ATN ProStaff Ambassador, Joshua Franklin, in the third installment of our Predator Hunting Tips, Tricks & Tactics discussed calls one should use during a particular season and how the coyotes’ life cycle plays an important role in how you call and where. In Part 3, we are going to discuss the differences between thermal vs. night vision, and how as a hunter they can help you #OWNTHENIGHT and #BETHEPREDATOR!
Is Thermal Required to Kill More Coyotes?
This is a really loaded question that a lot of people struggle to come to grips with. The answer is absolutely, and no. Hopefully that clears it up quite a bit for you! To elaborate further on what I mean, we are going to dive off heavily into thermal and night vision optics in this segment.
No one absolutely NEEDS thermal to kill coyotes, much the same as you don’t NEED a Ferrari to get to work, you just have more fun and get things done going from point A to point B a lot quicker. Utilizing thermal in your arsenal to hunt coyotes is essentially the same thing as going into a boxing match knowing your opponent hasn’t ever boxed before. One big thing that really is a misunderstood concept is the fact that thermal does not kill more coyotes. It takes a lot of the disadvantage that you as a hunter have when pursuing a coyote out of the equation though.
Real-Life Scenario Perspective
I can take two hunters, one with thermal and one with a red light or Night Vision (NV), out to a field. Five minutes into the stand, the hunter using an ATN OTS thermal monocular can scan 360 degrees continuously while he is calling. The hunter with NV and lights can also do the same thing. A coyote comes across an open field at a dead run right to you and at 500 yards, the guy with thermal sees the coyote coming and gets on his rifle. The guy with the light/NV gets eye shine and gets on his rifle. At 100 yards, both hunters shoot the coyote and it’s chalked up as a successful stand. Everyone is happy!
Now, let’s say on the same stand, different scenario. If that coyote instead of crossing a wide-open field, he comes in through the tree line way off to the left. The guy using thermal can see the coyote moving through the tree line and working towards him. The guy with Lights/NV hasn’t got a clue that the coyote is there because it’s not looking at them, therefore the Infrared/colored light isn’t getting eye shine. The coyote moves through the trees, gets to 150 yards straight left of you and pops out of the tree line right into your downwind side. The guy with thermal was on his rifle; bang…flop…coyote is dead. The guy with NV/Lights never knew the coyote was coming through the woods, therefore was never looking at the tree line and the coyote caught their wind and disappeared right back into cover.
An Optic for Your Specific Need
The above scenario is clearly a hypothetical situation and there are literally hundreds of factors that can play into the success of a stand. I wanted to provide some clear advantages some people can have by having a thermal monocular or thermal scope for coyote hunting. There are limitations to thermal just the same as there are with night vision. Thermal gives you much better detection, while night vision gives you much better identification. Several people, including myself, choose to run an ATN OTS Thermal monocular for detection and an ATN X-Sight 4K for ID and shooting purposes. Thermal allows for much faster follow up shots, while night vision allows you to maintain clear aim points and allows for precision shots. There are tradeoffs to everything in this sport, you just must try and decide what would best fit your need and stand requirements.
Some people prefer bolt action rifles while others prefer semi-automatic rifles. You need to have the discussion with individuals whom you can trust their advice and input whenever you’re researching what your needs are and what item(s) would best fit your scenarios that you are going to encounter. Most of us here on the ATN Prostaff love answering some of these questions and would be more than happy to help you pick and choose exactly what it is that you’re looking for and what would best fit your needs!