A good spotting scope is a vital tool of the trade for Mike Robinson, professional deer manager and game chef. “I’m selecting wild deer which I harvest and put through my Owl Barn larder, and which then goes to my award-winning restaurants” – (yes, he says “award-winning”) – “as well as some of the finest restaurants in London and beyond,” says Mike.
To select the right animal, he wants to take a good close look at it to determine its age and condition – and that’s where his spotting scope is invaluable.
The scope he uses is the Leupold Gold Ring 12-40x60mm. It’s a compact optic that uses mirrors rather than a heavy prism to create a compact, lightweight but robust design – and the optical quality is superb.
It is not top of the class but mid-market Leupold has a good reputation for its glassware. In Fieldsports Channel’s research, Leupold binos score highly for ease of use, coming fourth behind Swarovaski, Opticron and Leica. It comes third for waterproofing behind Swarovski and Leica, and second place for durability and reliability behind Swarovski. Those are the quality rankings. Leuopld binos also score highly for value for money, coming fourth behind Opticron, Vortex and Minox, and it is top brand, in the opinion of Fieldsports Channel viewers, for customer service, which is a feather in the cap for UK importer Viking.
“I absolutely adore this bit of kit,” says Mike. “You imagine a spotting scope to be a great big bulky thing on a huge tripod. Well for years the British and American military have been using this. It goes from 12 all the way to 40x power. If you brace your elbows you can hold it perfectly steady for a really good look at a red stag or a fallow buck. You can see the hairs on his head at half a mile – it’s amazing, and it will fit easily in a small backpack, or just sling it round your neck.”
Mike likes the scope’s features such as the fitted nylon cover that keeps it protected while still allowing you to look through it.
“There’s also a tripod screw thread if you want to use a tripod, but I find I don’t need it with this. If I’m on the hill after stags, I can lean on a rock and look at them all day long and you can see exactly what the brows, bays and trays are like. I just love this bit of kit.”
RRP £1,500. Find out more at VikingShoot.com