It seems simple enough. Load up the spotting scope with the window mount, drive your truck along a two track that winds through a cornfield, and then park in a spot with good visibility. Watch the summertime buck parade while listening to a little country music on the radio until it’s too dark to see, and then drive home.
That scenario does exist for some, but for most of us it’s not in the cards. Summertime scouting is a different animal if you’re not the title holder to a good chunk of ground, which means you need a plan. And you need to recognize that there are a lot of ways to scout wrong. Because worse than not having a plan on how to glass, is having a plan that will do more harm then good. And there are a lot of ways to do harm in the summer, or at the very least, do nothing beneficial.
Here are five worst offenses to avoid.
The Carefree Trip
Here’s the thing — summertime bucks seem like they have abandoned their cautious ways because they are more visible than any other time of the year. They do let their guard down some this time of year, but they won’t tolerate you barging into their buffet.
Instead of wandering all over the countryside 30 minutes before dark to see what’s around the next bend or over the nearest rise, pick a good, inconspicuous spot and sit tight. And always, camo up and play the wind. Spooking one doe through carelessness might clear a field for a whole night. Oftentimes, this is totally avoidable.
The Wrong Spot
The ground that I glass is either public land, or pressured private property. This means that the bucks aren’t likely to feed in easy-to-access spots. They like to spend their time in low spots in the fields or in back corners where you need to be fairly close to the action to see anything. This means that while there are easier spots in which to set up, the best spots are often those that take a little work to reach.
Sometimes, due to the wind direction or the access, that might mean taking a hike through a swamp or a nettle-filled woodlot to get to the right glassing spot. It’s extra work, but work is what fills our tags, and it all starts in the pre-season.
Ignoring The Conditions
If you want to see every deer in the neighborhood, wait until it’s a drizzly day and go set up over a green soybean field. If you want to see fewer deer, wait until it’s 100 degrees and dead calm. In the summer, deer move better during daylight hours when the conditions are more conducive to them being comfortable, just like in the fall.
If you have limited time to scout, glass when the conditions favor as much movement as possible. This might mean that you’ll get wet, but that’s okay. It’s easy to put up with rain when you’re counting velvet-covered tines and watching the whole herd munch away in the greenery.
High-quality spotting scopes and binoculars are expensive. A decent tripod usually isn’t. If you can’t afford the best glass Germany has to offer, consider at the very least investing in a decent tripod.
The best way to truly observe summertime movement is with a steady scope, and there is really only one way to get that in the field. Another option is to opt for binoculars that have a tripod adapter. This usually alleviates the need for a spotting scope, which is an obvious cost saver.
Forgetting The Other Type Of Scouting
Glassing is fun. It just is. But don’t forget that you still need to burn some boot leather and take a look in the cover. You’ll see trails carved into hillsides, soft and hard mast growing on trees that will affect your hunting plans, and other sign where the deer are doing their thing.
Some spots just can’t be watched, like small properties that don’t feature dreamy row crops. Occasionally you’ll need to get in and walk the cover. And even if you do have the easy-to-observe fields, it’s a good idea to get into the thick stuff and make some notes. After all, that’s where you’ll be spending a decent amount of your stand time come fall.