However, if you typically hunt during daylight hours in open terrain, a thermal scope may not be as necessary. It is also important to consider the cost of a thermal scope, which can be quite high compared to traditional hunting scopes.
Night Vision vs Thermal Scopes
Night vision amplifies ambient light such as moonlight or starlight, whereas thermal imaging relies on detecting heat signatures.
Night vision is an excellent tool for hunting during nighttime as it eliminates the necessity of using lights for scanning. Additionally, it produces clear and high-quality images, making it even more desirable for the purpose.
Thermal scopes are capable of functioning in situations where night vision fails because it relies on detecting heat instead of light. Moreover, it can detect residual heat from objects such as hoofprints and pawprints for varying lengths of time.
Unlike night vision, high-end thermal scopes can offer a greater range of vision, with some capable of detecting heat signatures a thousand yards away.
However, thermal imaging can be affected by rain, and the level of detail captured by the device may vary depending on the severity of the inclement weather.
Best Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting
Trijicon IR Hunter
The Trijicon IR HUNTER and its tactical counterpart, the REAP-IR, are both impressive. They are straightforward to use and easy to zero, equipped with a 4.5X optical and 8X digital zoom, and offer a 7-degree field of view.
Additionally, the Trijicon IR HUNTER includes azimuth and elevation indicators, a stadiametric rangefinder, and a battery extender. This thermal scope is at the forefront in terms of performance.
The battery extender, which utilizes CR123 batteries, proves useful during longer hunts.
Finally, for those interested in recording their hunting experience, it also provides video functionality to record the hunt.
The Trijicon IR Hunter, without a doubt, is a higher-end scope and comes with an equally high price tag.
Ease of Use: User-friendly design makes it straightforward to operate.
Easy to Zero: Simplifies the process of aligning the scope with the weapon.
Optical and Digital Zoom: Offers 4.5X optical and 8X digital zoom, enhancing target visibility.
Wide Field of View: The 7-degree field of view allows for broader area coverage.
Azimuth and Elevation Indicators: Assists in making precise adjustments for shooting accuracy.
Stadiametric Rangefinder: Enables distance measurement to the target.
Battery Extender: Useful for extended hunting sessions, utilizing CR123 batteries.
Video Functionality: Allows recording of the hunting experience.
High Performance: Considered at the forefront in terms of thermal scope performance.
High Price Tag: A significant investment, making it less accessible for budget-conscious users.
Weight and Size: Depending on its build, it could add significant weight or bulk to the firearm.
Complexity for Beginners: While user-friendly, the array of features might overwhelm new users.
ATN ThOR 5 320
ATN’s latest release, the ThOR 5, comes equipped with standard 12µm sensors across all models. These sensors offer different resolution options, including 320×240, 640×480, and an impressive 1280×1024. To ensure a seamless viewing experience, all models have a 60hz refresh rate.
One cool feature is the video recording, which is triggered by the recoil of the firearm. As soon as you pull the trigger, the recording begins, allowing you to capture your shots, whether they turn out great or not.
The ThOR 5 is also Bluetooth-enabled, enabling streaming to both iOS and Android devices. It supports MicroSD cards with storage capacities ranging from 4 to 64 GB.
While ATN claims a battery life of 10 hours, it’s important to note that extreme temperatures can impact the battery’s longevity, causing it to drain faster.
With its exceptional image quality, the ThOR 5 series of thermal scopes provide sharp and vivid displays.
The detection range varies across models, starting at 820 yards for the entry-level version and reaching an impressive 4300 yards for the top-end model.
Impressive Detection Range: Varies by model, up to an impressive 4300 yards, suitable for various hunting and tactical scenarios.
Battery Life Affected by Temperature: Although it claims a 10-hour battery life, performance can degrade in extreme temperatures.
Potential Complexity: The advanced features may require a learning curve for some users.
Weight and Size: Depending on the model, it might add significant weight or bulk to a firearm.
Price: Advanced technology like this often comes at a higher cost, which might not be suitable for all budgets.
Limited Battery Life: Even under normal conditions, a 10-hour battery life might be insufficient for extended use without recharging or spare batteries.
AGM Varmint LRF
If you frequently find yourself hunting in unfamiliar locations, it’s likely that you lack a reliable method for judging distances, especially during nighttime.
Equipped with a 384×288 core sensor and a 50hz refresh rate, this device ensures clear visibility. It boasts a 1024×768 OLED display, providing a high-quality viewing experience.
With a magnification range of 3-24x, the AGM Varmint LRF is particularly suitable for long-range shooting. It excels in open plains, making it the ideal choice for locations like Kansas. When it comes to shooting at long distances in spacious areas, this device would be my top recommendation.
Similar to the Rattler, it offers convenient features such as picture-in-picture mode, scene modes, various color palettes, and multiple reticle options. Consider this device as the long-range counterpart to the Rattler, sharing many similarities.
The laser rangefinder on the AGM Varmint has an impressive maximum range of 656 yards, with an accuracy of +/-2 yards at that distance. This level of precision is more than sufficient for any serious coyote hunter.
