Any big game hunt in the west requires glassing. In fact, it requires glassing before the season begins, once the season begins and every minute you are in the backcountry. Good optics are a must, and everyone has their personal favorites. However, if you don’t practice good techniques, that glass doesn’t really mean a lot. Here are a few down and dirty tips to maximize your efforts.
Use the Sun
Keeping the sun to your back will enhance the clarity of the slopes you are glassing. Glassing in to the sun distorts and blurs the image.
Steady as Ya Go
Getting in a steady and comfortable position is key. Some prefer tripods with their binoculars. I prefer a sitting position with my elbows propped on my knees or on my backpack. Practice what is most comfortable and steady for you personally.
Consider the Wind
If you are glassing in significant wind, take a minute to think where those animals may be. They will prefer to avoid the wind, and thus, if the wind is blowing hard to the west, focus glassing efforts to the west-facing slopes.
Use Your Cap
If you are on the move and need to glass, you can simply use the brim of your cap to help steady your binoculars.
Use Your Eyes
It sounds ridiculous, but this is a lesson I really learned the hard way. When glassing an area, hold your optics still and scan the entire field of vision with your eyes before moving the binoculars. Too much movement of the binoculars can result in missing that hidden animal.
Easy Does It
When I first started hunting, I was always so excited to get out and glass my guts out. Problem was, I was trying to see as much as possible as fast as possible. Slowing down your efforts and following a specific up, down, then over technique really helped me get a slow and methodical technique and I started seeing a lot more animals.
I realize this sounds ridiculous, but it is a great idea to practice before the season. It took me some time to learn how to locate an object in my binoculars, then find it again when I put the binos back up to my eyes. This was extremely frustrating. I learned to find the object in glass, keep my binoculars steady and glance over the top for a true landmark. I was then able to find the item in my binoculars when I looked again.
Pick Apart the Terrain
Take the time to look in great detail. Closely observe shadows, vague tree movement, brush, and rocks. Sometimes we have the tendency to quickly glance at the open space. However, animals will more often be concealed.
Keep At It
I have found that when I scan an area 2, 3 or even 4 more times, my eyes will catch something they didn’t before. Don’t “one and done” it.
Glassing is definitely an art form and requires some practice and discipline. Once you get that down, you will be finding those hidden critters in no time.