Finding the best thermal scope for coyote hunting, from a wide verity of thermal scopes of different manufacturers, wasn’t easy. About all the top scopes offer similar types of specifications and features, therefore, a subtle difference in case of performance. After an in-depth research, we concluded that, among the top 16 scopes that we’ve tested, the ATN Thor 4 offers the best value with a much reasonable price. And, it’s not available in the market then our best alternative is the Pulsar Thermion XQ50 which has similar features and quality.
We can’t see in the dark, but, a thermal scope can give you this ability. If you have one, then you’ll be able, not only to see in the dark, but also from a long distance whenever you want. As the thermal scope doesn’t need any ambient light of any kind, it can provide clear images of any heat source in even complete darkness.
Hunting coyotes in complete darkness is incredibly exciting. For being a nocturnal predator, coyotes become the most active and vocal at night; therefore, calling them in with a nice predator caller and a realistic coyote decoy is easier at that time. But, after that, making a perfect shot largely depends on an effective scope.
You can do that with a night vision scope, or with a normal scope with powerful external flashlights, but among all, thermal scopes are the best as they’re hugely convenient and effective.
But, before going deep into our review, I'd like to give you a quick glance over our top 3 pick.
Best over all
Top 5 Best thermal scopes for coyote hunting
1 ATN Thor 4
2 Pulsar Thermion XQ50
3 Pulsar Core RXQ30V
4 ATN Thor LT
5 AGM Secutor TS25-384
1 of 5 ATN Thor 4, Thermal Rifle Scope Review
If you have even a little experience with the rifle scopes then you must’ve heard about the ATN - one of the most popular leading Tech Optic Companies of the world. ATN has literally revolutionized the entire tech optic industries -however, there’s nothing new to say about ATN.
(Previously we’ve reviewed - the best night vision scopes for crossbows where an ATN product tops our list.)
While we were testing high quality Thermal Scopes from different manufacturers, we had a high hope for this product as we’ve already used ATN products in many of our real hunting. And, after a strenuous and elaborate comparative analysis, when we finally come to a conclusion, we found the result as expected.
ATN Thor 4 Thermal Rifle Scope (640x480, 4-40x), considering the entire quality factors, that you can possibly seek in a thermal rifle scope, is our ultimate recommendation for you as the best thermal scope for coyote hunting.
With its Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor (Gen 4, 640x480), ATN Thor 4 can provide neat crispy images with improved resolution and higher sensitivity at a furthest distant in complete darkness. Therefore, you can cover a wide range with this scope to identify and recognize any approaching predator while hunting coyotes at dark night.
Also, ATN Thor 4 Thermal scope’s 60 Hz refresh rate produces smooth gradation so that you can still have uninterrupted clear images, even if you are running or hunting from a moving vehicle.
It also offers high quality video display at 1280x720 resolutions that can even stream in smart phones, along with simultaneous video recording in SD cards – so that you can store your coyote hunting memories for future use for yourself and also share it with your friends and family. Therefore it works as a hunting action camera that can be used at night.
Apart from viewing long distance clear images, your rifle scope must help you to shot your target effectively – it’s a mandatory feature of any scope, right? Fortunately, ATN Thor 4 Thermal Rifle Scope has compiled a verity of “science-fiction-type” features, named Ballistic Calculator, that can provide reliable data of range, wind flow/pressure, multiple-weapon profiles, angle to target, temperature, humidity and more to help you taking a perfect shot as accurate as possible - every time.
You’ll also love this scope for its amazing battery life which can run more than 12 hours continuously. Therefore, unlike most other quality thermal scopes, you won’t have to worry about external battery adaptor or extra batteries for a long hunting period in the night.
However, one thing to remember - getting the optimum benefits from these features would require to have some tech-knowledge with an adequate expertise in weapon.
Although, ATN Thor 4 Thermal Rifle Scope is specifically designed for different types of rifles, for its lean design and light weight it fits crossbows perfectly and I think it’s a major plus for ATN Thor 4, if you want to enjoy nighttime coyote hunting with a bow. Here's a video on nighttime hunting with Thor 4-
Pros and Cons of ATN Thor 4, Thermal Rifle Scope:
- Crisp clear images in complete darkness with its smart thermal sensor
- High resolution video recording
- Great visual range (about 600 yards identification range)
- HD video streaming in smart phone
- Impressive ballistic calculator for accurate shot at target
- Enormous battery life of around 12+ hours
- Slim and lightweight
Compatible with any sorts of weapon i.e. rifles, crossbows etc
- Not recommended for beginner and occasional hunter
Why should you buy ATN Thor 4, Thermal Rifle Scope for coyote hunting?
