Anyone use a thermal to "find" the deer?

wildcatgoal

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This is more of a "short range" deer hunting question (Eastern forest hunting where 200 yards is a long range shot).

I was thinking of getting a Leupold LTO-Tracker or similar. Anyone use one to "scope" a possible bedding area?

I seem to be a master at finding bedding areas, but not seeing them bedded until they get up an run, haha.
 

quietzac

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This is more of a "short range" deer hunting question (Eastern forest hunting where 200 yards is a long range shot).

I was thinking of getting a Leupold LTO-Tracker or similar. Anyone use one to "scope" a possible bedding area?

I seem to be a master at finding bedding areas, but not seeing them bedded until they get up an run, haha.
My thermal is my #1 scouting tool in the summer. Might want to check your local reg's on having one on you during hunting season though.
 

JuddL

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I use it for recovering downed deer. I’m at 3 that I’ve found with the thermal. I also use it to and from the stand, it’s a great tool but I can’t say I’ve ever killed a deer because of it. I did find one that the majority that was looking thought it would’ve went unnoticed.

Great tool and very beneficial to use, assuming you live in a state that allows such an advantage (insert rolling eyes). Mine is a Pulsar thermal scope on a QD mount that is used for killing pigs at night during the off deer season.
 

Muddyboots

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I look at it no different than using dogs to recover a deer so why not? Better than laying there rotting. We don't always get the perfect hit with blood trail Stevie Wonder can follow so we should be able to use technology when it is appropriate.
 

OH58DViper

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I use a thermal to help scout all kinds of animals and people too! Ha

A hand held thermal helps but I don’t think you’ll be happy in a wooded area under darkness for locating purposes (alive). In an open area they are great. Though, if the grass is high enough to obscure the majority of their bodies it will act as a thermal shield. You will most likely blow them out still due to noise...after all, you’re in the woods correct? Additionally, when it gets very cold out antler does not “glow“ anymore. I have to maneuver so that i put the antler frame between me and the body to show ”cold bone”, like a black line through the white hot body. And I’m 1000% positive my $40,000,000 Apache has a much smaller minimum resolvable temperature than a $400 hand held.

If you have found their bedding area, just set up close to it, why walk through or hunt in their bedding? Unless you’re a walk and stalk in the woods Hunter, which will never yield consistent results. (Please save me from the old curmudgeons who will swear that technique works in a heavily wooded area) if the deer are in bed and you’re blowing them out, your route in/out, location to hunt, wind, or timing is wrong. Whitetails are the easiest animals to pattern that we hunt. Trail cameras set up on travel corridors from bedding to food are your greatest asset. I note time and direction of travel and correlate that with multiple cameras, then develop a plan of attack. I haven’t eaten tag soup in many years on public land or elsewhere. Keep in mind I am trophy hunting oriented, if you’re shooting just to fill your freezer and kill whatever, follow your heart.
 

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wildcatgoal

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I have to walk through to get to the blind and stand, otherwise I'm sitting on my *** in the mud all day and likely blowing my smell their way. Layout of the owned land funnels in the middle and I'm not able to walk on the neighboring land due to neighbors who feel a footprint on their land is grounds to light me up with an AR-15 (which I found out I would be subjected to when I asked if I could sneak on his land). The opposing side is extremely dense forest with a lot of needle-prickers and it makes too much noise. It's not my land otherwise I'd go through with a machete... they don't want me to.
 

cohunt

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As post #2 suggests, check your local regs-- in CO, thermal devices are not allowed atcall during big game if you have a big game tag, including "tracking thermal devices"
 

Bullmark

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As a side note, I have a friend that owns a nuisance wildlife management co. Each year they usually get the contract to thin the deer herd in several cities nearby. Last year, after yrs of listening to me beg, he allowed me to participate. The majority of the shooting was at night, with thermal scopes and suppressors. Until then, I had never used either.....and boy was it fun.
The thing I remember most about the thermal scope was seeing the impact (all shots were to the head) and the massive “glow in the dark” volcanic eruption. It was like a video game.
I will point out that we followed the strictest safety protocol, had a spotter ahead of us in a second vehicle, and another behind us. Also the shooters, there were 5 of us, had to pass a background check, and a marksmanship cert. that was no pushover.
The thermal scopes were amazing. And between the practice and test at the range, and filling the contract quota of 225 deer, it helped my shooting tremendously.
Lastly, for anyone that is curious, we used Flir thermals, on Tikka .223s, and I don’t recall the make of the suppressor. Most shots were 40-50 yds, with a few closer to 100.
 

P7M13

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Orygun
As a side note, I have a friend that owns a nuisance wildlife management co. Each year they usually get the contract to thin the deer herd in several cities nearby. Last year, after yrs of listening to me beg, he allowed me to participate. The majority of the shooting was at night, with thermal scopes and suppressors. Until then, I had never used either.....and boy was it fun.
The thing I remember most about the thermal scope was seeing the impact (all shots were to the head) and the massive “glow in the dark” volcanic eruption. It was like a video game.
I will point out that we followed the strictest safety protocol, had a spotter ahead of us in a second vehicle, and another behind us. Also the shooters, there were 5 of us, had to pass a background check, and a marksmanship cert. that was no pushover.
The thermal scopes were amazing. And between the practice and test at the range, and filling the contract quota of 225 deer, it helped my shooting tremendously.
Lastly, for anyone that is curious, we used Flir thermals, on Tikka .223s, and I don’t recall the make of the suppressor. Most shots were 40-50 yds, with a few closer to 100.
Were you subsonic? The crack is still pretty loud on that round.
 

Bullmark

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We were not subsonic. Most of the shooting was done on the outskirts of our city, which is not that densely populated to begin with. We concentrated on a couple of city parks where there were no houses anywhere in sight.
We shot on city owned land, plus a handful of private landowners who gave consent.
But you are correct it still made a sharp crack and we did have a handful of residents call the cops......which was funny, they’d call and say there was a pickup truck with two guys in the rear bed, driving through the ‘hood with rifles pointed.
We coordinated our route with the police dept every night....so they knew we were out and about.
It was fun, for a while, but eventually it became work. And it was bitter cold that week. My buddy, that owns the co., was paid handsomely....and he paid me. But I was satisfied with scratching that activity off my bucket list and haven’t bugged him again about letting me help.
 

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