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Do I really need binos?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by waffentomas, Jul 17, 2009.

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  1. waffentomas

    waffentomas Member

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    Binos, binos everywhere. Geez! Seems everytime I pick up a hunting magazine they are extolling the virtues of high quality optics. The most recent F&S suggested not spending less than $400 on a pair. These rags make it sound like the panacea of hunting, like I HAVE to have a great pair of binos or I'm just not measuring up yet as a hunter. Still, I've harvested the last 4 years without using any. Marketing ploy?

    So here's the background. I hunt elk, deer and bear. The longest shot I've ever taken on any of them has been about 90 yards. Here in western Washington, the woods I hunt are so thick I honestly don't know what advantage binos could give me-dense rainforests. Where I hunt elk in Idaho, the woods are not quite as thick as here, but they are still fairly dense. In the 7 years I've gone, the longest shot, which happened once, was estimated at 150 yards, from another member of the brood.

    You elk hunters know that they are hot animals, and during hunting season like hanging out in thick, cool, gnarly holes, that are so filled with 'stuff' that it's darn near impossible to approach them without sounding like the 1st Marine Division coming through the woods. Nobody in our hunting party uses binos, there just doesn't seem to be a need.

    So, you killers out there, will adding a pair help me with my hunting in any way? Why will adding a pair of 8x42s be better than scoping with my very expensive Nikon scope, which goes to 10 power? I have a pair of Bausch and Lomb binos, 12x25, very small, very light, that I almost never use on hunts. They were $125 when I bought them 12 years ago. Do I need to replace them? How would I use a pair of $500 binos in these thick forests, and what advantage would they give me? Can anyone front me $1500 for some Leicas?

    Thanks

    Tom
     
  2. GodGuns&Guitars

    GodGuns&Guitars Member

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    I use them even in dense cover. Sometimes what you think might be a twig, could actually be that antler sticking up.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The main thing is, when you are scoping with your rifle scope, you are pointing your rifle right at the hunter across the clearing in the dark shadows you thought might be an elk!

    Very Bad safety practice to scope game with a hunting rifle.

    You will also find you can do a lot of looking with both eyes open holding up a light pair of binoculars. Squinting through a scope for a long period makes your eyes hurt.

    And you can wear yourself plumb out holding a rifle up for 30 minutes to an 4 hours watching the shadows for game to appear.

    rc
     
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    ...and a misdemeanor in Idaho, if you actually do point it at another hunter.

    However, that doesn't sound like what the OP is saying. What he's saying is that, due to the hunting he does and where he does it, he sees what he can with his eyes.

    Nothing wrong with that. Your eyes have a much wider FOV than binocs. Sometimes FOV matters a lot more than magnification.

    As long as you don't point a rifle at anything you can't clearly identify, there's nothing saying you must use binocs.
     
  5. Tully M. Pick

    Tully M. Pick Member

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    If you're identifying your target with your eyeballs, nothing. If you're scoping your target for identification purposes, you're doing it wrong.
     
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    And you might get shot, or arrested.:)
     
  7. .333 Nitro Express

    .333 Nitro Express Member

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    No, you don't, and you sound like you know it already.

    Go out and hunt without them. You'll live richer and lighter. And you'll never know how many heads of game have slipped past you.

    And you also seem to already know that the only realistic choice in the market is between super-cheap binoculars and super-expensive ones. So I think you're definitely doing the smart thing using your riflescope as your primary sporting optic.
     
  8. waffentomas

    waffentomas Member

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    Wow guys, do you always assume the worst? Give me a little credit...I'm really not scanning the forest with a loaded rifle looking for game.

    I use my eyes, and am very often moving. We don't sit around waiting for game to pop out from the brush. The areas I hunt I move slowly and as quietly as possible. Sorry I didn't specify this earlier. It's sort of a fast 'still hunt' if there is such a thing. We all do it the same, and we all seem to have success this way. I have yet to sit for longer than 20 or 30 minutes unless I'm resting.

