Glassing for Spring Success

Few gear items in your hunting arsenal will boost your success rate more than kingpin optics and a stable tripod designed to meet the needs of your hunt. 

by Clint Casper

For a guy like me, thoughts of spring typically consist of turkeys gobbling and spring bears cruising neon green meadows. And for good reason, I might add! These spring endeavors hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to both adventures every year. 

A few key ingredients are essential to the success of both of these hunts. Scouting, whether it be e-scouting or on foot, is critical. Another essential piece to the puzzle is knowing my gear and understanding precisely what I need and how to use what I need effectively.

One piece of gear I feel a lot of hunters overlook, and that is more critical to consistently punching tags than, arguably, any other tool, is optics. 

Why Is Glassing Important?

You can’t kill what you can’t see. Top-tier optics and a winning optical system (more to come on this) will help you succeed. 

Before someone jumps down my throat about how expensive optics and a glassing system can be, I want to reiterate that not having excellent glass and a winning glassing system will cost you meat in the freezer. 

Yes, optics are expensive. I’m not saying you need to take out a second mortgage, hawk your wife’s car, or financially put yourself in a bad way. You need to save or forgo other less critical gear and invest your coin into the best optics you can afford. 

I have my binoculars on my chest and in my Kifaru Bino Harness everywhere I go. Inside, rest my 10×50 Mavens. Whether scouting or hunting, these binoculars allow me plenty of power to see what I need to see. For instance, when I’m turkey hunting, I want to be able to scan field edges and cover them before I make any moves. Having a bird spot you first is the worst. I am always on the lookout with my binoculars. I use them frequently because they’re readily available on my chest. The key here is a comfortable system that allows you to easily access your binoculars.

I also am a big fan of high-powered spotting scopes and high-magnification binoculars on a tripod. When I need more glassing power, I want a super steady platform that allows me to scan for my quarry. I want to be able to glass without the shakes. Scanning is fine in some instances, but scanning leads to lots of missed game. Spring Bears are a prime example of where I want my Tricer tripod and top-tier glass to top it with. Typically, I’m on a big vantage point overlooking many meadows. Glassing takes time, and the more stable you can be with your optics—binoculars and spotting scope—the more game you will spy. The more stable, comfortable, and efficient your glassing setup is, the more productive you will be glassing! Plus, you’ll enjoy it more and be shocked how much more game you find.

Match Your Glass To Your Hunt! 

Not all glass is created equal. Not all glassing setups and equipment will be a “best fit for every hunt. My plan is always to match my glass to my hunt. 

Let’s use spring bears as an example. My plan for spring bears is always to cover a ton of country with my glass and legs. I want to access vantage points and use the glass to look at a ton of country a bear could be roaming in. Green meadows, shadowed parks within dark timber, and clear-cuts are all places I key to. When glassing for bears, I want a set of binoculars on my chest, preferably by Maven 10x50s, and a spotting scope with a tripod. My spotting scope is an 80-millimeter objective or bigger

This glass allows me to easily examine animals close and far. I can also key in on larger boars. Equally as crucial as matching my optics to my hunt is matching my tripod. For a backpack-style bowhunt, I tote my Tricer BC tripod. It is ultra-lightweight and packs up super tight and clean. I barely know it’s in my pack. These optics and tripod give me the most stable, lightweight combination for mountain glassing.

If I’m on a turkey hunt in Kansas, my glassing gear changes. In Kansas, I run and gun a lot. I keep the same 10×50 Mavens on my chest but change up my tripod and spotting scope setup. For this hunt, I take a bigger tripod with which I can stand up and glass, a truck window mount, and a smaller spotting scope. 

My reason for the change is because weight isn’t an issue. I will hop outside my truck, glass fields, and open country looking for birds. The window mount and smaller spotting scope allow me to pull off the road and be glassing out of my window in seconds. By changing my setup to the hunt, I can make life easier and make myself more adaptable. This all leads to me being more efficient at glassing. The bottom line here is to match your glass and glassing setups to the hunt and tactics you’ll be using.

Have A Plan! 

Planning is always a massive factor in success, and it’s no different for spring hunts. Whether I’m chasing bears or big beards, I have a plan of attack. I tailor my tactics to the hunt at hand. It’s imperative to understand that along with having good glass and glassing gear, one must also have a good strategy for where to glass.

Unfortunately, animals won’t walk in front of your spotting scope just because you have the latest, most extraordinary setup. Instead, we need to be where the animals are going to be if we want to see them. So, a strategy here is very important.

For turkeys, I typically hunt in the mornings and evenings and do some scouting midday. When hunting turkeys, covering as much country as possible with the truck is important. What I mean by this is that many birds will be out and about in the fields and open areas scratching and eating during the day. Have a good plan for areas to drive to, and use the glass to your advantage. This will tell you very quickly what areas and properties hold the best amounts of birds and can put you in the game fast. 

For bears, it’s all about master vantage points. I like to hop on the onX Hunt app and find vantage points that offer me many glassing capabilities in multiple directions. I’m looking for spots that let me see timbered hillsides, patchy ridges with meadows and big drainages with neon green feed. These are all spots where a big boar will hang out looking for food or a mate. try to mark these vantage points, get to each of them at least once a day, and spend a few hours at each one until I find a bear. Spending time behind the glass on these points will give you the best opportunity to find a good boar to go chase! 

Field Review: Maven B.6 Binos, S.1A Spotter, and RF.1 Rangefinder
British Columbia Black Bear Adventures
Elk Woods Tested: Kryptek & Kuiu
Tested: Benelli BE.S.T. Lupo Camo Bolt-Action Rifle .300 Win. Mag.

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