If you hunt regularly and are looking for the best thermal scope with willingness-to-pay a handsome amount for it then you should buy this device. ATN Thor 4 Thermal Rifle Scope will provide you the best coyote hunting experience of your life! However, if you aren’t very comfortable with technology and an irregular hunter then you may consider simpler and easy-to-use scopes like Pulsar Core RXQ30V or ATN Thor LT.
2 of 5 Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Thermal Rifle Scope Review
If for any reason our top pick the ATN Thor 4 isn’t available then you can buy the Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Thermal Riflescope. Pulsar has released a series of thermal scopes named Thermion with different specs and prices and Pulsar Thermion XQ50 is one of them - a great thermal scope for coyote hunting.
Despite its great performance and advanced features, it typically costs a couple hundred bucks less than ATN Thor 4, but still, all the Thermion series thermal riflescopes are a bit expensive than other Pulsar products.
And I must say, they worth the costs for their vast features and nice quality. Such as, if we compare this Pulsar Thermion XQ50 scope with the Pulsar Core RXQ30V in case of features, then we can see, RXQ30V doesn't have any video recording options, where as Thermion XQ50 has the ability to internally record 1024x768 video with good audio and capture HD quality pictures.
Therefore, if you just want collect your hunting memories for yourself or put them on Youtube or Facebook to share with your friends then it’s a nice choice.
XQ50 also offers 3.5-14 variable magnification with detailed 384x288 @ 17 µm resolutions to provide you smooth edged images, even in 2x zooming mood, which gives you a 2000yards detection range. So you’ll be able to detect and identify your game from a long distance like our top Pick.
In addition, it offers a 50Hz refresh rate, which is less than Thor 4, but sufficient to produce smooth continuous images in rapid movement. However, 50Hz may not be suitable for hunting from a moving truck.
Pulsar Thermion XQ50, like other Thermion series, has a neat design - slim, compact and well organized. Though the main construction material is plastic its quiet sturdy and a bit heavy (4.6 lbs), yet, comfortable.
XQ50 is especially suitable for nighttime coyote or fox hunting because of its wide range of view - especially for a closer target that’s running towards you. With two worn low 30mm QD rings, it has a very nice and easy mounting process.
Apart from all the above - more than 5 hours battery life, 13 variable electronic reticles and One-shot zeroing with freeze function along with a complete water resistance makes this thermal scope a solid quality device to be your reliable coyote hunting partner in the complete darkness.
Here's a demonstration of its efficiency-
Pros and Cons of Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Thermal Rifle Scope:
- 2000yards detection range in complete darkness
- Superb image quality even in zooming mode
- Wide field of view makes it very suitable for hunting coyote
- Long battery life of around 5 hours
- High quality video recorder, along with audio record and picture capturing option
- Easy to mount
- Compact, slim and sturdy
- Getting into more advanced features isn’t very convenient
- Little heavy for its compact shape
Why should you buy this Thermal Rifle Scope for coyote hunting?
Some low priced options may offer you similar functionalities as this thermal scope, however, their quality won’t match to Pulsar Thermion XQ50. So, if you’re a regular nighttime coyote hunter who’s looking for a real high quality thermal scope for a reasonable price then you can definitely give this product a try.
3 of 5 Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Rifle Scope Review
Our Budget Pick
It’s the least expensive Pulsar made thermal scope that you can find in the present market. Pulsar is very popular for their high quality optics, and, this RXQ30V isn’t different.
Despite its extremely low price, it can still successfully produces satisfactory nighttime images with its impressive 384x288 core with 50Hz refresh rate.
Where 30Hz refreshing rate is considered as an industrial standard enough for any types of hunting, 50Hz will give you a much clear images even if you move fast during hunting.
This means you can even hunt or take a shot while running with clear nighttime view at complete dark night.
Pulsar Core RXQ30V has 17µm pixel pitch core, which is better than its previous version of Pulsar night vision with 25 microns but cost a lot more than RXQ30V. (FYI, lower micron means better image quality).
It delivers thermal images to a 640x480 AMOLED display, which is a big deal, as in the previous model the least expensive Pulsar with OLED technology cost over 4000$ where as this devices offers an advanced AMOLED with mush lesser price.
The Pulsar Core RXQ30V offers a nice 1.6 power optical magnification up to a 6.4 - 2x, 4x with stepped digital zoom. This feature of Pulsar RXQ30V will provide you an incredible 985 yard human size detection range.
In addition, this scope runs on 2pcs of CR123A disposable lithium batteries which ensure a continuous use of more than 2 hours. However, pulsar Thermal scope included an external battery adaptor with a USB cable; therefore, you can use this scope all night long if you could arrange an external power source/ power bank.
