Most hunters prefer to hunt during the daytime because during the day will be a good field of view, it is easier to make accurate shots, and the risk of meeting a dangerous animal is much lower. But there is another category of hunters who hunt down their game at night.
In the daytime, mostly herbivores are active. During the day, they look for food, take care of their cubs, and do other things. So, in the day you can see deer, elk, hare, squirrel, and other animals. With the onset of darkness, nocturnal animals wake up. They have very good hearing, sight, and scent, and this must be taken into account if you are going on a night hunt.
Night hunting is much more interesting in the opinion of hunters, but you need to be very well prepared for it. First of all, you need special equipment:
· Thermal imaging binoculars.
· Night vision sights.
· Night vision devices.
The differences between day and night hunting are quite large. Night hunting is more dangerous, but at the same time more interesting. For those who decide to go hunting at night, we have prepared useful tips and advice on choosing equipment.
Night Hunting Gear
It's not worth going on night hunting without good equipment. Firstly, you simply may not see your target, and secondly, there is a risk of meeting a dangerous animal that sees much better than you in the dark. Night hunting requires one or more of the devices listed above. And remember that almost all night vision and thermal optics have electronic components that need a power source. Therefore, it is very important to have an extra battery pack with you.
Night sights of the 1st generation
The first generation of night vision devices was invented in the 1960s, but they are popular among users till today. The difference between all existed generations is in the type of image intensifier tube (IIT). IIT captures light and turns it into the image visible to the eye. The simplest models of night vision devices belong to Gen 1, and they have their cons and pros. Among the advantages is the low price, such a device can be purchased for $300.
But this is where the pros end because Gen 1 uses infrared illumination for additional highlighting of the territory. A human cannot see an infrared beam by necked eye, but a human with a night vision device will see it immediately. Also, the image in Gen 1 is darkened in the corners and has some graininess. Distinctive features of Gen 1 devices:
· The device emits a slight noise when it is turned on.
· After turning off the device, the screen will glow green for a while.
Quite an inconvenient option if you want to hunt a cautious, cunning animal that senses any sound and smell.
Night vision sights of the 2nd generation as well as Gen 2+
The first thing you'll notice when comparing Gen 1 and Gen 2 is the price. Gen 2 is noticeably more expensive, but the price is fully explained by the quality of its work. In the Gen 2 devices, a microchannel plate has been added to the image intensifier tube. This plate is made of fiber glass and has hundreds of micro holes on its surface. When the electrons of light enter the tube, they pass through these micro holes, after which their number increases hundreds or even thousands of times. Due to this, the image on the screen is very clear and bright, there is no blurry in the corners. Features of the Gen 2 device:
· The range of view is 200 yards, but this depends on the model you choose.
· Can work without using infrared illumination.
· Do not distort the image.
· Are not afraid of glare, so your device will not be damaged if light from lamps or flashlights enters the lens.
Gen 2+ goes between Gen 2 and Gen 3. Gen 2+ has a higher range of view than Gen 2 and can view an area over 200 yards away. Also, such a device will show a good clear image in almost complete darkness. The light of several stars in the sky is enough for it to work. Gen 2+ has a more modern microchannel plate, and such devices are energy-efficient and lightweight. In short, this is an improved version of the already good Gen 2 devices.
Night sights of the 3rd generation
This is the best night vision equipment on the market. The photocathode is coated with gallium arsenide, which increases its perception of light that provides the user with perfect image transmission in the dark. Gen 3 also uses ion batteries. Other features of Gen 3 devices:
· The range of view is over 300 yards, but it all depends on the model you purchased.
· Infrared illumination is not required for their operation.
· Very durable and reliable, with about 100,000 hours of exploitation term.
Yes, Gen 3 is the dream of any hunter, but the cost of such a device is quite high. Therefore, if you are a beginner, we do not recommend buying too expensive equipment. Start with a cheaper one, learn how to use it, understand if you need it at all or if it is more convenient for you to work with thermal imaging accessories.
