The Best Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting in 2020

If you’re hunting coyotes, you’re most likely hunting at night. And, coyotes are fast moving predators (or scavengers, whichever you prefer).

So, you need a good optic that generates a very clear picture in the dark and helps you overcome coyotes natural camouflage. And, your sight also needs to help you get hits on moving targets.

That pretty much narrows things down to thermal sights. There’s good news and bad news here.

Bad news: thermal sights are rather expensive.

Good news: there are a lot of options. So, you can get one that really meets all your needs.

  • Optical base magnification
  • High enough resolution that the digital magnification causes very little granularity.
  • Green sapphire display reduces eye fatigue.

SPOILER: If you don’t care to wade through all the potential options, get the Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Riflescope. It’s actually one of the most affordable thermal scopes, and it performs quite well.

If you’re cool with wading through thermal scopes, follow along. We’re going to go over the best thermal scopes for coyote hunting to help you find the one that’s perfect for you.

Top Thermal Scopes on the Market Today

The Best Thermal Scopes for Coyote Hunting Reviews: Hitting Those Shots in the Dark

1. Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Rifle Scope - Best Overall Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting

The Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Rifle Scope sits on the lower end of the price spectrum. However, it’s a very high performance thermal scope.

First, the 1.6x magnification is optical. So, the image is crystal clear at the base magnification power. Above that, the magnification, up to 6.4x, is digital.

However, the 384x288 resolution is high enough that the digital zoom causes very little degradation in image quality. So, you’ll  be able to spot coyotes and make accurate shots even at the highest magnification.

And, the display is green sapphire.

The sapphire display reduces eye fatigue and maximizes image contrast.

To make the most of the magnification, the thermal core can detect heat signatures up to 900 meters awayThis scope will detect thermal signatures that are likely further away than you can shoot. You won’t outshoot this scope.

Lastly, there are 3 rifle profiles and 3 zeroes. And, it comes with a quick detach mount. So, you can easily put this thermal scope on multiple rifles.

This scope is powered by 2 CR123A batteries. The battery life is decent. However, you may find that you have to replace the batteries somewhat often if you use this scope a lot.

But, this thermal scope is hard to beat for the money. If you hunt fast moving animals at night, this thermal scope is a great option for you.

Pros

  • Optical base magnification.
  • High enough resolution that the digital magnification causes very little granularity.
  • Green sapphire display reduces eye fatigue.
  • 900 meter thermal detection.
  • Can be mounted on three different rifles.

Cons

  • Battery life could be better.

The Armasight by FLIR Predator 336 2-8x25mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope is built around one of the best thermal cameras on the market: the FLIR Predator. And, it’s surprisingly affordable considering the reputation of the thermal camera core.

First, the base magnification is optical. So, there’s no pixelation at 2x magnification. All the magnification up to 8x is digital.

But, the pixel array resolution is 336x256. And, the display resolution is 640x480. The resolution is high enough that the digital zoom causes very little pixelation or distortion. When you zoom in, you’ll get a clear enough image to spot animals and make accurate shots.

There are 6 color modes:

  1. White hot
  2. Black hot
  3. Rainbow

Then there are 3 variable color modes. So, you can customize the display to help you spot coyotes quickly and easily.

Additionally, there are 6 reticle patterns:

  1. Dot 4 MOA
  2. Line dot
  3. Cross center dot
  4. Cross
  5. Crosshair
  6. No reticle

And, the reticles can be set to blackwhitered, or cyan. So, you can customize the aiming solution to meet your needs.

If you’re into filming your hunting outings, this thermal scope offers onboard video recording. This can be fun. But, you could also use it to critique your shooting.

Although this scope offers a lot of capabilities. There have been some quality control issues. Lemons are fairly rare. But, some customers have used the Armasight return policy.

But, overall, this is an extremely capable and customizable thermal scope that would be suitable for coyote hunting, hog hunting, or any other sort of night shooting.

Pros

  • Good magnification range with 2x optical magnification.
  • High resolution pixel array and display.
  • 6 color modes.
  • 6 reticles, with 4 available colors.
  • Onboard video recording.

Cons

  • Occasional quality control issues.

3. ATN Thor-HD 640 1-10x - Thermal Sight for Video

The ATN Thor-HD 650 1-10x is a capable thermal sight. And, it has some onboard video capabilities that make it pretty cool for getting videos of your hunts.

On the hardware side, the magnification goes from 1-10x. Unfortunately, the zoom is entirely digital. No optical magnification on this one.

However, the sensor offers 640x480 resolution. This resolution minimizes any pixelation from the digital zoom. So, you get a clear picture throughout the magnification range.

