Best Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting

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By Dennis Howard •  15 min read

Coyotes are smart and cunning. Hunting them is a challenge enjoyed by many shooters. Getting an edge on a coyote when hunting is the goal of many hunters. Considering the nocturnal habits of coyotes, a change to a thermal scope makes sense. Many coyote hunters aren’t familiar with thermal scopes, which leads to questions about the best thermal scope for hunting coyotes.

Choosing the best thermal scope can be challenging. Most hunters are aware of how to choose a traditional optical scope for their rifles. However, thermal scopes bring new options, new challenges, and new hunting opportunities. In addition, thermal scopes tend to be higher on the price scale than traditional scopes. Finding the features, you need at a price that fits your budget may be the biggest challenge.

Before you embark on finding and buying a thermal scope, you should educate yourself about thermal scopes. Understanding how these devices work as well as their limitations can result in better decisions. Hearing what other coyote hunters say about the thermal scopes they use can help you discern which thermal coyote hunting scope might fit the bill for you.

Our Choices of Thermal Imaging Scope for Coyote Hunting

Only a handful of companies are making true thermal imaging sights for sale in the United States. Some of these companies manufacture a wide array of thermal imaging scopes suitable for night hunting. Many are differentiated only by the different features included or the pixel count on the screens. We have chosen what we consider to be the best set of options and features for coyote hunting with a thermal scope.

Best Overall Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting – ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope

ATN is well known for its full line of thermal and night vision scopes. ATN has a proven track record among shooters and hunters for the quality and durability of their scopes. ATN thermal imaging technology is widely used by law enforcement for night operations and many night hunters rely on ATN for their night vision capabilities.

The ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope brings a set of features and options that perfectly match most coyote hunters’ requirements.  Even at the relatively low price of this ATN scope, you won’t find a better mix of features.

What you may notice missing here is Bluetooth capability. All the functions of this scope are built-in and don’t require a connection to your smartphone. However, you cannot capture or download video with this scope. However, the lightweight and long battery life make the ATN LT Thermal Scope a popular option with coyote hunters.

What Users of the ATN LT Therma Scope Say?

By and large, most ATN LT thermal scope users offer high praise. Comments fall into one of these categories

Pros

Cons

If you are an occasional nighttime coyote hunter, the ATN LT thermal scope may be the best choice for you. The price point on these scopes keeps in within range for more shooters and gives a high level of performance for its price. 

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ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope w/10+hrs Battery & Ultra-Low Power...
  • Advanced heat detection sensors allow you to see in total darkness, through dense fog, smoke and...
  • Lighter than an average scope, thus, it will make you feel more agile and your rifle balanced

Last update on 2022-05-24 at 02:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Compact Thermal Imaging Scope – AGM Global Vision Rattler Thermal Scope 

AGM is a leading supplier of thermal imaging devices to the military and law enforcement. The civilian versions of their thermal scopes are becoming more and more popular with night-hunting shooters. The quality of AGM scopes is comparable to thermal scopes, costing three or four times as much.

Many hunters find thermal scopes big and bulky when mounted on their rifles. The need for complex electronics, sensors, and batteries can make these types of scope long, big, and heavy. AGM understands these concerns. The AGM Rattler thermal scope offers an alternative to hunters with these concerns.

The AGM Rattler is much shorter and bulky than most thermal imaging optics. If you are mounting a thermal scope on an AR-15 platform, this scope does have advantages. However, just because it is smaller doesn’t mean you must give up features and options, as this list shows.

The AGM Rattler thermal imaging scope is a step above the ATN LT. It is also twice the cost. However, you get military-grade technology and the ability to set up a Wi-Fi network to stream video and images to your Wi-Fi devices such as a smartphone or tablet.

What Users of the AGM Rattler Thermal Scope are Saying?

Many AGM thermal scope users post comments and offer their findings. Among the most common categories of comments are these.

Pros

Cons

The AGM Rattler thermal scope is considered a mid-range thermal scope. This is our choice of the thermal imaging scopes in this class and price range. The compact size and lightweight make it ideal for mounting on an AR-15 platform for nighttime coyote hunting.

AGM Global Vision Rattler Thermal Scope TS25-384 Compact Short/Medium Range...
  • Thermal Scope with 384 × 288 resolution, high sensitivity detector
  • Thermal rifle scope with 1024 × 768 resolution 0.39-inch OLED display

Last update on 2022-05-24 at 02:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Long Range Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting – Pulsar Thermion Thermal Riflescope

Shooting larger calibers or at extremely long ranges requires another level of thermal imaging riflescope. Reaching out into the darkness can be a thrill. Just recognizing and targeting a coyote at these ranges at night is a special accomplishment. For this kind of shooting, you need the next level of thermal imaging scope

Pulsar provides this kind of performance with the Pulsar Thermion Thermal Riflescope. Pulsar has a reputation for providing the highest quality electronic products. You will find the same sort of reputation in the Pulsar Thermion thermal scope. With great distance performance, you get a full array of options and features.

These features and the ability to see out to 2,400 yards entail some costs. Upfront, these Pulsar Thermion thermal scopes are not cheap. They are also on the heavy and long side. This may not be perfect if you use a short rifle or an AR-15 platform. 

What Users of the Pulsar Thermion Thermal Scope are Saying?

