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How to Plan Your Next DIY Hunt

How to Plan Your Next DIY Hunt

Organizing an out-of-state — or even across-state — DIY bowhunt requires a great deal of advanced planning, homework and preparation. Hunting far from home, in new country or for a new species, is nothing like bowhunting in the home turf you know so well. This is what separates regularly-successful DIY hunters from those who annually return home empty handed. Successful hunters thoroughly investigate every conceivable contingency, while also eliminating as many unknowns as possible.

Hunting a new territory or species invariably involves a learning curve. Learning your way around can consume an entire season, while the intimacies of absorbing what type of micro habitat animals prefer within the bigger picture and how to hunt that country most efficiently may require even more time.

A lifetime of bowhunting, for example hunting whitetail from treestands, can leave you ill prepared for the demands of spot-and-stalk hunting. Knowing what you're in for and preparing accordingly will minimize inefficiencies and allow you to hit the ground running so that you'll begin your trip hunting instead of struggling to get in the game.

A lot of diligent work lay ahead if you're to beat the established odds and make the most of your hard-earned vacation time.

Bushnell Elite 20-60x80mm

Featuring 20-60x zoom, the Bushnell Elite spotting scope allows you to reach out and truly count points and gauge trophy potential from great distances. This is ideal for situations where you want to give summer bucks a wide berth while still observing their daylight movements as much as possible. Each Elite features a 45-degree angle eyepiece (a personal favorite), a retractable sunshade and is 100-percent waterproof. Price: $1,523

Bushnell Excursion HD 10x42

If money is tight but expectations for quality binoculars are high, you might want to consider the Excursion HD 10x42s from Bushnell. These binoculars are loaded with features like fully multi-coated optics, BaK-4 roof prisms, and a wide field-of-view. The Excursions are also 100-percent fog and waterproof, and boast an appropriately sized lockable center focus knob that accommodates gloved hands with ease. Price: $313

Cabela's Instinct Euro HD 15x56 Binoculars

With a field-of-view of 220 feet at 1000 yards and an overall weight of just over 40 ounces, the new Instinct Euro HD 15x56 Binoculars are a great choice for anyone looking to leave the spotting scope at home when they sneak out in the evenings to glass feeding bucks. These binos feature an aluminum-alloy body, are completely nitrogen-purged and sealed, and are guaranteed fog and waterproof. The Instinct Euro HDs also provide some of the best light transmission of any binocular you're likely to find on the market, anywhere. Price: $1,600

Cabela's Vanguard Alta Series Tripods

Optics get all of the love, but without a good tripod your spotting scope is nearly worthless. Two options of the Vanguard Alta Series Tripods from Cabela's are available: a 4.6 pound, 70-inch tall version and a 3.5 pound, 57-inch tall model. Both are designed with 6X multilayering technology, which results in extra strength and rigidity while actually reducing mass weight. The legs are highly adjustable and aiming a scope at a distant buck is a breeze with the Vanguard Alta Series. Price: $70 (70 inch); $150 (57 inch)

Leupold BX-4 McKinley HD 10x42 Binoculars

If you've yet to find binoculars that work perfect for you, perhaps they just weren't on the market yet. And perhaps, they are now in the form of the new-for-2014 BX-4 McKinley HD 10x42s. Straight out of a sci-fi script, these binoculars feature extra low dispersion objective lenses that are paired with rare earth element-coated ocular lenses to produce excellent color rendition and crisp resolution. Ignoring the nerd-speak, these 29-ounce binoculars are perfect for the diehard whitetail hunter. Price: $750

Leupold GR 12-40x60mm Spotting Scope

It's no secret why Leopold optics are so popular amongst bowhunters — quality. Amongst their extensive product line is a spotting scope that I've come to rely on pretty heavily and that is the GR 12-40x60mm. Although the GR isn't cheap, it's not overly expensive either. To be honest, the quality of the 37-ounce GR begs a more shocking price tag. The 12.4 ' GR features a field-of-view of 52 feet at 1000 yards when fully cranked up to its max of 40x magnification (twilight factor of 26.8). Thirty millimeters of eye relief offer the chance to glass for hours without feeling like your eyeball is being sucked out of your face by an alien. Price: $1,250

Nikon Monarch 7 10x42

Few companies are as entrenched in the optics arena as Nikon. Their Monarch series of binoculars has served me well over the years and Nikon's latest incarnations, which include the Monarch 7 10x42s, promise to keep that tradition going. The Monarch 7s are designed with extra-low dispersion glass that results in uber-clear and ultra-bright viewing. Not to mention that a scratch resistant coating is applied to the surfaces of the lenses to ensure that viewing never gets obstructed by rough-and-tumble hunting. They are also waterproof, fog-free and boast a flip-down objective lens cap. Price: $500

S4 Gear LockDownX Binocular Harness

I've used the LockDown X from S4 Gear since it hit the market (and the original LockDown before that) and have grown to love it. It fits binos ranging from 5.75 to 7.5 ' in length and keeps them right at your chest where you need them. Anti-Bounce Technology keeps them secure; however, I've found that I cut the adjustment straps and burn the frayed ends once I get them fitted correctly. After that they won't move at all and are perfect for glassing as well as hunting. Price: $55 (black)

Zeiss Conquest HD 15x56

The Conquest HD 15x56 binoculars from Zeiss are anything but cheap; however, they are worth it and will last you a long time. These may seem like overkill for glassing backyard whitetails, but they are tripod adaptable and provide excellent low-light visibility. Given the choice between carrying binos and a spotting scope, or one piece of equipment that covers both jobs I'll take the minimalist route, which is what these provide. The HD 15x56s weigh a shade less than 46 ounces, offer 18mm of eye relief, and boast an exit pupil of 3.7mm. Price: $1,780

Zeiss Dialyt Field Spotter

If you're like most of us and opt for an 8x or 10x binocular, you'll still need a spotting scope to truly evaluate antlers at great distances. A great choice is the Dialyt Spotting Scope from Zeiss. This 18-45x65 spotting scope weighs approximately 43 ounces and measures only 15.55-inches long, meaning it's perfect for stuffing into a pack and sneaking into a secluded beanfield (or into the high-country in search of August mule deer or elk). Typical of all products in the Zeiss line-up, the Dialyt Field Spotter is loaded with quality features and designed to function well up to the last vestiges of daylight. Price: $1,667




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