Jerry ex­plains the ne­ces­sity for ther­mal­imag­ing when hunt­ing for greys, and up­grades his usual brand to a Pul­sar Quan­tum

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Ihave been us­ing a FLIR Scout PS32 ther­mal-imag­in­ing unit to as­sist me in find­ing the grey squir­rels for over five years now, and it’s also a handy tool for mon­i­tor­ing the red-squir­rel pop­u­la­tions. The PRSG rangers all have FLIRs as part of their kit and these are not a cheap by any means, but the time they can save can only add to their pay-back. I would go so far as to say that the ther­mal spot­ters have been a game- changer for us in the con­trol of the grey squir­rels. Some might say this is tak­ing away the art out of stalk­ing or hunt­ing your quarry, but at the end of the day, we are do­ing a job. Our aim is to take out greys as quickly as pos­si­ble. We don’t want them near our red squir­rel pop­u­la­tions be­cause the re­sults can be dev­as­tat­ing with the spread of the squir­rel-pox virus.

I have been hear­ing some good things about the Pul­sar range of ther­mal scopes and spot­ters, so I con­tacted the peo­ple at Pass UK, from whom we have bought many a FLIR unit, to en­quire about get­ting a demo Pul­sar Quan­tum XQ23V or XQ30V Lite. A cou­ple of weeks later, an XQ30V unit was with me and my first im­pres­sions of the unit were very good. It looks well made, and the con­trols are all in good po­si­tions around the unit. Out in the woods, with the XQ30V and the use­ful man­ual that is sup­plied, in my pocket, it took me no time to set up the unit to my lik­ing and de­sired set­tings. Within an hour or so, it was like sec­ond na­ture, maybe my reg­u­lar use of a ther­mal spot­ter helped me, but the con­trols and fea­tures are dif­fer­ent to that of the FLIR Scout.


Some­thing that struck me straight away was the screen size. You are look­ing at what seems a bit big­ger screen on the Pul­sar XQ30V, cou­pled with the fact that the Pul­sar is set at 2.5 x zoom, with the op­tion to zoom in more up to 10 x. This took a little bit of get­ting used to be­cause ev­ery­thing seemed a lot closer than would with the FLIR. The re­fresh rate on the Pul­sar is an im­pres­sive 50Hz com­pared to the 9Hz of the FLIR, mak­ing the pic­ture a lot smoother as you scan the area. The Pul­sar also has seven dif­fer­ent colour pal­ettes, com­pared to the three of the FLIR Scout. I al­ways used the red-hot on the FLIR, and have found that this is also my pre­ferred op­tion with the XQ30V. It is slightly dif­fer­ent be­cause on the Pul­sar, the red sig­na­ture grad­u­ates with a yel­low to show you the in­ten­sity of the sub­ject you are look­ing at.

I have no­ticed that, at a cer­tain dis­tance, you can tell that the heat source you have picked up is a squir­rel much bet­ter than with the Pul­sar. It’s all about be­ing alerted to a heat source as you scan the wood­land

floor or trees, and then you can switch to your bin’s or your ri­fle scope to check it out fur­ther. I will add that when I first started us­ing ther­mal imag­ing, I found that it is not some­thing you just take out of the box and switch on. In my opin­ion, you need to learn about the unit, how to scan, to know its lim­i­ta­tions and when it re­ally won’t be of much use. For ex­am­ple; we use them dur­ing the day and re­ally sunny days are a waste of time be­cause there isn’t enough con­trast be­tween the body heat of the an­i­mal and the warm back­ground. When out walk­ing through the woods and forests, us­ing a ther­mal spot­ter has so many plus sides; it helps me to pick up greys early, giv­ing me the ad­van­tage, and it’s also great for see­ing a grey go up a tree and ap­par­ently van­ish. Many times, I have scanned, picked up a small heat source, and then looked through my scope to see that grey, flat out on a branch – you would never pick that up with the naked eye. I will then move or wait, and nine times out of 10, I’ll bag that squir­rel – the time it can save is mas­sive.


There are far more fea­tures and de­tails to the Pul­sar than I can go into here, so please check out www.pass-ther­­sar­quan­tum-lite-xq23v-ther­mal-scope for all the tech­ni­cal de­tails and info. I was so im­pressed with the Pul­sar XQ30V that I now have the XQ23V, which has taken the place of my trusty FLIR. I went for the XQ23V be­cause the zoom starts at 1.8x and you can go up to 7.2x. It suits my needs bet­ter in the woods be­cause I’m work­ing at close range, and other than that, most of the other fea­tures are the same as the XQ30V, but it has a slightly lower price tag. The RRP on the XQ23V and XQ30V are £1999 and £1299, re­spec­tively. For day­time or night­time hunt­ing, ther­mal is def­i­nitely worth con­sid­er­a­tion, if your bud­get al­lows.

This com­bi­na­tion of kit is work­ing well for me

This is a zoomed-in im­age of a squir­rel, quite clearly

Us­ing the ther­mal makes me much more ef­fi­cient in my work

I’ve up­graded to the Pul­sar from FLIR and am happy with my de­ci­sion

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