How to Glass for Deer

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15 Tips That Will Help You Spot More Game

(Heartland Bowhunter photo)

A big part of deer hunting is being able to spot deer. To do that, you need to be able to pick out the slightest bit of movement from a long way off. Or, sometimes you may need to be able to pick out the flicker of an ear entangled in brush and debris just 75 yards away. Regardless, knowing how to glass for deer is an essential skill. Below are 15 tips on how to do just that.

  1. Buy the best optics you can afford. One of the best things you can do is buy the best binoculars you can afford. At times, spending more money on a product won’t ensure better results. It will when it comes to binos.
  2. Clean your glass. Keep them clean. I always have a soft piece of cloth for when they get dirty. It’ll make a difference.
  3. Remember timing. Know how deer behave. Observe when they do and don’t do certain things. Understand bedding, feeding and watering habits.
  4. Pay attention to the wind. Always keep the wind in your face. Or at the very least, have a crosswind. Also, glass downrange and see which way the wind is blowing closer to the deer. It could be completely different downrange, which will affect how you stalk and approach the deer, if you plan to.
  5. Remember the sun. Try to keep the sun at your back when the wind allows it. It’s better if the deer has the sun in its eyes rather than you.
  6. Use the terrain and get up high. Find a good vantage point to glass from. Glassing from a lower elevation isn’t generally very effective.
  7. Stay completely hidden. Wear camo and brush in. Don’t think you can’t be seen just because you’re several hundred yards away. And you never know, deer might end up showing their faces closer than you expect them to.
  8. Have a good rest. It’s important to keep those binos still. You won’t spot anything if you’re shaking all around. Use your hat bill to stabilize by grabbing it with your fingers and the binos with your thumbs. Also, kneeling or lying prone helps too.
  9. Think small miss small. We’re implementing some shooting mentality here. Don’t look for an entire animal. Instead, look for an ear, leg, antler or tail. Thinking small will help you spot more deer.
  10. Train on movement. Train your eyes to pick up slight movements. It’s a learned skill. But the sooner you pick it up the sooner you’ll put more deer in the back of the truck.
  11. Move your eyes instead of your binos. When searching an area, keep the binos still and move your eyes. Don’t scan with the binoculars. This helps you spot movement much better.
  12. Do a quick search. Start by doing a quick spot-search in the most likely areas. You know deer. Sometimes they’re predictable. Sometimes they’re not. But it can save you a lot of time if you do a quick look before the real work begins.
  13. Then grid off the area. Search the area in grids. Use physical markings to help distinguish these areas.
  14. Start close and work outward. Don’t just think long. Think close, too. Deer aren’t always a long way off. Sometimes they’re right under our noses.
  15. Pay close attention to shady spots. Always pay extra close attention to likely bedding areas. This will increase your odds of success during the middle hours of the day.

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