Binos or Spotting Scope?

eltaco

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May 18, 2013
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Alright, finally sold my spotting scope so looking to upgrade my optics, stat! Only problem is... not sure which direction to go!

I'm looking at either a pair of Razor HD 10x42 binos or a Viper HD 20-60x80mm spotting scope. I don't think I can swing the Razor scope this year, even though I've had the opportunity to look through it and enjoyed it IMMENSELY!

Up until this season, I would have gone binos, no question, as my general elk unit doesn't have much for open terrain. Now that I'm in UT, I can see for miles in this high desert mule deer country. The draw tag that I pulled for CO elk this season is a lot more open, too.

I've read a number of people say "if you can't find them with the binos, the spotter is useless ", but I've also had thr experience of finding deer with binos (low quality) that I can't determine what they are without pulling out the spotting scope.

Since open country is the world I live in now, I'm having a hard time deciding which is most useful. I'm going to do a backpacking trip this year, but now that I've seen what the 80-85mm Scopes can do, I'm hesitant to go any smaller... man, they're sweet!

This has been a drawn out process for me, so thanks for dealing with me (Paul) :) that said, its a huge purchase and I unfortunately can't afford both at this time. Any insight is appreciated!
 

Solitude

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Agree with Muleman 200%.

Consider borrowing a scope from a friend, or perhaps renting a scope if you really need one for your trip.
 

Sunspot

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Don't put the cart before the horse...binos! Keep a vigilant eye out in the classified on multiple sites for a smokin' deal on a high-end pair. Be patient.
 
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eltaco

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Sounds like a pretty solid consensus! Its tough because I haven't see either option in person... so I can't quantify what I'm gaining by upgrading the binos,.but I can easily quantify what I can see at 45x zoom compared to my 10x42 binos.

I have the ability to see for miles in this country, so my mind immediately went to spotting scope first and foremost.
 

Weston

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No question about it, binos. I hunt behind glass almost exclusively, its not uncommon for me to stay in one or two spots from sun up to sundown and glass the vast Arizona mountains. All through school I got away with 10x zeiss classic's and a cheap vortex nomad scope, I rarely would glass with the scope and typically just use it to score coues antlers..... That said, this year I upgraded to the 12x50 Swaro El's and I don't think I'll bring a scope on most of my backpacking hunts. I love using a big spotter when I'm close to the truck, however I have a hard time packing the extra weight in for about 80% of my hunts, I also am a firm believer of only one scope per group of hunters, and since I usually hunt with a buddy I usually leave the scope and just glass with my binos and make him pack the scope. That said, if you dont have a tripod with your bino's that is probably more important than super high quality glass...
 
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eltaco

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I have a Slik Sprint Mini II tripod that would probably be great for binos, figured I'd have to upgrade it if I went to a new spotter though. I don't have an attachment for mounting binos, so I'd have to find one to go that route.
 

Weston

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If you go vortex the Jim white Unidaptor works fine and is inexpensive, the vortex one is fine too, I use an outdoorsmans and I love it, expect it is expensive. The mini is a decent tripod, I carry a slik 330dx. I try to cut weight in everything, but my optics and tripod do not get any weight cut.
 

greyghostnw

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washington
i bring both. i dont care about the weight. outdoorsman set up is what i have for my spotter and binos. the bino adapter is awesome. so far really like the tri pod, medium. when i just had binos i always wished i had a spotter and vise versa, therefor both come with me for higher alpine conditions where you can see endless terrain. i only use binos down lower even then rarely do they get used its so thick in my local spots.
 

rjs34

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Eastern Oregon
X10 for binos. I use the 15x on tripod 3 or 4 times more than SS. Sometimes I don't even take the SS. I also use a pair of 10x on my chest that I use pretty regularly while hiking/hunting but for plain glassing a big pair of binoculars on a tripod can't be beat in my opinion.
 
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eltaco

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How far are you guys able to view in your hunting areas? I can glass a few miles in areas that I hunt. Being able to cover a lot of ground with my glass is important to me. Where I go elk hunting in CO, I don't get that kind of view so binos are significantly more important.

