( picture taken by Andrew with AGM Rattler TS25-384)
Over the last three years the state of Kansas has allowed thermal and night vision hunting of Coyote from January 1st until March 31st in the state. During this time our team here at American Cash Exchange have enjoyed many freezing nights chasing mangy dogs through the Flint Hills. Through out this time we have learned a few things apply the same as they do in the day light, but the equipment can make or break a stand depending on the quality or how you employ it.
One of the biggest hurdles to get over when it comes to night hunting is the cost of the equipment. We have had the opportunity as a team to look through and use different forms of optics both night vision and thermal. One thing we have found is that thermal is king for detection but night vision can give you a clearer image to identify with confidence what your target is. The last few years we have come to the conclusion that the AGM Rattler TS19-256 is the best bang for your buck (dog) in the entry level thermals. You get a 2.5x base level magnification with great clarity 125 yards and in. You can still pick up heat signature 400-500 yards out and see drastic heat differences in the terrain. Typically from September to March we try to stock a handful of these thermals in house for customers to get hands on and purchase. At a price point of $1000 dollars we have not found anything cheaper that matches the quality produced by AGM Globalvision.
How do I employ this optic when it comes to making night hunting stands? The answer is simple but can come at a cost yet again. Once you have the rifle you want outfitted with thermal shouldering it for extended periods of time can be tiresome. We use and recommend the use of a tripod. There are two main styles that we have seen used in the hunting community. One that we use and sell is the BOGPOD Deathgrip tripod. This unit clamps to the rifle and is a one fits many option that comes with a much cheaper price point under $200. Some of the better options on the market utilize an ARCA rail, a rail section that attaches to the bottom of your rifle and slides into a clamp on the tripod. Typically tripods that use this method offer much more movement or tilting options but they come at a price often seen exceeding the $300 mark. Over the last two years one of our team members has put the BOGPOD Deathgrip through the ringer to find for the price it too is a great entry level option if your wanting to get started hunting.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat and the same goes for hunting coyote. If you want to upgrade your unit or have budgeted for a higher end thermal unit there are companies like Pulsar, IrayUSA, Bearing optics, and Trijicon that make great options. The same follows with tripods, BOGPOD as come out with 2 or 3 variations of ball head and carbon fiber tripods to be competitive with some of the bigger name companies like Two Vets, Leupold, Vortex, or Revic. As the years go on we will continue to test products on the market and find what we like to use and think would be a great option for our community of hunters. Be safe and take advantage of the rest of the Kansas night hunting season! Check out our Kansas Hunting Season blog https://www.aceshootersupply.com/blog