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By Ken Piper

Ken Piper
Ken Piper

Getting older stinks.

I mean, I don’t feel old, but some things definitely don’t work as well as they used to.

Get your mind out of the gutter ... I’m talking about my eyes.

Now that I’m closer to 50 than 40, I definitely can’t see as well as I used to — and that’s been verified medically. I had a slight panic attack earlier this year when I was trying to read some fine print and just couldn’t get my eyes to focus. Thinking I might be suffering from a serious medical condition, I rushed to the doctor. His answer: “I’m sorry, Ken, but you’re getting to that age.”

Maybe that’s why I’ve come to appreciate good hunting optics more than I used to.

You might laugh, but I never used to carry binoculars in the woods. When gun hunting, I figured my scope was all I needed. When bowhunting, I figured a deer had to be within 40 yards to shoot anyway, so why carry binoculars?

Just in the past three years, however, I’ve come to appreciate the value (and better safety) of using binoculars. In addition to a better field of view and better light gathering, binoculars have helped me pinpoint deer movement and move stands to better locations. Not to mention they’ve helped pass some long hours in the stand as I watched deer and other wildlife from afar.

My new appreciation for good optics also extends to scopes.

If you’re like me, you can’t afford to spend upwards of $1,000 or more for a super high-end scope. There’s no question such equipment is wonderful and really is a cut above. In fact, if someone was handing them out for free, I’d take all I could get. But when I’m shelling out hard-earned cash,
I’ll take value over top-end every time.

The good news for those of us on a budget is there are some fantastic scopes out there for very little money. For just a few hundred dollars, you can buy a scope today that rivals the high-end equipment made a few years ago.

As this is the time of year to be getting your gun gear in shape, I’m proud to point out Nikon is running a very cool special on its Buckmasters line of scopes.

Nikon ScopeIf you purchase any Nikon Buckmasters scope before Oct. 23, you will receive a COOLPIX L24 digital camera free. You’re going to need a camera to send me pictures of your buck anyway, so why not get one free and top your gun with new glass?

Nikon Buckmasters scopes are available in a wide variety of choices, including models with the company’s Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticles. They feature lifetime warranties, and you don’t have to break the bank to buy one. For example, a Buckmasters 3-9x40 with BDC costs less than $250!

If your gun isn’t shooting like it used to, or if your eyes don’t work quite as well as in years past, it might be time for a new scope. Heck, with Nikon’s free camera promotion, you really don’t need an excuse to get one of these scopes.

And speaking of taking pictures of your buck, PLEASE take some time to get some good pictures.

We all want to see photos of your buck, so put him in a nice, natural setting, tuck his tongue back in his mouth and pose with him in a respectful manner. Don’t sit on him, don’t put your gun across his antlers and don’t wait until you’re back in the garage to take the photos.

If you shoot a deer in the evening and it’s dark by the time you make your recovery, you can still get good photos. Get him back to the truck, find a nice background and pull your truck around behind the picture-taker to shine on you and your buck. Your digital camera doesn’t really need the light to take the pictures (the flash usually will do great), but it won’t be able to focus without some light on the subject.

We welcome your deer photos here at Buckmasters and can publish every one that’s sent in, either in the magazine or on the website ... if it’s a good quality photo.

Every buck is a trophy, so show yours off in the best way possible — with good pictures.

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