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Scope the game (courtesy

Rochester, New York – -( Choosing the right optics is a fun yet wallet cringing part of any hunting excursion. Then, once you have bought optics, do you know how to glass properly? Outdoor writer Tom Claycomb’s seminar here at the 2015 Safari Club International Convention provided relevant information for hunters of every age and skill range regardless of price tag . . .

Claycomb began his seminar relating to each hunter in the room by telling his stories of being an unbeliever in methodical glassing years ago. He tells a story of once having 24 different vehicles drive by him and a friend on a road right below them, but nobody had seen the two bucks they were watching, bedded down at the top. Nobody had seen the deer but they had because of taking the time to sit and glass. Clay bomb told many stories which reminded all of us to take the time to glass.

First off, while everyone has their own theories on buying optics, Claycomb recognized that not all optics are created equal and you really do get what you pay for. He told us right away, if you go home with change in your pocket, then you probably will have done yourself a disservice. He also made note that while some binoculars are lighter, like in 8x power, you do trade some of the ability to see details in what you are looking at.

Claycomb told us he now prefers the slightly heavier 10x power scopes over the lighter 8x because seeing details can make or breaks your hunt.

Ok so you have optics, Claycomb challenged us by asking if we were glassing correctly. He compared most people glassing to moths fluttering around a light. Sparatic and all over the place, with no real purpose. Zoning is not difficult, but it takes patience.

First off, zoning is taking small sections of terrain and panning across a certain set of yards, dropping your view to another section of the terrain below what you just glassed and pan across again. You create grid patterns on the mountain as you sit and glass. Claycomb advised us to zone certain sections repeatedly because game will feed in and out of areas.

He also made four suggestions to become a better at glassing and make your time more effective:

  • Bring a seat pad. When you are glassing huge mountain sides you will want to sit for hours at a time. Clay comb said even after years and years of hunting, he often forgets to bring a comfortable seat chair/cushion like the Browning Camping Woodland Ultimate Hunting Chair ( ) and pays for it having to sit on rocks.
  • Have a sturdy glassing tripod. A telescoping tripod is invaluable to be able to have steady view of the mountain and a telescoping tripod, like the Vortex Optics High Country Tripod ( ) that you can move and adjust to different terrains you are in.
  • Glass from cover. Clay comb also advised us to either create natural brush blinds or bring burlap covers to glass from. Glassing is the beginning of your greater stalk and you don’t want to start out in the open.
  • Plan your stalk with your optics. After you have found your target animal, time to go after it. Yet Claycomb told us instead of just hiking after the game right away, make note of the landmarks you need to reach or even need to avoid. This will save you time and heartbreak later in your stalk.

Again, with optics, you get what you pay for. However, just having a pair of optics or big spotting scopes are nothing unless you can use them properly

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  1. Got me a set of artillery FO binoculars in the early 1980s, they are a bit beat and scuffed now, still the best pieces of glass, un-enhanced by modern optical/digital/laser technology, I have ever put to my face. Seen lots of nice gear for bench and free standing tripod mount and played with some awesome “new age” gear for enhancing human visual acuity(weapon mounted, tripod and handheld)and none of them equal the plain functionality of that set of Zeiss binos.

    Have a nice reflector type telescope for real star gazing. Had a friend into photography who put together lens set that lets me use it as a giant monocular. Very nice, I still like my binos. Got a digital camera that actually zooms tight enough to use as a spotting scope. 2.5×3.5 screen and it focuses clean enough to see hits on paper target at 100 meters. Gots to use what you gots, baebee!

  2. Somebody learned a new term today. Glass, glassing or glassed was used 15 times in this article.
    I detest jargon.
    Next time my wife sees me staring in the refrigerator looking for something to eat and she asks me what I am doing, I’ll say “Shhhhh, I’m glassing.”

  3. I dont beleive it… THE Tom Claycomb??? I worked for him back on 2007 in a packing house, had no idea he was an outdoor writer ??? Hes such good friends with my dad and is always in contact with him.

    What a small world, im still in shock lol.

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