Picture this scenario if you will: you’re out in the middle of the Appalachian forest, looking to shoot you a few ducks or perhaps some deer. You arrived incredibly early in the morning–say somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 A.M. You’ve found the perfect hiding spot, applied the proper camouflage to your appearance, covered your scent, and loaded your trusty Marlin full of .35 rounds. You’re all set. All that’s left for you now is to simply sit tight and wait for your first target to arrive.
The uneventful seconds tick on by. Soon, the minutes creep past you with no sign of any deer. As those long minutes begin to pile up, you find that your patience is beginning to wear thin. Where were all of the deer this morning? They’re normally active at this time of day! Before long, minutes have become hours. The morning becomes afternoon–possibly evening! Still no deer. Eventually, you give up the hunt and pack your equipment up for the disappointing drive home.
What happened? Did your doe musk cologne not work in attracting a young male? Was your camouflage not convincing enough? Did you accidently snag a twig without realizing it?
The answer in this scenario is actually none of the above.
You did everything correctly…for the most part.
You forgot one important tool: your spotting scope!
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. You were still in deer country, but you were a little too far away to actually see any of them! Luckily, you can easily remedy this mistake by going to your local Bass Pro Shop and pick a good spotting scope to get the right target. But what if you’ve never bought or used one before? Fear not, for I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about using a spotting scope!
What is a spotting scope?
First things first, it might help to know exactly what one of these handy devices are so that you’ll have an easy transition into learning how to use one. In basic terms, spotting scopes are small, portable telescopes. However, unlike full-size telescopes, spotting scopes have an added optics feature that is useful in presenting right-side up images. These devices are very high-powered, specifically made to observe sublunary objects on planet Earth as opposed to observing the many planets surrounding our own. Depending on your distance, you can also alter the magnification level of the scope to match whatever it is that you’re observing.
Basically, spotting scopes are the far superior version of binoculars!
How do I choose the proper spotting scope for hunting?
Picking the proper spotting scope can be tricky if you aren’t sure what to look for. Spotting scopes can be used for a number of different activities other than hunting. They can be used for birding, target shooting, sightseeing, and even people watching! Granted, you probably don’t want to use your spotting scope to spy on people; that’s just creepy. Please don’t do that.
Seeing as how we’re primarily focusing on hunting today, let’s look at the most frequent suggestion from experts discussing the criteria most important when seeking a perfect fit for your hunting experience: It is recommended that you use a compact scope. We’ve all been stuck having to lug around our heavy hunting equipment from our car to our designated hiding spots. It’s no fun–no fun at all. So a good call for hunting is bringing a hunting scope that is small and easy to carry around. The only downside to using smaller scopes is that you’d be more limited in how much you’re able to magnify the images. The magnification range you’re usually able to reach on a compact scope is within 15-45, which is honestly all you need. You typically do not need an intensely high level of magnification for hunting–not unless you’re trying to shoot a squirrel over five miles away from you!
It should be noted, however, that a compact scope is not necessary if you’re hunting from a truck. In fact, it’s recommended that you use a much larger, heavier scope in this scenario!
How do you use a spotting scope for hunting?
So now that you’ve picked your perfect spotting scope from the sporting goods store, you’re now ready to go hunting! The very first step to using a spotting scope is to bring a sturdy tripod with you. With that trusty Marlin cradled in your arms, you have to find something to attach your scope to so your hands don’t have to multi-task. A tripod plate will need to be added to the spotting scope so that it will properly attach to your stand, but this normally comes with your tripod whenever you first purchase it.
Once your scope is attached to the tripod, the next step is to remove the lens and eyepiece covers. Be warned that, like binoculars and full-size telescopes, you’ll need to adjust the eyecup accordingly if you wear glasses or any other type of eyewear. As soon as everything is properly adjusted, start the magnification level at the lowest setting. High levels of magnification can hurt your eyes if you look at it unprepared, so ease yourself into it gradually. As you focus on your surrounding through the lens, feel free to adjust the magnification level to whatever setting suits your best and tighten the tripod so the scope stays in place.
I recommend you to read the expert guide from Scopesman.com if you still need more information.
And there you have it, you’re now a certified spotting scope expert! Enjoy your newfound knowledge and happy hunting!