Night vision goggles and infrared laser designator
Night vision goggles have the same principle of work as night vision devices. Inside each eyepiece, there is an image intensifier tube. Depending on its model, the user will see a sharper or grainier image. Besides it has other great features:
· Has an excellent range and field of view, but it all depends on the model.
· Can be mounted on the head or the helmets.
· Your hands are completely free so you can hold the rifle with both hands, or easily use other accessories.
· You see the image with two eyes at once, which is not as tiring as in the case of a monocular.
· You can move in goggles or even drive a car, but only at minimum magnification and a low speed.
· A small and lightweight device can be carried in a backpack pocket.
The infrared laser designator is also used for more precise aiming. It is not a required hunting accessory, but actually, it is very useful. The infrared laser designator identifies the target and shows it using the infrared point. The animal does not see this point, but the hunter does, can aim well, and make an accurate shot.
Night vision monocular and collimator sight
Monoculars are a novelty on the market and not many people try them yet. The monocular is attached to the head mount or helmet mount and has one eyepiece. It wides your field of view, because with one eye you will see the entire area around, and through a monocular, what happens in the dark.
The disadvantage of the monocular is that it is not convenient for long use. Because of the difference in the image both eyes see, you may quickly get tired and feel a headache. But if you use such a device with breaks, then it is very cool.
Collimator sight provides high aiming speed and easier target observation. When light enters the lens of a collimator sight, it passes through it in straight, parallel beams and enters the exit pupil. That is, you do not need to catch the image in an exit pupil, it will always be clearly visible from any viewing angle. Besides, you can look through the sight with both eyes open. Collimator sights are the best option in poor visibility conditions. Also, it is a good choice for beginners who want to train their hunting skills.
Thermal sights have a completely different principle of operation than night vision devices. Thermal devices react to the heat emitted by objects. Every object around us has its temperature, even stones, ground, and buildings. The thermal sight gets information about the temperature of the objects using sensors and then transmits the obtained data to a microcomputer. The computer processes the data and turns it into an image.
Thermal sights are much more expensive than NV, but their capabilities are fantastic:
· See objects in rainy, snowy weather, through fog or smoke.
· Can detect targets in tree foliage or bushes.
· Work at daytime and night the same well.
· Able to see an object behind a thin wall or door.
With such a device, no target will be hidden from your eyes. But it work require a lot of power, so you should always have an extra battery pack.
Top 10 tips for night hunting:
1. Do not shoot if you have not fully identified the target. Your target should be clearly visible through the scope and you should clearly see that it is a boar, coyote, fox, or any other animal. Also forbidden to shoot in the direction of the noise, branches crunching, or any other sound unless you can see the object.
2. If you choosing a hunting location, use a flashlight while moving through the forest, field, or mountains. Otherwise, you may become a target for another hunter.
3. If you are hunting with other hunters, clearly agree with each other's location. Otherwise, you risk shooting other hunters while hunting.
4. If you can, use a walkie-talkie while hunting to communicate with your partner or team.
5. The fired animal should be moved with help of a rope but not with hands only.
6. Go hunting with your dog. A well-trained dog will quickly follow the trail and will not create unnecessary noise.
7. If you are hunting in the forest at night, cover your eyes with glasses and face with a mask so as not to injure these parts on branches and other objects
8. During the night hunting, be very attentive, do not relax thinking that the animal is not near you. Your carelessness can cost you your life.
9. During winter hunting, do not be lazy to wear warm clothes and shoes, otherwise, there may be a risk of hypothermia.
10. Do not go hunting if you have been drinking alcohol, taking drugs that reduce concentration, or feel very tired.
If you have no experience of night hunting, do not go alone, take a friend with you. Remember that night is the time of predators that, unlike you, can see well without night vision devices. If you do not see the beast, this does not mean that it is not near you. Therefore, if you are not psychologically ready for such a dose of adrenaline, gain experience on a regular daytime hunt. And of course, do not forget about good equipment for a successful hunt in any conditions!