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        News — thermal

        Scopes and Tools Needed for Hunting at Night

        Scopes and Tools Needed for Hunting at Night

        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:

        1. 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.

        1. 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.

        1. Bait/caller

        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.

        1. Flashlight/headlamp

        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.

        1. 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.

        1. 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.

        1. 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!

        A Beginner’s Guide to Coyote Hunting

        A Beginner’s Guide to Coyote Hunting

        The illusive song dogs of the American south are opportunistic predators who use their cunning and heightened senses to track their prey, which is what makes them so hard to hunt. The coyote (canis latrans) is many things to many people. To some, especially shepherds and ranchers, it is nothing more than a dangerous pest wreaking havoc on livestock. Professional trappers see them as walking investments, and while the art of the furrier isn’t what it once was thanks to environmental activism, a high-quality coyote pelt can still sell for about $30-$40. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Navajo revere the coyote as the amoral trickster god, existing from the beginning of time along with the First Man and First Woman, and somewhere in the middle, the casual hunter just thinks they’re fun to shoot. 

        Hunting coyotes is not the same as hunting deer. While both creatures have heightened senses of smell and can run faster than an Olympic athlete on a good day, Wile E. and his kin have much better night vision than Bambi and are much more cunning. 

        A coyote has 20/75 vision, while a deer has 20/100. This means if a human with perfect vision can see an object clearly at 75 feet, a coyote would need to be 20 feet away to see the same object clearly. A human with either of these acuities would need prescription glasses, but just because we humans can see further does not necessarily mean we’ll notice them before they notice us.


        Thanks to the way their eyes sit in their sockets, a coyote has wider cones of vision. As predators with long snouts, they have a 260° cone of vision compared to a human’s 180°, meaning that they have better peripheral vision than we do. 

        It is often stated that most huntable animals like deer, hogs, and coyotes are colorblind, but this is not exactly the case. Their spectrum of colors is more limited than ours, but they should technically still see color. Red, orange, and green are beyond the visible spectrum of a coyote, however they can detect ultraviolet light, which is normally invisible to humans. This is important to remember if you hunt with freshly laundered clothes, since detergents that use fluorescent brightening agents like diamino stilbene disulfonic acid, fluorescent brighteners, fluorescent white dyes, or any detergent with the word “fluorescent” in the ingredients make your clothes stand out to a coyote, even they look perfectly camouflaged to you. 

        On a related note, the same fluorescent dyes also make you glow when being viewed through night vision equipment. If you still want your camo to work but don’t want to be given away by your awful, unnatural smell, consider using activewear detergent which works without any fluorescent brightening agents. 

        Where the coyote’s vision truly shines – literally – is at night. Multiple sets of glowing eyes in the darkness are usually the telltale signs of a pack of coyotes. This eerie phenomenon is caused by a layer of natural reflective tissue over a coyote’s eyes called the tapetum lucidum. Absent in humans, this membrane allows the eyes of nocturnal animals to collect more light, acting as a form of natural night vision lenses. 

        However, like dogs, coyotes tend to rely more on their sense of smell than their sight. A completely blind coyote can still smell blood from about a mile away, and the average “effective range” for a coyote’s sense of smell is 350 yards. If you are downwind of a coyote and inside that 350-yard radius, the coyote will very likely bolt. With 26 square inches of an olfactory zone and 220 million olfactory sensors compared to a human’s 400, the coyote’s sense of smell acts as an omnidirectional radar constantly searching for threats and targets of opportunity. 

        Hunting the Coyote 

        So then, it falls to the hunter to engage this animal when the wind is in favor, at long range. Since coyotes are active at night, the use of thermal imaging is not only recommended but required for engaging targets at the distances required for nighttime coyote hunting. While there are some flashlights capable of beaming down on a yote from several hundred feet away, their sheer brightness would make it seem like an alien counter to the coyote, and using high quality thermal imaging would allow hunters to see further and shoot with better accuracy. 

        The Talion XQ38 has an effective range of 1475 yards, but unless you’re blasting coyotes with a precision rifle capable of long-range shooting, it would be better for you to engage at ranges of 300 yards or less to ensure an ethical shot to the coyote’s vitals. 

