By Mike Eastman
There are numerous articles that recommend optical equipment for glassing big game. The standard theory down in the southwestern states is to carry big, heavy 18×50-plus binoculars, so you can watch a deer wiggle his ear in the heavy brush two miles away. However, when you’re backpacking in the northwestern backcountry, everything is on your back, and weight is crucial. Personally, I feel these huge binoculars aren’t necessary for finding mule deer.
In my experience, a pair of 10x40s along with a good spotting scope is ideal for glassing. My advice for picking out a pair of binoculars is to purchase the best you can afford. If you’re sitting for days on a lookout glassing, you need good glass. At first with cheap glass, you won’t have any issues, but as you glass continually for days, you will get eye fatigue. Headaches will set in and your eyes will start to burn from strain.