Like many other AGM products, this device also allows video streaming and recording capabilities. However, it’s important to note that its battery life is approximately 4 hours with the included battery.
Fortunately, it utilizes the widely standard 18650 battery, so you can carry a spare battery or two fully charged while in the field will ensure you have sufficient power throughout your hunt.
High-Quality Sensor and Display: Equipped with a 384×288 core sensor and a 1024×768 OLED display, it ensures clear and high-quality visibility.
Effective Refresh Rate: A 50hz refresh rate provides smooth imaging, essential for tracking moving targets at night.
Long-Range Magnification: With a 3-24x magnification range, it’s highly suitable for long-range shooting, ideal for open plains.
Advanced Features: Includes picture-in-picture mode, scene modes, multiple color palettes, and various reticle options, enhancing the hunting experience.
Accurate Laser Rangefinder: Has a maximum range of 656 yards with an accuracy of +/-2 yards, offering precise distance measurements.
Video Streaming and Recording: Allows for capturing hunting experiences and streaming them in real-time.
Standard Battery Type: Uses widely available 18650 batteries, making battery replacement convenient.
Limited Battery Life: Approximately 4 hours of battery life may require carrying spare batteries for extended hunting sessions.
Complexity for Beginners: The array of advanced features might be overwhelming for new users.
Size and Weight: Depending on its build, it could add significant weight or bulk to a firearm.
Cost: Advanced technology and features likely come with a higher price tag.
Specialized Use: Its design for long-range shooting in open areas may limit its versatility in different hunting environments.
If you prefer hunting primarily in close-range environments such as dense forests and thick undergrowth, the AGM Rattler would be an excellent choice for those environments.
The AGM Rattler is an exceptional choice for those who prefer lightweight rifles for close-range hunting in compact areas like dense forests and thick brush. It boasts a compact size, measuring just 7.37 inches in length and weighing less than a pound. This makes it ideal for extended treks where portability is crucial.
With five available reticles and the ability to switch between black, white, green, or red colors, the AGM Rattler offers versatile customization options. Additionally, you can conveniently set the zero for up to five different rifles, allowing you to swap the scope without the need for readjustment. This makes it a valuable investment that can be utilized extensively.
Powered by two CR123A batteries, it provides approximately 4.5 hours of continuous runtime and features a 384×288 thermal sensor. If you anticipate being in the field for longer durations, you have the option to connect the optional 5v battery pack, significantly extending its operational time.
The AGM Rattler includes two distinct scene modes: Recognition and Jungle. The Recognition mode enhances thermal gradients, sharpening the contrast between hot and cold areas. This enables you to accurately identify your targets, whether it’s distinguishing between a coyote and a deer or counting the points on a buck.
On the other hand, Jungle mode reduces fine details while effectively filtering out small elements.
Overall, the AGM Rattler combines compactness, versatility, extended battery life, and advanced scene modes to provide coyote hunters with a powerful and adaptable thermal scope option.
Compact and Lightweight: Measuring only 7.37 inches and weighing less than a pound, it’s highly portable for extended treks.
Customizable Reticles and Colors: Offers five reticle options and the ability to switch between black, white, green, or red colors, providing versatility for different hunting conditions.
Multiple Rifle Zero Settings: Can store zero settings for up to five rifles, allowing for easy swapping without readjustment.
Sufficient Runtime with Battery Options: Comes with a 4.5-hour runtime on two CR123A batteries, with the option to extend this using a 5v battery pack.
High-Quality Thermal Sensor: Features a 384×288 thermal sensor for clear imaging in various conditions.
Advanced Scene Modes: Includes Recognition and Jungle modes, enhancing target identification and adapting to dense environments.
Ideal for Dense Environments: Specifically designed for close-range hunting in dense forests and thick brush.
Limited Battery Life Without Extension: Without the optional battery pack, the runtime is limited to 4.5 hours.
Potentially Limited Range: Being tailored for close-range environments, it might not be as effective for long-range targeting.
Cost Factor: Advanced features and versatility might come with a higher price tag.
Complexity for Beginners: The array of features and modes might be overwhelming for new users.
Specific Use Case: Its design is optimized for dense environments, which might limit its versatility in more open areas.
ATN ThOR LT
The ATN Thor LT 160 3-6x is ATN’s cost-effective range, receiving special recognition for introducing high-quality thermal imaging technology to the market at approximately one-third the price of most competing models.
Although it possesses a relatively low resolution of only 160×120 for its sensor, the device compensates by utilizing a compact screen and eliminating unnecessary additional features that many users rarely utilize. Features such as video recording, WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth, and similar functionalities are absent.
This scope focuses solely on its primary purpose, closely resembling a traditional rifle scope.
Moreover, the ATN Thor LT 160 3-6x utilizes commonly used 30mm ring mounts, ensuring a setup suitable for almost any hunting rifle.
Although the scope’s detection range is limited, reaching approximately 450 yards in a low humidity setting, and its identification range is less than 200 yards, it remains a highly practical choice for coyote hunting, especially when utilizing coyote calls to attract them toward you, a common strategy employed by most coyote hunters.