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Looking to extend the hunt beyond deer and fowl?
Coyote hunting is a good way to stay active between seasons, and night vision is a must-have hunting essential.
How else are you going to see in the dark?
To get a brief on the top NV hunting scopes currently available, the differences between night vision devices, and the legalities behind using NV, put your crosshairs on the following read.
Best Night Vision Scope for Coyote Hunting
|AGM Comanche-22 NL3||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN PS28-2||CHECK PRICE|
|Armasight CO-Mini||CHECK PRICE|
|AGM Wolverine-4 NL3||CHECK PRICE|
|SiOnyx Aurora||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X||CHECK PRICE|
|Yukon Sightline N450S||CHECK PRICE|
Coyotes have always been associated with the wild countryside of North America, but recently, they’ve been moving closer and closer to civilization in their hunt for food.
This means you may not need to travel far to hunt coyotes. While you may spot them during the day, they’re more active in low-light hours, and if you live in coyote territory, you’ll hear them especially active at night. This calls for having hunting optics that provides sight in the dark.
You can choose between the best night vision and thermal scopes for coyote hunting. Both technologies work differently, and thermal is the more expensive option. So, if you’re limited to a budget of less than $2000, night vision should be your first consideration.
All the scopes in this lineup are affordable and are a variety between digital and true night vision IITs (Image Intensifier Tubes). If you’re in for a productive Winter, get night vision and get hunting already.
Best Night Vision Scopes for Coyote Hunting Reviews
1. AGM Comanche-22 NL3 - Best Clip-On NV Scope
The Comanche-22 may be the most expensive scope in this lineup, but it’s by far one of the best options available.
- Versatile mounting
- Manual gain
- Bright light cut-off
- Long battery life
- Low recoil-resistance
AGM may be new to the playing field, but they certainly know what they’re doing when they bring both night vision and thermal vision to the electro-optics industry. Their products are excellent and are competitive in price with leading brands such as ATN and Pulsar.
The Comanche-22 is part of the NV category and this model is the NL3. Breaking it down, it’s a NV clip-on scope with a Gen 2+ Level 3 IIT. Resolution is 45-51 lp/mm, battery life is a long 60 hours, and it’s compatible with daytime scopes up to a max of 7x magnification.
The only downside of a clip-on is that it’s less recoil-resistant to high caliber weapons. This should not be mounted to systems of .308 Win and stronger. With the right type of hunting weapon, you can mount the Comanche-22 with the included quick detach mount or consider purchasing the objective bell adapter for seamless NV transition.
As a clip-on, you can retain use of your daytime scope and instantly have night vision without the need to rezero. A high-end feature to note is the Manual Gain that allows you to adjust the overall brightness of the display based on the ambient light conditions, so you always have the best visibility. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day – having the best visibility when you otherwise would have none.
2. ATN PS28-2 NV Scope - Best Under $2000
The PS28 is a night vision clip-on series manufactured by ATN. This is the PS28-2 – the Gen 2 IIT that puts NV right within your budget.
- Quick release mount
- Versatile mounting
- Auto brightness control
First off, the PS28-2 weighs 1.85 lbs. Since it comes under 2 lbs, it’s really not all that heavy, nor is it far off from the specs of comparable clip-ons like the AGM Comanche-22. But, since we intend to be nit-picky about nit-pickiest kind of things, it’s worth pointing out that you will be adding almost 2 lbs to your weapon setup.
The upside of its tank-like build is its impressive abuse-proof construction. The entire clip-on is waterproof to 10 m for 30 minutes. Not that you will be diving with it, but at least you know it’s incredibly forgiving for when you want to wait out the weather – just don’t catch a cold.
The PS28 like other modern clip-ons is typically mounted via a QRM (Quick Release Mount) to the rail or it can be equipped to the objective bell of your daytime scope.
ATN’s clip-on has a Gen 2+ IIT with 45-54 lp/mm resolution, 50-hour battery life, and Automatic Brightness Control System for consistently bright images even in changing conditions. Crystal clear imaging is what you get.
Clip-on NVDs are no-nonsense optics, convenient, and provide instant NV to most daytime scopes. The PS28-2 is one such NVD that you must have if you want NV with whichever weapon you have in your hand at that point in time.
3. Armasight CO-Mini – Best Gen 3 (Clip-on)
Armasight has made a return to the market and though products are limited, it’s all Gen 3 IITs. The Co-Mini clip-on sight is expensive but executes its job well with red dot sights or day scopes for short-range performance.
- Gen 3
- Manual gain
- Wireless remote
- Dual power option
The Co-Mini is a clip-on night vision sight that is seated in front of the objective bell of a daytime scope and shrouded with the included light suppressor. It can also be paired with a red dot sight that has night vision brightness settings. It’s set for a height of 1.5” above the rail and comes with a Weaver quick release mount.
The Armasight Co-Mini does not require you to rezero your day scope with use of the clip-on. It’s safe to assume that it’s factory-collimated to be within 2 MOA or better out of the box and on the rail. It works well with day scopes between 1-6x magnification.
