My previous two blog posts were dedicated to preparing guns and ammo for predator hunting and other gun hunting seasons. Optics are another key part of any hunter’s tool kit, and they also need to be readied for a long season of hard use. And with optics, we’re not just talking about one item. During any given hunt I’ll likely have three optical devices in use: a laser rangefinder, binocular and a riflescope. Here’s how to prepare optics for hunting season.
By definition, optical devices all have lenses, and one of the best things you can do for lenses is give them a proper cleaning. No, spitting on the glass and wiping it with a shirttail is not a proper cleaning. There are lots of good optical cleaning solutions in the marketplace and, considering the cost of good optics, it’s well worth spending a few bucks on a product specifically made to clean glass; that and a clean cotton or micro-fibre cloth will get lenses sparkling clean.
If you’re a cold-weather hunter, like me, you’ll know that lenses can fog at really inconvenient times. The best product I’ve found so far to help stop fogging on external lens surfaces is made by the military optical supplier Revision. Their product is an anti-fog cloth that is wiped across clean lenses to apply a nano-sized coating of something high-tech that helps prevent lenses from fogging. Each cloth is good for about 25 applications and the stuff really works. I use it on eyeglasses and on any lens surface I’m apt to breath on when hunting. Treating the ocular lenses of your optics with this product will help keep lenses clear when your hot breath finds its way onto cool glass.
Laser rangefinders all operate on batteries and it’s a good idea to replace them at the start of every season. This is doubly important if your rangefinder doesn’t have a built-in battery meter. Weak batteries are a common cause of rangefinders not operating up to par, and when trying to range smaller critters such as coyotes or foxes, a rangefinder needs all the help we can give it. Fresh batteries will go a long way to ensure maximum performance.
Lastly, you need to check your riflescopes to ensure they’re mounted securely to their respective rifles. And yes, this includes bases as well as rings. If you have to remove the scope to access the base screws, do it. After all, you’ll be going to the range to sight-in for the season anyway. Make sure everything is tight, but not overly tight. Use a torque wrench such as the Wheeler FAT Wrench and you won’t damage anything by getting too ham-fisted.
We hunters have a lot of money invested in optics, so they’re worth a little care and preventive maintenance so they won’t let us down at a critical time.