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View Full Version : Glassing for mule deer for the newbie: what's your preferred method?



Six-Gun
05-30-2012, 03:16 PM
I am brand new to even scouting for mule deer and hold a Nevada buck tag for the early rifle season. I'm excited and concerned at the same time: excited that I have the chance, but concerned that I lack the experience. I have only ever hunted whitetails and it doesn't take a scientist to figure out that it's a completely different ballgame in totally different terrain. That said, ya gotta start somewhere. Time to start scouting.

What is your technique for breaking down the mountains and finding moving or bedded game? Where do you usually look first thing in the morning, midday, and at dusk?

Any info is appreciated. Thanks for your help!

Ikeepitcold
05-30-2012, 03:47 PM
Morning and dusk will always be your best bet. Check out David Longs book on Phase glassing. Also Mikes book on High Country Mule Deer. Both of these books will give you as a beginner a ton of great info. Good luck.

Welcome to the Forum

Drhorsepower
05-30-2012, 04:12 PM
Ditto what ikic said, from personal experience, I find the first half hour you can see anything and the last half hour, are the best, during the day, use a system to glassing, whether it be starting at the top and working down left to right or whatever it is, do it the same every time. Memorize the mountain you are glassing, that stick you might have saw earlier might have moved and turned out to be an antler. After you get done with your system that you covered the whole mountain, repeat, then repeat. Your binos and spotter are your best friends. I tend to find more deer in the shade, it doesn't matter how cold it is or time of day, I think they love shade. IMO. And most of all, prepare to be humbled. You will be humbled by the terrain and deer as well as mother nature. You will look at a mountain for 3 days thinking you have seen every square inch, then when you step foot where you have been glassing and everything is different, or you will be glassing a flat thinking it is flat until you walk across it and there are revines you have to find a another way around or those small hills that hide a ton of country and all of this time, you were thinking it was "flat". Nevadans saying on weather is if you don't like it, wait 15 minutes, it'll change. Hope this helps and best of luck to you.

ceby7
05-30-2012, 07:16 PM
Nevadans saying on weather is if you don't like it, wait 15 minutes, it'll change.I thought that was Montana's saying! :)

Ikeepitcold
05-30-2012, 07:29 PM
A little more on what Dr said about changing your location while glassing. When you have covered the same area at least twice move. Relocate yourself 100 yards one way or the other and glass it again. And SLOW DOWN if you think in your head your glassing slow your not, glass slower. So many guys will look over a hill side from top to bottom and move to the next one and miss a lot. How will you be able to pick out a stick behind a bush and then realize its a horn if you glass to fast cause you didn't see anything so it must not be there. One thing I do is I look at every bush or tree in the area I'm glassing. Look at it too. When your glassing through the sage and you have a bush or tree come into view stop moving your glass and actually look at the tree. You will be amazed at what you will find by doing this.

Ikeepitcold
05-30-2012, 07:30 PM
I thought that was Montana's saying! :)

I think your rite about that. It's wait 5 min in Nv.

Six-Gun
05-30-2012, 09:02 PM
Good stuff, guys. I'm paying a lot of attention here and am about to buy a bino mount for my tripod. I've got a nice set of 10.5x Nikon Monarch X binos that wil be up to the task of morning/dusk glassing. Now, I just have to apply the techniques you guys have put up. I'll let you know what comes of it.

Muleys 24/7
05-30-2012, 09:23 PM
With my exp.,I seem to always find deer bedded in the shade too. But I've seen plenty of videos with them bedded in the sun as well?

packer58
05-30-2012, 09:46 PM
Six-Gun, you are getting some very good and valuable advice for western hunting. From my own personal experience hunting the west for 40 + years is when i'm scouting a new area " which you will be ", i personally prefer the run & gun method untill i find the game and then i will slow way down and pick it apart. It's very important to keep in mind that not all areas will hold deer. You only have so many hours of prime time early and late so make the most of it. The other thing that frustrates the new guys or young hunters is the ability to accually see the deer, unless the deer is standing in the wide open with a contrasting background you are most likely going to be looking for deer parts and pieces. After a while and after spotting a few deer your eyes will start to "notice" things that don't belong or just don't fit...........That's when it gets really fun.

Best of luck......You'll have a ball !!!!!!

buckbull
05-30-2012, 09:46 PM
What are you flying Six-Gun? I work in aerospace defense and your avatar peeks my interest.

Drhorsepower
05-30-2012, 10:40 PM
Packer brings up an awesome point, when I'm glassing, I look for white butts, ears, pieces of antler. I don't look for a deer body, those are easy to see.