I would think that with a great set of binos, I won't be able to see much further than now, and this is my stumbling block when considering which to purchase right now.
 

justin davis

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I use my binos far more than a spotter! Binos are key. Have good binos is more important than a spotter. With that said having both is nice. Some of my hunts are in timber and not much glassing is done. No spotter needed for those hunts.
 

ScottR_EHJ

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I have both at all times, however, the binos see more use. The spotter gets set up quick, then stands ready for when i find the bull or buck i want to get a closer look at.
 

muleman

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How far are you guys able to view in your hunting areas? I can glass a few miles in areas that I hunt. Being able to cover a lot of ground with my glass is important to me. Where I go elk hunting in CO, I don't get that kind of view so binos are significantly more important.

I would think that with a great set of binos, I won't be able to see much further than now, and this is my stumbling block when considering which to purchase right now.

I carry both binos and a large spotter always. Binos are constantly in use, spotter gets used only after scanning with binos. I have spotted big muleys miles away on the move on several occasions. I have only been successful in intercepting them once. Bedded animals are a different story, with higher success.

I often glass huge bowls. First I systematically scan with binos. If I find something that needs to be investigated further then the spotter is used. After the area is covered with binos then I systematically use the spotter to pick a part the whole area again with the spotter.

In your OP I understood you could only afford one option for this year. If that is the case binos are still the first choice. If you are happy with your binos then by all means add a quality spotter. In my experience a good tripod and head are critical components when using the high magnification of a spotter. A good head will also hold your position allowing you to pick up where you left off after a break from behind the spotter.

Following a system for spotting is very important. David Long has a good system described in his books and other writings. Most importantly is glass closest to furthest so you don't miss that huge animal frozen within range.
 
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mtnwrunner

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Since you are looking at the razors, my vote is for the 12 x 50's. Amazing glass and you can actually hold the 12's pretty steady freehand. And 28 ounces. I hardly ever carry a spotter anymore.

Randy
 

Hardstalk

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I carry both binos and a large spotter always. Binos are constantly in use, spotter gets used only after scanning with binos. I have spotted big muleys miles away on the move on several occasions. I have only been successful in intercepting them once. Bedded animals area a different story, with higher success.

I often glass huge bowls. First I systematically scan with binos. If I find something that needs to be investigated further then the spotter is used. After the area is covered with binos then I systematically use the spotter to pick a part the whole area again with the spotter.

In your OP I understood you could only afford one option for this year. If that is the case binos are still the first choice. If you are happy with your binos then by all means add a quality spotter. In my experience a good tripod and head are critical components when using the high magnification of a spotter. A good head will also hold your position allowing you to pick up where you left off after a break from behind the spotter.

Following a system for spotting is very important. David Long has a good system described in his books and other writtings. Most importantly is glass closest to furthest so you don't miss that huge animal frozen within range.

This is dead on in my opinion. And with your predicament I always say go with the foundation first. You will utilize the binos alot more than a spotter having both is the ultimate package but binos first. And binos on a tripod second. Then the spotter.
 

fatrascal

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I can't imagine going without either one. They are both a very important tool. But if I could only choose one then I would go with a pair of bino's and definitely put them on a tripod. fatrascal.
 

Sunspot

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This is dead on in my opinion. And with your predicament I always say go with the foundation first. You will utilize the binos alot more than a spotter having both is the ultimate package but binos first. And binos on a tripod second. Then the spotter.

Ditto!

You might not be able to "score" at a long distance but the binos are so much more. As an example, a nice 10x bino is priceless when down on your knees and scanning under cover.
 
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eltaco

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I was trying to figure out why this was so heavily swayed to binos... then I realized that I never stated I already have a pair. I was looking at the option of upgrading them or buying a new spotting scope, and elected to get a spotting scope on order and update the binos next. This will give me the opportunity to scout/hunt with Binos and spotting scope this year which seems mandatory in this wide open country.
 
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