Why should you use a binocular harness when hunting?
Let me tell you a story that gives you the answer.
It's a story about a hunting trip to South Africa. Where I screwed up.
But let's get a bit of terminology out of the way first.
At RedKettle we call it a bino caddy.
The difference from a regular strap is that the harness or caddy has two parts.
- The caddy: contains your binoculars
- The shoulder harness: holds the caddy in place on your chest
The harness goes around your shoulders, not your neck.
And it should ideally attach to the top and bottom of the caddy.
Otherwise, you won't get the full benefit.
On to South Africa.
A lesson learned in South Africa
Hunting abroad is like an adventure. And, and the trips take me out of my comfort zone. Where I learn.
Terrain, species and hunting methods are different.
But the lessons are usually always about the basics.
This time was no different.
Gear wise, I was relatively organised, with the majority of my kit on a safari belt. Travelling light.
But for some reason, my binoculars were a bit of an afterthought.
They were dangling around my neck. Getting in the way when I was crawling or crouching.
It really slowed down my stalking and my set-up.
On that note, let's just discuss what I mean by stalking and set-up.
It will help explain why you can benefit from using a bino harness.
The process - where the bino harness fits in
At RedKettle, we split "hunting" into a process with 7 steps.
It helps us understand how we can best help hunters when we build gear.
Looking at these steps will help us identify where the bino harness will help you.
The 7 steps are:
- Scanning: When you look for animals to shoot. Sitting on a vantage point or moving around in the terrain.
- Stalking: When you move within range to an animal, you have decided to harvest.
- Setting up: When you get into your final position, get your rifle ready and reconfirm your decision to shoot.
- Shooting: When you apply marksmanship principles, confirm safety and take the shot.
- Follow up: When you call your shot, assess the situation and conduct any required follow-up, pursuit or search.
- Confirmation: When you confirm that the animal is dead so you can unload your rifle and start field processing.
- Field processing: When you bleed and gralloch the animal and prepare the carcass for transport
Binoculars on a strap usually become a problem in two cases.
When stalking means crawling. And when you transition between gear. For example, switching from binoculars to the rifle.
On a regular strap, they can swing around, drag after you and get stuck on vegetation.
Even on a shoulder harness that doesn't fix them in place, this can be an issue.
And that was what happened to me on that day in South Africa.
It cost me a big kudu…
It had been an uneventful morning, and we hadn't had much luck. At lunchtime, the wind started playing up, and the animals kept winding us.
It was early afternoon when things had calmed down again, and one of the trackers spotted a group of kudu.
At that time, I'd never even seen one, but it was clear that everyone else got excited about the size of one of the bulls in the group.
We had to stalk into a shooting position, among small bushes and scrubs. It was a "hands and knees affair", crawling to a spot I could shoot from. My binoculars swung around my neck like a pendulum. They dragged after me through the dirt and got stuck on shrubs.
I felt slow, clumsy and frustrated.
When I finally got to a point where I could shoot, the big bull left before I could pull the trigger…
I'd been too slow.
And that's precisely what a binocular harness can fix.
It can help make you faster.
How so, you might ask.
Faster, how? And how big a deal is it?
I'd say from the set-up phase, and onwards, speed is the biggest reason we miss an opportunity.
It's rarely because we're not good shots or because we don't move carefully.
The big problem is we don't operate our gear efficiently.
We don't buy ourselves enough time to take a good shot.
So we miss an opportunity, miss an animal or even worse. Wound it.
It doesn't have to be that way.
A good bino caddy will keep your binoculars out of your way when you don't need them.
It will make your movements effortless and let you focus on the task at hand.
It can also help you organise additional gear and give you one less thing to think about.
These improvements will make you faster.
And faster means more deer on the deck.
Too good to be true?
Bino caddy = More deer on the deck?
Isn't there more to it?
Yes, there is.
Let's be clear. A bino harness is one cog in a big engine.
It's not a silver bullet.
It will make your life a lot easier, which will help you get faster.
But you need to use it as part of a wider plan to optimise your gear.
It is one of many tools you need to deploy to be a successful hunter.
And it's not just about buying it.
You need to make it part of your routines. So using it becomes second nature.
The right equation is Bino caddy + routines + mindset = more deer on the deck.
There are some cases where you won't benefit from using a bino harness.
Scenarios where you don't need a bino harness
There are a couple of scenarios where you probably won't benefit from a binocular harness.
- If you’re always walking and never crawling.
- If you hunt from a treestand / high-seat.
In those cases, a regular strap will do just fine.
Unless you use the bino harness to carry extra gear.
Speed is king
So in summary, speed is king.
And a binocular harness can help you get faster. By getting more organised.
Click below to see our version, the RedKettle Bino Caddy M19.
The RedKettle Bino Caddy M19
- Built to help you get faster
- Your binoculars snug to your body.
- Supports one-hand operation.
- Keeps your binoculars free of water and dirt.
- You can mount pouches on the harness.