I have read several blogs and watched videos on hunting where I have heard people use the term glass. I have no idea what it means and I have found very little on Google about what it could mean.

So, what does the term glass mean?

We are going to glass here tonight and see if there is a bull around.


4 Answers 4


Glass generally means using your binoculars or scope to look for game.

  • Same term used for a lens of a camera :)
    – Aravona
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 16:48

Some people refer to binoculars as spyglasses, or 'glass' for short.


The term is very old, and goes back to when people would carry simple telescopes - known colloquially as "spyglasses" - to their hunting areas to search for game. I've seen the term used by a British officer looking for the French Army formations on the Iberian Peninsula in the early 1800s, and I have no doubt it goes back farther than that.


A hunting rifle with a telescopic sight (called a 'scope') can also be used as a basic telescope to view distant objects (called 'glassing') but note this practice this is considered by hunters to be exceptionally poor field craft for a few reasons.

1) To use the telescopic sight mounted on a rifle as a basic telescope, the rifle must be pointed at the distant object. If the distant object turns out to be a small group of people, then you will be pointing a rifle at those people - DO NOT EVER point a rifle at a person for the obvious safety reason. Only a total n00b asking for trouble 'glasses' for game in the field. In some areas, pointing a rifle at another hunter in the field is considered a hostile act and they may react in a hostile manner.

2) The telescopic rife sight must first be sighted in by firing the rifle and carefully adjusting the scope for a specific range. That is, the field of view is maximized for that specific sighting range. Other ranges either nearer or farther will give a poor field of view for use as a general telescope. Field adjustments to the scope to try to improve the field of view may throw off the sights.

3) A good set of binoculars will give a much better field of view with a much wider zoom adjustment range. With binoculars, a better zoom and larger field of view allows seeing more detail both nearer and farther.

Competent hunters carry binoculars for scouting or searching for game and only use a rifle's telescopic sight for aiming their rifle, once game is found.


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