I always carry a set of binoculars in my truck. They’re not only for hunting, but for identification.
It certainly clears up information gathered for photos or some waterfowl that I may be hunting. It is handy for deer hunting, as well, as many animals gathering across a farm field gives me something to identify as a trophy or just meat for the table.
There are a lot of things to consider when using binoculars. No. 1, you need to have your eyepieces balanced. That is, to produce a sharp image for both of your eyes simultaneously, you must adjust the dioptre on one to match the precise focus of the other.
You can do this by covering the objective lens of the barrel (usually the right side). Then focus on a sharp object about 50 yards away. Next, switch sides, but don’t touch the focus wheel. Instead use the dioptre wheel to focus. If you can’t find the dioptre wheel, look for an extra ring on the eyepiece or focus wheel. From then on, the regular focus wheel will adjust both eyepieces sharply for your vision, and you may not have to do this again.
I usually ditch the carrying case and lens covers that come with the glasses. They are effective protection, but they are a hindrance in the field or the truck. Many times you may have to whip up the binoculars into action; sometimes many times in an hour.
Get used to looking at everything with your excellent vision, especially any new habitat that opens before you. Expert hunters often take two steps and glass again. Even one step can expose an antler or a nose in addition to any movement. The idea is to spot game before they see you.
Next, keep the lenses clean. GE makes a good cleaner for a liquid, Crystal Devise, for your boat. These will work very well on your binoculars, as well. Just make sure there is not any sand or dirt before you start using the cleaner.
Binoculars – a very good hunting tool.
Again, I did not hear many shots the first three days of the firearm deer season. I saw quite a few deer, mostly during evening hours. I can only speculate that evenings in my area is a better time to hunt than morning.
I did hear many shots coming off the Illinois River. Most waterfowl hunters continue to do well on Canada geese. Duck hunting has been poor. I don’t know why, as the northern states had adequate rainfall during the summer months.
I don’t have any information on upland game hunting (rabbits and pheasants). There have been more rabbits this year than in years past.
There are a few sauger being caught near the mouth of the Fox River, but as the water cools, the fish tend to move deeper. They move into wintering holes consisting of deep water. Some river holes go from 26 to 32 feet deep. The fish seem to stay there until the water reaches into the 50s.
• Fred Krause is a Shaw Media correspondent.