Hunting is all about getting close, but it's also about being smart. Anyone who has spent time chasing sheep or elk in the mountains of the West knows the value of being able to evaluate a potential trophy from afar before you invest all of the time and energy hiking two drainages over to get close enough for a shot on an animal that you hope will still be there when you arrive.
And there are certainly times when you want to check out a whitetail that may be far down a Texas Sendero or even at the far end of a long food plot on your back forty.
These are hunting situations that scream for a quality spotting scope, but a good spotting scope is just as valuable on the range, particularly when you're trying to analyze super tight groups at 100 yards or more.
So with all of the great optics out there these days, what do you choose?
For me that answer is simple, a good spotting scope needs to be able to perform a variety of duties (and do them well) at the range and in the field. To do both, that spotting scope needs to be rugged enough to take a beating, light enough to easily fit in my daypack without making me feel like I'm packing an anvil up the mountain and bright enough to offer clear, crisp viewing without distortions in low-light conditions. It also needs adjustments that can be handled quickly and easily — even when I'm wearing gloves.
Those requirements take you out of the realm of the ultra-cheap, (you don't want to waste your money there anyway), but they don't mean you need to take out a second mortgage to afford a spotting scope that packs a lot of quality into a really nice package.
Nikon's new MONARCH Fieldscope Series of spotting scopes offer tons of quality features, with great glass and rugged dependability. MSRP starts at $1,399.95 for 60mm models and $1,599.95 for 82mm models.
Having a scope that performs well in low-light conditions is of paramount importance. The new MONARCH Fieldscopes feature ED (extra-low dispersion) glass. ED glass minimizes chromatic aberration, which is that weird color fringing or distortion you see in lesser quality lenses that have not been built to bring all the wavelength of color into one focal point. Doing so is what delivers a clearer field of view and rich contrast, which can mean the difference between really being able to see the details of a distant mulies' rack just topping out above the sagebrush or not.
Multilayer coatings on all the lens and prism surfaces ensure excellent light transmission for incredible images. And Nikon's Total Reflection Prism (on the angled body models) provides bright, clear viewing. Trust me, when you need to spend hours behind a spotting scope on a hunt, you better be looking through glass that is easy on your eyes.
Options for Everyone
Nikon MONARCH Fieldscopes offer several different options to suit a variety of needs. Models include 82ED Angled and Straight Body and 60ED Angled and Straight Body variants. Each is equipped with the MEP-20-60 zoom eyepiece, which delivers 20-60x magnification on the 82mm and 18-48x magnification on the 60mm models.
Two additional eyepiece options are offered for the MONARCH Fieldscopes, including a MEP-38W wide angle and MEP-30-60W wide angle zoom.
The MONARCH Fieldscopes MEP eyepieces sport a new optical system that features a Field Flattener Lens System that provides both clarity and brightness across the full field of view — an important concern when you're picking distant quadrants of cover apart. They also over plenty of eye relief without sacrificing field of view, while turn-and-slide rubber eye cups make glassing easy for those who wear eyeglasses.
MEP eyepieces attach to the MONARCH Fieldscope with a solid-locking bayonet mount. And while the eyepiece itself is not waterproof, when it's locked down on the Fieldscope, an O-ring seals the eyepiece making the entire structure waterproof, so you never need to worry about water getting inside your scope in rainy or snowy conditions.
For those who like to snap photos of game animals through their spotting scope, a special adapter allows you to attach a Nikon camera so you can have a visual record of your scouting missions.
What is really great about the MONARCH Fieldscopes is how easily the eyepiece can be rotated then locked down by a solid setscrew. When you sit down at the shooting bench, simply rotate the eyepiece around to line up with where your eye can easily access the eyepiece. Lock it down and you never have to get up and crane your neck over to see your groups downrange.
This is equally advantageous in the field whether you're in your shooting stand and have your spotting scope locked down on the rail or if you suddenly need to drop your pack and lay your scope over it to check out a bugling bull on a distant hillside. It's practical, fast and it doesn't move when you lock the eyepiece down.
Zoom and fine focus adjustments are also excellent and easy — even with gloved hands.
MONARCH Fieldscope bodies are made of a lightweight aluminum alloy that's super durable (all up these scopes weigh in starting at 2 ¾ pounds, so they are very easy to carry in a daypack). Of course, they're totally sealed with nitrogen gas so Fieldscopes are waterproof and fog free.
External adjustments have a rubber textured feel and are easy to grip even when they're wet or when you're wearing gloves.
A rugged sunshade extends forward of the objective lens to cut out any sun spots or glare, which is a huge benefit, especially when you're trying to shoot photos through your spotting scope.
Each Fieldscope also comes with a padded neoprene case so you can keep them well protected in the field.
What sets Nikon's new MONARCH Fieldscopes apart from everyone out there, however, is their No-Fault lifetime warranty. Accidently take a spill and wreck your scope, or perhaps your horse decides to suddenly take a roll with your new spotting scope in one of the saddlebags? No problem. Send it back and Nikon will fix or replace your Fieldscope free of charge; no questions asked, for life!
Smart companies don't offer such policies on top-shelf products unless they are very sure the products they are putting out there are first class. So check out the new line of MONARCH Fieldscopes at your local dealer or see them online.
Investing in a good spotting scope now, will save you time, energy and keep you out there hunting longer for years to come.