MyOutdoorBuddy Hunting News Regional Directory
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 


Website of the Week


Selecting personal optics

By Gary Heffley
02/12/14—Selecting personal optics such as binoculars, spotting scopes and range finders can be difficult for many. There are a tremendous number of options available. For some brand loyalty makes the decision easy, especially those who use high end brands like Swarovski, Leica or Zeiss. If they own any of these product lines they tend to purchase another of the same as they are accustomed to the quality each provides. There is also a “keeping up with the Joneses” with these lines, if they have used a friend’s set of these they are likely to want the same. There is also the, “I want the best” shopper. And yes, the products are worth every penny and are considered to be a once in the life time purchase.

Leupold RX Full Draw Archery Rangefinder

<< Leupold RX Full Draw Archery Rangefinder

There are also brand loyalty within Leupold, Vortex, Nikon and Bushnell owners that automatically directs their next purchase to those lines.

But for many pocketbooks those higher end lines are just a little out of reach and tough to justify, as the amount of usage planned does not offset the realization that while we may not get what we pay for, we most certainly will pay for whatever quality we get. And in the case of optics that these axioms are always true.
First off, let us first explain the numbers found on most optics? What is the difference between an 8x28, 10x42 or 20x60 many ask? The first number is the magnification, so the object viewed is magnified that many times over your regular vision. The second number which confuses many is the size of the objective lens, the lens opposite the eye pieces which you look through. So a 10x42 sees items at a magnification of 10 through a lens that is 42mm wide.

Swarovski 20x60x65 STS Heavy Duty Spotting Scope

<< Swarovski 20x60x65 STS HD Spotting Scope

So we have established that cost and amount of use are key factors in the process of selection. Here are a couple of more factors that are also important considerations. Are you hunting with them or just sightseeing? If you are hunting, a key question is at what range? If you are hunting are you packing in long distances where weight becomes an issue? You see for many the process is that of elimination that enables not only the consumer to select the right product option, but the sales associate in finding the right product as well.

The easiest selection is for a basic pair of binoculars, those just for sightseeing. Price point and the quality within that price point are usually the key factors. Another consideration should also be warranties. Some have 5-25 year warranties where some lines like Vortex and Alpen offer a lifetime unconditional warranty.

For hunting binoculars the considerations of quality within the price point, type of hunting, such as long range or close range archery and weight come into play. For many a standard 10x42 is just fine. But for those who hunt in drizzly, rainy conditions or in the low light of dawn and dusk a binocular with multiple lens coatings is needed. The lens coatings allow for any available light to be pulled into the lens making for a sharp resolution even in poor weather or darkened conditions. As always the more you can spend the quality does improve.

Vortex 10x42 Viper Heavy Duty Binocular

<< Vortex 10x42 Viper HD Binocular

For many users, a binocular with a 50 mm lens or larger is difficult to scan with and hold steady throughout the day with hands alone. Due to weight of these larger binoculars most use accessories and attachments for mounting these binoculars onto tripods. These provide for a steady scanning platform and are used in many long range hunting applications such as for elk or sheep.

The discussion of long range hunting brings us to our next category of optics, spotting scopes. These are used frequently in long range hunting but are also very popular with bird watchers. Spotting scopes are not best for scanning but can provide a very detailed view of a stationary object. For birders this in invaluable for picking out the vibrant and distinct colored feather patterns needed for bird identification. For hunters it helps supply an idea of animal size, if it is a shooter or in many cases making a distinction that an animal is even in view. There are untold instances where a pair of standard binoculars could not make out an animal which a spotting scope brought into clear and full focus.

Spotting scopes can have multiple magnification ranges and usually have large objective lenses that can produce a 20 to 30 magnification through upwards of an 80 mm objective lens. They provide a clearer view at a greater distance which is critical for long range hunts and stalks. But again weight and the necessity of a tripod are weighed considerations. As in binoculars the spotting scopes come in various lens styles where multiple coatings for enhanced viewing increase the price point and objective view quality.

Another popular item of personal optics is range finders. The basic range finders are designed to give the yardage within a predetermined range of an object to where the person is standing. A 600 yard rangefinder will range out and give an accurate distance readout to 600 yards, and so forth, for those with greater distance parameters. Most also provide a base magnification usually in a 5x or 6x range.

But as with all other optics you get what you pay for in regards to clarity and additional built in capabilities. Lower priced range units usually have a black and white or grey readout. Those are often tough to see in low light or poor weather conditions. There are many that include a red visual readout that can be seen in any weather or light conditions.

Some like the Leupold DNA-TBR models will have the ability to have downloaded ballistic information deciphered so that MIL, MOA holdover/under information is shown so distance and angle compensations for a shot is shown. Many upper end models offer arc compensation measurements but few to the degree of the TBR models. Also shoppers should be aware that because of the electronics in range finders most all are subject to a one or two year warranty. In fact, only the Vortex model, and there is only one made, offers a lifetime warranty.

