Coyote hunt - first time with thermal

Discussion in 'Varmint Hunting' started by Rookie, Oct 17, 2017.



  1. Rookie

    Rookie LSB Member

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    My hunting partner and I went out last night. The weather was just about perfect, cool with hardly any breeze. We hit a few spots, but most places still had corn and beans waiting to be harvested. We went to one spot that was harvested, and we called a coyote in. Coyote - 1 Me -0.

    It was a learning experience. The biggest thing I learned is that I need to learn to range with a thermal. We called him in, and we thought he was 150-200 yards out. Unfortunately, my partner was scanning and he'd moved the zoom to 2x without me realizing it. I took a shot, the coyote hopped up and took off. He came back to the same spot about fifteen minutes later, but I wanted him to get closer before I shot again. He wouldn't get any closer and ended up disappearing into the woods. We stepped it off and it was closer to 325+ yards.

    Since it was my first time out with thermal, my expectations weren't really high, but it was nice to see how good the thermal did. We saw deer at 600 yards, horses at 1,000+ yards, a hawk or an owl flying around, and a mouse at about 35 yards. Of course, those were estimates - like I said up thread - I need to learn how to range better.

    All in all, it was still a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to getting out again in a week or two when the farmers clear the fields.
     
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  2. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Pro Staff Third Coast Thermal SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Congratulations on learning a tough lesson! Ranging with thermal is very difficult at best and even more difficult when you try using different levels of magnification. With hogs, it can be hard to tell if it is a 100 lb hog at 100 yards or a 200 lb hog at 200 yards. They can look similar if you are not familiar with the location and distances to landmarks, or extremely difficult if you are just in a nice open field of coastal bermuda.

    When I show up to a new place or set up in a different spot of some place I have hunted before, I like to get there early enough to range the various landmarks and to have some idea what my shooting distances will be. I also use a sort of stadiometric GO-NO GO trick for hogs with the horizontal bar on my crosshair when zoomed 2X (IR Hunter MKIII 4.5x 60mm scope). If the hog is longer than the left or right side of the horizontal bar and doesn't appear to be Hogzilla (massively oversized), then it is within 200 yards and I can shoot it without adjustment. I don't know where it is inside of 200 yards, only that I won't have to adjust my aim. If the hog is shorter than the bar, then I know it is too far away or is a much smaller hog, requiring more consideration before pulling the trigger.

    It is pretty impressive that you thought a coyote that far out was so much closer. That says a lot about the scope. Give it some time. While it may always be a bit of a problem, as you become more familiar with the scope and how things look, you will get a better feel for making shots at proper distances.
     
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  3. Rookie

    Rookie LSB Member

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    One thing we decided is that we're going to spend a day going to our different spots and use a range finder to range different land marks. Before thermal it was easy - if you could see a coyote with your red light - it was close enough to shoot. Now, we'll have to learn what's close and what isn't.

    On stadiometric, what settings are you using for horizontal/vertical? One yard? Two? Thank you for your input - anything to make the learning curve easier is appreciated.
     
  4. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Pro Staff Third Coast Thermal SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    I am not actually using the stadiometric rangefinder. I am just using the crosshair. I don't put a lot of trust into the stadiometric rangefinder for being accurate because its accuracy depends on measuring an object of known size. Hogs are quite variable in size and hence will provide you with variable results. That is why I came up with my own method for how I assess whether or not a hog is in a reasonable shooting distance.
     
  5. scrmblr1982cj8

    scrmblr1982cj8 LSB Active Member LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    I think we've all goofed at some point. My biggest goof was with a clip on thermal. I thought I adjusted the crosshairs on the thermal to directly overlay the scope's crosshairs. Ten minutes before the legal end of hunting, a nice 10 pointer stolls out. I take a shot and the deer just stands there. It cycle the action and the deer takes off. Since then, I turned the thermal's markings black and use the illumination on my NF scope. Works perfectly.
     

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