As Pulsar Core RXQ30V has an ipx7 waterproof rating, it's fully submersible beneath 3 feet water for half an hour without any damage. So, no worries in rainy night hunting.
The Pulsar RXQ30V is packed with verities of internal feature such as picture-in-picture function, 3 rifle profiles with 3 zero saves, One-shot zeroing with freeze function etc. to make your nighttime coyote or hog hunting experience more enjoyable.
Picture-in-picture function will allow you to see the wide view in large display and at the same time a more focused view in another small window.
This product comes with:
- Pulsar Core Thermal Imaging Rile scope
- External power adapter
- Wireless remote control
- Weaver/picatinny rail
- Carrying case
- Hex wrench
The following clip shows how it works-
Pros and Cons of Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Rifle Scope:
- Very reasonable price
- Clear and crisp nighttime image
- It can provide clear image during extreme movement
- Completely water proof
- 985 yards "human size" detention range
- External battery adaptor ensures whole night running
- Provide enjoyable and efficient hunting experience with a lot internal features
- Easy to use
- Slim and compact design
- Various features for effective and efficient hunting i.e. picture-in-picture function
- It has no objective focus ring, so no way to fixed focus on something. It has fixed focus to infinity. However, it’s not a deal breaker, as you won’t face any problem to focus and shot a 450 yards away coyote or hog with this thermal scope.
- It has no external video output, and no internal video recording option. So, if you want to record your hunting video then it's a deal breaker for you.
Why should I buy this product?
If you want a nice quality and easy-to-use thermal scope at a very reasonable price, just for a solid coyote hunting experience, but not very interested in capturing videos or pictures of your hunting, then you can go for this thermal scope. It will give you the best value of your money. Also, this scope is perfect for hunters who aren’t in love with too much complicated operating system.
4 of 5 ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope Review
Another great thermal scope from ATN, however, compare to the previous one, ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope is much lighter, cheaper and easy to use.
Despite its extremely reasonable price, ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope offers a lucrative 5+ hours of battery support with its ultra-low power consumption technology. Although it’s the cheapest thermal scope of our list, you can totally rely on its tremendous qualities.
ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope offers clear nighttime images in complete darkness for its advanced heat sensor of 320x240px resolution and 12µm pixel pitch core.
I’ve mentioned earlier that lower values of pitch core means better image quality and as 12µm pixel pitch core provide clearer images than the scopes with 17µm pixel pitch core. Technically, that means ATN Thor LT provides smoother and crispier nighttime images than the expensive thermal scopes of our list.
In addition to that, the ATN Thor LT has 60Hz refresh rate like our top pick the ATN Thor 4, therefore, despite its much lower price (only around a half of Thor 4), Thor LT can provide similar smooth images during intense movement such as during running, from a moving vehicle it can provide smooth and uninterrupted view.
It’ll enable you to detect any animal including coyote, hog, deer etc. in no time in fog, smock, and rain or even in dense vegetation. Also, with its One Shot Zero function you can rapidly sight-in your target for a fast action.
Although, ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope is very thin and light, its sturdy aluminum body can take heavy recoil from a high caliber weapon along with crossbows.
Which one it better- Thor 4 or Thor LT?
If you compare ATN Thor LT with ATN Thor 4 in case of features then, I would say, Thor 4 has more features than Thor LT such as it has ballistic calculator, dual video streaming or high resolution video recording etc. But, Thor LT is simpler that does its work properly for a much lower price. Now, which one you prefer is up to you.
Pros and Cons of ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope:
- Cheapest thermal scope without compromising much
- Powerful thermal sensor to provide clear image in complete darkness
- It can provide clear thermal images through fog, smock or heavy vegetation
- Simple and easy-to-use
- Focus and sight-in is easier
- Lighter among all thermal scopes
- Suitable for crossbows
- Suitable for beginner to pro level
- About 300 yards range
- Mainly an entry level scope
- Too simple without any extra features like ballistic calculator, picture-in-picture, video recording etc.
Why should you buy this product for your coyote hunting?
This thermal scope will provide the best value of your money with its simple and clear-cut functionalities. So, if you’re looking for a budget friendly but high quality thermal scope for your occasional nighttime coyote hunting then you should definitely choose this item.
5 of 5 AGM Secutor TS25/50/75-384 Compact Thermal Imaging Riflescopes Review
AGM Secutor thermal scope has options for video recording like our top two picks, however, you’ll have to buy extra accessories for that. Similar to the Pulsar RXQ30V, AGM Secutor TS50 has a 384x288 core with 50Hz refresh rate. Therefore, it will provide you a clear image at night even if you're moving fast.
