Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Understanding Binoculars Pt.1 What Size to Buy

If you're like me at some point or another purchased binoculars or looked into purchasing them. Unfortunately when you walk into whatever store you've decided to purchase your binoculars from and see the wide range of options it can be a bit overwhelming.  So I've decided to write two blogs in order to make your decision much easier.  This one is the shortest of the two and it's simply about narrowing down your choice based on what size you need for whatever activity you'll be using your binoculars for.

Compact Binoculars (Common Size 8x25, 8x25): 
Pros:  Compact Binoculars are the smallest of the three sizes which make them easy to travel with and give you less fatigue due to the low weight.  Compact binoculars are perfect for hiking, hunting, bird watching, event viewing and travel where you may not be willing to carry large and costly optics hanging around your neck. 

Cons:  Most compacts have objective lenses of between 25mm to 28mm.  Which means the smaller objective lenses cannot gather as much light as ones with larger lenses and so with all else being equal they will usually not produce as bright an image, which is especially noticeable in poor light conditions.

Mid-size (Common Size 7x35, 10x32):
Pros:  Mid-size binoculars tend to be a little more popular than their smaller and larger counter parts.  Mostly because they're a bit of a balanced option between the two.  The larger objective lens gathers more light which makes mid-sized binoculars a better option for low light usage like hunting in dense woods or early morning surveying.  As well the larger lenses also make mid-sized binoculars far more forgiving to unconscious movement than compacts which are harder to focus and find subjects when moving.  Lastly mid-sized binos have  larger field of view than compacts which gives you a larger viewing landscape making it easier to locate subjects.  Mid-sized binos are a good choice for hunting, bird spotting when fishing, bird watching, 3d archery, hiking and just about anything else you wanna do considering the weight of the binos.

Cons: On the other hand mid-sized binoculars are a bit more cumbersome to carry around when travelling thus not really a binocular you'll be taking on your trip to Europe this year.

Full-size (Common Size 8x42, 10x50):
Pros:  Full-sized binoculars take the strengths of mid-sized binos and amplify them.  Full-sized binoculars give you the larger viewing range and depth of field of the three sizes of binos.  Also they are the most forgiving of movement allowing you to find your subject easier.  The large depth of field and long range is what lends full sized binos to being the go to option for whale watchers bird watchers who are watching birds that are hard to get close to like raptors that nest in high trees or rock facings.   Full sized binos are also a good option for spot and stalk hunting where they are a great alternative to using a single I spotting scope.

Cons: With full-sized binos the size is definitely the biggest con.  Some are not small enough to hand hold and definitely are too cumbersome to travel with.  With some full-size binos you'll definitely need a tripod, bipod or monopod to use effectively.  Otherwise my suggestion is to hit the weights if you plan on free hand using them.

With any binoculars you get what you pay for, more expensive binos will often times have higher end lenses with different coatings which cut back on glare, allow for more light to be brought in and have increased clarity of image.  So keep in mind that the basic differences based on size are just a base of information when it comes to functionality in binoculars.  I'll be sure to go more in depth with the other differences that will help you make educated decisions in the next blog post about understanding binoculars.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival

Here is another email I received that I thought I'd share.  This year will be my first  year going.  Hope to see you there!

Free festival features contests, games, demonstrations and activities for the family.
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Statewide DNR News

Sept. 10, 2015
Contact: Zach Cooley, 734-379-9692 or Holly Vaughn, 313-396-6863

Annual waterfowl festival returns to Pointe Mouillee Sept. 19-20

Man uses a duck call with help from toddler who he's holdingThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival committee will host the 68th annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival Sept. 19-20 at Pointe Mouillee State Game Area in Brownstown Township, Michigan.
Activities begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and run through 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the festival is free, and the entire family is welcome. Donations for parking are greatly appreciated, but not required.
Located at the mouth of the Huron River at Lake Erie, Pointe Mouillee State Game Area is the largest freshwater marsh restoration project in North America and one of Michigan’s premier waterfowl hunting and viewing destinations. All proceeds from the annual festival benefit wetland restoration and wildlife habitat improvement at the area.
The weekend’s festivities include the Michigan Duck Hunters’ Tournament, sponsored by Cabela’s, with hunters competing in shooting and boat-racing events; the Midwest Decoy Contest, with decoy and bird carvers from Canada and the U.S.; and the Wildlife Art Show, featuring artists and suppliers from all corners of the U.S. and Canada.
There will be a live auction at 1:30 p.m. Sunday for items including a hunt on Fighting Island and an eagle birding tour at DTE Monroe.
The Lake Erie Championship Layout Shoot, sponsored by Gander Mountain, will take place Saturday, along with hip-boot races for men, women and youth.
girl in camo holds a golden retriever puppyHunters can buy, sell or swap goods with outdoor enthusiasts from around the Midwest at the “Greatest Outdoor Trading Post,” which features more than 100 exhibitor booths selling and trading equipment and supplies. Interested vendors can contact Bob Kemper at 734-652-7243. Festival T-shirts and hats – as well as raffle tickets for a Lazy Boy chair, a firearm and a boat motor – will be available for purchase
Fish-decoy carving, duck-decoy carving, fly-tying and small-boat building are among the daily demonstrations. Attendees can bring their retrievers to participate in the Huron River dock dog jumping contest, learn tips on dog handling from trainers or find a new hunting buddy in "Puppy Alley." Kids’ games and activities include a BB gun shoot, an archery shoot, face painting, clowns, Great Lakes slingshot contest and waterfowl-related games.
The Midwest Goose Calling Championship, sponsored by Lynch Mob Calls and Hardcore, will be held Saturday at 1 p.m., with various prizes to be awarded. The Midwest Duck Calling Championships, sponsored by GK Calls and Knutson’s Recreational Sales Inc., will be held Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., with four separate contests. All four winners will be eligible for the World Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
Visit DNR Wildlife Division staff members at the Headquarters Check Station to ask questions about hunting and trapping at local southeast Michigan state game areas and to pick up maps and information. Animal skulls and furs also will be on display. Hunting, trapping and fishing licenses will be available for purchase, along with Pure Michigan Hunt applications and Vermet Unit access permits. Federal Duck Stamps also will be available.
“This festival is known for its 68 years of rich history," said DNR wildlife biologist supervisor Joe Robison. "This is a great opportunity for adults and kids to experience the great outdoors and the rich waterfowl hunting traditions of western Lake Erie and the lower Detroit River."
For more information, visit www.ptemouilleewaterfowlfestival.org or contact Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival Executive Director Bob Whitwam at 734-587-3221.
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/Editors, please note: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested caption follows.
The 68th annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival Sept. 19-20 offers family fun focused on waterfowl hunting traditions./

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.


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