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Thread: I've Experienced the Advantage of Hunting with Thermal and Night Vision

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Duck View Post
    you CAN use a cheap laser as a range finder.....set it up so it crosses your X hair at given range...eg at 50 yards and set lazer either above or below centre of scope...set it below...if red dot is below the range is less,if its above X its more than 50 yards better still is to set it above centre of scope,so it crosses X at 50 yards and will at some point further out..say 75 yards be close to smack on POI again...little bit of tootooing and its plurry usefull we used this years ago with normal spotlight set up....with two people one handheld lazer beam ($2 shop pointer) works as fella on light,who can see animal can put dot on it for shooter....still applicable to these fancy set ups if two people involved.
    Agree with the above. In fact I might happen to know someone who made a Ďlaser/reticle dial confluence range finder chartí.
    Some may laugh but there are numerous rabbits that didnít find it funny.
    Micky Duck and Coote like this.

  2. #17
    Rocks in his pockets Joe_90's Avatar
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    If any of you chaps are around central otago and want to have a play with thermal scope (conotech 350) clip on night vision (part 007) green or red spotlights then flick me a message. I've been collecting gear over the last couple of years....
    Pengy, Shearer, Micky Duck and 1 others like this.
    If you can't beat them, beat them.
    They will be expecting you to join them, so you'll have the element of surprise.

  3. #18
    Rocks in his pockets Joe_90's Avatar
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    For you Micky there will even be some cold speights.
    Micky Duck likes this.
    If you can't beat them, beat them.
    They will be expecting you to join them, so you'll have the element of surprise.

  4. #19
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    Sorry Muzza, i haven't tried to change reticule brightness on either the Pulsar I was using, or on my Sytong HT-60. But I have found that some of the reticule shapes or colours seem better to use than others... and these can be selected from a menu.

    Back to my thoughts about effective hunting at night....

    I think the greatest 'game changer' for me was using a thermal monocular. The one I used was a Burris. It detected animals hundreds of yards away. I didn't know there were so many hedgehogs around, and I noticed small critters like rats and mice. So for a hunter who goes to a lot of areas or who is hunting on unfamiliar territory, a thermal spotter will be a big help and possibly quite an eye-opener.

    For someone who knows the territory well, I think a low powered NV scope like the Sytong HT-60 might be the only bit of high technology needed to increase the success rate. When you know where the animals are likely to be, you can scan the area with your scope. A thermal monocular is amazing, but may cost a lot. If it adds to your pleasure... or increases your knowledge of animal behaviour it may be well worth getting one.

    Somebody asked about costs. The Burris thermal monocular sells for about $3500. A Pulsar Digex night vision scope might cost you $2500. Both these items are excellent as far as I can tell from my rather limited experience. However you can have very good night vision ability with a Sytong HT-60 without a rangefinder for $999. And if you don't need a dedicated NV rig, an add-on Sytong NV unit only costs $600 or so. I picked the rangefinder version (HT-60 LRF) because I shoot subsonics from a .22 and a Bergara .357 magnum where knowing the range is really useful. While it cost $400 more than the basic model, I simply wanted to have it. Some newly retired guys go on a cruise .... or trade in their missus for a new model.... or buy a Harley. I'd rather spend on something that adds to my enjoyment and success in the outdoors.

    Recurring Pig Visits. I have had pleasing results trapping pigs that keep coming to certain areas. A trap is hunting for you all day, every day. The law rightfully requires traps to be checked every day, but they can be very effective. From previous experience I know that the topic of trapping can be controversial, but I will be happy to share what I know. Perhaps send me a private message if you are interested.

  5. #20
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    I just need to dedicate more time to working with the HT-60 unit . Hopefully in the next few days ... Mine is on a 17 Mach11 rifle.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzza View Post
    I just need to dedicate more time to working with the HT-60 unit . Hopefully in the next few days ... Mine is on a 17 Mach11 rifle.
    I've never used a 17, but I imagine that it would work well with the Sytong sitting on it. You'd be well equipped to get those danged bunnies that seem to stay out of .22 range.

  7. #22
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    This is an honest, helpful thread thanks Coote. After some yeas of experimenting (and reading a lot of BS advice on this and other Forums about NVG/Thermal gear and night-time hunting) I now have a full NVG Googles set-up (Helmet-mounted PVS-14s, 3rd Gen) plus a top-end Thermal scope for the shooting part itself. This works well for me, and is fun!!

    But you're right that a good NV/Thermal set-up doesn't have to be uber expensive - its a case of trial and error and deciding what works for you and the particular night-time game your are after. If there is ONE piece of NV/Thermal kit I think has become a go-to / indispensible item I agree the Thermal Monocular is GREAT. I borrow my mate's one, and use it during the day and early evening to first locate game. It's a game-changer!
    Coote likes this.

  8. #23
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    "Game changer" is one of those terms that I think is often over-used (like 'awesome' etc). However it definitely applies to a decent thermal monocular.

