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High country glassing: Face which way?
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
IdyllwildArcher 11-Aug-16
EmbryOklahoma 11-Aug-16
IdyllwildArcher 11-Aug-16
SBH 11-Aug-16
oldgoat 11-Aug-16
BOHNTR 11-Aug-16
Matt 12-Aug-16
BULELK1 12-Aug-16
Treeline 12-Aug-16
LKH 13-Aug-16
Obviously a panoramic view is ideal.

In his book, Dwight Schuh also talked about having a rising sun at your back and visa versa in the evening.

But my question to the more seasoned high-country mule deer glassers is, what's your ideal direction to be glassing in the AM as the sun rises?

Of course, the lay of the land is going to dictate a lot, but if you had your choice, which 2 or 3 sides of a mountain do you want to see as the sun rises?

I've always tried to have the north face in view for mid-day glassing, but the deer aren't always there at first light. I've seen deer on every face of a slope, but I've lost deer going over the top when looking at south slopes. So is it better to see them come over and bed?

Often times, you'll have at least two faces or 3 visible in a bowl? What's your preference if you have more than one?

Ike... A question popped up while reading your write up. Do the deer that bed up high in the shrubbery and nooks and crannies tend to like a certain facing slope?

What I've mostly seen is north for bedding, but also west or northwest facing in the AM, then a quick stretch at mid-day with a quick pop over the saddle at their back to get to the east/north east in the PM. I'm far from experienced in this though. One terrain feature I've found both deer and elk is on a finger ridge that points north with a saddle. It's often times only 50 yards for them to move from the NW face to the NE face.

I'm far from experienced in this though. Perhaps folks can give their opinions on both questions.

From: SBH
Great question. I'm looking forward to what other guys say. I was wondering that myself. The spot I'm hunting this year will have me on the north and north east facing slopes. Great in the morning as far as visibility goes but sun will be in my eyes in the evening. I haven't been seen many deer early in the morning....maybe thats why? They haven't made it over to the north facing slopes yet. Never thought about that. They may be showing up on that side of the mountain later in the morning.

From: oldgoat
My smart aleck answer is, towards the elk/deer! I think animals like to warm up with the first sun if it's cold! I think they like to be in shadowed slope in the afternoon, which would kind of coincide with what Schuh wrote. But I'm not an experienced glasser, don't have the patience for it, but have found animals to follow this routine over the years.

I always try and hike in the dark to a good glassing spot where the sun is at my back when it rises.....if possible. If not.....a side view is second choice.

From: Matt
There is a spot where I hunt black bears where we have found bucks just standing in the early AM more than once. It just so happens that is the first spot the sun hits that slope.

For me, it is which way the morning breeze is drifting.....

I glass into the breeze first light as more than once I have had muleys/elk/sheep in front of me.

As the horizon brightens then I scan 360 glassing.

Good luck, Robb

From: Treeline
It really helps to have the sun at your back to glass as it lights up the hillside and the deer really stick out - especially in the morning. Sometimes bucks hang out on North or West facing slopes that you have to look into the sun in order to find them.

The deer do like to get out in the sun early in the morning to warm up a bit and the sun can help hide your movements.

I have seen bucks bed and stick tight on all aspects for ridges. They typically like the more open steeper slopes with some willows interspaced with tundra above treeline. Have not seen bucks get up and go over the ridge to get out of the sun mid day. If they go over the ridge, it is usually because they were spooked. But then, most of my experience is on really big ridges with a lot of vertical.

Mid-day (11:00 to 1:00), if nothing has bothered them, they will usually only move a short distance to find a hole in thicker cover to lock down in for the middle of the day with good shade for the rest of the afternoon till about 4:00 or 5:00 to get up and start feeding again. Usually make the stalk to their bedding area after 1:00 and get your shot between 3:00 and 5:00 when they stand up.

From: LKH
Trying to glass into the sun is frustrating and hard on the eyes. It's just not something you should routinely do.

When we have an area that only allows looking toward the sun we try and get there early and finish before the sun strikes where we are. Then we either change direction or location.

Nothing is as easy to spot as a muley butt or throat patch in bright light.

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