        Now, a .223 with a ballistic tip is a good choice if you want rapid expansion, but unless the round hits bone on the other side, you’ll have an enormous exit wound that’ll ruin your pelt, if that concerns you. If not, all center-fire rounds with flat trajectories are suitable for coyote hunting. 

        However, if you want to preserve your pelt to sell, or if you’re interested in taxidermy, a .17HMR will do the job. This small, fast round will leave a small entry wound, and its exit wound – if any – will be far less gruesome than a larger centerfire round like a .223. 

        Scouting and Optics 

        Before you can kill any coyotes, you’ll have to know they’re even in the area. Be on the lookout for paw prints (generally 2.5 to 3.5 inches long) and droppings. Dark coyote dung means an abundance of meat in the area, and coyotes who are eating well have no reason to forage frequently, so there is less chance of seeing them. Lighter dung indicates slim pickings for the coyote, which means they’re more likely to respond to calls. 

        Using a mapping system like onXmaps, you can determine elevation points in your hunting area and hike to them to scout from a higher vantage point. Using a Merger LRF XP50 and its 1800-meter (2,000 yard) detection range, you’ll be sure to see any coyotes out in the open, even in pitch darkness. 

        If you do happen to find coyotes after the sun goes down – and you likely will, since they are more active at night – Use the Talion XQ38 for your riflescope. This powerful thermal riflescope has 9 hours of battery life for a full night of hunting, a 1,475-yard detection range, 2.5x base magnification for a wide field of view, and 10x magnification for closer shots. 

        Luring is the most effective way to hunt them. If you are down wind of the coyote and well-camouflaged enough, it is possible to get a shot in at 50 yards. 

        At this range, No. 4 buckshot with copper plated BBs, tightly patterned, would do the trick. 

        When calling, your scope – especially if you’re using thermal – should be kept on its lowest possible magnification setting to increase your peripheral vision. If possible, use the Merger to scan your surroundings before looking through your Pulsar optic of choice to deliver the kill. Avoid going closer than 4x until you are sure you have your target. 

        Coyotes are mostly active at night in search of game animals like mice and vermin. They prefer cooler temperatures for movement, 20° to 50° is what they consider comfortable. 

        Since most of their prey comes out at night, coyotes are mostly nocturnal. For the longest time, this limited coyote hunting to daytime hours alone, but with the latest developments in hunting technology such as digital thermal vision, more and more hunters are becoming adept at long range night hunting. This is especially important for farmers and ranchers who wish to keep their animals safe from coyote attacks. 

        What about you? How do you scout and hunt coyotes? What kind of optics do you use? Tell us in the comments below. 

        How Thermal Saves Lives

        How Thermal Saves Lives

        Thermal imaging cameras or “TICs” are for more than just hunting. They’re also valuable for electricians and search and rescue personnel, particularly because they’re very good at seeing through materials like smoke and fog, which would normally obscure the naked human eye.

        Here are some examples of how emergency services and first responders used thermal imaging to save lives and property:


        1. Fire department saves mobile home because of thermal camera

        Back in 2003, the all-volunteer fire brigade of Williamstown, Vermont (population 3,331) received a federal grant. One of the essential pieces of equipment they bought with the grant money was a state-of-the-art thermal camera that featured a multi-color palette, which quickly proved to be a valuable asset to the fire department.

        In 2004, the department responded to a fire in a mobile home. After the visible fires were put out, the firefighters scanned the site with their thermal camera to determine if there were other hidden fire hazards or embers which could reignite the flames.

        This particular mobile home had a wooden frame roof installed above a metal roof. To the naked eye, everything would look safe and clear, but firefighters equipped with their thermal imaging cameras were able to detect an unusual amount of heat in between the two roofs and removed that section of the roof to save the rest of the building.

        Second Assistant Chief Bill Ashe recounted, “Without a doubt, the embers eventually would have rekindled the fire and led to a total loss of the mobile home.”


        1. Terrorist found and arrested with a helicopter-mounted thermal camera

        Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat through a thermal camera.

