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Hunting Spotting Scopes

General features of spotting scopes suitable for hunting

Hunting represents an activity involving seeking, pursuing and harvesting of wild animals in the nature. Many hunters use spotting scope as an extra help for observing the animals. Since weight is a big factor, hunters generally prefer middle size and light weighted spotting scopes. This is when hunting spotting scopes come into play.

Hunting spotting scopes represent a group of spotting scopes that are mostly small and light. For that reason, their objective lenses have generally a diameter from 50mm up to 70mm. As it goes for magnification range, the minimal magnification is between 10x20x and maximal is between 35x50x.

While we usually talk about spotting scopes with a fix construction, we can also find expandable spotting scopes in this category. Expandable spotting scopes are rare types of spotting scopes, where the body of the scope can be folded and easily stored into backpack. For that reason they are very popular among hunters. Regardless of the fact that they are handy and simple to use, hunters are the only users of these types of spotting scopes.


Spotting scopes vs binoculars for hunting

Although hunting spotting scopes are relatively important part of hunting gear, they are not as indispensable as binoculars. The most important accessory of hunting are binoculars. In order to spot an animal or a herd, hunters use binoculars. Only after locating the wanted object with binoculars, spotting scope comes to turn. This means hunter can use binoculars only, or in combination with a spotting scope (for better optical observation). However it does not go the other way around, since it is meaningless to use spotting scope without binoculars.

  • Comparing binoculars to spotting scopes, spotting scopes offer better observation of details as well as better possibility to evaluate animals at long range. This means they can evaluate age or the gender of the animal, as well as which animal has cubs or even spot possible trophy.
  • Binoculars on the other hand are more comfortable to use, especially since they are easy to carry around, better for panning of surrounding and mostly used handheld. They are also easier to use for those who wear glasses and perform well while used for longer period of time.
  • The last advantage of binoculars is glassing (the act of searching for animal from vantage point or position), which can be performed only with binoculars.

Although the use of spotting scope is optional, it is highly recommended while hunting.

Spotting scopes vs binoculars

Spotting scope vs binoculars

Spotting scopes for hunting in flat lands

Even though all hunting spotting scopes have similar size, weight, magnification and objective lens characteristics, it is very important to consider the landscape of use. When hunting in the flat lands and on the field, straight spotting scopes are the best choice. Since it is relatively easy to find an animal in the field of view with a straight spotting scope, hunters often use it in the car. Using spotting scope in a car get even easier, if mounts are installed to the window of a car. Another example of use are raised hides. In this case the hunter does not need the mounting, he can observe animals simply by leaning on the edge of the raised hide. 

Straight Spotting Scope

Straight spotting scope 

Spotting scopes for hunting in the mountains

Hunting in the mountains is a different story. In the mountains, hunter finds an animal on a mountain slope and then stalk it up the hill. That is when angled spotting scope comes into play. Difference between straight and angled spotting scope is, that angled spotting scope have angled eyepiece. The most popular spotting scopes have a 45° angled eyepieces and some provide a 90° angle.

The advantage of the angled spotting scope is that the user does not need to overstretch his neck while using it. The biggest advantage of using angled spotting scopes is, that they can be used without a tripod. Hunter simply puts the scope on the top of a shoulder bag. The same goes for stalking the animal downhill. It is easier to use and carry spotting scope without the tripod; the hunter leans on a backpack and use it as a tripod.

Angled Spotting Scope

Angled Spotting Scope

Expandable spotting scopes for hunting

The last important thing when talking about hunting spotting scopes are expandable spotting scopes. As mentioned before, expandable spotting scopes are rare types of spotting scopes, where the body of the scope can be folded. They are used only by hunters and pirates. :) 

  • Their biggest advantage is low weight and the fact that they are very compact.
  • They are among the lightest comparing to other spotting scopes.
  • Since they are so small and light, hunters can easily carry them in a backpack.

Even though they are pretty similar to straight spotting scopes (according to the shape), they are still very popular among hunters in the mountains. The reason for that is tradition. Especially in the Alps, people like to use expandable spotting scopes for hunting. Swarovski for example has kept the production of Swarovski CTS for the last 30 years.

Their biggest downside is lack of waterproofness. The bad news is that the moisture penetrates into the spotting scope faster than it does with the other spotting scopes, but the good news is, it can be dried up and ready to use again. 



short presentation of Hunting Spotting Sopes is available here.

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