Ikeepitcold
05-30-2012, 11:26 PM
Totally agree with Packer as well. It's crazy when u finally find a deer your eyes just seem to GET IT and then there will be deer standing bedded all over where your looking. They just pop up. I always look for any deer just to get my eyes to see the different colors of the deer. It really helps. I'm better at finding movement or what looks outta place.

Six-Gun
05-31-2012, 09:38 AM
Six-Gun, you are getting some very good and valuable advice for western hunting. From my own personal experience hunting the west for 40 + years is when i'm scouting a new area " which you will be ", i personally prefer the run & gun method untill i find the game and then i will slow way down and pick it apart. It's very important to keep in mind that not all areas will hold deer. You only have so many hours of prime time early and late so make the most of it. The other thing that frustrates the new guys or young hunters is the ability to accually see the deer, unless the deer is standing in the wide open with a contrasting background you are most likely going to be looking for deer parts and pieces. After a while and after spotting a few deer your eyes will start to "notice" things that don't belong or just don't fit...........That's when it gets really fun.

Best of luck......You'll have a ball !!!!!!

Thanks a bunch. Good stuff here. It really does seem that with almost any game, until your eyes sort out what to look for, you have the darndest time simply identifying your quarry. It was like that in South Africa when I hunted there in 2010. Until you SEE an impala, you don't really know what you're looking for. Once you finally get eyes on one, they appear everyhwere. I have a feeling I'll have the same growing pains here, but that's just how it is. Gotta view it as merely another exciting challenge.


What are you flying Six-Gun? I work in aerospace defense and your avatar peeks my interest.

The avatar is me in the F-16D. I fly as a WSO in it these days in a very limited opportunity gig that I found out this way. Definitely a good time and, hey, the job ultimately led to me getting this tag! No complaints.

packer58
05-31-2012, 08:25 PM
[QUOTE=Six-Gun;28193]Thanks a bunch. Good stuff here. It really does seem that with almost any game, until your eyes sort out what to look for, you have the darndest time simply identifying your quarry. It was like that in South Africa when I hunted there in 2010. Until you SEE an impala, you don't really know what you're looking for. Once you finally get eyes on one, they appear everyhwere. I have a feeling I'll have the same growing pains here, but that's just how it is. Gotta view it as merely another exciting challenge.

Your very welcome Six-Gun.

Rock 2.0
05-31-2012, 10:53 PM
I never look for "deer" when I glass, just patterns. Your mind will let you know if what your seeing is part of a deer, in fact I find myself most often locating animals due to an ear that flicks, or a leg that is showing through the timber that is just too straight to be a stick, and if I get a little voice in my head saying "sweep over that area again, and maybe again after that" I always listen to it, its usually right!

Ikeepitcold
05-31-2012, 11:14 PM
I never look for "deer" when I glass, just patterns. Your mind will let you know if what your seeing is part of a deer, in fact I find myself most often locating animals due to an ear that flicks, or a leg that is showing through the timber that is just too straight to be a stick, and if I get a little voice in my head saying "sweep over that area again, and maybe again after that" I always listen to it, its usually right!

Great addition Rock!

Rock 2.0
06-01-2012, 04:29 PM
Thanks Ikic

Six-Gun
06-01-2012, 06:53 PM
Asbolutely - great info, Rock.

NDHunter
06-01-2012, 07:22 PM
If I were you, there's no way I would go hunting without reading Public Land Mulies by David Long. Also like what IKeepitcold said, Mike Eastmans book is also really good. Underline everything that is useful info to you and then go back and spend some time re-reading and studying what you learned and use that knowledge to guide you on your hunt. I've never hunted high country mulies but I feel like I'd at least know the general idea of how to hunt them now. Good luck!!!!!!

Jon Boy
06-01-2012, 07:56 PM
As mentioned before, David Longs section on phase glassing really helped. I would invest in a spotting scope also. This weekend we were hunting for bear and I had done several phases along a hill side and switched to the spotter to really slow down. With in 30 seconds I picked up a bachelor group of 5 bucks bedded together, they werent really well hidden, I just needed a little extra zoom and to slow down to pick them up.

Six-Gun
06-04-2012, 01:47 PM
David Long's book came in yesterday and I can't thank you guys enough for recommending it. This is EXACTLY the kind of treatise on mule deer hunting a newbie like me needs. The book is broken down beautifully and has excellent, illustrative pictures to go along with the explanations. Tons of great info on glassing and positioning in just the few chapters I read last night. I can't wait to dig deeper into this one. Five stars for the this recommendation.

DPETERSEN
06-05-2012, 10:40 AM
Buy the best optics you can, Get as high as you can, Get there in the dark in the mornings, and stay till dark in the evinings.
For most of the day you will see nothing, good time to take a nap.