Range Finder + Spotter necessary?

cwitherow

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Hello everyone,

Being a midwest stand hunter by trade, I do not have any optics beyond 8x42 binos. We are going on our first pronghorn hunt this fall, and are wondering if a spotting scope and range finder are absolutely necessary. We think renting may be an option, as use of them would be limited other than hunts out west.
 

mtmuley

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Helpful, yeah. Necessary? No. I'd bring a rangefinder before a spotting scope. mtmuley
 

406LIFE

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Can you build a house with a rock instead of a hammer? yeah... but the hammer is just so much nicer. If you made me choose between the two, I'd say ranger finder 51% and scope 49%. But my 300WM is flat shooting, so I could just wing it. Scopes do double duty outside the hunting world. Naturalist, birders, biologist, etc all use them.
 

GAdrahthaar

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CW, I went on my first prong hunt this past season. I had similar questions and decided to get a rangefinder. I wouldn't recommend going without one, but it certainly can be done. My tag was only for a doe, but if I pull a buck tag I'll buy a spotter - you certainly don't need one to bag a buck but it would be immensely helpful in choosing which herd/buck to pursue from across a valley. Good luck and let me know if you have other questions.

Btw, i laughed at other posters recommending knee pads to stalk - and then ended up driving to town to buy some the second day.
 

kansasdad

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Estimating distances on a static basis (you in the stand) and known distances to certain landmarks, you are taking very well measured shots. Pronghorn live in a very different topography from which you are used to seeing. And using body size as a general aid in guesstimating distance compared to what you are used to (elevated viewing of whitetails in a generally enclosed space) will lead you down the primrose to underestimating your distances.

Wide open spaces mess with your head if you are not used to it. Your brain will tell you it's 150 when its 235 and depending on wind and hold result in errant/missed shots.
 
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uncle sage

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Helpful, yeah. Necessary? No. I'd bring a rangefinder before a spotting scope. mtmuley
+2 what muley said. A rangefinder will help you make a better informed, well placed shot with less chance of missing or worse, wounding a animal. Because so, one of these is rated high on my must have lists.

A spotting scope comes to play when looking for groups of Lopes out beyond normal viewing distances and when looking at bucks, trying to judge a bigger than average trophy animal. I have both, neither are top end products, yet they do the job well as intended.

Even with a spotting scope, judging lopes can be a real challenge. The best advice i was given, "you'll know him when you see him" is great advice IF you care to take the time to look over lots of animals. If you just want a buck and are willing to keep your shots within a couple hundred yards, if money is a big issue, you'd probably be safe to go, have fun, and still get er done without.
 

schmalts

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If you are worried about the score of a buck, yes you need a spotting scope.
 

sdkhunter

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If you are worried about the score of a buck, yes you need a spotting scope.
X2

Frustrating wasting hours stalking a goat only to close the distance and realize it's not an animal you are going to take anyway.....
 

Bulldog0156

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I agree, spotter is needed if you're worried about score. A good rangefinder is definitely a necessity, especially if this is your first pronghorn hunt. I find it extremely difficult to judge the distance of an antelope.
 

VAspeedgoat

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It is really hard to judge distance and trophy quality. Spend money on a rangefinder because crappy ones are almost the same as no range finder. If a respectable buck is all you want, upgrade your binos instead of a spotter because again a crappy one is just about the same as nothing.
 

cwitherow

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Thank you all for your quick responses! I can think other uses for a rangefinder (golf, ranging landmarks from whitetail stands, scouting for new stand locations). That being said, is there a model that won't break the bank? The Vortex Impact 850 seems like a reasonable price, but don't want to save money on something that wont get the job done.I am still apprehensive on buying a spotter, since I cant think of too many uses for it here in MN.
 

Millsworks

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I strongly recommend looking at the SIG range finders.
The features and prices are hard to beat.
I have found the one I have to be extremely accurate in all lighting conditions, unlike the others I have had in the past.
I also recommend buying a range finder that is rated at at least twice as far for distance capabilities than what you think you will be shooting. Animals in field conditions are tough to get readings on sometimes and the extra distance capability will help remedy that fact.
 

midwesthunter

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Being from the midwest myself, it is extremely hard to judge distance out west in the open. They make plenty of cheap rangefinders that will do what you need.
 

Yotkilr

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Like most everyone said Both are definitely nice to have but not required. Would definitely get a range finder, can be hard judging distances in new territory. I personally always have a spotter in my pickup mostly because i just like looking closer at everything i see weather I'm hunting or not. Don't need nothing fancy just something is nice to have. If there is a few of you going could maybe all pitch in and get one together if your all not going to use it very much?

Attached is a short video of just the main things we bring when going after lope. Again None of it is required just makes life easier or more enjoyable.

[video=youtube_share;m2EkohV5EFY]https://youtu.be/m2EkohV5EFY[/video]
 

NoWiser

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Most of the antelope kills I've been a part of have been shot at <80 yards and no range finder was necessary. You can definitely do it without one, you'll just need to spend a bit more time stalking. I really enjoy getting as close as possible. That said, if you are looking for an excuse to buy one, you'll never have a better reason than an antelope hunt. I wouldn't worry about a spotting scope unless you are concerned about score.
 

VikingsGuy

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Thank you all for your quick responses! I can think other uses for a rangefinder (golf, ranging landmarks from whitetail stands, scouting for new stand locations). That being said, is there a model that won't break the bank? The Vortex Impact 850 seems like a reasonable price, but don't want to save money on something that wont get the job done.I am still apprehensive on buying a spotter, since I cant think of too many uses for it here in MN.
FWIW - max range is usually range on a clear day against a reflective metal target. Practical real world objects (tree, deer, etc) cut that number in half. Also, the Sig series are topnotch. Would never go back to my pre-Sig rangefinders.
 
M

MN Public Hunter

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Coming from a whitetail hunter from the midwest who has hunted in WY for lopes a few times, yes, you need a range finder. Spotter, no. Examples on guessing range....first time I was there I said, what are those like 200 yards away...and my hunting buddy said, um no, 400 or so....ranged them and sure enough, they were 400. Maybe it's just me though :)
 
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BrentD

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I have both. But I don't always use them.

A heck of a lot of wild game, including pronghorn , were killed long before the invention of spotting scopes and range finders.
 

VikingsGuy

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A heck of a lot of wild game, including pronghorn , were killed long before the invention of spotting scopes and range finders.
Yup, that's why I can't wait for state G&F to start providing, "drive the game off a cliff" season :)
 
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