    I can see that a thermal sight would be a great thing Copelli. I've found that while animals are clear to see through a thermal device, I can have difficulty finding the same critters looking through a conventional or NV scope. Or even with the aid of a bright spotlight. I had that trouble last night. The day had been a bit overcast and there'd been a few spots of rain. So temperatures were more 'even'.... and apart from a few tree trunks and rocks, it was hard to see landmarks. The animals were easy to spot, but it was hard to tell where they were when I was looking through the rifle scope.

    The thermal monocular is useful for finding shot game, but a body lying amongst the weeds can be a lot harder to spot than something standing or sitting. Last night I shot one long-eared animal (probably a hare but maybe a rabbit) in a grassy paddock.... I'm fairly sure I saw it fall over with a leg in the air..... but I couldn't find the darn thing when I walked to where I thought it was. The grass was maybe six inches tall. I walked back and forth with my bright headlamp burning, stopping frequently to scan with the thermal monocular. Didn't find it. I'm fairly sure it won't have run off as I was using the .223 and I did not see any animal run from the scene. I looked for the best part of an hour. Normally this would be no big deal, but this particular property is one I've taken a special interest in. The owners are working hard to develop the place and are experimenting with their crops, and the hares are not helping.

    It is great when someone is prepared to lend you gear. The first thermal monocular I ever looked through belonged to a young guy who didn't have a lot of money. He is a nice bloke and a keen hunter, but... at the time.... seemed to have priorities that were a lot different to mine when I was his age. He'd be twenty-something. I bought my first NV gear at 66 years old. While I did spend on a few luxuries when I was starting out, paying the mortgage and getting ahead was the main aim. But maybe he is right and I was too cautious... this lifetime is not a practice run and we have to make the most of it. I got the idea that this young guy might have also been shooting from roads at night... so while I regard him as relatively sensible, I hope they were private roads and that he remains on the right side of the law. It would be a tragedy for a keen young bloke to lose his firearms licence when he has so many active years ahead of him. His wife left him a couple of years ago, and he is now with a lady who appears to be a much better match. I've noted with interest that he no longer has a pack of pig dogs. Sorry.... I've drifted off topic.

    I have a nephew who has taken an interest in my pest control activities. He told me about the game-changing nature of a thermal monocular and offered to loan me his. And now that I have my own NV gear, I can see that it takes a very generous and trusting person to make such an offer.

    Below is a picture of a hare I recovered last night. I shot it with the .223 in a newly-mown and cleared hay paddock. While I had difficulty judging the range, it was relatively easy to find the carcass. That is a set of bamboo shooting sticks in the picture. I wrapped a heavy-duty rubber band around them near the top to bind them together and to act as a pivot. I've also tied a few strips of black cloth around them to reduce the noise made when they rattle together.

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  9. #24
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    Shooting at night has its challenges.

    I started going out at night on a regular basis last winter. It was cold, and the ground was nearly always wet. I got some polarfleece trousers with a waterproof layer over the bum so that I could sit to wait or shoot. I also bought a tough, oversized Stoney Creek jacket with big pockets so I could carry stuff. There is a big pocket across the chest of the jacket, and while it is big enough to stow binoculars or a thermal monocular, I felt these expensive things were in the way and might possibly be damaged when I lay down to shoot or squeezed through a wire fence. (Incidentally, I've had a few hefty whacks from electric fences at night..... "I should be able to crawl under that.... Crack ! ..... FAAR@K").

    So I got an upmarket 'possibles bag' which I wear baldric-style across my body. it has a single long strap and several pockets. The thermal monocular can lie in the big one. I keep a spare torch in the included elastic-topped pocket... a few clean plastic bags for meat in a zippered pocket, and some spare ammo in another. I've jammed a Bahco knife into the strapping at the front of a bag. When I'm dressed up like a corpulent friar tuck on a winter's night, it is much easier to find what I want in a bag rather than feeling around under my clothing for the desired item. When I go to squeeze through a tight wire fence.... or lie down to take a shot, I can easily manoeuvre the bag to keep things safe and comfortable. The bag is a Helikon Tex bushcraft haversack. It was pretty expensive, but it is good quality and the most suitable bag I could find at the time. I bought it online from a NZ site (bushlifenz) that seems to have a sale most weekends. So keep that in mind if you are thinking of buying. I generally don't fasten the main top flap while hunting, but I do keep the smaller pouches zipped shut. Here is a picture that includes the bag;



    You may have noticed the tape or string I have fixed around some of my magazines. Dropping a magazine at night can be a nuisance. I've found that my Howa .223 mag can drop out when I've inadvertently applied pressure to the exposed release catch. I now have cord bound to the Howa mag which I tie around the rifle itself. While I like the Howa overall, and it is very accurate, I've sometimes had feeding trouble with cartridges apparently sticking in the (plastic) magazine... so that, coupled with the way the magazine can fall out.... bugs me.

