Best System for Glassing Big Game

“Field of discovery” is a kind of misnomer. Yes, you can distinguish creatures with one, but it is not the best use for your large glass. The proper way to make glass for the big game in the open is to do your initial binocular contamination and then remove the dictation space for a closer look. I know this from hard experience. When I was young and green, I scanned the distant hills with my observer, thinking that all the extra magnification would help me pull the horns and wings and the green spots from the distant meadows and the edges of the wood. Instead, the heat waves distorted my vision, my field of vision was very narrow, and I had to stop regularly because I had headaches.

These days I start my viewing with 12x binoculars. But I also added a piece of equipment that has made a big difference: a binocular tripod adapter. You may not think at first that attaching your bino to a tripod would be much better than just putting it on top, but it is – and you will spot more creatures than you would otherwise have.

What makes this system better

Binoculars are the best optics for finding animals because the dual eye design doubles your field of vision. And the lowest power, compared to an observer, is an asset and not a disadvantage. As long as you buy quality class and get yours at 12x or 15x, you will have the perfect combination of power and a larger field of view — and the ability to glass for hours without having to grab Ibuprofen.

bino adapter

When you mount your bino on a bino adapter at the bottom and attach that adapter to a tripod, you get the same level of stability as when hitting an observer on a tripod. Vibrations are eliminated and you can scan and scan on a grid pattern seamlessly across the terrain. Compared to using a viewer, this allows you to glass more space, glass it faster and completely, and I promise you will find more games.

picture of binoculars on tripod
The author joins a 12X binoculars to a tripod using a trunk-style adapter. Jace Bauserman

I used this glass system in a recent horned sheep hunt and it was extremely effective. Over the course of 19 days, I not only spotted many rams, but also placed my 12X bino on mule deer and deer herds. When I found a group of rams or another animal that I wanted to take a closer look at, I swapped my bino with my observer and then was able to magnify and evaluate the headgear. There have also been many cases where the binoculars have been sealed to a trunk, branch, twigs, white plastic bag, etc. Often, these things look like an animal, but when the discoverer comes out, it is easy to see that they are not. This is the purpose of the sphere of discovery – clarification and confirmation.

picture of the hunter watching a game
After spotting a group of sheep with binoculars, the author turns to an observer for a better look. Jace Bauserman

A quick tip worth mentioning here is that you need to pay close attention to detail when locating the game, or what you think is the game, with your binoculars before moving on to your observer. Too often over the years, I got excited, I rushed the process, I got no benchmarks about what I was looking at with binoculars and then I was not able to find it again when I went to my observer.

Two years ago, while looking at the glass for the bull, I was sure that what I was looking at with my bino was nothing but a fallen tree branch behind a brush. By the time I got to my observer, the light had changed and because I did not get reference points, I could not move what I was looking at. Luckily, my friend kept the head of the pan locked, so the head of his tripod did not move during the shift. What I thought was a branch turned out to be a 330 inch deer deer paved against a giant ponderosa pine.

Perfect configuration for the glass game

When I do packing for top country deer, sheep or mule deer, the bino around my neck is a 12X model, and that’s what I attach to my tripod. My monitor is Leupold’s SX-5 Santiam HD 27-55 × 80. I drive a Leupold Alpine CF-425 tripod and the Leupold Quick-Stem double tripod adapter is in my package. If I’m close to the truck, I prefer the Leupold’s Field Clamp binocular adapter. Both adapters work with almost all binoculars, though the Field Clamp version is more versatile. (There are also a lot of good adapters offered by other manufacturers that are worth checking out.) The ground clip is also a bit heavier than the Stalk, so I prefer the latter for off-road hunting.

picture of binoculars on tripod
Author’s binoculars attached to a tripod with Leupold’s Field Clamp adapter. Jace Bauserman

When I get to my glass area, I do a quick 12x binocular scan — in case there are easy choices — then place my tripod and attach the binot via the adapter. When using a pillar-style adapter, you need to remove the small logo branding screw on the binocular bridge and the fillet on the bino-adapter adapter screw. The process is simple and takes a few seconds. If you choose a clip-style binocular adapter, simply open the jaws and then wrap them around one of the binoculars.


Once your binoculars are secured, adjust the tripod settings before you start scanning. Make sure you can move your head left, right, up and down smoothly, but with a little tension, so that things do not slow down. Take your time and scan thoroughly. If you find a creature you want to see more closely, leave the head of your tripod tray locked, then remove the binary adapter and replace it with the stain field mounter. It’s so easy.

Remember the part about closing the pan head, as I did with that big bull. Above all, do not reverse the larger process starting with your observer. The glass sessions should start with binoculars, and the observer only comes out for clarification before you start your stalk.

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