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  1. #1
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    Becoming a Better Hunter Part 1: Spotting Scope or No Spotting Scope

    Last year was my first as a CO resident, and my first Mule deer hunt. It was a great experience...a learning experience to say the least. From navigating the draw (and left-over draw), to getting the right gear, to scouting, and ultimately the hunt, I learned a lot. Members on this site were extremely helpful, especially those willing to shoot over PMs. Needless to say, I've got the itch, and I can't think of anything other than this fall's hunt.

    Based on my trials and errors, I thought I'd generate some threads based on generic topics. I've read the books, I've hit the trails, but I figured the hunting community could probably provide more applicable info, specific to Mulie's in Colorado. My thoughts cover everything from gear, to habitat, to strategy, and I'm hoping some veterans can help impart some wisdom on a green-horn.

    First topic: Spotting Scope or No Spotting Scope.

    Prior to heading out last fall, I read some articles about not needing a spotting scope. The idea was in the proper habitat, you could see a deer with the naked eye, more so with binos, and the weight of a spotting scope was unnecessary. Needless to say I set out on the trial with only binos. As I navigated aspens among heavy timber in a steep valley in GMU 28, all of the deer I saw were within 500 yards. Several under 200 yards (does unfortunately). I still wonder how many I may have missed by not being able to see the long distances.

    So what percent of you out there swear by the spotting scope vs taking just binos? Do you change you vary your actions based on the terrain (ie high country bowls, verse lower altitude valleys)? Do you find spotting scope more useful in specific parts of the state (ie the flatter western and southwestern parts of the state vs the higher altitude steep terrain of the central mountains)? Do you find spotting scope to be less useful near heavily wooded pine forests vs sage and scrub oaks?

    Your experiences and personal preferences are welcomed, and I thank everyone in advance.

  2. #2
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    I would never consider leaving home without my spotting scope! I hunted for years without one and I really wish I had got one sooner. Still hunting it may not be very useful but I prefer spot and stalk hunting and it is my most important pieces of gear, right next to my binos!

  3. #3
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    My experience is that a spotter or some 15Xs is a must have while deer hunting above the timber. One would be at a serious disadvantage without

  4. #4
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    Advantages of a spotter.

    1. Spot from a distance so you don't spook your prey...if you have to walk within 500 yards of your prey then chances are you will spook many animals before you get to see them and that is if you get to see them at all.

    2. Judge from a distance so you don't have to walk miles only to decide the animal isn't what you are looking for...many of us only have a week or two to hunt and wasting an entire day closing the distance on a sub par animal can be a big waste of time and energy

    3. Cover miles of land with your eyes in a fraction of the time it would take to walk that very same land...A spotter may add weight to your bag, but the amount of energy saved by spotting rather than walking will be well worth the weight added to your pack. There are many different spotters that are extremely small and lightweight. Even some of the full size spotters would be useful as you will be able to see even further thus saving even more walking.

    I would be willing to bet that the majority of the people who are regularly successful trophy hunters carry spotters and use them on a regular basis. Still, anyone can land a trophy by still hunting timber, road hunting, or just getting lucky by being at the right place at the right time. In my opinion, a good quality spotter is the most important piece of gear I carry and after that it is my binos. I would probably feel somewhat helpless without my all my optics while hunting open country.

  5. #5
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    I always carry a spotter. Always.

  6. #6
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    It depends on the terrain I am hunting. When I am elk hunting you can't see more than 200yds so I don't pack one then. But when I am hunting terrain conducive to a spotter it is always with me.
    Shoot STR8

  7. #7
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    *** Insert redundant comment regarding the importance of a spotter***

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitterroot Bulls View Post
    I always carry a spotter. Always.
    +1

    Been a lot of times where I've been able to pick up bedded deer with a spotter that I couldn't make out with binocs. Sometimes the difference in finding that quality animal is noticing an antler tip or that white face looking at you through cover.

  9. #9
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    I think for trophy hunting, the spotter is a must. If you are not concerned with the trophy potential of the animals, then it becomes less important. Binoculars can tell you a deer from an elk at a mile but they can't tell you a basket rack from a booner at a mile- most of the time. I think it really depends on the terrain you hunt and what your goals are. Many areas I hunt don't have good vantage points where it is even possible to spot at long distances so a good pair of binoculars is all I need. If your hunting open enough areas, they are an advantage- no question.

    Another thing to consider- Some people are not patient enough to utilize a spotting scope correctly. I have a couple of friends that just simply can't sit and glass for long periods of time. A spotting scope is just extra pack weight if your not going to really use it.

  10. #10
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    I don't think I have ever been on a hunt without a spotting scope, even in thick blacktail country. If you have any glassing opportunities over 200 yards a spotting scope is going to be to your advantage.
    Grand Slam #1005 + 2: Dall (1986 Yukon), Fannin/Stone (1987 Yukon), Bighorn (1988 Colorado Unit S-26), Stone (1995 British Columbia), Desert (2001 Nevada Unit 161), Bighorn (2009 Wyoming Unit 5)

 

 

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