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#3227999 - 01/13/20 01:36 PM Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope?
204Gunner Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 1230
Loc: Lake City, Michigan
So far, I have hunted a little at night with a red LED Night Snipe scanning headlamp (Tony Tebbe 2 mode version) and a Predator Tactics Coyote Reaper XXL.

Are any of you still using red lights or is this old and less effective technology?

I am considering going with a night vision scope and IR LED for the XXL and a thermal monocular? for scanning? Am I looking in the right direction?

I'm open to all suggestions, makes and models.


Edited by 204Gunner (01/13/20 01:36 PM)

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#3228000 - 01/13/20 01:42 PM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: 204Gunner]
Kirsch Online
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 10/13/09
Posts: 2181
Loc: North Dakota
A thermal scanner is the most important tool for night hunting. You can't shoot what you can't see. Plan to budget somewhere in the 2-4K range for a thermal scanner. The two I have been recommending a lot are the Hogster-R (25mm or 35mm) or the Pulsar Helion XP38. The Hogsters are actually thermal scopes but they are so small, they work quite well as scanners. There are other options but these are two of my favorites.

Once you start using thermal for scanning, you most likely will be quickly looking to move to thermal on the gun. When it comes to NV vs thermal, I would recommend Night Vision if your state allows coyote hunting but doesn't allow fox hunting as an example where you need 100% confidence it is a coyote. For most other situations, thermal is a better option. You can get into entry level digital Night Vision for a lot less than thermal, so it just depends on when you believe you would have enough budget for a thermal scope. Just my .02
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#3228006 - 01/13/20 02:33 PM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: 204Gunner]
why Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 754
Loc: md eastern shore
For an example, I used to kill 10-30 fox a season (3 months) using lites. This year with NV and thermal I have killed 66 fox in 2 months. I don't go every night and when I do go it is only for a couple hours. Like others have said until you use Thermal you won't know what you have been missing.

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#3228038 - 01/13/20 05:08 PM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: 204Gunner]
Ihateyotes Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 345
Loc: Tx
I have a FLIR thermal scanner and a NV D760 scope and I find I like the NV for shooting. Reason is there are other peoples properties around me and the thermal will let me know something is there however the NV will let me see it is the neighbors dog before I pull the trigger. Now out in the desert or somewhere where peoples pets are not around I could see straight thermal but not where I live and hunt ymmv.
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#3228052 - 01/13/20 06:07 PM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: 204Gunner]
DiRTY DOG Online
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 08/27/09
Posts: 2806
Loc: West
A lot of night hunters using lights have poor technique and thus don't see the critters they are calling in.

I hunt with other spotlighters. It seems 80%-90% of the time I see the eyes first before the other guy. Nearly every time! Using similar equipment, standing right next to each other.

That can only be explained by technique.

I scan very quickly in a 300+ degree arc by holding the light about chest level and rotating my body and hips using wrist movement at the end of each swing to illuminate behind me. Very quickly! I'm not looking for an antler tip poking out behind a bush. I'm looking for bright glowing eyes. You can't miss them unless your light is not shining on them. So keep your light moving at all times or else you may miss that split second when a predator looks at you. This can get dizzying with a headlamp, which I also use especially for 100 yards and closer, but I prefer handheld scanning for open terrain.

The other people I've spotlighted with swing their lights veeeery slowly, like 10 seconds from left to right. They almost never see the eyes before me. They can't see the eyes because their light takes soooo long to swing L to R.

That's my experience.

Right here on PM, you'll see guys who think they are supposed to keep their lights off while calling and only turn their lights on momentarily to scan and then turn them back off again for a few minutes. That's the super extremely wrong way to do it.
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#3228068 - 01/13/20 07:20 PM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: 204Gunner]
varminter .223 Online
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 2745
Loc: south central Illinois
You hit a coyote with any kind of light around here and he is gonna be outta there. They wont even tolerate ir glow anymore. Quality nv and a thermal handheld will work if the coyotes will tolerate the ir but you will kill more with gun mounted thermal. I've been down these roads.


Edited by varminter .223 (01/13/20 07:22 PM)

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#3228122 - 01/13/20 11:17 PM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: varminter .223]
case-nh Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 02/11/05
Posts: 814
Loc: Iowa
Definitely thermal scanner. Have shot 4 fox this year that I didn't want to shoot. Very difficult to tell the difference with a thermal scope (using Trail XP50, and moved to Trail XP50 LRF) unless they give you enough time to scrutinize them. I hate shooting them as there haven't been many because of the coyotes (and we have a season for them ). I think I have seen more in the territories I hunt as I hunt them all year long and I think the added pressure I put on the coyote population allows for the foxes to survive better. Have heard the same from the people in the area's I hunt. This is the first year I have encountered so many and each situation didn't allow me the time or the view. 1 was head on at about 50 yards down a fence line and the others came out of cover so fast I didn't have time and was not expecting a fox. 2 of the last 3 came in after I had played howls so didn't expect a fox to be hanging around after a "coyote" was in the area. I have a D740 gen 3 scope that is better on IDing the animal but haven't been using it much lately as there has been a lot of cover/unharvested fields till lately and still some left so the thermal has had an advantage. I've gone back and looked at my recordings of these kills to see if I can better ID them by characteristics/physical traits but it is difficult. Distances and situations dictate the ability to. The best thing I can pick out is the foxes tail is much larger proportionately to it's body but as the tail is a fainter thermal image on both it makes it challenging. Anyway, my input.

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#3228156 - 01/14/20 08:56 AM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: 204Gunner]
varminter .223 Online
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 2745
Loc: south central Illinois
Let me put it this way if you got quality gun mounted thermal and night vision you will have an extremely hard time going back tonight vision after experiencing thermal.
I've tried multiple times to go back to my Nemesis Quicksilver for power and it never works I'm right back to the xp50.


Edited by varminter .223 (01/14/20 08:56 AM)

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#3228274 - 01/14/20 09:29 PM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: varminter .223]
woodsy25 Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/13/20
Posts: 14
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: varminter .223
You hit a coyote with any kind of light around here and he is gonna be outta there. They wont even tolerate ir glow anymore. Quality nv and a thermal handheld will work if the coyotes will tolerate the ir but you will kill more with gun mounted thermal. I've been down these roads.


No kidding! my last time out I called in 2 on as many stands and they both bolted when I hit em with the IR. I was so frustrated I ordered an XP38 Thermion the next day and sold my NV clip-on after that. Now it turns out that the thermal my dealer ordered wasn't shipped and now can't be found anywhere. Looks like I'm done night hunting for this year. mad

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#3228332 - 01/15/20 09:13 AM Re: Do I need a thermal scanner and night vision scope? [Re: 204Gunner]
cmatera Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 12/15/08
Posts: 2272
Loc: CO
Thermal for detection, NV for shooting where PID is required. Always was, still is, and yes I've owned both.

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