by David Pereda
You can’t kill what you can’t see. Period. It’s not going to happen. Let’s take a look at my personal battery of hunting optics and tripods and why I choose them for Western Big Game Hunting.Swarovski hunting optics are number one on my list for binoculars for big game hunting. From freezing rain and snow, to blowing sand and 115 degree heat, these fantastic optics have continued to perform flawlessly for me over the years. The model I use for my “handheld” pair is the Crooked Horn Bino Harness system which keeps the binoculars firmly against my chest without any of the neck pain and swinging around associated with neck straps.
The 8 power binoculars allow me to hand hold them steadier than 10′s or 12′s yet still offer me a great field of view. My 8′s are my first step in my glassing and are used to initially sweep and look over an area I intend to glass before setting up the big optics to really dissect my glassing area. I never hike up to a glassing location and sit down before thoroughly covering the area with the 8′s first.After glassing the area with my handhelds I will set up for my second step to slowly take the area apart with my tripod and big glass. For my tripod mounted pair I rely on the Swarovski 15×56 SLC binoculars. The big 15′s have an amazing field of view, razor sharp clarity from edge to edge, and are packaged up in a sleek lightweight design that allows you to pack them anywhere without being too cumbersome. I attach these binoculars to a Bogen 3001 BD Tripod with a Bogen 3130 fluid pan head attachment. This particular tripod is heavier to pack than some other models but the extra weight pays off immensely by adding stability when glassing in windy conditions. The fluid pan head is smooth as silk and allows for slow precise movements when glassing. This setup is my bread and butter system for all of my big game hunting and is far and away the finest combination of hunting optics and tripod I have ever used. I use this setup to locate 90% or more of the trophy game we harvest on our western hunts. Zeiss is my number one choice when it comes to spotting scopes. Why? After glassing with all the top spotting scope brands Zeiss scopes have far and away the biggest field of view of any brand of spotting scope I have tried to date. Zeiss scopes really stand out from the competition in this area and also have the razor sharp clarity and durability I demand in my hunting optics. My model of choice is the Zeiss 20×60 power Diascope 85 T* FL. I also mount this scope on the scope on my Bogen tripod setup.
My spotting scope only comes out as my third step in my hunting optics arsenal after I have spotted something that is a bit out of reach of my binoculars and needs a closer look. I also rely on my spotting scope to make careful and detailed evaluations of trophy game. My Zeiss spotting scope really allows me to see trophy detail up close while big game hunting and allows you to field judge game at long distances without any fear of getting too close and spooking anything. The farther you can stay away from game when scouting, the better.