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Deer stalking

GEORGE WALLACE

If you have ever tried to handle a telescope unobtrusively in woodland, when deer may be only a few yards away, you will already know the answer to this one!

The telescope is the tool of Scottish highland stalkers for two reasons. First, they are the traditional instrument – part of the uniform, if you like – whose use dates back to before decent binoculars were available.

Second, for a given magnification a telescope will be smaller and lighter than equivalent binoculars.

Just imagine the size and weight of binoculars which would be required to assess a Stag’s head at a distance of more than a mile; and the extra weight of the tripod necessary for a steady hold.

You see them advertised, sometimes, as Coast Guard binoculars.

An equivalent scope would be a quarter of the size and weight and is much easier to hold steady from a prone position.

Using a telescope does take practice but for fine work at long range under field conditions there’s really no substitute.

Binoculars, on the other hand, have a wider field of view and are far easier to use from a standing or sitting position around the fields and woods, where ranges are shorter.