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One guy who spends more time than most in the woods is Steven Rinella the host of the MeatEater on the Sportsman Channel. One thing Rinella never leaves home without is his Vortex Optics. Whether he is chasing Dall Sheep in Alaska or elk in Montana his binoculars and spotting scope are always within arms reach. I recently interviewed Rinella about what optics he prefers using most and how he uses optics to help him fill more tags. 

~You are a big fan of Vortex Optics. What spotting scope is your favorite and why? 

SR- Lately I've been using the 65 mm Razor HD with a straight eye piece. I own several other models but this one fits nicely with my style of hunting, where I'm seeking compromise between packability and power. I prefer an angled eye-piece for long glassing sessions, but the straight eye piece allows me to bounce back and forth between binos and a spotting scope on my tripod without having to change my physical position. With optics, there are constant trade-offs. I'm always tweaking my system to find the right way of doing things.

~I am sure over the years you have used many different binoculars and spotting scopes. Do you feel like Vortex offers a great value for the price compared with higher dollar glass? 

SR-Yeah, you really can't beat it. The glass is fantastic, and the prices make it possible for guys who otherwise might not be able to afford good glass to get their hands on some.  And it's all backed by a solid warranty. They won't leave you high and dry with faulty gear. And they just keep getting better year after year, with more and more products coming out.  

~When hunting out west do you spend much time glassing? What is your favorite glassing technique? Do you sit in one spot for hours and glass or glass as you are hiking? 

SR-Every year, I spend more of my hunting time sitting behind binoculars and less time walking around and spooking game. On a lot of western hunts, I might spend my whole day sitting in just two or three spots. I can tear the landscape apart with my eyeballs without emptying the country of game.   

~Are there hunts you have been on where glassing is what made the difference between going home without a filled tag and filling a tag? 

SR-That happens all the time. In fact, when hunting big game in open country, it's the norm. 

 You often use an Outdoorsmans tripod. What do you like most about the Outdoorsmans tripod system?

SR-It's indestructible. It works smoothly. I've never had a problem with it or a single gripe.  I've put mine through so much abuse, it amazes me that it's still working. But it's as good as the day I got it. 

If you could only afford one pair of binoculars, which model would you choose?

 SR-Razor 10x42 for western country. If I lived back in the east, I'd use 8x42. 


About the author: Tracy Breen is a full-time outdoor writer, marketing consultant and motivational speaker. To learn more about him, visit

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