    Given the above, it's difficult pulling out binos every 5 minutes while walking to scan the forest. I hunt, elk in particular, more with my ears, than my eyes. Deer and bears are in forest so thick I don't have clear shots much past 30 or 40 yards.

    Constructive comments appreciated.

    Tom
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, all I can say is, I have a very small & light pair of Pentex 8-x25's for walking / stalking, and a larger pair of Leupold 10x40's for long range scouting.

    I consider them both as necessay as camo clothes for coyote hunting.

    rc
     
  10. .333 Nitro Express

    .333 Nitro Express Member

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    Ah, and I thought I'd been too subtle in my veiled sarcasm... <grin>

    Well, Thomas, if you think that in your particular kind of hunt binoculars are either an impediment or unnecessary--and if this type of hunting has produced good results so far, you may be fine without them.

    I once hunted Moose in Finland with dogs (Karelian Hounds, mangy ol' things but a hoot to hunt with), and I didn't pull out my binoculars a single time in several days. Sure, I wasn't trophy hunting, so even judging horns wasn't an issue. Not the same hunt as you, but comparable in rhythm and environment.

    I guess I just subscribe to the "why not?" camp, though. No matter what kind of hunting you do, an instrument that helps you see better and for a longer time between dusk and dawn has all benefits and no drawbacks that I can think of.

    And you don't need to spend that much either. Today, $100 buys you a lot of glass. Then, if it stays in the pocket or breadbag, OK, but once you start using it so many more things will reveal themselves to you to add another "dimension" to your hunting excursions.

    And there's another consideration, although it may not apply in your case. To me, there is a list of "necessaria" for any less-than-totally-casual outdoor activity--like mountaineering, hiking, fishing, hunting, etc. A pair of binoculars is definitely part of the top-10 list for hunting. Having to borrow a pair from a companion in case of need would make me feel unprofessional and unprepared.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  11. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    Godguns&guitars,
    If you need to use binocs to see that it is an antler, what type of shot are you being presented?
     
  12. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    They are part of my "equipement." Plus, I get to see other stuff, up close an personal. Different strokes for different folks..............
     
  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Well, magazines make money by selling advertisements so they are never going to write an article that’s bad for business. On the other hand when I carry along pair I tend to see more game than without. There is decent glass out there without breaking the bank but there is a lot of cheap stuff that would be worse than not having anything at all.
     
  14. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    You can get high quality compact binos for well under $200 new. If you look on Ebay, you can even do a lot better. Small, compact and they don't weigh much.
     
  15. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    Binoculars aren't just good for spotting game, I use them a lot for routefinding too.
     
  16. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    May I answer for him?

    Once you see it is an antler you can wait for a clear shot, or change location setting yourself up for a clear shot......At least that is what I would do.

    The idea is identafaction, good optics DO help with that.
     
  17. Todd1700

    Todd1700 Member

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    First let me say that I also condemn the practice of glassing with a scope. That said however.

    I have binoculars and carry them with me sometimes while hunting. Due to the relative short ranges I can see in the thick woods here in Alabama sometimes they are practical and sometimes they are useless as teats on a boar hog. Also at such short ranges I cannot for the life of me understand what a 1000 dollar pair of binoculars could do for me that a 100 dollar pair cannot. Yet some people even here are just convinced that if you aren't packing a 1200 dollar pair of Swarovski's then you are an uninformed idiot. I chalk them up to being brainwashed by one too many hunting show advertisements. Maybe out west in big sky country binoculars are always essential and the more expensive the better. But people need to keep in mind that not everyone's hunting situation is the same as their own.
     
  18. moooose102

    moooose102 Member

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    YES you really do need them. 1st is the safety aspect. but what you may not know is they WILL help you see more game even at closer ranges. they have a way of cutting through the brush, so you can identify that image that you are not sure what it is. plus, they allow you to see animals you never could with just your eyes. they do not have to be $5,000 dollar swvorskys (I know that is mis-spelled), even a set of $40.00 bushnells will help. i prefer the small compact rubber coated ones. they get in the way less, and are quiet if it bangs against your rifle.
     
