dfanonymous likes this.
  4. fmajor

    fmajor Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    I have an old Pentax 8x42 bino that i really, really like and can see very well with it. However, the extra pull of a 10x42 could be really helpful as you scour the small glades and tree-lines.

    Binos with larger than 42mm objective lenses are noticeably heavier than the 42mm variants with negligible improvement and are much more difficult to keep steady (and lug around the mountains all day). The compact binos are a significant compromise, but better than nothing at all.

    With optics you really do get what you pay for.

    The less-expensive, no-name binos do very well in the store when there is perfect lighting, but in the early dawn/late afternoon light or bad weather their lower-quality glass/optics coatings and construction reveal themselves.

    It can be frustrating if you don't have an unlimited optics budget, but some bargains can be found - just shop the sales! I'd look long and hard at the Zeiss Terra line (i may pick up the Terra 8x42 as for my vehicle).

    If the sky's the limit, the Meopta MeoPro HD, Swarovski SLC, Steiner HX, Zeiss Victory, et al will offer the very best viewing.
  5. aspenbugle

    aspenbugle Well-Known Member

    Sep 23, 2006
    I agree with most of the other comments - good stuff.

    First, there is no choice between binos OR spotting scope. The choice is whether to take a spotting scope with your binos. If you aren't taking binos, you may as well stay home in my opinion - small exaggeration but not much. Unless you are bow hunting (and they're still useful then), your binos are probably your most important part of your gear. Spotting scope is never a replacement for binos. Trying to scan a large ridge 500-1000 yards away with a spotting scope it like hunting with one eye and then covering half of that eye - the field of view and work required to continually scan the ridge for a few hours would be nearly impossible with a spotting scope.

    In Colorado, you typically need a bull to have 4 points on one side or a good brow tine. The spotting scope is great for that. You've located some elk and want to see if a bull is legal. It could also be good for looking for hard to see elk, bedded down on in a specific spot, on a distance ridge. They are good to have and useful depending on where you are hunting...but they are never a replacement for a good set of binos. They are really for two different purposes a lot of time.

    As others have said, just get good stuff if you can. Way better to use a stock, factory gun, and good optics than a fancy custom gun on cheap optics. The cheap stuff won't work well at all in low light, and even in bright daylight it will fatigue your eyes like crazy. 15 minutes with cheap glass will have your eyes burning more than an hour staring through good stuff. If you don't plan to glass a lot, not a big problem, but usually a good amount of glassing is key. 8x or 10x is good, again depending on how far away you are looking, pros and cons to each. Even in the timber, it's good to have a small, lightweight set to scan the timber ahead since the whole game there is who detects who first, and it is amazing how much more depth you can see with binos.
  6. RevJim

    RevJim Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2014
    If horseback, anything over 8x is very hard "for me" to keep still. In fact, I was given a Swarovski 8x42 years ago and it has so much resolution that it is amazing. If you just want to "look around", are rough on your equipment ,etc, go mid-range pricewise. I've used a lot of Leupold/Nikon $300 average with great results too. If you want a pair to last a lifetime+ spend big money! Your eyes will thank you, ha.
  7. dirtball

    dirtball Well-Known Member

    Jan 18, 2007
    I spent years buying second rate bino's, what a waste of time and money. Break down and buy a quality pair of binoculars, Leica, Swarovski or better, they will last you the rest of your life, if you don't run over them or loose them. I settled on 7X because of the resolution and light gathering qualities. I can still count points at 500 yards, but the biggest advantage is during low light conditions morning and evening when it gets to the time you can't quite see what is across that park, you pull those bino's up and it is like someone turned on the lights.
    The higher the magnification the less light they bring in.

  8. dfanonymous

    dfanonymous Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2016
    I second this. No less than 8 and 10x is really good all around magnification. It doesnt have to be steiner per say, but something of the quality really does help.
    A tripod really helps with scanning an area. Then a good spotter, can help get the details down of what you are looking at, especially at longer distances.
    Reynolds02 likes this.
  9. 86alaskan

    86alaskan Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2014
    I'd put the top end at 10X and probably wouldn't go lower than a good 8x. no real need for the larger objectives as they just add weight. When I needed new glass, i shopped a lot and picked up a pair of Zeiss conquest 10x off #bay for a great deal. Remember, those top end binos all have a lifetime warranty and are a notch above even if they're used and couple years old.
  10. BigGrizz

    BigGrizz Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2014
    I used 8x42 for a long time, and they worked well. I gave them to a younger guy, though, and now I am looking at the 11x45 Mavens. My best pal uses 10x42 Leica's and loves them. Great glass.
  11. cinch

    cinch Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    10x42 is my favorite all around binocular...
  12. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2007
    Generally I prefer 8x but the glass has to be good. Good glass makes up for the less magnification and the lower power glasses are lighter and gather light better.

    I agree that the spotter is an additional tool. I carry the spotter if I am trophy hunting or if I will be doing a lot of intense glassing.

    oldfortyfiveauto likes this.
  13. Plinker147

    Plinker147 Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2015
    10x42 will work just fine for elk hunting. Get as high quality bino's as you can afford, quality glass makes a world of difference.

    Spotting scope is a great tool to have but not as needed as quality binos.

    Spend money on high end binos and you will never regret it.
  14. Rich Coyle

    Rich Coyle Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2013
    I have compared a lot of optics. Positively I can tell you switching from a 7X to a 10X optics of equal quality definitely lengths the time you can see things. It's just the same as if you walk closer to something in low light; you can see it better. With that said, I use 7X binoculars. If I see something I can put the scope on it to check it out better; whether good light or low light.

    Test it yourself. Using your scope on a low setting find something in it after the sun goes down. When you can no longer distinguish it turn up the magnification. All of a sudden you can see it again. I remember a guy hunting Africa. He had a 1-6X scope set on 1X. The guide told him to, "Shoot!" He said, "I don't see it!" The guide ordered him, "Turn up your scope and shoot!" He did and got it.