To hunt big game, you first need to find the big game. It’s not always as simple as it sounds, so here are a few glassing tips to help you glass like a pro.

Get Quality Equipment

To glass like a pro, you need to get the right equipment.

Above all, you need to buy the best optics you can afford. Riflescopes are not a substitute for a quality pair of optics. You don’t have any depth of view with one eye looking through a scope. You also don’t have a broad enough field of view to cover much ground either. It can be a painful buy, but after you mourn the dent to your finances, you’ll experience less eye fatigue and headaches, meaning you can glass better and longer.

You’ll also want a glassing platform, like a tripod, to remain steady and allow you to glass for longer durations of time. Not to mention having stabilized optics will allow you to spot movement much better than when freehanding and combat motion sickness and eye fatigue.

Be Systematic

Going in with the right technique to look for elk can improve your chances of spotting one. It will also help you waste less time so you can work smarter and not harder.

First, start out with a wide approach to look over a large area and make sure there is nothing blatantly visible. After the once-over, switch your focus to a more detailed look. Using the gridding technique to scan specific areas will help you be more methodical and not miss any area. Gridding is where you pick a certain frame in your scope and scan it in a grid-type fashion. Left to right, top to bottom is a thorough and easy way to remember which way to grid.

If you don’t find anything, then you move to a different spot and begin the process over again. Start wide, then go detailed.

Glass for Things Out of Place

If you think you’re going to notice the entire body of an elk while you’re glassing, think again. It’s not that you can’t do it, it’s likely you won’t. You’re in their neck of the woods, and they blend in with their surroundings. The trick to spotting big game isn’t looking for them but looking for things that are out of place. While the landscape has a flow, they can disrupt that flow. Some examples include:

  • Horizontal lines. Not a lot of things in nature are perfectly horizontal, except an animal’s back. If you notice a horizontal line, take a closer look.
  • Texture. Whether it’s a hard-horned antler or hide, these are textures that are different than the landscape. The more time spent glassing, the more you’ll recognize these textures.
  • Colors. Getting in tune with colors, like the yellowish body of an elk or white rump of a mule deer, can help you glass, especially in thicker areas.
Wait it Out First

If you’re not finding anything, you’ll probably feel a little frustrated and want to move. But it’s important to try and wait things out first.

Boredom and frustration can set in if big game are nowhere to be found. But glassing is all about patience. You need to give the country a chance to work. If you’re struggling, remind yourself of what your goals are for the hunt and the time you get to spend doing what you love. If you’ve given the terrain the due diligence of being patient and it still isn’t producing, then you can confidently move on.

Slow Down

One of the biggest mistakes (besides not giving an area a chance to work) is to glass too fast. When glassing, you need to slow down. A lot. Panning too quickly through an area will leave too many stones unturned and doesn’t give you a chance to catch that ear flick or antler glint. To help you slow down, it’s best to get comfortable. The more comfortable you are, the more time you can spend really focusing. Prop your pack in a way you can lean or sit against it. Take your time with glassing and let your eyes do the walking.

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We hope these glassing tips help you to find a big elk.

Let’s Get Hunting

We hope these glassing tips help you during your next hunt. If you’re looking to hunt elk or mule deer with professional guides in the mountains of Colorado, you’ve come to the right place. At Soap Mesa Outfitters, we provide the best guided hunts in Southwestern Colorado and we’ll be happy to show you what you’ve been missing.