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David Sparks Ph.d Glassing Tips
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Sportsman's Spotlight
Date: August 15, 2018

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When scouting or hunting, nothing beats high-quality binoculars and spotting scopes for revealing where the game is and isn't. Even the best glass relies on the user to develop his or her optic skillset. Try out some of these ideas to improve your next glassing experience.

Don't Expect Easy Easy glassing? That's a bull elk standing in the middle of a bare hillside. Don't expect it! Wildlife is generally wary and open spaces make animals uncomfortable. Scan the open and the easy first, yes, but then start examining the edges (tree-lines, around rock formations, fences) and the gaps between trees, rocks and brush.

Don't Expect Easy 2.0 You're much more likely to see parts of an animal than the entire animal. Noticing color variations is the key here. A tan patch between trees, for example, might be a deer. That black "stump" in the bushes--may be the rump of a feral hog. Those light-colored sticks above the brush pile deserve a second look, as they could very well be the antlers of your next trophy buck.

Eyes Low! Our eyes are naturally drawn to more open areas, which creates a tendency to keep our line of sight higher up when glassing. Higher up is too high, as most game animals stand rather low to the ground. Always start your glassing at ground level. Look under those trees, for example. At any distance, ground level will actually reveal images many feet above, too, so you are unlikely to miss anything if you aim at the ground and the grass, the rocks and the dirt.

• Line It Up You won't find many horizontal or vertical lines in nature. So, when you spot one, pay attention. Yes, that line could be a tree limb or a strand of barbed wire.  However, it could also be the top of a deer's back.

• Scan in Sections If you run your binoculars or spotting scope across an entire hillside, for example, you are likely to go too fast and miss a whole lot. Instead, break up the landscape into more manageable sections. Spend a minute glassing the lower right quadrant of that same hill. Now, glass the upper right quarter. Etc.

• Take an Eye Break Extended glassing can take its toll and create eye strain, while looking at the same landscape for too long results in a blurring effect: everything starts to look the same. The solution is easy enough, though. Pull your eyes away from the optic, look away for a minute, and then close your eyes and count to 30. Now, you can return to your Styrka optic with a "fresh" set of eyes.

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