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
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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.
- The ultra-low power consumption delivers ten plus hours of operation with on battery charge.
- The Thor LT is one of the lightest weight thermal cameras on the market weighing only 1.4 lbs. (650 g).
- You can zero your Thor LT with only one shot using the onboard auto-zero function.
- Magnification up to 10X without distortion or blurring
- Features a 320×240 pixel display for excellent visuals
- 3.54-inch eye relief
- USB type C charging port
- Multiple reticle patterns available at a touch of a button
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
- This scope delivers if all you need is a clear, crisp thermal image without all the bells and whistles.
- Easy to use, quick to install and set up. The one-shot zero system is fantastic.
- This scope may be light, but it is tough as nails. I have fired over 1000 rounds with no problems.
- Long battery life
- Durable quality construction
- Good eye relief
- No Bluetooth capability
- It May not offer the thermal range needed for some long shots
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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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 overall length of the AGM Rattler is only 7. 37 inches
- This thermal scope is light on your rifle at only one pound total weight.
- 384 x 288 resolution
- 1024 x 768-pixel resolution on a .39 inch OLED display
- 8X digital zoom
- 4.5 hours of runtime with the internal battery
- Onboard video recording capability
- Uses two CR123 batteries
- WIFI capable to stream video and other data to your WIFI device
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.
- Of all the thermal scopes and imagers, I have owned, this is the best image quality in this price range I have found.
- The size is perfect on top of my AR-15.
- I have taken this thermal scope into some of the roughest country and the worst conditions imaginable, and it has performed with a problem through it all.
- Good battery life. The CR123 batteries are easy to change as well. Great combination of batteries and battery life
- The WIFI connection makes streaming video to another device easy and convenient
- Rugged and durable construction
- Great clarity and image quality
- Very few reticles choices
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.
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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.
- 2,400-yard operating range
- 64- x 480 microbolometer
- 12-micron pixel detail
- BAE digital senso
- Rechargeable battery pack
- Integral rangefinder
- Picture in Picture capability
- Customizable reticle options
- 8X digital zoom
- Instant start-up features
- Highly customizable color pallets
- Video and still photo recording to an onboard 16GB SD card
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- Rated for recoil up to .375 H&H
- WIFI support for video streaming
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.
- This is a full-featured thermal scope that hits all the requirements for a long-distance thermal scope. The magnification and the image quality are exceptional to the limits of its capabilities.
- This is an expensive thermal scope but worth the price. The images and the features make this a reasonable option if you like long-distance shooting at night.
- The rangefinder is indispensable when shooting at these ranges at night. No one can accurately judge the distance to a target you can’t see in the dark with your naked eye.
- One of the longest detection ranges of any thermal imaging scope on the market
- Reasonable battery life but extra battery packs can be quickly installed
- You can customize the image pallet to suit your preferences
- Capture video and still images and send them to your smart device
- The price may be out of range of many shooters and hunters
- The controls may be a bit clumsy and unintuitive
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.
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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.
- Innovative thumb stick control system for ergonomic and efficient control of this thermal scope
- A top-loading battery compartment that uses two CR123 batteries makes for easy battery changes
- 12-micron thermal detection technology for the best in images
- 8X digital zoom
- 4-hours of battery run time
- 640 x 480 resolution. One of the highest in the industry
- USB-C port allows external power sources
- Constructed to MIL-STD 810G
- Made in the USA
- Quick-release mounts provide flexibility and versatility
- Multiple reticle choices to meet your shooting needs
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.
- I was looking for a high-quality thermal scope to use in my predator control business. The Trijicon REAP-IR meets all my requirements and specifications.
- This scope is not only a fantastic piece of thermal imaging, but it is small and lightweight.
- The high-resolution screen and digital zoom work together flawlessly to give crisp and detailed images.
- High-quality construction
- A high frame rate of 60Hz makes hitting moving targets much easier
- It can be helmet mounted if you wish
- Multiple reticle patterns are available
- Includes a free NGI mini DVR recorder that connects to the thermal scope
- Very Expensive
- No remote control or WIFI connection
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.
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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:
- What type of terrain do you coyote hunt? Is it open flatland, or does it roll and undulate? Is there heavy vegetation, or are your sightlines open?
- How are the environmental conditions when you hunt? Is the weather normally temperate and dry, or do you experience wet conditions? Extremes in temperatures during your coyote hunts are another consideration.
- Is Bluetooth connectivity important to you, or do you prefer all functions to be available directly on your thermal scope?
- How concerned are you with overall weight?
- How much magnification do you need? What ranges do you normally conduct your coyote hunts?
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.
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:
- Ballistic calculator and aim point adjustment
- Multiple setups for different rifles
- Range finders
- Video recording and streaming via Bluetooth
- Still photo capture
- Enhanced memory using SD card technology
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.