Though expensive, the clip-on is designed to provide short-range detection inside of 350 yards. Use of the included, detachable IR850-XLR Long Range IR Illuminator can boost performance to 550 yards (approx.). It has a Gen 3 tube with 64-72 lp/mm resolution, manual gain, and Bright Light Cut-Off. A wireless remote is included in the box and is a convenient tool to minimize user movement and quickly activate the sight from standby mode.
It has a dual battery option which means you can use a CR123A battery for 45 hours of operation or a widely available AA battery for 24 hours of runtime. As a clip-on, it’s compact in size at 4.9” long, and the integrated rail allows for attachment of another accessory.
For nighttime coyote hunting, you need night vision. If you want the dependability of your daytime scope to get it done after dark, a clip-on is a must-have and is often worth the cost.
4. AGM Wolverine-4 NL3 NV Scope - Best Gen 2
The Wolverine is the standalone version of the Comanche clip-on series offered by AGM. If you’d rather dedicate a weapon system with its own night vision sight while on a tight budget, the Wolverine-4 NL3 is about as cheap as it gets for Gen 2+.
- Gen 2+ IIT
- Aluminum alloy build
- Quick release mount
- Automatic brightness adjustment
The Wolverine-4 is a true night vision rifle scope with its Gen 2+ IIT. To get an upper-end Gen 2 scope with a high resolution of 45-51 lp/mm at Gen 1 prices, there is no doubt that this is a steal. Granted, it lacks a lot of extra features, but its scaled down form is why it’s priced so attractively.
The scope is completely water-resistant, strong, and lightweight at 2 lbs (approx.) since it’s built with aircraft aluminum alloy.
It lacks manual gain, but you can’t have it all now can you for the low price? To control the level of clarity and brightness of the display, it has an Automatic Adjustable Brightness feature. A mil-dot reticle with an illuminated center is the aiming point and you can achieve ½ MOA accuracy.
This brings us to the mil-dot reticle and MOA turrets. Obviously, this reticle/turret system is not for everybody, but for those who don’t overthink it, it can work especially so for close to mid-range shooting.
5. SiOnyx Aurora – Best Digital
The SiOnyx Aurora is a digital night vision device, under $1000, and extremely versatile. It can be used as a monocular, head or helmet mounted, and weapon mounted. Having been recoil-rated for .223/556 calibers, it’s ideal for the AR-15 that you’re likely using for the hunt.
- Video/image recording
- Mounting options
- Compatible with red dots
- Battery life
- No included IR illuminator
Two things come to mind that may be a hindrance for varmint hunters: the 2-hour battery life and no included IR. However, both an external IR and USB battery pack can be purchased separately to mitigate for the lack of these features.
In everything else, the Aurora is a digital device with a CMOS sensor that is dual-use compatible, meaning, you can use it safely during the day and at night. With the digital tech, you have plenty of user-adjustable settings, video recording, and image capture.
Though still an optic, it must have the foundational features that we require from a monocular: diopter, manual and electronic focusing, and ¼-20 tripod threading. The Aurora has it all. The threading is vital because it’s what allows for tripod, head, helmet, and weapon mounting. SiOnyx has their own weapon mount specific to the Aurora perfect for behind a red dot sight.
It does not have a warranty comparable to the big manufacturers in night vision, but it does come with some coverage (1-year) though limited. For under $1000, the SiOnyx Aurora is a versatile NVD for hunters and civilians.
6. ATN X-Sight LTV 5-15X NV Scope - Best for the Money
If you take a look at the X-Sight and the new X-Sight LTV side by side, you tell us which one you’d prefer? This is the 5-15x LTV model, but there is also a 3-9x LTV that offers the same high-quality performance.
- Enhanced NV
- Traditional body look
- Scaled-down digital
- Limited features
Obviously, the X-Sight LTV takes on a scaled-down platform that does away with live streaming, the rangefinder, syncing compatibility with ATN products, WiFi, and more. Instead, this is designed for the no-fuss hunter who wants a no-fuss interface for no-fuss performance.
The other losses it saw was also in weight and curves. The LTV is not as bulky and is incredibly lightweight at 1.7 lbs. This is the equivalent to most NV clip-on scopes like the AGM Comanche and ATN PS28-2, so to have a dedicated weapon scope weighing in as much as they do is worth noticing.
The LTV has the new Obsidian LT Core and QHD+ sensor with an HD display. Clarity is incredibly clear through the color display of Day mode and the black/white display of Night mode.
You have 5-15x magnification, multiple reticle patterns and colors, One Shot Zero, long battery life of 10+ hours, video recording to a micro SD card, and a couple other digital features. Not bad for “scaled-down,” right?
7. Yukon Sightline N450S NV Scope - Best Under $1000
The Sightline N450S is a new scope from the brand and the similarities between Yukon and Pulsar products in the past were undeniable. However, the Sightline takes a more basic and scaled-down approach.
- One Shot Zero
- 400m detection range
- PiP Mode
- Battery life
The N450S is a standalone digital scope. It can be used both in daylight and nighttime hours. Unfortunately, you will be limited to the black/white display even for day hunting. Plus, you’ll need a good stock of rechargeable batteries on hand since it only provides around 4 hours of use.