Across the board, Pulsar Thermion thermal scope users are positive and reap high praise on these riflescopes. Typically, the most heard comments fall into these categories.

Pros

Cons

The Pulsar Thermion is a prime choice if you need the distance and want a top-of-the-line thermal imaging scope. Some people consider this a professional-level thermal imaging scope. The price is certainly representative of that kind of ranking.

Pulsar Thermion XG50 Thermal Riflescope
  • 2,400 yd detection range with 640x480 microbolometer strength, 12-micron pixel detail
  • 8x digital zoom - continuous zoom and stepped zoom

Last update on 2022-05-24 at 02:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ultimate Coyote Thermal Scope – Trijicon REAP-IR 35mm Thermal Rifle Scope

Trijicon is, for many shooters, the ultimate in tactical and night vision optical equipment. The long association with the military has given Trijicon a wealth of data and technical know-how that spills over into their civilian products. The Trijicon REAP-Ir thermal riflescope is no exception.

Trijicon builds this thermal imaging scope to the same rigorous standards required by the military. A scope that meets these specifications will easily go anywhere a hunter is inclined to go. Weather won’t be a problem either. If you are interested in features, look at this list included with the Trijicon REAP-IR thermal riflescope.

Military-grade equipment doesn’t come cheap, and the Trijicon REAP-IR is no exception. You can expect to pay 8 times the cost of the least expensive thermal scope on our list for the Trijicon model. 

What Users of the Trijicon REAP-IR are Saying?

Those who buy and use these Trijicon REAP-IR are typically specialized operators who need confidence in a thermal scope trusted by military and law enforcement. Most casual shooters can’t or won’t pay the price for a scope of this caliber. However, those who use this thermal scope are specific in their opinions.

Pros

Cons

The Trijicon REAP-IR is not a scope that everyone will rush out to purchase. The price puts this thermal scope well above most casual shooters’ budget. However, if you are a professional shooter or hunter and need the quality and reliability that comes with a Trijicon thermal scope, you can justify the price.

Trijicon Reap-IR 35 mm Thermal Riflescope
  • thumbstick system control
  • top loading battery compartment

Last update on 2022-05-24 at 02:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Thermal Imagining – High Tech for Coyote Hunting

Modern traditional optical scopes use the same basic technology that scopes made one hundred years ago employed. Light passes through lenses to magnify and clarify an image so the shooter can better aim at the target. With the advent of high-tech imaging systems, scope technology has taken a huge leap forward.

Instead of glass lenses, thermal imaging scopes utilize technology that detects heat rather than light. The heat signatures from objects in the field of view are electronically converted to digital images that the human eye can perceive. Since this technology does not depend on ambient light, thermal imaging can “see” in total darkness.

This capability enables hunters to “see” images of their targets at night. This has not been possible with traditional optical scopes. In particular, varmint hunters can gain an edge on quarries, such as coyotes that travel during the darkest hours. The electronic images produced by thermal imaging scopes provide several other benefits to coyote hunters beyond the ability to ‘see’ at night.


What Should I Look for in a Thermal Imaging Scope for Coyote Hunting?

Thermal scopes are different from traditional optical scopes and require considering different factors. Unlike optical scopes, the quality and clarity of the glass lenses are not a factor with thermal scopes. Of more concern are issues such as battery life, the resolution of the display, and other features that can make the thermal scope more efficient.

When shopping for a thermal scope, the major questions that you should ask include the following:

There are, of course, other factors you may need to consider based on your coyote hunting expectations and needs. However, these questions cover the most fundamental requirements for most hunters who target coyotes.


Our Tips for Buying a Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting?

We are often asked how to shop for a thermal imaging scope. We tell everyone who asks to understand your own needs and expectations before you start shopping. Once you grasp what you expect, you should consider these features and factors in a thermal scope. 

Battery Life

Thermal scopes are entirely dependent on their batteries to function. Your hunting style and habits may dictate what you must have as far as battery life is concerned. Long battery life is necessary if you are a coyote hunter who arrives just before sunset and stays through the net. If you hunt in short intervals, shorter battery life may be acceptable. In some cases, using an external battery may be a needed option.

Consider The Rifle You Shoot

The rifle and caliber your shoot can figure into your thermal scope selection. Some thermal scopes are more sensitive to recoil from high-caliber weapons. If you shoot a very fast cartridge and expect to go out to long distances, you will need a thermal scope to match your rifle’s performance. You must match your rifle’s performance to the thermal scope you choose.

Other Options and Opportunities

Most thermal scopes come with various other features that you will find convenient. If you want to capture images or video as you hunt, you should ensure your thermal imaging scope has the right features. Bluetooth connectivity can make this easier but requires more preparation and technical expertise. Other features and options you might want on your thermal scope when coyote hunting:

All these options can make your coyote hunts memorable and enjoyable while improving your shooting. Unfortunately, the more options and features you want, the higher the price of a thermal imaging scope can become.


Thermal Scopes and Coyotes – A new Dimension in Varmint Hunting

Most coyote hunters will eventually explore night hunting with a thermal imaging scope. There are many options on the market. However, we believe that the ATN Thor LT thermal imagining scope is the best choice for the average coyote hunter. The features you get with this scope for its price are unbeatable in our eyes.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.