THER­MAL HI-VIZ

At last the ed­i­tor has a ther­mal monoc­u­lar in his hands

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The ed­i­tor re­views an in­cred­i­ble ther­mal monoc­u­lar from Scott Coun­try

I’ve been itch­ing to try out a ther­mal­imag­ing viewer prop­erly for a very long time. I’ve seen many of them at shows, but the prices were so high I didn’t be­lieve that air­gun­ners would buy them, but now our friends at Scott Coun­try have the in­cred­i­ble new Pul­sar Quan­tum Lite ther­mal monoc­u­lar on sale at just £1199.95. Now, I know many of you will laugh at the word ‘ just’ be­ing used in front of that price, but oth­ers will see it as truly amaz­ing value for money. Like all tech­no­log­i­cal de­vices, prices are com­ing down and per­for­mance is go­ing up at an in­cred­i­ble rate.

I’ve tried lots of ‘af­ford­able’ night-vi­sion kit over the years and to be hon­est, most of it didn’t work for me be­cause the pic­ture qual­ity was so poor, so I’ve pre­ferred to stick with tra­di­tional lamp­ing tech­niques. The Quan­tum Lite ap­peals be­cause it doesn’t try to en­hance what­ever light is avail­able at night. In­stead, it sees the heat that you, me, and ev­ery other mam­mal emits, so it works in any con­di­tions, from day­light to the very dark­est night, and any part of our quarry show­ing be­hind grass or other veg­e­ta­tion will glow brightly through the eye­piece.

No hid­ing

I was ex­tremely happy to see that this model doesn’t have too many set-up op­tions; in fact, I sim­ply put the bat­ter­ies in and used it in its de­fault mode. The seven colour modes, though, are well worth ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to see which suits your eye, and the con­di­tions in which you find your­self hunt­ing. I liked the ‘white hot’ and ‘red hot’ op­tions best.

To get used to it be­fore go­ing hunt­ing, I took it on dog walks where I knew that there would be plenty of rab­bits around in day­light. This al­lowed me to get a feel of how they looked at known dis­tances through the eye­piece. You fo­cus the im­age with a ro­tat­ing eye­piece just like you would a ri­fle scope, un­til the graph­ics at the bot­tom of the screen are sharp. The sys­tem de­faults to 1.8 mag as you turn it on, and you can select 3.6x and 7.2x as you go. I found the low­est mag’ best be­cause it of­fered the clear­est im­age.

Just an ear

Just as I’d hoped, I was in­stantly see­ing plenty of rab­bits in places where I hadn’t seen them with the naked eye, which is what this tech­nol­ogy is all about. A rab­bit sit­ting be­hind some net­tles was given away by a hot ear, and I saw another through the bot­tom of a hedge. This ex­tra in­for­ma­tion about how many an­i­mals are around al­lows us to plan our ap­proach much more suc­cess­fully. It also means that we’re less likely to stum­ble upon an un­seen rab­bit and star­tle it away be­fore we can get a shot.

What I needed next was the chance to get out hunt­ing. With all the rain and warm weather we’d been hav­ing, the ce­real crops and grass had grown long enough to hide rab­bits,

and with full leaf on the trees, my chance of go­ing af­ter squir­rels was lim­ited, too.

The night was warm and sticky as I set off around the es­tate, which was a shame be­cause ther­mal im­agers work on the tem­per­a­ture dif­fer­ence be­tween the back­ground and the an­i­mal, but to my great sur­prise, ev­ery deer, fox, bad­ger and rab­bit stood out brightly in the viewer. I was shocked! As I made my way along, I searched ahead and in­stantly spot­ted a heat source – and this was when I learned an in­ter­est­ing les­son. With a rab­bit lo­cated and un­aware of my pres­ence, I stalked in, rested my ri­fle on the shoot­ing sticks and flicked the lamp on. What? I couldn’t see any­thing. The lamp lit up the grass be­tween me and my tar­get, which ob­scured my view. I sud­denly laughed out loud.

A magic trick

The ther­mal saw straight through the veg­e­ta­tion, al­most like a magic trick. Les­son learned, I moved on. On an open patch of land eas­ily 200 yards ahead, a quick scan showed three rab­bits out feed­ing. Af­ter check­ing the wind, I closed the dis­tance to what I thought was 30 yards and scanned again. Sure enough, there were the rab­bits, com­pletely un­aware of me, so again I put the ri­fle on the sticks and flicked the lamp on. The first rab­bit dropped in­stantly to a brain-stem shot, and the sec­ond hes­i­tated one sec­ond too long and joined its war­ren mate. The third wasn’t so silly and took off like a rocket.

I feel that I’m at the be­gin­ning of a fan­tas­tic jour­ney into a new world of night vi­sion. Scott Coun­try are sell­ing these things as fast as they can get them, and I can cer­tainly see why. In an act of huge kind­ness, they’ve told me that I can keep my test unit a lit­tle longer, which I hope will in­clude har­vest time. When the cover comes down, I’ll be able to see my quarry at huge dis­tances and plan my ap­proach pre­cisely – and I have to say that I ab­so­lutely can­not wait!

This tiny monoc­u­lar is open­ing up a new world of hunt­ing for me

The fo­cus ring is around the eye piece

4 x AA bat­ter­ies are car­ried in this car­tridge

Even on a warm night the the rab­bits stood out beau­ti­fully

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