One Thing is For Certain
When you have good glass life is easier. I don’t care if you’re trying to sight in your daughter’s Ruger 10/22, or competing in a PRS Match. When you look at the role optics play in backcountry, western or any open-country hunting—you should understand the need to prioritize what you’re looking through.
On a recent hunt in western Texas with Miller Brothers Outfitters, I took the TEKOA 4-16x44 on our quest for aoudad. First off, if you haven’t done this hunt—or it’s not on your radar, consider it now! These animals are free range, challenging, majestic, incredibly tough—and live in amazing country to hunt and explore. Plus it extends the big game season and is a heck of a way to spend a few days in February.
The Miller Ranch has great numbers of aoudad but to maintain the trophy numbers they offer only a limited number of hunts a year.
Spot & Stalk with an Emphasis on "Spot"
This hunt is not unlike others, meaning you are in the field all day, and most of that time is spent (or should be) looking through your binoculars. It’s the classic spot and stalk hunt. With an emphasis on spot. These rather larger animals are a challenge to pick out of the sage/scrub and rimrock of western Texas. And seeing them before they see you is even more challenging.
So optic selection and capability quickly becomes paramount. We’re always quick to talk about our rifle (I had an excellent Savage 110 in 300 Win Mag), the ammunition we carry (in this case a brand new, all-world long range option from Norma—BONDSTRIKE Extreme) and these are very important. But look at the percentage of time these come into play vs. binoculars! And that’s why I was happy to have the TORIC 8x42 binos.And these made a very impressive impression in camp as well.
TRACT Was a Significant Upgrade
The guides were unbelievable hunters and passionate outdoorsman. Their excitement and commitment to the hunt were second to none. I gave them a chance to look through my binoculars in a diverse set of conditions (low light, bright sunshine, fighting glare/shadows/etc.) and they really liked the clarity and sharpness. On multiple occasions they asked what power I had (I had an 8x42 set) because they were carrying 10x50s from some of the larger, well-known brands and my TRACTs were a significant upgrade!
David Draper of Petersen's Hunting Quest For Trophy Aoudad
My two other friends in camp were also hunting with TRACT binos and scopes and came away also singing praises. And it was hard not to. We each took beautiful animals. Both of them connected on day one at a range of about 250 yards. Mine? Well I ended up shooting my ram at a range of 32 yards! Very cool, but you’re probably wondering why I am raving about optics with a shot like that. Any tin/steel tube on a semi-capable rifle would have sufficed—and some gas station binos would have confirmed the animal was there and worth the harvest. Well remember, it’s not all about the destination in hunting—it’s how, why and when we get there.
Great Lessons Learned
In this case, I literally glassed hundreds of animals, learned how to generally judge size, age and sex—and also how to pick them out of a rockslide or dense vegetation. Without top-notch glass, these lessons would have been lost—or certainly not as sharp and memorable. Plus, I actually identified my animal as one we’d like to take (the guides confirmed of course) given its size and age—again because I had seen so many animals so clearly at so many ranges.
So remember, as you get ready for fall—don’t pass over the glass decision. Rifle, caliber and preparation are still big factors, but don’t forget to bring enough glass. And when it comes to the amount of features, capabilities and real-world usefulness for the dollar, TRACT is clearly at the top.