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GUNS Magazine November 2012 Digital Edition - Page 24

STORY: Dave Anderson A hunter’s binocular ranks in importance right behind the rifle. I can get along without a scope if I have to (and as a teenager I had to), I can even get along without a knife (OK, that would be tough) but I can hardly imagine being outdoors without a binocular. Generally, I wear a binocular on a short neck strap. Hunting mostly in northern regions of North America, I always wear at least a light jacket and sometimes an insulated parka. When it comes time to crawl or slither it’s easy to tuck the binocular in the jacket where it won’t drag on the ground or flash a signal to the game, and is safe from the elements. I never cared much for binocular harnesses until I hunted in Africa, and found even a light jacket was often too much. We didn’t do much slithering (too many thorns) but lots of handsand-knees crawling. To keep the binocular from flopping around I had to undo a couple of shirt buttons and stuff the binocular inside the shirt. I soon realized why hunters in warm climates, from Texas to Tanzania, like harness systems. Through a glass. LookinG The Leupold Yosemite 8x30 is a porro prism design. Well made and with sharp optics it is an exceptional value. using a binocular A binocular is useful even at close range in heavy cover. It lets you selectively focus at different distances, making it easier to pick out what you want to see—antlers, for example—from surrounding branches. Using a binocular to locate game in big, open country is a skill. Above all it takes patience. A friend I sometimes hunt with has many fine hunting attributes. He’s fit, determined, persevering, a decent shot and “cheerful in all weathers.” But does he like to walk! He’ll reach the edge of a big valley, take one fast sweep with his binocular, announce there’s nothing there and charge off for the next valley. I’d rather move slowly and take my time, often an hour or two just using binoculars. My buddy says I’m just lazy. I call it playing to my strengths. Glassing from an observation point, I like to find a comfortable place to sit, preferably out of the wind and with some kind of cover to break up my outline. A big rock which can serve as cover and a rest to steady the binocular is convenient though not always available. Start by taking a careful look around without the binocular. Once when I was young and innocent I spent half an hour studying distant antelope with a binocular, when a nearby movement caught my eye. At the base of the hill on which I was seated, an antelope was standing in plain view watching me with great interest, about 90 yards away. And yes, I did shoot him. Have you ever watched a nature show where the camera pans across a scene? It’s hard to pick out details with the camera moving, isn’t it? So hold the binocular as motionless as you can while carefully studying every detail in the field of view. When you’re sure you haven’t missed anything (you probably did, but it’s all part of learning) shift the binocular to another piece of real estate and repeat the process. With experience you’ll learn where animals are likely to be at different times of the day; when they are up and feeding, when and where they like to lie up while resting. buying Binoculars can be a lifetime investment, and provide a lifetime of enjoyment. They are an item which justify stretching the budget. If money is no object just buy the most expensive models from names such as Leica, Minox, Nikon, Swarovski and Zeiss. But there are terrific binoculars available at every price level. We’re living in a golden This Minox 8x33 is an outstanding hunting binocular, light and compact, and with excellent optics. 24 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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