Night hunting can be both a thrilling and rewarding experience. Animals normally asleep or invisible during the day come out after the sun goes down to forage for food or hunt, unaware they are being hunted themselves by an apex predator aided by the latest technological advancements.
While hunting deer at night is illegal nationwide, there are other hunting opportunities for fur bearing animals such as coyotes, raccoons, rabbits, and foxes or larger animals like pigs, bobcats, and non-indigenous wildlife in places like Texas. Before you set out on your expedition, it’s your responsibility to educate yourself on what kind of animals are legal to hunt at night.
Once you are absolutely sure that you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s researching your state’s hunting regulations, it’s time to prepare for the hunt itself. Like any outdoor activity, nighttime hunting requires one to be prepared with a checklist of items specific to the occasion. For the best nighttime hunting experience, you will need the following:
- Rifle capable of mounting a thermal scope.
Rifles are the weapon of choice for the large caliber, long-range hunter. Your rifle should have rails or at least mounted scope rings on it compatible with your optic of choice. Hunters who take night hunting seriously utilize digital devices like the Pulsar Thermion Duo DXP50, the world’s first multispectral hunting riflescope, which has the unique capability to see both in daytime mode and in thermal mode. With a detection range of 1,800 yards, no prey is too far for this magnificent thermal unit.
- Gutting knife
A good gut knife and bone saw will be absolutely necessary for field dressing your kill, since it would be illogical to drag a 300-pound carcass all the way to the cooler in your vehicle, especially considering its guts are just dead weight.
Callers, whether electronic or mouth-blown, can attract hogs or coyotes. Novice hunters are better off using the former over the latter, since a badly blown caller can sound like an alien creature to a hog, which might scare the animal away. An electronic call will last as long as batteries allow, and many of them play specific sounds such as distress calls, mating calls and others to attract specific types of animals.
If you shoot an animal at night and fail to kill it with a single shot, the creature will run off into the woods and it will be your misfortune to track it. Finding a blood trail while the sun is out can be difficult enough but following it in the dark is both difficult and dangerous, which is why you need a flashlight.
- Thermal Monocular
Whether you’re searching for prey to shoot or tracking your fresh kill, a light, compact monocular like the Axion 2 LRF XG35 would be easier to scout with than your digital thermal riflescope. A Pulsar thermal monocular is also capable of defeating any kind of natural camouflage and works in day or night, making it a viable option even when the sun is out.
- Toilet paper, flags, glow sticks
As previously mentioned, blood tracking is one of the many unique challenges of the nighttime hunt. When one wants to both track his game and not get lost in the process, it’s advisable for the nocturnal hunter to get something bright like a piece of toilet paper, small bright orange flags, or glow sticks to mark blood trails, creating a visible path in the dark to backtrack on.
- First Aid Kit
You are statistically more likely to get injured out in the wilderness than you are lounging about at home. Pack the essentials like bandages, alcohol, cotton swabs, and scissors while augmenting them with caladryl lotion for poison ivy and a tourniquet for any unfortunate firearms-related accidents.
What about you? What kind of gear do you pack in your hunting kit? Tell us in the comments below!