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If you spend much time hunting in the backcountry, you know that when you are packing a backpack, every ounce counts. I have been known to cut off the end of my toothbrush, only bring a fork and leave the spoon at home, and bring five granola bars when I really needed seven.  If this sounds like you, my guess is you struggle with the idea of bringing a tripod into the backcountry.  Last year, I drew a great elk tag in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.  As I was packing my Outdoorsmans backpack, I loaded and unloaded my tripod three different times.  As I held the tripod in my hands for the final time, I decided to leave it at home.  I didn’t want to carry the extra weight.  That was a mistake! 

A friend and I drove to New Mexico a week before our season opened so we could scout.  The very first day we spent scouting, we were trying to glass a bull and determine if he was a shooter.  We couldn’t figure out if he was big enough or not.  If I would have brought my tripod, I would have had my spotting scope.  I left both at home.  I regretted it for the next two weeks.  

Cody Nelson from the Outdoorsmans says this is a mistake many hunters make. “Many hunters worry about how much a tripod weighs and don’t think enough about the benefits of a tripod.  The bottom line is using a tripod guarantees hunters will see more game. A tripod does this because hunters keep their glass steady so they can clearly see the side of a mountain and what is going on on that mountain.  Hunters can see smaller details when the binoculars or better yet a spotting scope, that is secured to a tripod.  Because hunters aren’t shaking around when using a tripod, they end up with less eye strain, which allows them to comfortably glass for a longer time, allowing you to clearly see game at a distance,” Nelson explained.

Another reason glassing with a tripod helps hunters see more game is because when using a tripod, hunters sit down and commit to the task. “Very rarely does someone go through the effort of setting up a tripod and only glass for five or ten minutes.  When I set up a tripod and decide to glass, I get comfortable and glass for a long time. The more time I spend glassing with a tripod, the better odds I have of spotting game. Glassing for long periods of time from a tripod takes time and patience, but in the end carrying the extra weight and taking the time to glass properly will result in more filled tags. Finding a high point on a mountain and glassing for long periods of time often results in a hunter finding more animals to hunt. That makes carrying the tripod and glassing for a half hour or even hours worth it,” Nelson added.

We all want to see more game regardless if we are hunting deer, elk or sheep. Do yourself a favor this fall: bring your tripod with you when you head into the backcountry.


About the author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, consultant and game dinner speaker who often discuss how he overcomes cerebral palsy. Learn more about him at

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