The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
Several years ago I was sitting on a log with a hunting buddy during the Muzzleloader deer season. Creed had a nice pair of Nikon 8 x 50 Monarch binoculars and I was experimenting, looking down through the woods with them. I picked up a spec of something unusual while I was focused on a clear spot in the woods. It turned out to be one of my arrows from Archery season. I was sold. I acquired a pair of binoculars after that. Actually, I bought that same pair from Creed and he upgraded his.
I used a binocular harness for years to carry them on deer and turkey hunts. The harness worked well but the binoculars took some abuse banging against the rungs on tree stand ladders and hanging on my chest in all kinds of weather. Little did I know that a guide in Alaska had come up with a better solution over 40 years ago. John Snow describes what Guide Jarret Owens did in the GEAR section of the latest issue of Outdoor Life. Owens stitched together a leather pouch to hold his binoculars and protect them. He attached straps to it. It’s pictured in the article. At first other hunters made fun of his invention, but it wasn't long before they were asking him to make them a “chest pack.” Owens started Alaska Guide Creations as a result and a whole new product category for hunters.
Lots of hunters have now added a chest pack as a standard piece of their hunting gear. This summer I purchased a binocular chest pack from Mystery Ranch and have used it all season. (Mystery Ranch Quick Draw Bino Harness - mysteryranch.com) I like it. You can push through brush with it and it operates one handed. It has small pockets on each side of the pack and a zippered pocket. You could put your deer tag in there if you wanted to. I keep my bottle of wind checking powder in the right side pocket. I stuck a glass-cleaning packet down in the zippered pouch. You can buy a bear spray holster that attaches to the bottom as well, but the bears haven't been a problem in north Missouri. A pistol holster can also be mounted on the harness. It's a nice piece of gear that I will continue to use, thanks to the ingenuity of one Alaskan guide.