Additionally, there’s a built in rangefinder and ballistic calculator. This is a big help for getting accurate shots in the dark.

However, where this thermal sight really shines is the video capabilities. You can record HD video and take HD photos. There’s a recoil activated video setting that automatically starts recording as soon as you press the trigger.

And, you can stream all your recorded video via wifi. So, you can easily view recorded footage on your phone or tablet.

Also, there’s an external battery pack that gives you 22 hours of continuous useThat’s obviously enough time to go out on a hunt and show off your video footage to your friends.

However, the internal battery could offer better battery life between recharges.

But, even though it doesn’t have a ton of shooting features, this is an excellent thermal sight for filming your hunting escapades.

Pros

  • Excellent magnification range.
  • Built-in rangefinder and ballistic calculator.
  • HD video recording and HD photo shooting.
  • Recoil activated video recording.
  • External battery pack offers excellent battery life.

Cons

  • Internal battery life could be better.

4. ATN Thor 4 384x288 Smart HD Thermal Rifle Scope - Compact Thermal Sight for Coyote Hunting

The ATN Thor 4 384x288 Smart HD Thermal Rifle Scope is built around the ATN Obsidian IV Dual thermal core, which is a step up from the FLIR model.

The ATN thermal sensor offers a 384x288 resolution. The image is clear and offer excellent contrast for spotting animals. 

The optical zoom on this thermal scope is set at 1.25x. The digital zoom goes up to 5x. The magnification isn’t as impressive as some other thermal sights.

However, this sight is much more compact than most thermal sights. 

The profile mimics the shape of a standard optical scope. It’s still bulkier than a glass optic. But, it’s pretty streamlined, and won’t add too much bulk to your rifle.

Even with the slimmer profile, ATN still includes a built-in rangefinder and ballistic calculator to help you nail those longer shots.

This model also records HD video. And it’s capable of streaming video to a smart device and simultaneously recording to the SD card. So, you can use your tablet or phone as a viewfinder without losing any footage.

Lastly, the battery life is impressive. This model runs for up to 18 hours in the field. If you keep the batteries fresh, you won’t have to worry about your thermal sight dying in the middle of an outing.

The only issue with this thermal scope is the software. Some users have reported software issues that sometimes need to be worked out with help from the manufacturer.

But, if you want a thermal scope that’s compact and capable, this is an excellent option.

Pros

  • Excellent thermal sensor resolution.
  • Built in rangefinder and ballistic calculator.
  • Simultaneous video streaming and recording.
  • 18 hour battery life.

Cons

  • Occasionally has software issues.

5. Pulsar Trail XQ50 2.7-10x42 - Thermal Sight for Long Range Coyote Hunting

If you’re looking to snipe some coyotes, the Pulsar Trail XQ50 2.7-10x42 is the way to go. It packs both strong zoom capabilities and a powerful heat sensor.

The base optical magnification is 2.7x. That’s enough for a bit more accuracy without sacrificing short range performance. But, the magnification range goes up to 10x. But, everything above 2.7x is digital.

However, the thermal sensor boasts a 384x288 resolution. The resolution is high enough that the image remains clear, even at the highest digital zoom setting. So, you’ll be able to get hits at long range, using high magnification.

To give you even more help with those long range shots, the sensor is capable of detecting heat signatures up to 1970 yards away. That’s almost two kilometers. There’s no way you’re going to outshoot the thermal core on this sight.

There are 13 electronic reticles to help you make the most of the long range capabilities. And, you can save up to 3 rifle profiles, and 5 different zeroes for hot swapping this sight between rifles.

Additionally, there is an integrated rangefinder to help with shooting calculations. And, you can record all your shots with onboard video recording.

If there was a downside to this thermal sight, it would be that the rangefinder is stadiometric, which determines range based on the estimated size of objects. It’s not as accurate as a laser range finder.

But, even though this unit is a bit pricey, it’s a really impressive thermal sight that will work for hunting any type of animal at night.

Pros

  • Powerful magnification range.
  • Long range thermal sensor.
  • 13 reticle options.
  • 3 rifle profiles and 5 zeroes for use on multiple rifles or with different handloads.
  • Integrated rangefinder and video recorder.

Cons

  • Rangefinder isn’t super precise.
  • Expensive.

Seeing in the Dark

Thermal sights are excellent for hunting nocturnal animals and showing off your shots to your friends. And, thermal sights are more reliable than night vision. So, if you’re going out on night hunts, you need a good thermal sight.

If you want a good thermal sight at a good price, get the Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Rifle Scope. It’s powerful and (relatively) affordable. That’s a rare combination in the world of thermal sights.

Now that you’ve seen the light, get yourself a thermal sight, and head out for some hunting at night (nice rhyme, right?).