    I have a home-brewed pikau backpack that I sometimes carry. Its contents might include rope and a couple of pulleys, cloth or plastic bags for meat and a rain poncho. It makes a good rest if I lie down to shoot. However I've found that I often can't lie down using NV sights because of the reflected glare I can get from just one or two stalks of grass. So that is why I started carrying shooting sticks. (Also it can be safer to shoot from a standing position when firing across a flat paddock.)

    While on the subject of knives, I've started using a big, folding Svord Peasant knife more frequently. My hand seems to be able to find my pocket easily no matter what I'm wearing, and a folded knife is pretty safe. Returning a knife to a belt sheath can be difficult when you only have one hand free and your jacket/parka is flopping all over the place.

    Grabbing an iron-sighted rifle and going for a stroll through the bush is my ideal type of hunting. I am not fond of all the clutter that I've found to be necessary for night shooting. I like simplicity and travelling light.

    I found that the illuminator that comes with the Pulsar Digex scope does light up the distance a long way off, but I get a lot of glare from my suppressor. The front of the illuminator/torch can be swivelled a bit, but I haven't yet found a simple way to eliminate all the glare. The Pulsar illuminator can't easily be moved to be directly above the scope... one problem being the protector flap that is designed to cover the objective lens. I got a combo white light / infrared Nitecore torch from Terry (knives4Africa) which I mount on top of the scope with a cheap figure-8 plastic clamp. The combination is excellent, but I have to remember to ensure that the torch is switched to infrared before hitting the button and pointing it at an animal. I've inadvertently shone white light at small animals I've been stalking a couple of times now, but I still got them.

    Some flashlights come with nifty pressure switches you can mount on your rifle. I thought that fitting one would be a good idea.... but even when I've been shooting with a conventional scope and a mounted LED flashlight, I found that it isn't really a problem using a conventional switch on a torch even though it might take a second or two longer to get the shot away. And when using an infra-red torch it seems like I have plenty of time. Having a wire running to a remote switch is extra clutter and something else to get damaged. But I may yet fit one.

    I've already mentioned the difficulty I've had with judging distance at night using thermal and NV gear. That is the reason I bought the Sytong with the range finder. Another thing I am aware of are the dangers of not properly identifying a target and ensuring that there is a good backstop for the bullet. Sometimes we are inclined to interpret what we see according to our wishes or past experience, so night shooting is an activity that requires awareness and caution. Things may not be as they seem. A water tank on the top of a hill, when viewed through the leaves of a tree may look like the hot 'blob' created by a partially obscured opossum. A nearby hedgehog (or the visible part of a cow lying in a hollow) may look like an animal standing on a distant ridge. On a night following an overcast period of weather, the thermal view can seem like a fog apart from the hot animal in the picture.

    Despite the challenges, thermal and night vision gear are a huge help.
    Last edited by Coote; 28-12-2021 at 01:00 PM. Reason: Minor errors which would have irritated my English teacher
    Micky Duck likes this.

  10. #25
    TLB
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    Couple of ideas that may help you out.
    Cut the mag release shorter on your Howa, saves the mags falling out.
    Buy some good quality reflective strip and put that on items you put down or maybe likely to lose. That stuff has saved me torches and magazines over the years that's for sure!

  11. #26
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    Didn't know you could get reflective strip that might be suitable. Thanks for that @TLB. I found white tape was pretty good, but reflective stuff would be fantastic. Be good to have something like that on a knife handle too. I once dropped a 12" machete in a patch of scrub, and I have not found it despite several lengthy searches.

    Heh. I did cut the magazine release shorter on my first Howa. The one in the picture is a newer model with what I thought was an improved design for its release with a 'factory' shorter lever. It is convenient to have 10 shots in reserve, but the longer magazines on various rifles that I've used have made me appreciate flush magazines and single shot rifles.

    I used that magazine last night for multiple shots that weren't successful. At the end of the session I found that my suppressor had come loose. It is normally something that I check often, but I didn't think to check it after missing last night. I guess it hadn't come loose for a while so it wasn't at the front of my mind.
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  12. #27
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    you can also buy (cheaply) glow in the dark powder off trademe...mix about half a teaspoon into a wee bottle of nail polish from $2 shop (or the stuff Mrs doesnt use,but clear is best) stir it in well and paint on everydarnthing.....any small amount of light will keep it glowing for ages,works good on light switches around the house too...just dont paint big toe nails or will freak yourself out when get up in night for a pee LOL.
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  13. #28
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    now Im guessing you know approxamately where that machete is????.....have a look with your thermal after a hot day when things starting to cool down...the metal MIGHT just hold enough heat compared to surround to allow you to spot it.

  14. #29
    TLB
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    That glow in the dark nail polish mix is a good idea!
    This is good tape, sticks really well compared to some others and reflects really well too.
    https://www.discountfishingsupplies....sku=02630.html

  15. #30
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    Thanks ! I've ordered some reflective tape and some glow powder. I am covering all bases.

    I still think about that lost machete. I have got access to a metal detector, but it is quite a climb to get to the spot. I should try though before the blade rusts away completely.
    Micky Duck likes this.

 

 

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