And don’t think range finders are for hunters only, target shooters and even golfers use them for getting proper range. Just realize most tournaments in either application do not allow these devices to be used during the events, but it’s alright for practice.

The best way to buy optics is to stop by a dealer and look through the various models and styles. Go in with an idea of what you are using the optics for and be prepared to answer these questions as these will help the associate provide you with the best option within your price point. But remember to buy right, it only hurts once to outlay the money for the right item. It hurts over and over if you buy wrong, because you are mad every time you use an item which was the result of making a compromise. Carpenters are heard to say, “measure twice; cut once!” In the case of optics the buyer must often select what works best for each application and buy several pieces of equipment instead of just one.

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over five years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has long history in the Sporting Goods field and is presently managing the Gift Bar and Camping Department at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Redding.

More Hunting News

Conservation Key to Future of Hunting

11/14/16 -- At its core, conservation seeks sustainability of wildlife and wild places. Ethical hunters want wild animals to flourish in their natural habitat as much as possible, and will act on their behalf in order to protect and conserve... Full Story

​I Was an Indoor (Outdoor) Slave

Don Webster, author badge,
04/07/16 -- I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all those kind folks who sent me "get well" cards and flowers during my recent, self-imposed stay at the Broken Antlers Rehabilitation Clinic. I'm especially indebted... Full Story

Nash Buckingham

Don Webster, author badge,
Theophilus Nash Buckingham (1880-1971) was an American author and conservationist from Tennessee. He is known for being an avid shotgunner and wingshot, and a best-loved outdoor writer of his time... Full Story

How much venison do hunters harvest?

Venison Bourguignon (Venison Stew), photo by Daniel Bledsoe,
06/17/15 -- The Dallas Safari Club (DSC) intends to find out. A study launching in 2015 will measure the actual amounts of venison and other wild protein harvested annually in North America. Researchers will assess the nutritional... Full Story

Pups & Partridges on the Calapooia Prairie

Liesl, 11 month old pudelpointer, photo by Gary Lewis
By Gary Lewis
02/18/15 -- They say a great pointing dog only comes along once or twice in a hunter's lifetime. Some dogs don't have the heart or the desire. Others don't seem to have the nose or the brain. We brought home our pudelpointer in... Full Story

DSC convention goers raise $1M in 1 minute

01/19/15 -- Responding to a heartfelt appeal for youth outdoor education, DSC convention goers on Saturday night raised $1 million in about 60 seconds. The fast flurry of fundraising was a highlight of the 2015 DSC convention and expo... Full Story

It’s Not over Till the Lady Sings

mountain lion on rocky edge, photo courtesy of UDWR and Carrie Wilson, CA DFW
By Gary Lewis
01/19/15 -- If you want to avoid being attacked by a mountain lion, conventional wisdom says, you should travel in groups. If you encounter a mountain lion by yourself or with children, stop and make yourself look as big as possible... Full Story

The buck we didn’t get and two we did

Tyler Low with his 3x4 buck shot at 100 yards with a Weatherby Vanguard .300 Winchester Magnum. Photo by Kyler Olson
By Tyler Low
08/10/14 -- “Can you see him? He is just below the sky line to the left of the big live oak.” The respectable three-point stood only 500 yards away, but my hunting partner, Kyler Olson, couldn’t quite get an eye on him... Full Story

Where Are All the Pheasants?

Sacramento Valley Pheasant, Steven T. Callan, Where Have All the Pheasants Gone
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
The other day a neighbor stopped by my house after two days of hunting pheasants in the Orland area. He said that he and his golden retriever, Milo, had probably walked ten miles and only flushed three birds. Knowingthat I had grown up... Full Story

Ham on the Hoof

Article and photos by Gary Lewis
12/17/13 -- We were climbing a steep gravel ranch road in Charlie’s Toyota when we saw it, as big as a full-grown bear and on a dead run. Charlie hit the brakes and switched off the engine. There was no time to load the rifle. The shaggy, gray... Full Story

Never say never

Never say never, rifle buk, Francisco Garcia,
By Francisco Garcia
Most of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue, and I would say persistence is a virtue. If you want to fill your deer tag each season you have to put your time in. If you don’t give in and hunt hard you should be... Full Story

Hunting trip gone bad

Deer holding tight in cover during times of heavy hunting pressure as I was about to find out. Francisco Garcia hunting story.
By Francisco Garcia
If you asked me what I’d rather be doing, most of the time I would emphatically say, deer hunting. For me nothing gets the juices flowing and the imagination spinning like the arrival of bow or rifle season for deer. When... Full Story


Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports


So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries,

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.


A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.