Low Power in High Cover: Digiscoping Whitetails in Tighter Spaces

You see movement. You’re sure of it. Peering deep into the cover, you squint. Finally, you determine it’s merely a tiny offshoot of a branch moving in the breeze. It’s frustrating and often tiring and a common occurrence for whitetail bowhunters hunting in the tighter quarters of outdoor spaces. You continue to pay attention, as the next peculiar movement may just be a whitetail buck that’s standing in the brush well under 100-yards from your stand; often under 50-yards.

Whitetails seemingly appear and disappear out of nowhere. It’s just their way.

When you think of hunting and scouting whitetails, you usually think of scanning large open areas. However, if willing and cautious, glassing in tighter areas for deer can be a real coop. The same goes for digiscoping.

Bowhunters are already accustomed to this setting. Sitting still in the early morning or late evening hours, you look for movement, but you don’t always see deer approaching. It’s easy to be caught off guard during tree stands or ground blind sits. It’s worth it though. Getting close to America’s most popular game animal is the goal. It’s what we crave.

You don’t have to have a bow in hand to enjoy and benefit from whitetail images in tighter areas. Dedicated digiscoping sessions within woodlots and knarly cover is a viable scouting method. As a hunter, it’s yet another opportunity to capture, record, and share.

Overcoming Challenges while Digiscoping

While it comes with some challenges, it can be rewarding and successful if well-executed. After all, digiscoping visually closes the distance for wild game. If you’re properly prepared, a Phone Skope adapter kit can work with your smart phone to capture even more incredible photos and video at shorter distances.

From the get-go, you’ve got to enter and exit your setup stealthily by choosing non-disruptive routes and managing your scent. If you’re not bowhunting, you best act like you are. Travel as light as you can, camo up, be still, and have your digiscoping gear at the ready.

Those are the basics. However, the real key is optimizing your optics for close-up viewing. This means packing your low-power binos or monoculars.

When glassing and digiscoping in heavy cover, whitetails can abruptly appear.

Whitetail bucks bed in the confines of shaded cover and often move in low-light. If not careful, they appear quickly or you notice them late. At worst, you spook them and they’re gone. To see them, much less record them, low power is the ticket.

Ten-power binoculars are by far the most popular deer hunting binos, with 12X pairs coming in a close second. However, to locate deer in denser cover, 8X optics are the optimal choice. 8X25 is my favorite choice for this purpose, though 8×42 are very common. 

Why go low?

The short answer is that lower-powered optics provide a wide field of view, which is perfect for these shadowy more compact settings. It will also help you to see animals quicker. There is more to it than that though. By and large, low-power means better light gathering. This is a good thing for wildlife viewing and an even better thing for digiscoping. It maximizes your chances of capturing more vivid images of the buck hung up behind the mesquite thicket or within an oak canopy. This means a better ability to distinguish deer traits, such as that cool kicker-point or split brow tine.

Low-powered binoculars like this set of Leupold Rogues are typically lightweight and compact, ideal for up close glassing and digiscoping sits.

Low-powered optics are well-suited for handheld digiscoping, as the wide field of view equates to steadier viewing.

There is an additional benefit too. Low-powered binoculars are usually lighter and more compact. Nobody likes to feel like they’re carrying a cinder block around their neck.

There are situations when less is more and glassing and digiscoping at shorter ranges and in heavy cover is one of them. If you already like to get closer to whitetails, pair your low-powered binos with your Phone Skope adapter kit and close the distance. Remember, you can still use your higher-powered binoculars as a companion pair when you hit the field.  


Closeup scouting with low-powered optics is a fun and effective way to scout if you put yourself in a position for success. Give it a try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.