Image resolution is also nice with its 17µm pixel pitch core. This scope also needs 2pcs of CR123A disposable lithium batteries to work which provides up to 5 hours of continuous work and optional external (5V) battery pack with high-capacity is capable of increasing the total operation time to up to 44 hours.
AGM Sector TS also has picture in picture feature which is a great combination with its large
Focus lens that allows having the full view of the horizon a quick focusing on your target at the same time.
Though AGM Secutor TS50 has some similar feature like the Pulsar RXQ30V but it has more. With just an extra 500$ you will get some impressive features that Pulsar RXQ30V doesn't provide such as-
It has 50 mm lens on this unite with a nice big focus ring. In our previous product Pulsar RXQ30V thermal scope didn't have any focus ring so you can't adjust focus on an object, however, with AGM Secutor you'll have this flexibility.
Also, it offers upgrading options for expanding its capabilities by incorporating WIFI units, video recorder or monitor to this scope.
The construction material is pretty sturdy, ensures to withstand a heavy uses. Though this scope is little large but surprisingly it's very lightweight at the same time, makes it suitable for using it with crossbows.
I've personally tested this scope in a foggy environment and it surely passed the test as it can easily detect a coyote in heavy fog from a long distance.
Pros and Cons of AGM Secutor TS25/50/75-384 Compact Thermal Imaging Riflescope:
- Clear and crisp nighttime image
- It has focus lens ring to adjust the focus on any object
- It can provide clear image during extreme movement
- Water proof
- Effective in foggy environment
- Can withstand heavy uses
- External USB battery power adapter
- Options for WiFi units, video recorder or monitor
- Useful features for more scoring i.e. picture-in-picture function
- You may find the identification range less appealing (around 300 yards)
Why should you buy this product for your coyote hunting?
BUYING GUIDE: What Should You Look at While buying a Thermal Scope
Sensor and Resolution (Image quality)
Image quality of a thermal scope in complete darkness is the most crucial factor while buying one. As thermal scopes don’t depend on natural or artificial light of any sorts, it must have an effective heat sensor, so that it can provide crisp clear images for you. Therefore, one of the most important buying factors that assess the quality of a thermal scope is how much resolution it offers. For example, our top pick the ATN Thor 4 has a generation 4 ultra-modern 640x480 sensor which can provide a very clear 1280x 720p HD Display even in complete darkness.
Refresh rate of a scope is another factor that indicates the smooth gradation of the viewing images. Lower rate of refresh will provide a rough video with laps if you just change the direction, on the other hand, scopes with higher refreshing rate will provide you a smooth continuous view even if you move rapidly.
A high quality thermal scope with 50 Hz refresh rate is sufficient for smooth images, however, in our list Thor 4 has 60Hz refresh rate. With this 60Hz you will get smooth images even if you choose to hunt coyotes from a moving vehicle using this thermal scope!
Detection and recognition range
Detection range indicates the distance from which a thermal scope can detect an object, it may not identify the object but it still can detect a living object within that distance. For example if a thermal scope has 1000 yards detection range it means, if a living animal enter into that range of view you can detect it. Usually, a high quality thermal scope has a long detection range of more than 1000 meter.
Recognition range is a very important factor, closely relates to the image quality, of buying a thermal scope. It refers to the distance to which you can identify whether the animal you’ve detected earlier is a hog, coyote or elephant!
It’s a very obvious factor for any types of rifle scopes. If a scope has a nice magnification, means, it can offer clear images even in zooming mood. Therefore, if a thermal scope that can provide a sharp edge smooth image in 2x/4x zooming mood, then you can say it has qualified in this sector. Not all scope has a smooth zooming with a lot of options; however, most of the thermal scope of our list has nice magnifications feature. Battery life
Thermal scopes run on batteries. So, at nighttime hunting, in the hunting ground a substantial battery life of your scope is crucial. If it has a poor battery life then it may spoil your nighttime coyote hunting. Therefore, you must go for a thermal scope that offers at least 3 hours of continuous battery life. Good news is all of the best thermal scopes in our list have a longer battery life. However, if the scope offers an external battery adapter like the Pulsar Core RXQ30V then you’ll never have to worry about battery life of your scope ever again.
Field of View
For hunting coyote, fox or other small and fast animals, a wide field of view is important for effective hunting. A field of vide refers to how wide view your thermal scope offers. In our list of best thermal scope for hunting coyote, the Pulsar Thermion XQ50 offers the best field of view.
