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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What bino magnification do you all prefer for mountain hunting? Just about every article I'm reading online says 10x is the minimum. As many of you know, I'm planning a mule deer bow hunt in CO and want to pack accordingly. I've only ever bowhunted from the KS border down to southern Cleveland County so I've never needed more than my 6x binos.

The unit we are in is 90% timber, sub-alpine. We're focusing on north facing slopes where the timber can be incredibly dark and thick. We're basically hunting a valley and the fingers coming off the valley. Any legal buck and either sex elk are fair game so I don't need to count the points before I start stalking. If it's brown it's down. It's walk-in only access, so a spotting scope is not in the cards, too bulky.

Given this scenario, would anyone recommend picking up some stronger magnification binos for glassing than my 6x Leupolds? I've already spent so much $ getting ready and I'm trying to work with what I've got at this point. Glass, however, is a priority so I want to bring the right tool for the job.
 

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I’ve never done what you’re doing, but a buddy is trying to put together a muzzleloader hunt in CO for us at some point. I’ve been using Zeiss Conquest 12x45 binos for almost 20 years, and if the CO muzzleloader hunt ever materializes, that what I’m taking.
I run 6x scopes on a couple rifles and think that’s a great “all around” magnification, but for what you’re describing, I tend to agree with the 10x minimum recommendation you’ve read online.

For what it’s worth, my buddy has done quite a bit of hunting in the CO rockies, and he carries Zeiss 10x30 binos.
 

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I’ve elk hunted elk in the mountains for 10 years.
Started out with 7 X 35 binoculars.
You spend a lot of time glassing to prevent walking in areas without game.
The other guys in my group used 10X50’s.
We would be on one mountain glassing the opposite mountain. The guys with the 10X50’s would spot the elk first, long before I could pick out the animals after being coached where they were.
Distance was about 3 miles. Maybe a tad less.
After graduating to some 10X50 Vortex glass, it was easy to spot the elk.
One thing I did notice is that one needs to prop them on the knees or use some other support like leaning on a tree or using a hiking stick to suppress movement.
That’s my two cents on the subject.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I have an aluminum monopod shooting stick I picked up cheap when I did a lot of pig hunting. I planned to strap it to my pack to use to brace my binos when glassing and to double as an impromptu walking stick if necessary. I'll continue looking at binos, I think I picked out some 10x42s on Bushnell's site (thanks to Bullbuster for mentioning the VIP program) and a chest rig I may pick up. I'm going to keep browsing.
 

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Some sort of a Tri-pod, bi-pod, mono-pod is a must for steady glassing. If we have shooting sticks along or my camera tri-pod I use them otherwise I use a nice sturdy dead branch. I’ll rest up against something if possible, usually my backpack.
I have a set of Bushnell 10x50s and I wouldn’t go anything less than that. My eyes are much better after having had PRK eye surgery several years back but I can also tell they are getting worse again.
A body harness system is also a must to take the weight off your neck. I don’t have nor have I used the pouch style system. I have the Crooked Horn outfitter system from Walmart and used it for years now.
 

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Not to state the obvious, but Doug at Cameraland is a board sponsor. He’s a great guy to deal with, and I’d recommend giving him a call to see what deals he may have.
I got my spotting scope from them. Great folks!
 
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This is one area where my hunting "game" is lacking...this and a really good rangefinder.

Hunting my place only, I'm guilty of just using my rifle to glass. I figure if I scope somebody THEY are the ones in the wrong. However, this is not an acceptable practice out on public land, so I might need a pair for down the road.

Looking into the recommendations.

Also, my rangefinder is a mid-level Vortex. It ranges quite well and consistently...but the glass quality is where I saved my money, so first/last light leaves me wanting.
 

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This is one area where my hunting "game" is lacking...this and a really good rangefinder.

Hunting my place only, I'm guilty of just using my rifle to glass. I figure if I scope somebody THEY are the ones in the wrong. However, this is not an acceptable practice out on public land, so I might need a pair for down the road.

Looking into the recommendations.

Also, my rangefinder is a mid-level Vortex. It ranges quite well and consistently...but the glass quality is where I saved my money, so first/last light leaves me wanting.
Ive got a Sig Talo (I believe. I know it’s a Sig) range finder and I love it. Got it at Academy in MidWest City before I moved. I think it was about $200. I will dig it out and edit this with the correct info. Ive ranged trees and rocks at 1k with it. Ive looked at getting another finder for my kids to use.
 

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This is one area where my hunting "game" is lacking...this and a really good rangefinder.

Hunting my place only, I'm guilty of just using my rifle to glass. I figure if I scope somebody THEY are the ones in the wrong. However, this is not an acceptable practice out on public land, so I might need a pair for down the road.

Looking into the recommendations.

Also, my rangefinder is a mid-level Vortex. It ranges quite well and consistently...but the glass quality is where I saved my money, so first/last light leaves me wanting.
You probably won’t get beat about the head, neck, and ears here, but absolutely DO NOT mention using your rifle to glass over on OSA. There’s a bunch of guys over there who probably sit down to pee that will have a three cat fit over the practice. Like you, I only hunt my own place and figure I can do whatever the hell I want.

