Glassing tactics

ol' blue

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Hey guys, new to this site and I'm reading lots of good information. Question I have is when hunting deer, mule deer specifically, how long to you all sit in one spot and glass? 2,3,4 hours? When do you call a certain spot a loss and move on so you aren't wasting daylight? Thanks for any information.
 

Bambistew

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IMO it really depends. If I know there are deer in the area, I will sit and glass until I find them, or keep going back until I do. If I'm looking for the most deer, I will glass a spot for maybe 15 min, and move on, but depends if I've hiked in or am mobile. If moving isn't feasible, I'll sit through the prime morning/evening time.
 

Bigjay73

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Yeah, lots of variables. Minimum an hour if it's open juniper hills, will spend a few hours in thicker terrain if I know deer are somewhere in there. In the thick stuff, you have to glass every tree and brush, looking not for deer, but a piece of a deer,an eye, tail, antler, ear etc. Can take quite a while to pick everything apart, and I'll usually go over the same area more than once.
 

wllm1313

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Agree with above, also depends on your vantage point, what is your field of view, and how far can you see. If because of terrain I'm limited to a relatively narrow viewshed I will move regularly, if I'm on a good knob where I can see everything in a big basin I might sit there all day.
 

BuzzH

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Depends on the deer species as well...glassing coues is much different than glassing mule deer.

A tripod is your friend for everything involving more than 15 minutes of "glassing"...IMO.
 

wllm1313

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That's an interesting statement. Can you elaborate?
I think he means in how hard it is to pick out the animal from it's surroundings. You might be starring at a hill for an hour before you are able to pick up on a coues deer, mean while if you are glassing for elk in the snow you should be able to pick them out with your naked eye.
 

BrentD

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I think he means in how hard it is to pick out the animal from it's surroundings. You might be starring at a hill for an hour before you are able to pick up on a coues deer, mean while if you are glassing for elk in the snow you should be able to pick them out with your naked eye.
Well that's sort of self-evident. I was thinking that he was saying this in comparison to mule deer in the same habitat.

It is pretty obvious that size and contrast matters. I was hoping for something more than that. I've never noticed that Coues are any harder than mule deer, but I haven't hunted for them. Just watched them.
 

BuzzH

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That's an interesting statement. Can you elaborate?
Sure, after glassing coues deer and javelina for a week...it makes glassing mule deer and elk seem like glassing a tractor in a plowed field.

Coues don't move a whole lot sometimes, are very patient, and are very hard to see in the shade, can hide behind about anything, and blend in like no other animal I've glassed.

But, I rarely leave the couch and probably don't spend but a couple hundred hours a year behind glass...so take that for what its worth.
 

ol' blue

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Thanks for the responses guys. I hunt both open praires of Wyoming and very thick stuff like the black hills of SD. I've only shot a couple nice deer. Just looking for ideas to up my game a bit to be a little more successful. This was helpful. Thanks again.
 

BuzzH

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Another hint...I don't mind picking apart the timber glassing from south slopes toward north slopes, in particular mid-day when there isn't much going on. Best place is if you can find somewhere were you can shoot across to the north facing slope. Its a better option than sitting in camp and deer move a fair bit mid-day when they're in the timber...elk do to.

Of course if its cold, things change and deer movement can often be best when things warm up and makes glassing all day wayyyyy more productive.

In real open country, glass the shade in the draws and note that deer often try to stay in the shade and will get up and move (sometimes) when the sun hits them. I've also found them bedded in the blazing sun on hot days too...glass everywhere. Doesn't hurt to look real quick.

Like most things hunting, pay attention, learn, remember what you did, keep notes in a journal if you have to (some of the best hunters I know do)...and realize it isn't rocket science. I've found that not many people that hunt, pay close attention to the details, and IMO/E that attention to detail separates the average hunters from the best hunters.

My 2 cents...
 

MinnesotaHunter

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Lots of good information already on here, but a couple of more notes from my relatively limited experience (50-60 total days hunting mule deer).

1. Get comfortable. Spend a little bit of time/effort to get comfortable. glassing pad to sit on. Tweak your tripod til it is right, and use your pack as a back rest, bust out your puffy coat, etc. If you aren't comfortable you aren't going to be able to focus on the details.
2. Use a tripod for your binoculars. You will be surprised how much more detail you can pick out when they are rock solid.
3. Get the sun at your back. Plan your glassing sessions on the direction of the sun. In the morning I usually have an idea of the areas I want to try and hit throughout the day, it doesn't always go as planned, but I try and make it so that I am looking into a basin with the sun in my favor.
4. Hold your glass still and scan the image with your eyes. I am terrible at this, but I know when I stick to it I have better results.
5. Look for parts of deer rather than whole deer. Horizontal back/belly lines, tines, ear flickers, rumps. For me anyway, I know it is all in my head, but I have a better time trying to find the parts vs. the whole.
6. If you are hunting the rut, get around the does, and stay alert.
7. If you aren't hiking in/out in the dark, and are sitting on your best spots at dawn and dusk, all the midday glassing in the world isn't going to compensate for missing the best hours. Especially on a general tag in October.
8. Don't skyline yourself, walking or glassing.
 
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