Design (weight and size)
lightweight and slim thermal scope is comfortable that allows you to move faster with great efficiency. Previously, most night vision scopes were heavier and larger than normal day scopes for its powerful batteries and lens. However, in recent times, modern tech has almost solved this issue, so most of the high quality thermal scopes, even the cheap one, you can see in our list, are lightweight and compact.
Among them, the Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Riflescope with only .75lb is the lightest thermal scope that is also very suitable for using with crossbows.
This is a buying factor that you can never deny while buying anything. So, buying the best product within your budget could be troublesome. Thermal scopes are expensive tool, but, fortunately, there’re some scopes – such as our best budget pick the ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope - that you can buy at around $1000 without compromising much qualities.
Thermal scopes that have accumulated a lot of highly advanced technologies like our top pick the ATN Thor 4 could be a little complex to handle. You may need to have some experience with high-tech products along hunting to get the best out of these types of products. But, if you’re looking for something basic and much user-friendly then you should choose one with a simple operation such as Pulsar Core RXQ30V.
You know it better – hunting associates different types of weather condition. You may need to hunt in the rain, fog or a very hot humid condition. Therefore, the tools and equipments you buy must withstand these situations. Right?
So, you must check for whether the thermal scope, you’re planning to buy, is water resistant or not, whether it can work perfectly in foggy or warm environment with high humidity etc.
Most of the modern thermal scopes offer verities of useful features such as video recording, audio recording, external video streaming, Wi-Fi connectivity, range finder etc. depending of different price ranges.
Some features are directly related to hunting/ shooting such as the ballistic calculator feature of ATN Thor 4 which can assist you to fix your reticle on your target accurately and have a perfect shot. For the calculation, ballistic feature took data from barometer that measures the wind pressure, temperature, humidity, angle of target etc.
On the other hand, some features may not directly be related to increasing your efficiency but can still be useful, such as video/audio record which allows you to recording and store your hunting memories for further uses.
So, among all these features you must know your needs, that is - what you want from your thermal scope, before buying one.
Is the scope legal in my state?
Well, this scope isn’t a firearm itself; therefore, it’s legal in any state. However, using it with a weapon for nighttime hunting is another thing and to know whether it’s legal or not to hunt with a thermal scope you should consult with the associated state’s hunting rules and regulations.
Can I use thermal scopes for daytime hunting?
Yes, you can. The images you get from a thermal scope will be same irrespective to the ambient light as the thermal scope uses only the heat signature to generate images. Therefore, during a foggy or smoky environment, when you can’t have a clear view even in daylight thermal scopes can be very useful.
However, in a clear day, as you can use a normal low cost scope, there isn’t any point of using thermal scopes for your hunting.
Do thermal scopes require IR illuminator?
No, thermal scopes do not require any type of natural or artificial lights including IR illuminator for generating images. Unlike night vision scopes which require some sort of ambient light, thermal scopes only uses heat signatures to create any image.
Therefore, thermal scopes can provide a view in complete darkness without any external light.
Can you see a coyote/hog hiding behind bushes with a thermal scope?
Normally you can see any animal hiding behind a bush with a thermal scope. But, if the bush is too thick then the scope may not be able to sense the heat and can generate images. In that case you can’t see a coyote behind the bush.
What is the difference between thermal and IR scopes?
The basic difference between thermal and IR scopes is in the methodology of how they generate images. Where IR scopes use infra red rays of light to generate images, thermal scopes completely depends on heat signature for deriving an image of an object. That means, thermal scopes don’t need any light for generating an image but heat signatures. On the other hand, an IR night vision scope depends on either any sorts of natural light i.e. moon light, light from clear sky etc. or an external IR illuminator for a clear view.
As a buyer, another difference you may find important is their price – you can buy a good quality IR night vision scopes with a couple hundred of bucks where as a high quality thermal scope starts from at least twelve hundred dollars.
This article is about the best thermal scopes for coyote hunting where we’ve reviewed our top 5 picks. While we considered all the quality factors that actually make a thermal scope great, we finally concluded that the ATN Thor 4 thermal scope offers the best value closely followed by the Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Thermal Riflescope. Both of these scopes have similar features; however, they are quite expensive.
If you’re looking for a more reasonably priced thermal scope, then you can go for our budget picks - Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Riflescope. With a half price of our top pick, it still provides you a great value. You may not be able to record your hunting videos or get all the features like our top picks from Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Thermal Riflescope, but it serves its purpose – assist to hunt coyote at night- perfectly. However, ATN Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope is the cheapest product of our list which is a great choice for hunters who are looking for a simple entry-level thermal scope.