I bought a second hand Bushnell range finder for 20+ years, and it’s huge but works great. I finally “upgraded” or more like downsized to second hand Swarovski range finder a couple years ago. I found it on another board for cheap.
 

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You probably won’t get beat about the head, neck, and ears here, but absolutely DO NOT mention using your rifle to glass over on OSA. There’s a bunch of guys over there who probably sit down to pee that will have a three cat fit over the practice. Like you, I only hunt my own place and figure I can do whatever the hell I want.

I bought a second hand Bushnell range finder for 20+ years, and it’s huge but works great. I finally “upgraded” or more like downsized to second hand Swarovski range finder a couple years ago. I found it on another board for cheap.
I bet the Swarovski unit is nice.

I really like my Vortex's ability to range animals out to 5-600 yards consistently. Not having a ton of faith in a $350 dollar unit, I'll typically range something three times before I feel comfortable. I don't shoot that far at game, but practicing ranging the cows in another pasture breaks up the boredom.

The biggest problem with mine is that during the first/last 15 minutes of shooting light, it actually gathers less light than the naked eye (20mm ÷ 6x = 3.33mm exit pupil). That and for $350 you can't expect phenomenal glass.

Maybe a decent pair of binos is in order...its just one more thing though to have to carry from the house. Might have to check into those Zeiss units you mentioned. One thing I do know for sure is that you never buy a model without trying them out first.

Thanks for the tip on OSA. I'm sure I probably ruffle enough feathers as it is...no point in looking for conflict.
 

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You probably won’t get beat about the head, neck, and ears here, but absolutely DO NOT mention using your rifle to glass over on OSA. There’s a bunch of guys over there who probably sit down to pee that will have a three cat fit over the practice. Like you, I only hunt my own place and figure I can do whatever the hell I want.

I bought a second hand Bushnell range finder for 20+ years, and it’s huge but works great. I finally “upgraded” or more like downsized to second hand Swarovski range finder a couple years ago. I found it on another board for cheap.
I used one of the old Bushnell 800 yard range finders for years as well before graduating to
a Sig Sauer KILO 2200 BDX 7x25mm Laser Rangefinder three years ago.
When first getting into range finders I thought the Bushnell would range deer out to 800 yds but finally found half that distance is all it would do. It would range a reflective target like the side of a barn out to 800 but not a deer.
This new Sig will range reflective targets out to 3400 yds.
The Bushnell was fine until hunting the mountains.
 
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I bet the Swarovski unit is nice.

I really like my Vortex's ability to range animals out to 5-600 yards consistently. Not having a ton of faith in a $350 dollar unit, I'll typically range something three times before I feel comfortable. I don't shoot that far at game, but practicing ranging the cows in another pasture breaks up the boredom.

The biggest problem with mine is that during the first/last 15 minutes of shooting light, it actually gathers less light than the naked eye (20mm ÷ 6x = 3.33mm exit pupil). That and for $350 you can't expect phenomenal glass.

Maybe a decent pair of binos is in order...its just one more thing though to have to carry from the house. Might have to check into those Zeiss units you mentioned. One thing I do know for sure is that you never buy a model without trying them out first.

Thanks for the tip on OSA. I'm sure I probably ruffle enough feathers as it is...no point in looking for conflict.
To be honest, I really like the old Bushnell Yardage Pro better than the newer Swarovskis, but they are about a third of the size and weight of the Bushnells and are much better to pack around. For what it’s worth, I only paid $400 for the Swarovski.
 

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I have an old Bushnell yardage pro 800. Had the original neoprene case for it. Ran off a 9v battery.
 

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I have an old Bushnell yardage pro 800. Had the original neoprene case for it. Ran off a 9v battery.
Battery usage sure isn’t an issue with that Bushnell. In the ten or so years I used it, changed the battery twice.
I’m betting it still has a charge on it out in the shop.
Need to sell it.
 

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Battery usage sure isn’t an issue with that Bushnell. In the ten or so years I used it, changed the battery twice.
I’m betting it still has a charge on it out in the shop.
Need to sell it.
Having more than one range finder isn’t a bad thing. I keep my Swarovskis at my place in OK for hunting, and the Bushnells stay here at my house. I actually use them a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have a Bushnell Yardage Pro 800 that's probably 10 years old. I have used it, literally, maybe a dozen times. Everywhere we typically hunt, we know the yardage. Or one day we'll shoot the yardage with the range finder from the stand, shoot landmarks, then we know where everything is. That, of course, is just for rifle hunting. I shoot a longbow so I don't use a rangefinder for 90% of my season.

I did go ahead and pull the trigger on some 10x42 Bushnell binos and the featherlight case from Butler Creek using the VIP membership. I completely forgot about Camera Land, I've bought scopes from him before. Regardless, I got a pretty good deal, got both products within 3 days of ordering. Pleased so far, I can read street signs in my neighborhood from 275y away, can't do that with my 6x Leupold binos.
 

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I have a Leopold range finder works fine out to 1000yrds. I bought one after using the same model at work and it has the angle finder feature that calculates the uphill/downhill hold. The only complaint I have is that when it's cold, you have to keep it next to your body to keep it warm or it won't work.
 
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