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Spotting Scope

Old 08-08-2014, 10:07 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,186
Default Spotting Scope

I am posting this here because I suspect some of the avid western huters can give me some advice along this line. I have a chance now for some western hunting for years to come where spotting from a good distance is the norm .... mule deer, elk and pronghorn. I have good binos - Swarovski 8x40, but no spotting scope.

How necessary is a spotting scope? And any experience with spotting scopes within my $2,000 budget.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:21 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Colorado
Posts: 291

I've always found a Spotting Scope to be extra baggage. My binos have always been sufficient. JMO
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:40 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Allegan, MI
Posts: 8,019

A spotting scope isn't an absolute necessity, but they are nice if you spot an animal at a distance and want to take a good look at it without having to cover a lot of distance only to find that it isn't of the quality you're looking for. I sure wouldn't consider a spottign scope as excess baggage as the other member stated unless you're good with shooting any legal animal on your hunt. Antelope are one species that really takes a lot of looking through a spotting scope from different angles to tell a really good buck form an average or just above average one. There are many top notch ones that you could easily buy for $2K. I'm partial to the Leupold brand myself, but there are a number of top notch companies out there to take a look at.

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 08-08-2014 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:57 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,780

I mostly use a spotter during preseason scouting for deer and elk. It lets me peek into drainages without leaving boot prints and spooking game. While I am carrying a rifle I seldom carry a spotter.

Pronghorn hunting is a bit different. I use a spotter quite a bit during the hunt.

Whether you need one or not will depend upon the type of terrain you hunt and antler point restrictions for your unit. In areas with timber and small parks a spotter can be worse than useless. In open areas it would be nice to be able to determine if game is legal before you start on a leg burning hike.
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Old 08-09-2014, 04:47 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: WY
Posts: 2,056

A good pair of binos beats a spotting scope once hunting season starts. Chances are that if you need 30-plus-power to see something, you're probably not going to be able to put a successful stalk on it anyway.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:08 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 9,227

I usually carry a spotting scope and I use it on a window mount on my truck for glassing distant ridges and valleys. I don't take it with me when I'm on a stalk though. I carry a pair of Leica 10x42's or an ultra-lite pair of Nikon 10x25's when I'm actually hunting.

Spotting scopes are a handy tool but their bulk limits the way I can use them since I tend to hunt light and on foot.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:47 AM
Giant Nontypical
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,130

Spotting scopes are for "Judging" trophies..........60X is good.

Binos are for locating; 12X is what I use.

Most importantly; Get a lifetime warranty ($$$) !!!

Buy it once.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:13 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 612

I carry a spotter during the deer hunt and often find myself doing a quick glassing of a basin with the binoculars and then spending a couple of hours just using the spotting scope. It really shines on picking bucks out in the shadows. I have found tons of deer with a spotter that I wouldn't with the binoculars. My binocs are swarovskis as well, so quality isn't in question. It is the magnification in low light areas that pick up the single tine, an ear, or a front leg extended out...

For the elk hunt, I just use binoculars. I am only meat hunting elk and they are easier to pick out--even at a real distance--with binoculars. I always hunt any-elk areas, so antlers are irrelevant.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:01 PM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Beautiful Western Montana
Posts: 112

Originally Posted by longknife12
I've always found a Spotting Scope to be extra baggage. My binos have always been sufficient. JMO
I agree with LongKnife, access baggage. Most western hunting requires some pretty good hiking, I have spotting scope but almost never use it. I do put my swaros on a tripod during rifle season, and it has always been enough.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:19 AM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 550

Like flags, I'll usually have a spotting scope in my truck, especially when hunting pronghorns. I've never carried a spotting scope in the woods on elk hunts, and I don't remember carrying one on my sheep and goat hunts. Just too much extra weight, especially on solo backpack hunts.

My Nikon Travelite II 9x25 binocs however, have been with me on many elk hunts, to the tops of many sheep mountains, and on multiple international hunts.
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