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  • Writer's pictureGreg Kazmierski

Great Tips for Glassing Summer Whitetails

Why You Should Glass Summer Bucks

As a dedicated whitetail hunter, understanding the importance of summer glassing can significantly enhance your scouting and hunting success.

Glassing, the art of using optics to observe and survey the deer herd and how they navigate the landscape, allows you to gain valuable insights into the behavior and movements of whitetails.

Here's some key gear I like to use for my summer scouting and some strategies to help you make the most out of that summer scouting.

Essential Gear and Preparation

Before hitting the road, it's crucial to ensure you have the right gear and not to forget anything before you leave the house. The following are the top three pieces of essential equipment I always make sure to have before heading out for the night.

Spotting Scope

A spotting scope is a powerful tool that allows for long-range observations, enabling you to spot and identify bucks from a distance. Its magnification capabilities and superior optics provide enhanced clarity and detail, crucial for identifying antler characteristics and other key features to help differentiate those velvet racked bucks.

When it comes to equipment, I love the Diamondback HD 20-65X85 from Vortex. Not only does Vortex consistently develop high quality gear, they have a VIP life time warranty that they stand by on all of their products, regardless of what happened or whose fault it was.

The spotting scope is a perfect fit for when you are watching those bachelor groups out of your truck window as you can comfortably observe from nearly a mile away and not have to worry about carry bigger equipment out into the field.

Votex Diamondback HD 20-60x85 (Straight)


Binoculars are a must-have for any serious hunter. They provide a wider field of view, allowing you to scan larger areas quickly. Opt for binoculars with a magnification level suitable for the distances you expect to cover while you are focusing your trips a little closer to the action.

I carry the same set of binoculars on these trips that I do in season. The Diamondback HD 10x42 from Vortex have been a great fit for me the last few years during whether I am scouting or hunting.

This model gives me enough magnification to observe the same fields I would use with the spotting scope, but also provide me with the flexibility of picking out a mature buck working his way through the thicket.

Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42

Note Pad

a notepad and a pen

Don't underestimate the power of a trusty note pad during these sessions. Jotting down observations, deer movement patterns, and other important details will help you track and analyze the behavior of the bucks you spot and give you an idea of how they may transition come hunting season. Note the time, location, and any other relevant information that may aid in your scouting efforts.

When it comes to whitetails I am very analytical with my approach and I look for any advantage or edge I can get. Over my years of hunting public land and managing properties, I have developed a note taking system that allows me to learn behavioral patterns of the general deer populational all the way down to an individual buck.

With your spotting scope, binoculars, and note pad in hand, you'll be well-equipped to embark on your summertime glassing adventures. But gear alone is not enough; you must also employ effective strategies to target bucks successfully.

Glassing Strategies for Targeting Mature Bucks

When it comes to watching summer bucks, having effective strategies in place is key to maximizing your scouting efforts. Here are some of my favorite locations to set up shop when I am headed out for an evening of summertime glassing:

Primary Food Sources

One of the most fruitful areas to focus your efforts is around primary food. During the summer, bucks are often in search of lush, nutrient-rich food to fuel their growth.

a whitetail buck feeding in a bean field at sunset

Watching open agricultural fields, particularly beans as well as food plots can reveal valuable information about deer movement patterns and preferred feeding areas. Be careful not to get too hung up on certain locations, as things may change slightly come archery season.

While set up on these primary food sources, be sure to keep in mind and take note of where and how many deer are entering the food source, how close to sunset are they coming out into the open, and if any specific weather event triggered increased movement, especially in that target buck of yours.

Taking things one step further and breaking things down to a granular level can teach you an awful lot about a mature deer and their habits. This is where the note pad comes in handy!


big deer at water hole

Water sources hold a strong allure for whitetail deer, especially during the hot and dry summer months. Watch near ponds, streams, or water holes for valuable insights into deer activity.

Look for areas where bucks may come to drink, such as creek crossings or secluded watering holes. Pay attention to nearby trails and bedding areas that bucks might utilize when accessing water sources. These areas can also make for excellent locations to hang trail cameras as they provide a great destination type location with high odds, predictable movement.

Transition Areas

Transition areas, where different habitat types intersect, can be prime locations for glassing summer bucks. While these areas may be a little harder to pinpoint and figure out, they can be the ticket to crossing paths with a nice buck in early bow season.

These areas act as travel corridors and offer deer the security of cover while allowing them to move between food, bedding areas, and water.

Focus your efforts on the edges of forests, field corners, or the borders of different vegetation types. Bucks often utilize these transition areas during their daily movements, presenting opportunities for observation and potential hunting setups.

By employing these glassing strategies, you can gain a better understanding of buck behavior and increase your chances of spotting mature bucks during the summer. Remember to stay patient, maintain a keen eye, and take thorough notes of your observations to refine your hunting strategy further.

edges in whitetail habitat

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To make the most of your sessions and increase your chances of success, it's crucial to be aware of a couple common mistakes that can hinder your scouting efforts.

Ignoring the Wind

wind vane

One of the most critical factors to success is considering the wind direction. Accessing an area, or setting up improperly can result in deer catching your scent, leading to their avoidance of the area.

Before starting your session, take note of the wind direction and position yourself accordingly. Ensure that your scent is carried away from the areas you intend to glass, minimizing the chances of alerting nearby deer.

Too Aggressive

Approaching sessions with too much aggression can disrupt deer activity and cause bucks to become wary. Avoid excessive noise, sudden movements, or intrusive actions that could startle or alert deer in the vicinity.

Instead, it's a better idea to maintain a patient and observant approach, allowing deer to carry on with their natural behaviors. The more discreet and non-intrusive you are, the higher your chances of witnessing undisturbed deer activity.


Glassing summer bucks is a valuable scouting technique that can greatly enhance your chances to kill your target early season or provide valuable insight for later in the fall.

Remember the importance of observing the primary food source, focusing on water areas, and monitoring transition zones.

These key areas provide valuable insights into deer movement and behavior. Additionally, always pay attention to wind direction and practice a patient and non-aggressive approach during your sessions.

With these tips in mind, you'll be well-equipped to take your glassing skills to the next level. So, gear up, head out, and embrace the art of glassing summer whitetails. Your dedication and strategic approach will help you stack the odds in your favor and allow you to create your own luck.

a whitetail buck feeding in a field at sunset


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