July 19, 2018
When it comes to glassing bachelor bucks, there are a few things I can't live without. This is due to a variety of factors, but mostly because I want to make the most out of my limited time tucked into the greenery waiting on some velvet deer to reveal themselves. I don't have a single spot that is conducive to easy, road-side glassing, so each time I set out to watch the world of whitetails for an evening, I head out with a loose plan and the right gear for the job. Oftentimes it's the latter that makes the most difference.
Following are seven pieces of equipment that are game-changers.
ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit X
Not only is the Pursuit X from ALPS the perfect choice for treestand sits, it's also an excellent option for summer scouting. It offers 2700 cubic inches of storage, features a molded foam suspension, and is designed with 1680D Nylon Ballistic Fabric to ensure that it'll last for years no matter how much abuse you throw its way. There are a lot of backpacks on the market, and personally I own models from quite a few manufacturers, but more and more these days I simply reach for my ALPS because it is built so well. Pick up a Pursuit X for your scouting missions and your stand sits and you won't be disappointed.
Browning Hell's Canyon Speed Rain Slayer Jacket & Pants
If you want to lay eyes on every buck in the woods moving around in daylight, take a look at the weather app on your phone. If it's calling for an all-day or an afternoon drizzle, you better suit up and get on the edge of a soybean field. The bucks will show up in a way they probably wouldn't if the rain wasn't falling. Of course, you'll want to be comfortable, which is where the Hell's Canyon Speed Rain Slayer Jacket and Pants come into play. They are packable, breathable and covered in A-TACs camo. Stay dry scouting (and hunting) and get ready to add a few names to your hitlist.
LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro
No one makes knee-highs like LaCrosse, and if you don't have a good pair in your arsenal you're missing out. Their Alphaburly Pros are such a mainstay in my life that I usually travel with at least two pairs and almost always wear them when I'm scouting — especially if I need to cross a creek to my spot or hike through wet grass. Alphaburly Pros combine scent-free rubber with naturally insulating neoprene and are built with an adjustable rear gusset so you can snug them up for the perfect fit without experience that annoying, calf-whacking slap, slap, slap of lesser boots.
Sikta Gear ESW Whitetail System
Sitka Gear is more addictive than nicotine or petting golden retrievers, so if you don't want to spend serious coin on camo it's best to not try out any of their gear. If you do, plan to eat ramen noodles for a while so you can fully outfit yourself. Their latest, the ESW Whitetail lineup, is incredible. It's built to keep you cool (which as you can imagine, is ideal for summer scouting missions) and comfortable. This is achieved through Sitka's propriety magic, as well as body-mapping and breathable fabrics.
Where I live in Minnesota, if you were to randomly close your eyes and just pick a direction to walk (please don't do this), it wouldn't take long before you'd stumble into a body of water. This is good news if you love fishing, but not-so-much if you plan to sit out on a summertime evening and glass bucks, because mosquitoes need standing water to complete their life cycle. This also means that I'm a big fan, maybe the biggest, of Thermacell units like the new MR300. This mosquito repeller features a quiet ignition, an accessory mounting system and is DEET-free. It's quite possibly the best way for any outdoorsman to spend $25.
Sig Sauer ZULU9 9x45 MM HDX
Sig Sauer was never really on my radar until recently when I was looking for a new pair of binoculars and someone recommended them. I've now been using a pair of ZULU9s all summer to glass, and I can't say enough good things about them. They are clear, crisp, and allow me to count velvet-covered tines when low-light has rendered my spotter useless. Plus, they won't fog up, feature some of the best eyecups I've ever seen, and are worth every penny.
Maven S.1A Spotting Scope
A good buddy of mine brought an S.1A last year when we met up in western North Dakota to hunt mule deer. He let me use it for a morning and all I could think about was how much I wanted one for summer glassing missions for whitetails. This 80mm spotting scope is engineered like a top-notch sports car and it's incredible to use. If you're serious about watching bucks from long range and want to be able to pick out bucks in fading light, it would be very difficult to find a better spotter. And if you ever travel out west for spot-and-stalk adventure, a spotting scope like this is an asset which possesses the kind of value that simply can't be overstated.