You’re sitting behind a tripod with your binos pressed against your face with a longtime hunting buddy next to you doing the same. It is mid-morning and the sun is rising to your back. The low drone of quaking aspen leaves hum as sun-kissed valley air starts to rise and rush up the slopes. You haven’t seen much when suddenly the glow of an antler calls to you like a lighthouse’s light to a wandering ship in the night. You yell out to your buddy as if you’ve won a competition and the conversation goes something like this…
You: “Buck! Over on that hill in the clearing”.
Hunting Buddy: (With binos pressed against his face) “No, where? What hill? That Hill?” (As he points in the wrong direction)
You: “No you putz. That isn’t even the right hillside. It’s the hill with the three trees below the saddle on your left.”
Hunting Buddy: “Oh, okay.” (As they quickly snap their head back and forth across the hill). “I think I see him!”
You: “Do you think he’s a shooter?”
Hunting Buddy: “I can’t tell… Oh, wait I think that’s a tree stump.”
You: “How can you not see him he’s right there in that opening.” (As you furiously point with a stabbing motion in the direction)
Hunting Buddy: (Leaning over to look down your arm and use your finger as a sight) “Oh, that open spot.”
You: “Yea, that’s what I said.”
Hunting Buddy: (With both of you looking at the same hill through binos finally) “Where is he from that big white rock next to the burned tree?”
You: “He’s down and to the left 100 yards.”
Hunting Buddy: (Long silence)……. (More silence)…..
You: “See him? He’s moving towards the trees now.”
Hunting Buddy: “Oh, I see him.” (The buck is just about to walk in the trees). “Yea he looks nice.” (Buck is now in the trees). “At least what I saw of him.”
You: (Shaking your head and thinking silently, “Why am I always the one having to spot the deer?”)
Spotting deer consistently is an art form refined by time and experience. What a seasoned hunter can spot seems invisible to the un-seasoned. Knowledge gained by experience informs the hunter not to look for deer, rather look for shapes, movements, and anomalies that don’t quite fit into landscape features. The seasoned hunters’ brain quickly processes while scanning as if they’ve developed a visual algorithm categorizing what makes sense and what doesn’t. The algorithmic processing is usually a few seconds behind the scanning. As you move your glass side to side, you suddenly realize something didn’t fit and quickly move back. It sounds a little crazy explaining this to someone who doesn’t deer hunt. As with any skill set, some develop it more than others do.
In the conversation described above, we all have a hunting buddy who seems one step behind us while glassing.
WHICH HUNTER ARE YOU?