Optical accessories are an important addition for any hunter who wants to be successful in the field. Whether you hunt for survival, tradition, sport, or a combination of these; one thing for certain is that you do not hunt to fail! These five must-have optics could determine whether your next hunting adventure is a success.
Five Optic Accessories Every Hunter Must Have.
An essential piece of equipment for any hunter to have is a good pair of binoculars. Game animals blend into their surroundings very well, they are designed to do so. Human eyes have a hard time picking up the slight color differences, particularly in low light conditions encountered during the prime hunting times around dawn and dusk. In fact it is normally movement that we first detect when trying to locate game. There have been many times when I have walked right up to an animal without knowing it was there. If I had seen them sooner, I could have prepared for a shot.
Binoculars give you a much better chance to see animals tucked away in the bushes. Binoculars can also assist your vision in low light conditions that you often encounter when hunting. When it comes to binoculars you need to look for a few things, it is essential that they are waterproof and fog-proof. Without these features you may find yourself in a position where you cannot see through them.
Choose a pair of binoculars with a magnification that fits the areas you hunt in. Normally for bow hunting 10X magnification should be sufficient for most occasions. Another factor to consider is the game you are after and the range or terrain you are hunting in.
Any optical accessory you use in the field must have quality lenses and it is definitely worthwhile to spend that little extra to get the top quality equipment. I recommend sticking with brands known for quality. I prefer either Bushnell or Leupold. The thing I like about these brands is that they focus on optics for hunting. They don’t make anything else.
Finally, you need your binoculars to be easy to use. I prefer binoculars that can be operated with one hand. Consider all of these factors when choosing your next pair of binoculars.
Following is a selection of binoculars that I would recommend.
Have you ever hunted an area wondering if there are any animals around? You’ve noticed tracks and aren’t quite sure what animal they are from? Trail cameras are the answer!
I want my hunting trips to be as successful as possible therefore I will check out an area first before going hunting. The best way to do this is by use of trail cameras. They allow you to see what game is around when and where they are moving, this significantly increases the chances of a successful shoot. Giving you the best opportunity to harvest your next trophy. One of the best advantages you gain by the use of trail cameras, is that you are able to scout out your next hunting trip while still at work and then when going on your hunting trip you are already armed with the essential knowledge you need to bag your prize.
Many hunters use multiple trail cameras. Many use two for one area and have trail cameras in multiple areas. This way they can find the area with the best animals. They get a better idea of where the animals are traveling to and from. They can also figure out where the “big boys” are hanging. When choosing your trail cameras it is important to buy ones with night vision. If it uses flash, it must be infared flash to avoid scaring the game away. I prefer trail cameras that take videos, this will give you the most information about their habits.
When adding trail cameras to your accessories portfolio make sure to choose those with enough memory. You don’t want one that fills up quickly. Choose trail cameras with extended battery life. That way you can set it and forget it. The less disturbance in the area the better. I also recommend using trail cameras with great resolution. I would say 5 MP or better, HD is always preferred. With trail cameras I prefer using Bushnell however the I have included the Browning trail camera as well. I know these brands. They have never failed me!
Following is a selection of trail cameras that I would recommend.
I love to hunt with a bow. Other than your bow and arrows, a laser rangefinder is probably the most important piece of equipment you can have. Distance affects accuracy in archery tremendously particularly over longer shots in terrain where you are unable to get closer to your target. Laser rangefinders give you the ability to know exactly what the distance to your prey is. Differing terrain can affect your judgement of distance, 30 yards in the brush looks a lot different than 30 yards in the open, particularly in lower light situations.
Before I started using a rangefinder I found I was misjudging the distance and creating inaccuracy in lot of my shots. This was particularly apparent when I first started bow hunting, now I am able to judge the distance much more accurately, however the rangefinder is always correct. When shooting my arrows would be either high or low because I had misjudged the distance, and this was making the difference between a clean kill or just injuring the animal.
I recommend laser rangefinders that are able to make adjustments for elevation, as uneven terrain can make the judgement of distance more difficult. Whether shooting up-hill or down-hill, these will still give you accurate shot readings. This is especially important for bow hunters. A 15 degree difference in elevation could cause you to completely miss a deer, even if your distance was accurate. Choose a rangefinder that does these calculations for you. I also recommend laser rangefinders that are easy to use, one handed operation is preferred. Stick with brands that are known for quality. Again, I prefer either Bushnell or Leupold. In my experience these brands are phenomenal.
I am frequently asked “What are the best bow sights for hunting?” In answering this, there are a number of factors to consider, I believe good sights are a necessary accessory for every bow hunter and again there is no substitute for quality. There is currently a vast array of sights available for the archer, and across the range of bows whether compound or recurve bows. A lot of the input into this decision of what sight is best for you depends on where and how you hunt, however I would go for a more rugged construction rather than a cheaper plastic version that may not stand up the knocks it will get whilst hunting.
I normally recommend a 5 pin sight for the compound bow hunter, this allows you to aim accurately over varying distances and the ability to quickly adjust your shooting range. However, there are now fully adjustable single pin sights as well the allow you to shoot over varying distances. Some hunters love these and some hate having to adjust their sight every time they go to take a shot and the extra time it takes. Additionally I look for sights that have some sort of light source for low light situations.
Of all the accessories that I recommend, this is the least critical but the most fun. Whether you have been hunting, camping, fishing, or hiking; I bet there have been times when you wished you had footage from your expedition. Maybe you missed taking a picture of an animal? Maybe you missed recording your kids doing something funny? Or did you wish you had recorded your hunt because it was so incredible? I know I have been there before.
Granted, cameras will not add to your success when hunting. They may even distract you a bit. But I tell you what. They can make your trips a whole lot of fun! Any time I take a trip outdoors I take my compact camera. I have recorded some pretty cool things and even funnier things when hunting. The thing is, a camera will not help you bag a trophy, but it will help you with bragging rights with your mates in the bar or to remember that trophy vividly for the rest of your life. It will also allow you to share that experience with the family on your return from your trip. And isn’t that what the outdoors is all about? Sharing it with the ones you love? I don’t regret putting a camera into my accessory arsenal. You will not regret it either.
Now available are a range of mounts for smartphones, Go Pros and the like but there are also specialized cameras the can mount directly to your bow as well.
No matter what time of the year it is, it is never too early to start preparing for next season. The earlier you buy your new accessories the better, this will allow you to become comfortable using them. The last thing you want is to have that trophy of a lifetime in front of you and you are stuck fumbling around with equipment that you are not familiar with. Use your optics often! Make sure that they are still working properly.
You can use your trail cameras year-round to scout the animals you intend to hunt. The more you learn about your quarry the better equipped you will be on your next hunting trip