How To Win The Glassing Game

Being able to locate animals in difficult terrain is the starting point to every successful big game hunt. With today’s modern optics, we have more advantage than ever before. That said, without proper technique, many animals still go unseen.

Quickly raising your binoculars and glancing at a hillside isn’t going to help you identify the animal of a lifetime. Instead, grab your glass, get comfortable and then try out these techniques.

Hasty Search
Always start out with a stable rest for your binocular such as a tripod. Identify landmarks like a draw or creek to set as boundary lines for your search. You’ll want to set a top, bottom, left and right boundary line. Start looking at the area from right to left, looking close by first so that you don’t miss an animal that’s right in front of you. The hasty search should be a rather quick look over an area.

Overlap It
This is where you start picking apart the area. Stick with your system of right to left, overlapping the edges of viewed areas. Overlapping will give you a better chance of noticing something you might have passed up in the first look, and it removes the possibility of you missing an area entirely.

Switch To A Spotter
Put away your binocular and get out your spotting scope; it’s time to get down to the details. This is your chance to look into those dark timber patches that are difficult to see with a binocular, or simply to enhance what you’re seeing with greater detail. Don’t forget your system: right to left, overlapping with each pass. Because of the reduced field-of-view, you need to be meticulous in your detailed spotter search.

See The Unseen
Glassing is a skill that takes time to develop. Spending time behind your glass and training yourself to be able to recognize the smallest parts of an animal is critical. Animals stay alive by staying disguised, so training your eye to recognize the smallest parts is critical to your spotting success. The fur or an antler of an animal will shine like a beacon in direct sunlight, but if the sun isn’t shining, they’re easier to miss. Look for color or something that stands out from the terrain. A high-country mule deer that is grey will stand out in green manzanita or alpine terrain.

Watch For Movement

Movement is the easiest thing for our eyes to pick up. This can be something as small as a buck shaking a fly off of his ear or a leg moving while grazing. That black tree stump or shadow that suddenly moves is really a black bear. Being slow and meticulous with your glassing from a steady rested position will help you pick up the tiniest movements.

Employing the use of these techniques is sure to increase your odds of hunting success this fall. Good luck and happy spotting!