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Binoculars for Turkey Hunting? Really?

askbinosSome guys tell me they never use binoculars when turkey hunting, preferring to rely on their hearing and woodsmanship. Other hunters swear by binos. What do you think? — R.J. Daley, Memphis, Tenn.

As cumbersome as binoculars might seem some days, you should never hit the woods without them. Remember, turkeys don’t always gobble, and we don’t always hear or course them correctly when they do. Further, birds love to feed, strut, breed and hang out in wide-open areas that we can’t view adequately without quality magnification.

Binoculars have saved my bacon too many times to count, especially out West, where Merriam’s and hybrid turkeys can see your clumsy approaches from several hundred yards away.

I actually use two sets of binos for turkey hunting. The first is a compact folding pair that fits easily inside a vest pocket or isn’t burdensome around my neck. I like 10X models, and I usually go with good-quality (that is, more expensive) binos. When it comes to glass, you get what you pay for.

Tip: I wrote “neck” before, but I prefer shoulder-style binocular harnesses that distribute the optic’s weight and keep it closer to your chest. If you’ve ever tried to belly-crawl with a binocular around your neck, you know what I mean.

My second pair of binoculars is a larger, higher-quality 10×42 mm model that stays in my truck. I call these my “scouters,” because they’re my No. 1 tool for locating field turkeys and Canada geese in fall.

Numerous quality models are available, and again, you get what you pay for. Just make sure you tote them this spring.

— Brian Lovett


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