Thermal imaging camera and telescopic sight - is that enough for stalking? Can a monocular replace binoculars? How do thermal imaging cameras and monoculars complement each other when hunting?
Since I've been out and about in the hunting ground with thermal imaging devices, a lot has changed in my hunting practice. As a result, the composition of my equipment has also changed.
Two hands for four devices?
"In the past" I always had my good Steiner Nighthunter with me for observing and addressing, but "later" with the arrival of the new thermal technology and the resulting shift to stalking, the binoculars always stayed at home.
The reason was that I suddenly had two devices around my neck - plus a rifle and a shooting stick in my hand. All of this always had to make room for each other or, when attacking (or on the way there), liked to get in each other's enclosure - with a correspondingly inappropriate background noise
One eye is enough
At some point I left the binoculars at home, with a heavy heart, because it is well known that you can see better with two eyes. On the other hand, I have a good scope. Bright, with adjustable magnification, resting on the shooting stick over the rifle and directly at the ready, this should be an adequate replacement for binoculars - right?
Basically I agree.
The disadvantage, however, is that you first have to position the rifle and shooting stick in order to be able to use the scope. This requires both hands, is movement-intensive (which is bad for stealth), and takes time. This is not optimal, especially in situations where you are already quite close to the game. Take a quick, inconspicuous look at what's behind there, it doesn't work that way.
Apart from the fact that it's not a good idea to look at the reticle at the ready to see if the walker over there has his Fiffi on a leash or not.
Fill the visual gap
At some point it dawned on me: a monocular for hunting came into the house and now fills the optical "gap" between the thermal imaging device and the telescopic sight when I'm stalking. The monocular is compact, fits in a jacket pocket and can basically be operated with one hand. It doesn't bother (me) that the monocular, in my case in 8x32, cannot provide the same performance as binoculars that are used with both eyes - it doesn't need that at all. That's what the bright rifle scope is for afterwards.
The terminator look ;-)
Sometimes I even use both devices in parallel with light:
- the left eye gets the optoelectronic infrared image
- the right eye the optical image
When comparing both images, an infrared signature in the "true color" world can be optically better localized - and then addressed.
Recently, early in the evening, I had seen a buck lying in the branches of the dark edge of the forest. From the field it was wonderful to see optoelectronically with the thermal imaging device. However, he could not be located through the monocular. Only by using it at the same time was I able to find the buck visually thanks to the quick comparison of both views that was possible.
In addition, my monocular has an MRAD reticle built in, which, if you think about it beforehand, can be used to derive wonderful distances - as is well known, this is not so easy with thermal imaging devices.
A Molle pouch was included with my monocular, which I now attach to my stalking belt wear front right. Ideal, because I use the left hand to guide the thermal imaging camera.