  19. Leaky Waders

    Leaky Waders Member

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    Content listed as posted by me may have been edite
    "Also at such short ranges I cannot for the life of me understand what a 1000 dollar pair of binoculars could do for me that a 100 dollar pair cannot."

    If you look through both pair in the conditions that make yours more 'useless than teats on a boar hog' you'll quickly see the difference.

    I use my binos for mostly for bird watching, but use them for hunting too.
    For birding, you need to ID the color of the iris, or some other small detail on the bird, oftentimes in low light conditions.

    Want to know which duck has the band on it? Which deer is the 8 point and which is the six? The hull number to the jerk who's run through your decoys? You're not going to do that with a 40 dollar walmart set.

    But if you're satisfied to ID the game, then that's where the Walmart binos shine, they're cheap so no big loss if something wicked bad happens to them. And, with decent lighting you should be able to tell animal from vegetable ;)

    As for the OP, if you do get a set of binos then make sure they are user friendly...in other words, make sure that they aren't so big and heavy that you would never carry them, they have a wide field of view...people new to binos like 7-8 power because it's easier to spot what you're looking for.

    betterviewdesired and fatbirder usually have bino reviews and links (off the top of my head). A while back we were talking about binos on this message board and I posted a link of a cornell review (I think it was cornell) about different kinds of glass.

    Anyways, my bandwidth is really limited here...i hope this freaking goes through when I mash enter.

    Later,

    LW
     
  20. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    Yes on Binoculars. If you don't have them there will be something you want to look at with your rifle scope and some things you cannot look at.
    More then once I caught a hunter looking at me through his rifle sight, no doubt a round in the chamber. Not a good feeling.
    I was at a hunters safety meeting this subject came up and I asked the game warden sorta tounge in cheek, "if you see a hunter looking at you through his rifle scope can you shoot him?" He replied "only if you see smoke first" :D
     
  21. bejay

    bejay Member

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    never had much use for binoculars I own some but dont usually take them think they would be valuable at longer ranges but in brush and short distances magnification doesnt really help.
     
  22. GodGuns&Guitars

    GodGuns&Guitars Member

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    I don't shoot at antlers. I've seen what I though were twigs that turned out to be antlers. I also don't try to punch a bullet through heavy cover nor do I use a scoped rifle to glass with. Fact is, I've rarely used a rifle to hunt with. Not that I can't and not that I don't know how to, but except for elk hunting, I use a pistol. Have now for over thirty years.
     
  23. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    IT does not matter if you still or stand hunt you do need a good not expensive set of 8x32 for most glass'n but i have used a set of 10x40 Simmons for 16 years, I watch deer in the trees at real close range and at 1000 yards wish'n they would walk closer. With out them i would miss half of what i see. I wear the binos in one of those chest suspenders and carry my rifle on a Safari Sling, Look them up and get one. I never pickup my rifle till i'm ready to shot a deer. Your gun just lays across your chest in about any position you set it at and its always ready to shoot. If you have not tried a good pair of binos in 7 years to figure out if you want some or not come'n here to ask is just dumb. I know no hunter that does not own atleast one got set. Get a set off a buddy and go set in the woods ,about time to get early patterns together anyhow.
     
  24. IdahoLT1

    IdahoLT1 Member

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    Personally, IMO, binoculars are like hand tools. Im not a mechanic, so i dont need SNAP-ON brand. Im fine with craftsmen. Im also not a guide and me living doesnt depend on the game i bring home, so i dont need to spend $1000 on bino's. A couple hundred should get most any hunter what he needs, although it might not be what he wants. Monoculars are nice on saving weight and will be a bit cheaper since there isnt as much labor and materials in the product.

    There are some people who think they need every gadget and gizmo to hunt or it always has to name brand. Its a big hobby for some and they are avid enthusiasts, so they spend alot of money on their toys. Its just different strokes for different folks i guess.
     
  25. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I'd say if you are being successful maybe you don't need them, but I can tell you they do help, even in thick cover. And you don't need a $400 pair, nikons or bushnells would be fine, especially for close range stuff. I'd get a 10x at least though, you may need the extra power in the future.
     
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