Steady Now: Free-Hand Digiscope Scouting

Scouting and hunting whitetails and other big game have come a long way. Let’s face it, there are more gadgets that you can count these days – some of them essential and others, well… not so much. Optics have long since been considered part of the former group. Whether a solid rifle scope or handy spotting scope on the ground or affixed to the truck window, they are an essential part of any hunter’s arsenal. At the end of the day, there is no piece of equipment more valuable than a reliable set of binoculars for locating and sizing up game animals. 

Today, just about every hunter already owns another valuable component of the optical advantage they hold over wild game; the smartphone. The smart ones know that, when paired with a Phone Skope Adapter kit, the hunting and scouting opportunities are substantial. 

Photographers have utilized tripods for steady shots for a long time and every “digiscoper” will attest that they truly add to their effectiveness as well. The same goes for window mounts and any other system that adds stabilization for images and videos. However, there are reasons to digiscope free-hand. 

Lightening the Load

Leaving the tripod at home or in the truck means less gear to lug into the field. While many tripods these days are lightweight, they still take up space. Hunters can maximize room in their pack or free up a hand by leaving it behind. 

No Floor? No Problem

Free-hand digiscoping is an ideal solution for when you don’t have a hunting blind floor or flat terrain. While most tripods allowed for sloped ground, simply raising your binoculars to capture images is fast and efficient.

Quick Prep for Images and Videos

Free-hand digiscoping means you can capture images and videos on the fly. Before hitting the field, go ahead and connect your binoculars and smartphone via a Phone Skope adapter kit. At a minimum, place your phone in the Phone Skope case to save time once you reach your hunting blind.

With practice, digiscoping without a brace is easy.

Impromptu Practice

Of course, digiscoping practice is never a bad idea. Repetition using your kit only increases your effectiveness once you hit the woods. This is particularly true when digiscoping without the aid of a tripod or other brace. The good news, it’s easy to grab your binos and smartphone and practice during vacations, trips to the park, or even in the back yard. Recurring practice sessions bring poise to your game when you’re roaming landscapes in search of game. 

The How

We’ve established that less equipment means fewer steps, lighter packing, and space maximization. With that, there are few needs when it comes to free-hand digiscoping during hunts and scouting trips afield. 

Optics: Binoculars or monoculars are the best choice for free-hand viewing and capturing of images. For long-range viewing, use binos with at least 10×42 power and field-of-view. Although using the highest quality pair you have is beneficial, even binos of moderate quality will do the trick, assuming they have enough power.

Phone Skope Adapter Kit: Your best bet is to build your kit online at Simply, choose your optics and smartphone brand and model. If your optics aren’t on the menu, the Phone Skope Universal Adapter is a great option. Kits are small and lightweight. They include a phone case and eyepiece adapter.

The Phone Skope adapter kit is lightweight and, on its own, takes up little room.

Smartphone: This one’s easy. Come on, you know you were going to take it anyway.

Hint: place your smartphone in the Phone Skope phone case before hitting the field. It will save a step.

To save time and minimize gear, Insert your smartphone in the Phone Skope case before hitting the woods.

Note that if you have a box blind ledge or tree branch to rest your arms on while digiscoping, by all means, utilize it for added stability. If not, with repetition, you can master free-hand digiscoping without a rest.

In settings allowing it, using a tripod or other stabilization method is an optimal way to digiscope. However, with practice, you can utilize your digiscoping kit free-hand for capturing and magnifying deer and other wild game on your next hunt or scouting session. Consider this “hands-on” approach next time you hit the woods. 

If you have a hunting stand ledge or tree branch, use it for added stability.

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