        In April 2013, two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev bombed the Boston Marathon with a homemade pressure cooker bomb, killing three and injuring about 264 people. After the success of their attack, the two Islamic extremists had spontaneously decided to attack Times Square but were cornered by police at Watertown, five miles away from the original site of the bombing.

        A gunfight ensued, and officers from six different police departments opened fire on the two terrorists in an engagement where at least 200 rounds were fired and six explosive devices were lit up the 100 block of Laurel Street. In the confusion, the older brother Tamerlan ran out of ammo and was arrested. Dzhokar tried to stop his brother’s arrest by ramming into the officers with an SUV, but ran over his brother instead, killing him. Despite successful law enforcement actions in Watertown, Dzhokar was able to get away, and the nationwide manhunt continued.

        Hours later, Watertown resident David Henneberry noticed that the tarp covering his parked boat seemed a little loose, and also noticed there was blood on it. He called the police, who arrived at the scene ready with a tactical team and a helicopter with a thermal camera.

        The police helicopter trained its thermal imaging device on the boat and confirmed that a person with a heat signature was inside. The figure began poking at the tarp, which prompted police to open fire on the boat.

        After a brief firefight, the badly wounded Dzhokar Tsarnaev was arrested and taken to hospital in critical condition. He is currently awaiting the death penalty.

        Without interagency cooperation, the cooperation of local residents, and modern technology like the thermal camera, which allowed officers to verify their target and engage from a safe distance, Tsarnaev’s arrest would not have been possible.


        1. Wandering septuagenarian found with thermal drone

        In Grant County, east of Seattle, the Hartline and Amira Volunteer Fire Department received a call from dispatch about a missing person. 

        Apparently, a 70-year-old man with dementia had wandered off into the woods in the middle of the night. The 911 call went out at 1:30 am, and the surrounding woods were pitch black, frustrating rescue personnel who conducted a search on the ground.

        The search went on for two and a half hours and exterior temperatures dropped to 32° Fahrenheit. Rescuers knew they were racing against the clock – prolonged exposure to a man who was likely not dressed in winter clothing would most likely lead to him falling victim to hypothermia. To expedite the operation, rescue personnel released a drone equipped with a thermal camera to survey the search area.

        The thermal drone found the man within just eight minutes. He was lying still in tall sagebrush, making it impossible for the ground search clue to locate him. With its white hot palette, the cold ground was displayed as dark gray on the thermal camera’s sensor, while the man showed up in bright white, contrasting sharply with the area around him

        Rescuers were able to reunite the man safely with his family, and Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones says the rescue would’ve been impossible without the assistance of thermal technology.

        Understanding Thermal Image Palettes

        Understanding Thermal Image Palettes

        Pulsar’s wide array of thermal products take pride in their image palette versatility. With 8 different image palettes which go beyond simple white hot and black hot, users might feel overwhelmed.  

        More than just differentiating between what objects are hot and cold, the various color palettes can each be used for different purposes. While a user’s choice of palette is ultimately based on personal preferences, this article offers to explain the subtle differences of the many color palette choices Pulsar offers. 

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar white hot image palette

        White Hot is the default palette available on nearly every thermal device on the market. In this mode, objects giving off the most infrared energy appear white through the display, while cooler objects giving off less heat are depicted as black.

        Used for everything from hunting to surveillance as well as search and rescue, this view provides simple contrast between hot and cold objects and on a Pulsar product, produces very sharp images with clear details.

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar black hot image palette

        Black Hot is the polar opposite of white hot. In this mode, objects which appear black emit more heat and thermal energy than the gray and white objects around them. Although this might seem like a palette created for a purely aesthetic reason to oppose white hot, users who opt for black hot instead of white hot will find it much easier to track objects in very hot environments where the very ground is emitting massive amounts of infrared energy.

        Scanning the Nevada Desert in white hot, for example, would make the entire environment appear white. It would also contribute to eye strain because of the massive amount of light. By contrast, a person using a black hot palette in a hot environment would be able to focus on the minute details of an object without feeling like he’s looking directly into a flashlight.

