Quality optics are a must...


egarding optics, a good pair of binoculars is one of your best investments. Leica & Swarovski are the best. Nikon makes the best Japanese glass. I feel that the new 8.5 or 10 x 42 Swarovski EL’s and the Leica Giovids HDBs (My Choice) are the best all around binoculars, period. Vortex, Zeiss, Leupold, Brunton, Pentax, Burris, Minox, Kahles, Nikon and Bushnell also make decent glass. Good sizes are the8x30s, 8x32s, 8x42s, 8.5x42s, 10x42s and 10x50s.

Compacts (20 - 25 mm objectives) are light and will work, but they are not as good as a mid or full size for sheep hunts. The new Duovids by Leica (8-12xand 10-15x) might be a good choice for all situations, but they are heavy and you will need a range finder also. Leica HDBs are without a doubt the best if you can afford them.

If you want to save weight, leave your spotting scope at home as your guide will have one. Good, lighter weight spotting scopes include the Vortex, Zeiss 15-45x65, Swarovski 20-60x65 HD, Leupold 12-40x60, Leica 20-55x62, the B&L Elite and the Nikon 20-60x60 ED Field Scope III.

If you bring a spotting scope, a good light weight (under 3-lbs.), aluminum or carbon fiber tripod is a necessity; ones with quick detach heads are even better. Manfrotto or Gitzo makes a great one for $200-250. Bogen makes a couple great models for around $125-150. Cullman makes an inexpensive one for $50-70. Gitzo makes some really great, very lightweight, but expensive carbon tripods also. Adventure Outfitters & Kauffman Knives & Optics (Dave Kauffman) are the best places to get optical products. Jeff Janssens, owner of Adventure Outfitters is especially helpful in answering technical questions and he has excellent service and prices. Dave also sells a line of Custom, handmade knives that are some of the best anywhere, period.