You can stretch that time a little by mounting an external IR illuminator to the integrated Picatinny rail on the scope. Yes – it has a built-in IR, and yes, it has a mini rail for attaching an accessory.
You have One Shot Zero and Freeze to get zeroed in, a 400 m detection range for long-range visibility, and it’s recoil-proof to high calibers, even 12-gauge shotguns.
One of the best features is its PiP (Picture-in-Picture) Mode. This is a favorite of many who are familiar with Pulsar products just like what the Digex N455 offers. With a 10% window zoomed in on the target, you can be sure you’re not missing a thing in the rest of the FOV while you maintain sights on your POI.
For a scaled-down scope, it certainly offers scaled-up performance!
What to Look for in a Night Vision Scope for Coyote Hunting
Are all night vision scopes good for coyote hunting? Some are better suited to it than others, and some are more affordable than others. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
You can spend upwards of $2000 for a night vision scope for hogs, coyotes, and other invasive species. But, when you can spend anywhere between $500 to $2000 for a high-end digital scope or an upper-end Gen 2 IIT, why consider spending more?
The most basic of digital scopes will come in under $1000 and the higher-end ones that offer multiple features will run around $1000 to $1600.
When Gen 1 was only available in this price range, Gen 2 is now coming in cheaper than ever and still with all the newest cores and sensors needed for enhanced night vision quality. For under 2K, you don’t have to compromise for 20-30 lp/mm range resolution, you can get the 40-55 lp/mm range which is much closer to Gen 3 night vision than it is to Gen 1.
Standalone VS Clip-On
A clip-on scope tends to be more expensive than its standalone equivalent because of its versatility. It turns your daytime scope into a night vision scope, they’re easy to mount and dismount, and they usually don’t require you to rezero.
However, they tend to have image degradation due the image having to travel through several lenses before it reaches your eye. The clip-on and day scope optical axes need to be within 3mm of alignment, otherwise you will need to use different rings for the daytime scope.
Standalone scopes require its own weapon system. This may mean dismounting the day optic to mount the NV scope. This can be tedious work but quick detach mounts make it less so.
However, not all standalone NV scopes come with these types of mounts so pay attention to the included mount type when you buy. Once you have it on, you won’t need to deal with aligning axes like that of a day scope and clip-on, and you will likely have better imaging quality.
The battery life is significantly different between digital and IIT night vision scopes. Digital can only provide a few hours at a time, maybe up to 10 hours with the latest cores and sensors. You will need to keep extra batteries on you or be diligent about charging during non-use.
True night vision scopes with IITs have much longer lasting operational hours. The best offer 50-60 hours from one battery.
While a night vision tube has the longer lasting battery, you’re likely paying two to three times the price for it versus a digital.
Weight & Size
It goes without saying that if you’re hunting and will be on the go, up and down, out and about, you’ll need to have a lightweight setup from your gear to your weapon system and that includes the optic.
Hunting night vision scopes should be lightweight and must complement your setup. Fortunately, the newest offerings in the market are coming in under 2 lbs, even for standalone scopes.
Not only is weight loss a trending feature, the body styles of NV scopes are also changing. They’re compact, sleek and slim, and are definitely less bulky than they used to be. They’re between 10-13” in length and are less than 3” wide. Some are taking on a more traditional and classic look like that of a daytime scope in the name of ergonomic styling.
These may be points to be aware of if you’re wanting a scope that has a familiar look, a compact build, and a light weight for hunting.
Coyotes cannot see IR light as humans cannot see IR light. One thing to consider with night vision gear is the small red dot with IR units. If you can see it, you can be sure a coyote can see it too. As far as the beam of IR light put out into a field – no.
Dusk and Dawn. In the evening and early morning hours, coyote activity picks up as they search for food and prowl to stake new territorial claims. However, believe it or not, you can actually hunt coyotes all day long.
During the Winter, they’re active during the day a lot more than in other seasons. During afternoons, it’s more challenging. But coyotes are opportunists, and if they think an easy meal is nearby, they’ll come to your calls and songs regardless of the hour.
It really depends on what you’re willing to spend and what the conditions are for hunting. Many like to run thermal optics for detection and then use night vision for identification and shooting.
If it’s particularly dark out and difficult to get range with night vision and an IR, you can switch over to a thermal scope good for coyote hunting. Have both if you can afford it.
It is legal to hunt coyotes but whether it’s legal to hunt with night vision or thermal depends on where you are. You must check state and local laws and regulations regarding use of night vision equipment, artificial light sources, and type of weapon and calibers allowed.
While coyote hunting is considered allowable for all seasons, always check what the laws state before you head out.
Prepped for Night Hunting?
Just like any other type of hunt, you must be prepared for a coyote hunt. Sure, the laws are a lot more lenient on invasive species like hogs and coyotes, but you still need the right type of gear to ensure success.
Night vision can guarantee the kind of success you need even when the budget is strapped tighter than your belt. You don’t need to spend 5K on a scope. A solid $1000 give or take a few hundred will land you something for the hunt this Winter.