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Tyler D

spotting scopes

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So I am in the market for a spotting scope, I am really interested in a higher end model. I have made quite a few western trips mostly lower elevation prarie type hunts, but I will soon be going on my first true mountain hunt. And being that I am 23 years old and am to the point where with the points I have I should be drawing some pretty major tags in the next 5 years, and even more major tags in about 10, I want to buy something good. I like the leupold gold ring 15-45X it is realativley cheap at about $1K, but I am wondering if 45X is going to be enough or if I should step it up to 60X?

I am also thinking of buying a 20-60X swarovski which is going to be closer to $2K, but if im going to have it my whole life I might as well buy some thing good. So any mountain hunters out there have any advice on a 45X vs. a 60X?

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I'm an avid bowhunter and seriously looking at doing some DIY bowhunts for mule deer out west. I have the book "Backcountry Bowhunting" by Cameron Haynes, who is an authority on this type of hunting. Here's what his opinion is for quality spotting scopes.

Leica 62mm compact (16-48x) armoured $1694 & non armor $1544

Nikon 60mm ED (20-45x or 20-60x) $975

Minox MD62 ED (21-42x w/ L.E.R. eye piece) $919

Swarovski 80 mm or 65 mm.

The author was concerned with quality and light weight as he backpacks way, way back in.

For binoculars he says any of the following in this order, all 10x42's. Swarovski EL or Leica Ultravid (best), Zeiss Victory FL (2nd), Leupold Gold Ring, Steiner Predator, Nikon Premiere LX (3rd), Cabela's Alaskan Guide 10x42 (4th bargain).

Hope this helps!


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Thanks for the reply, I'm really leaning towards the swarovski even though it carries a hefty price tag. I am just worried that 45 is going to be under gunning for those wide open spaces.

There is nothing better than mule deer hunting, I've never bowhunted them but probably will some day. Good luck with it hope your building some points in colorado, the holy grail of modern day mule deer hunting.

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I was out in the Medora, N.D. area a couple fall's ago bowhunting muley's. Made an awesome stalk on a 170" class buck, only to have a covey of sharptails flush and spook the buck and his harem. A bowhunter killed him the following week, while his buddy shot the new N.D. archery state record, over 200", we never saw that one.

This year we're heading out near Bowman, N.D. the 3rd week of October. For now western N.D. and maybe even eastern Mont. would be more do-able for me, at least until child support goes away.


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My dad bowhunted the bowman area about 10 years ago, he said they saw quite a few nice bucks while they were out there. Never closed the deal on any bucks but tagged a couple of does for meat.

If you are serious about doing some bigger hunts later, it costs $20 a year to get mule deer points in colorado some of the best units can take up to 12 years to draw, especially for the most sought after seasons. They also have some good bowhunting only mountain goat and sheep units that cost $3 a year to get points.

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    • Last Thursday on a visit to my sister in Rock Rapids IA, we made a circuit through the Island Park there.  At the low dam just past the former railroad bridge which is now a walking path we saw a group of grackles fishing at the edge of the white water where it ran against the rocks at the shore line.  There probably were a dozen or so all told moving back and forth and some on the rocks at the other shore line.  In something like half an hour or less we saw various of the birds bring out minnows and eat them on the shore to a total of at least 8.  They also contested for the better fishing spots and tried to horn in on other birds' catches;   they would fly out to quite a bit up on shore with a catch to eat it there. I never expected to see grackles fishing.  I never heard of that before, but then it wouldn't be the first time I didn't know about something relatively common.
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    • I gave it my last shot of the year this morning and I juked and the turkeys jived.  They have been rolling through the same spot for the last couple mornings and unfortunately went a different direction this morning.     That's it for me! Unfortunately I have obligations until the season is done now. Morgan, Logan, and I all finished with unpunched tags. Darn pea-brained birds won this time.
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      Water temperatures are around 70 degrees. Water clarity is 5-6 feet. Bluegill - Fair: Fish for bluegill just about anywhere along the shoreline. The fish average 7-8 inches. Use a small hair or tube jig with a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber off the floating fishing pier, the west stone pier, and the inlet bridge. Look for bluegills to start moving closer to shore, sitting on nests; you can easily target the males. Walleye - Fair: Anglers are picking up walleye from shore and by boat. Town Bay, the shoreline along Ice House Point, and near the inlet bridge are producing fish. Use leeches fished under a bobber and twisters on the downwind shoreline where walleye are feeding. Black Crappie - Slow: Anglers are still picking up fish from Ice House Point, the floating dock, the stone piers, and the inlet bridge. Catch fish up to 11 inches with crawlers and leeches fished under a bobber. Largemouth Bass - Good: Catch largemouth all over the lake using the traditional bass lures. Many anglers have found good bass action at the Ice House Point, the east shoreline,and the lake side of the inlet bridge.  Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
      Water clarity is 3-4 feet. Storm Lake has a daily limit of 3 walleye and all 17- to 22-inch walleye must be released; no more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Walleye - Fair: Much of the walleye action has shifted to the boat anglers. Boat anglers are doing well trolling shad raps or ripple shads or drifting crawler harnesses on the edges of the dredge cuts around the lake in about 8 feet of water. Black Crappie - Fair: Anglers are picking up suspended crappie out mid-lake in the dredge cuts while fishing for walleye. White Bass - Fair: Use crankbaits; most action has been from boat while fishing dredge cuts.  Swan Lake
      Water temperature is around 70 degrees. Water clarity is 3 feet. Bluegill - Fair: Use a small jig tipped with crawler along the dam and off the jetties. Most of the fish are 6-7 inches. Look for fish to move closer to shore and the males sitting on nests. Yellow Smoke Park Lake
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      Channel Catfish - Good: Use traditional baits during evening hours. Walleye - Fair: Action is picking up with numbers of angler acceptable size and larger being caught.  Lost Island Lake
      Walleye - Good: Walleye are being caught close to shore. Try fishing from a dock or wader fishing after dark. Black Crappie - Good: Reports of crappie and yellow perch being caught. Yellow Bass - Fair: Report of yellow bass being caught. Use small lures such as a twister tail or hair jigs.  Silver Lake (Palo Alto)
      Walleye - Fair: Report of large fish being caught during the late evening hours. Cast a white twister for the best action. Black Bullhead - Good: Good action reported of angler acceptable sized fish. Yellow Perch - Fair: Some activity reported.  Spirit Lake
      Marble Beach campground, including the boat ramp, is closed for the season for renovation. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Use a jig tipped with a minnow in shallow rock structures. Action is best during sunny, calm days. Black Crappie - Good: Fish the bulrush on the lake for spawning crappie. Cast a mini-jig and swim the bait slowly back to the boat to find active fish. Walleye - Good: Best action is during the night off the docks. Fish leeches under a bobber or cast a twister tail. Black Bullhead - Good: The bite has slowed at the north grade; persistence will be rewarded with good numbers of fish caught. Fish traditional baits on the bottom. Trumbull Lake
      Northern Pike - Fair: Use casting spoons below the spillway.  West Okoboji Lake
      Bluegill - Good: Wooden docks in deeper water and new aquatic growth will produce good numbers of angler acceptable sized fish.  For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.