Are Binoculars for Squirrel Hunting a Must?

I say absolutely.  When is having another tool in your toolbox a bad idea?   I also have a particular pair I highly recommend. I've finally made the two fellas I squirrel hunt with the most understand how valuable they are in the timber. So much so, each now wear a pair every time we hit the woods.  Mike (SquirrelAssassin) loves his so much he usually puts them around his neck before we leave the house for the squirrel woods.  Wouldn't want to forget a piece of gear that valuable!

 

You might ask, “Nate, why carry binoculars, when you have a perfectly capable scope on your rifle?” That's a valid question. I'd say you can certainly get by that way. Hefting a rifle up, time after time, to glass an area is not only creating more movement than I like, it also becomes incredibly cumbersome. Lifting a 7 to 8 pound rifle to scan a tree, or the forest area, can fatigue you really quick, but a 17 ounce pair of binoculars makes scanning a breeze. Your field of view, dependent upon magnification, can be very narrow on a riflescope. Add to that the monocular nature of the rifle scope and to me your are limiting your observation. The rifle scope is perfect once you've located your game, but for scanning an area, or checking a “bump” that looks like a squirrel on the side of a tree, is best served by binoculars.

Leupold Yosemite 1

 

Leupold Yosemite 2

My eyes aren't what I'd consider young anymore. There still capable of the tasks at hand, but I can tell with years in the woods, they aren't what they use to be. This is another advantage of a pair of binoculars. When we decide to slow stalk on wet mornings, or ease into the timber before first light, being able to glass the area can be advantageous to filling your limit. Spotting a squirrel at 50 yards with the naked eye in early season foliage can be a difficult task. To me binos aid in this situation.

 Leupold Yosemite 3

How about the scenario of a squirrel screeching in tree that has been alerted. You know what direction the sound is coming from, but without binos you can't quite make the squirrel out. Lifting a lightweight pair of binos up to scan is much easier than lifting a eight pound rifle up to get the same job done. It's likely you won't find the squirrel on the first pass. What about hunting over a good squirrel dog? The dog cuts off through the woods and trees a squirrel. Once you arrive you are having a hard time locating the squirrel in the vine covered tree she has pinned the squirrel in. A good pair of binos are right at home in this scenario. If using optics didn't put the advantage in our court, we'd all still be hunting with iron sights.....

 Leupold Yosemite 4

There are a few things I look for in a good pair of binoculars for the squirrel woods.

 

They must be lightweight.

 

They must have good glass.

 

They have to be cost effective.

 Leupold Yosemite 5

My favorite pair, after a little research, and now field experience are the Leupold Yosemite. They come in a variety of magnification ranges: 6x30, 8x30, and 10x30. For me I think the ideal range would be the 6x30, but I ended up with the 8x30 based on price and color choice. My daughter just received her pair for Christmas this year. I was able to score her pair for an excellent price because they were in pink camo. Thus the reason I'm not carrying the 6x30. Sure I could pony up the extra coin and buy the black version in 6x30, but I settled for the 8x30's at only ten bucks more than the pink version. I actually didn't mind, as they are in blaze orange camo. They really don't look that bad. I'm not sure either of these versions are available anymore. I believe they were closeouts at the time. They come with a lens cleaning cloth, carrying case, lens protection covers, some paperwork, and a really nice neoprene neck strap If you can find them sub $100, I'd buy without hesitation.

Leupold Yosemite 6 Leupold Yosemite 7

 

Regardless of the housing color the glass is outstanding for the price. They actually rival my $279 Leupold Wind River 8x42's. What helps keep the price down is that they are older technology. Porro prisms are cheaper to manufacture, but offer the same optical clarity. The porro prism binos are going to be bulkier, but that's based on design. Roof prisms are the newest design, and allow for a more compact pair of binoculars. If the porro prism binoculars were a larger objective than 30mm I would say that roof prism would be the way to go, but the Yosemite's are compact for the capability they extend. Size also doesn't change based on the magnification range. The Leupold Yosemite's are so inexpensive you can buy two pair for what you could one pair of the Leupold Wind River model, and have a pair for the timber and a pair for the house or truck. The glass for the price is that good!

Leupold Yosemite Brad

 

Specifications for Leupold Yosemite Binoculars BX-1 6 x 30 mm:

Actual Magnification: 6x
Linear Field of View (ft @ 1000yd): 420
Linear Field of View (m @ 1000m): 127
Angular Field of View (degrees): 8.0
Weight (ounces): 17.0
Weight (grams): 482
Length (in): 4.6
Length (mm): 117
Objective Aperture (mm): 30
Twilight Factor: 13.4
Exit Pupil (mm): 4.6
Eye Relief: 18.5
Interpupillary Distance (mm): 50.0-70.0
Close Focus Distance (ft.): 15.7
Close Focus Distance (m): 3.0

 Leupold Yosemite Nate

 

I don't think you need a good pair of binos in the squirrel woods, I know you do. Case and point: A few weeks ago, during the 2014 squirrel season our buddy Mike realized how beneficial our binos were to Brad and I. So much so, he ordered a pair of the Leupold Yosemite's the following week. I was glad when Brad finally bought a pair, because he was always asking to use mine in the woods. I like to collect my squirrel hunting gear on the cheap, and for the money the Leupold Yosemite's fit the bill, while offering qualities you'd expect in a much higher priced pair. This line of binoculars are sleepers in the Leupold lineup, but the secret is out now.

Leupold Yosemite 2011



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