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar rainbow image palette

        Rainbow is a palette which captures several layers of heat. On this palette, the objects which emit the most infrared energy appear as red, going on a scale from yellow to dark blue as objects get colder.

        In the non-sporting world, this color palette is most often used to detect minute temperature changes in objects, and it’s most often used when conducting building surveys and checking mechanical equipment. In the outdoors, it’s used to provide sharp contrast between animals and environmental objects.

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar red hot image palette

        Red Hot displays the hottest infrared signatures as red and yellow on a display that otherwise resembles white hot. For example, when viewing an animal, only its hottest body parts such as its snout and underbelly would appear red while the rest of the image would be flushed out in shades of gray.

        This is used to provide contrast for defeating animal camouflage or looking for the hottest objects in areas which are otherwise cool, such as looking for a small white bird sitting on a snowy tree during winter.

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar sepia image palette

        Sepia gives the display a brownish/yellowish filter. Dark brown indicates cool objects which emit low levels of infrared energy, while bright yellow indicates heat. Less intense than red and more muted than rainbow, the sepia color palette is best used for long hours of observation when the softness of this color palette is less strenuous on the eyes.

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar violet image palette

        Violet floods the display in a deep, rich purple hue. Much like the sepia palette, areas of the image with intense infrared energy are lit up in yellowish tones, but instead of brown, cold areas are displayed in violet. Thanks to the better contrast between hot yellow and cold purple, this color palette is best used while scanning in rough terrain and hot weather, since it provides slightly more detail than black or white hot in these conditions.

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar ultramarine image palette

        Ultramarine is deceptively similar to rainbow. This multi-color palette enhances the temperature differences of various objects just like its darker counterpart while using a light blue instead of deep indigo to display cool colors. This is especially useful for nighttime observers who want more light in their backgrounds as well as a clearer idea of what is happening around their subject.

        Feral hog or wild boar seen through Pulsar red monochrome image palette

        Red Monochrome is a very dark filter which only highlights the hottest objects in an image with a bright yellow tinge. This color palette is useful for scanning, since everything but the hottest objects is drowned out in dark red.


        As previously mentioned, the choice of palette depends entirely on the user, and these are merely suggestions on how they are to be used. Frequently, thermal hunters switch to white hot for its clarity and never change to another palette ever again. Others want to pretend they’re the Predator and keep their sights on rainbow mode forever. Just as your eyes are your own, no one can dictate which palette you should use your thermal. The best palette is whatever helps you do your job best.

        What is AMOLED?

        Newer Pulsar products often boast of high quality AMOLED displays, but many consumers don’t truly know what they are. A discerning thermal hunter might not know, for example, that a device with an AMOLED display is a far more efficient tool than an equivalent with an LCD monitor. This technology is normally used to make sharp display images in smartphones, TVs, and digital cameras. Pulsar has coopted it for use in its thermal devices. 

        The acronym AMOLED stands for “Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode.” These displays consist of tiny red, green and blue (RGB) pixels in four layers. Each individual pixel operates with its own light source, instead of one large backlight like an LCD would use. This results in very sharp image quality. 

        AMOLED displays also have a much faster refresh rate compared to LCD displays, with refresh times within the 1 millisecond mark (one second is 1000 milliseconds). This is especially important for real-time recording, since a device with an AMOLED display like a Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF is capable of displaying the most minute sways of a leaf or the fluttering of the wings of a nearby bird in spectacular detail. 

        In practical terms, AMOLED displays offer more vibrant images than their LCD counterparts. This is best illustrated by an AMOLED camera’s response to being pointed in a completely dark room. While an LCD would attempt to show the lack of light by displaying a series of black pixels, a camera with an AMOLED display would simply turn all the “black” pixels off, resulting in deeper blacks and less power consumption. This same technology also means that every colored pixel on an AMOLED display promises to be vivid and crisp, with a high contrast ratio, perfect for distinguishing light from dark, especially in thermal technology. 

        Pulsar has utilized this new technology to the fullest of its extent in its latest products, and promises to deliver the hunter or nighttime wilderness explorer the clearest and most vibrant thermal imaging available on the market. 



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