SHORT BLASTS What to Look For When Buying Optics 26 WESTERN HUNTING JOURNAL L ANDING ZONE We hunters are hard on our equipment. We expose ourselves and our gear to ex- treme temperatures, harsh weather, and often drop, crush, and pound our gear. Optics that we use get abused which is why it’s important to choose the right ones and make sure that you also com- pliment the glass to increase our suc- cess in the field. BINOS Binoculars should be used more than your rifle scope and spotting scope combined. A good pair of “field glass- es” are weatherproof or waterproof as well as shock proof and filled with a non-fogging or anti-fogging gas such as nitrogen. The glass itself needs to be multi-coated which helps cut through atmospheric noise (a term often used by photographers) as well as bead up any rain or moisture so you can see in adverse conditions. SPOTTING SCOPES Spotting scopes are often bulky and heavy but they really help when it comes to finding and judg- ing game. When there are antler restric- tions in place or brow tine requirements for elk a spotting scope is a necessity. Ones with a large frontal lens allows for more light gathering. A tripod is a must to use the full potential of the spotting scope. RIFLE SCOPES Lastly is the rifle scope. A scope with quality glass that is multi-coated and sealed for moisture is essential. Variable power scopes make it easier for the hunter to zoom in on game but keep in mind that it also makes it harder to hold the rifle still and keep the game in sight. A fixed scope makes for a good tool on top of the rifle but you are limited to one field of view. I personally recommend a variable pow- ered scope. When you combine all three togeth- er—binoculars, spotting scope, and rifle scope—you will find more game and increase your odds of making a quality shot on a quality animal when it counts most. JASON BROOKS Spread ’Em: With wind at your back, create a ‘LZ’ with Dekes. W ind is one of the most im- portant determining factors when placing duck decoys, and placing your dekes ac- cordingly can make or break your hunt. Most seasoned waterfowl hunters want the wind at their back or quartering away if they can at all help it. Placing your decoys in front of you allows for the ducks to land in your spread facing you. It also makes for easy duck identification and on final ap- proach it gives you a straight shot which is one of the easiest shots in all waterfowling. Another important factor in decoy place- ment is creating a landing zone. Too often hunters place decoys randomly. While this may look authentic, it creates issues once the ducks commit to your decoys. Ducks of- ten land outside of your decoys. Best advice is to set your decoys in a tight pattern that forces the ducks to land where you want them to land. Your landing zone should be in direct relation to where you set up your blind, or where you’re shooting from. And in a perfect world, the wind will be at your back.