On Glass and Eye Fatigue
High quality glass is something I take for granted until I’m staring through it for extended periods of time, scopes in particular. In this part of the country, you glass for hours seeing deer in every direction. Spending hours looking through glass becomes second nature during hunting season. It’s also an area where bucks appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. Eye fatigue is a real thing. Beat it with good glass.
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With poor quality glass, I wouldn’t have made the shot I made. It took 3.5 hours from the time we saw the buck to finally lay hands on him. All tallied, I spent over 1.5 hours looking through glass, determining size, age and what the heck this buck was doing next. When the buck stepped into full view, I knew I’d be shooting him. After all, I’d spent too long chasing him to give up.
I’m not alone when I say that fatigue sucks. I have this issue when looking through glass, especially magnified, for long periods of time. One of the best ways to combat eye fatigue is taking breaks. Short breaks give your eyes time to adjust, and you can get back on target. But, this buck was full on rut, and I had no idea what he was going to do next. He didn’t give me much room to break away from the optic. This is where I lean heavily on great glass.
I carried to the field a custom 6.5 Creedmoor built off a Surgeon 1086 action. The optic I chose was the Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18X44. Aside from a lengthy list of great features, the Mark 5HD has some of the best glass on the market. Not once did I encounter a problem with eye fatigue. Great glass has become second nature to Leupold over the years. I still carry around a pair of Wind River Cascade binos with me simply because they don’t wear my eyes out.
Now, I never said great optics were cheap. If you want to save your eyes during the hunt, be ready to spend some money. If you are strapped for cash and need glass now, buy the best optic you can afford. Another way to combat eye fatigue is the buddy system. Take turns glassing the target to provide constant surveillance while getting the rest eyes need.
The buck was at 900 yards when we first started, closing the distance to a mere 300 yards. I spent the majority of time glassing him through the scope at this distance. He was erratic and never stood still long enough to break the shot. When he decided to pull the doe from cover, he was moving fast. The throw lever on the Mark 5HD made adjusting for a closer shot easy.
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The closing shot came with the buck standing at 100 yards. At this distance, glass was an afterthought. However, leading up to that point, glass was all I could think about. No worries of making the shot entered the mind. It was all about how long my eyes could last.
I’d never been so happy to have glass that didn’t wear out my vision. I’ve had bad glass in the past that I couldn’t stand behind for more than 20 seconds. Trust me, when someone tells you to spend more money on the scope than the gun, they’re trying to save your eyes. ~ KJ
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma, but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter, and knows his way around a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.
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