Best Night Vision Scope For Coyote Hunting

Predators move in the secrecy of darkness. For coyote hunters, the most difficult aspect of the hunt has historically been the challenge darkness presents when spotting, or shooting. Advancements in technology have allowed hunters to purchase night vision scopes to combat this challenge, but how do you decide which scope is the right choice for you? Let’s take a look at the top scopes to find out. 

What did Hunters Use Before Night Vision Scopes?

For years, the best chance you had to spot and effectively dispatch a coyote, or any nocturnal predator, was to outfit your rifle with a spotlight that had a red lens affixed to it. These lights were heavy and bulky but would illuminate the reflective eyes on predators, allowing you to spot them as they approach your stand. 

The reason for the red lens was because the wavelength emitted by the red light is less visible to predators, making them more susceptible to investigate a call than they would with white light.

Hunting with lights is still a great way to locate predators while on the move, but modern technology has recently allowed hunters to gain another leg up in the darkness. Night vision scopes have become almost a necessity for avid coyote hunters in recent years. 

Why Buy a Night Vision Scope?

Night vision allows hunters to use infrared to see clearly in the dark for up to a few hundred yards, which is a drastic improvement over hunting with a red lens. Now, hunters can stealthfully approach hunting stands without alerting predators to their location prematurely. 

Night vision not only allows hunters to have a better opportunity to encounter coyotes. Because the entire animal is visible through the scope, the probability of taking a better shot is immeasurably better than shooting at illuminated eyeballs in red light. 

Why Do You Hunt Coyotes at Night?

Coyotes are cagey, to begin with. Hunting them has always been quite tough because they have great eyesight and an impeccable sense of smell. They are an apex predator that can be found in almost every state. This is a testament to the adaptability and the grit of these small varmints. 

Feeding on almost anything, dead or alive, coyotes move great distances per day in search of their next meal. The most opportune time to hunt for coyotes is overnight, or early morning, before them bedding down or denning for the heat of the day. 

Throughout history, coyotes have been hunted as a means to keep the numbers of predators in check because of the damage they cause to livestock numbers around the country. Coyotes are also an arch-nemesis of big game hunters, as they have been known to thin herds of deer by killing a fawn per day, per coyote, in the spring and summer months. 

Are Coyote Pelts Valuable? 

Fur traders have also kept coyotes near the top of their most-wanted lists. The thick, high-quality pelt gathered from coyotes has been a staple of fashion and textiles for two hundred years. A top-quality coyote pelt can fetch as much as $175US in some markets. 

Western coyotes are the more favorable species for fur buyers. The pale blonde fur of a coyote found in the Mid-West or the Western United States is more desirable than the dark grey and tan versions found on the backs of eastern coyotes. 

While the fur market has been on a decline for the past 20 years, coyote pelts can still be found at auctions year after year. They make great blankets and are still bought by winter jacket producers for the liners of hoods. They use real coyote fur on the hoods because the natural fur does not allow snow to clump up as artificial fur would. 

Do Coyotes Harm Livestock? 

Hunters are not known for selling fur in the market. Because rifles damage pelts, these coyotes are taken more out of a nuisance stance, rather than an income opportunity. Because they are so abundant, the game commissions across the United State have enacted lengthy seasons with few bag limits or restrictions for hunters willing to pursue the varmints. 

Hunters are equipped with shotguns for close range encounters, but can normally be found toting small caliber, flat-shooting rifles. On these rifles is where we are seeing more and more night vision scopes affixed. 

Let’s look at some of the top scopes on the market today, and rank them as we see fit, considering all of the questions you, the consumer may have or may not have taken into consideration. 

ATN X-Sight 4K

Talk about bells and whistles, this scope has everything you would ever want in a night vision hunting score and more! The X-Sight 4k Pro is a top-of-the-line version of a night vision scope and it holds that distinction for good reason. It has the capabilities of hunting day or night, record video in 4k, and zoom with the twist of a dial. Also, one more feature that will blow any shooter’s mind, one-shot zero.

Okay, so after getting over the fact that this scope has nearly limitless capabilities, we need to dive into what the most important ones are, and why they would make us want to spend the money on this particular scope. Here they are. 

  • Night Vision

Black and white 4k, high definition night vision provided by the ATN Ultra HD sensor on this scope make for a super crisp and clear viewfinder. The controls allow you to adjust for brightness and focus so that the target is unobstructed. Field of view capabilities vary based on the size scope you choose, but the 3X-9X version gives you 460ft. The scope also comes with an infrared illuminator, increasing the darkness field of view dramatically.

  • Zoom Capabilities

Three to nine power digital zoom is the standard version. This is easily adjusted in day or night conditions with a small knob on the scope housing, similar to a doping knob you would find on a standard daylight scope.

  • Video Record

The X-Sight 4K gets its name from the distinct ability to record video in 4K resolution. This scope can save footage to an internal SD card, or you can stream it to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology. Another great feature of this scope is the “Recoil Activated Technology”, which means that the scope can automatically save the footage when it senses that the gun has been fired. This feature eliminates thinking about your footage and allows you to focus on the shot. 

  • Battery Life

The manufacturer claims “ultra-low” consumption of battery use, giving the user up to 18 hours of full use battery life. This may be realistic under optimal circumstances, but if the weather is cold or your brightness levels are high for daylight usage, look for this battery life to be shorter than spec. 

  • Firmware

New versions of firmware are downloadable through the internet and your smartphone. The scope is easily updated, giving you, the user, the most optimal performance. Updates make the scope operational for years after purchase, unlike other digital scopes.

  • One-Shot Zero

The coolest feature on this scope in my opinion. One-shot zero gives you the ability to make a single shot on a target at 100 yards, and then use the d-pad of the scope to toggle the zeroing crosshairs over your point of impact while holding the primary crosshairs over your target. This allows the scope to automatically adjust and your next shot will put make your crosshairs and point of impact the same. 

  • Reliability

Because using any sort of electronic device comes with some uncertainty, the reliability and reputation of the scope is an important factor. ATN is constantly improving software to eliminate glitches or bugs. This makes the X-Shot 4K one of the most reliable in the industry. 

  • Durability

Like any form of electronic, a night vision scope can only handle so much abuse, water, or temperature fluctuation. The X-Shot 4K is rated for slight water-resistance as well as functionality from -20 Degrees Fahrenheit to +120 Degrees Fahrenheit, which should pretty well cover your hunting needs.

  • Customer Support

While firmware updates and online compatibility with this scope are above average, the customer support for ATN products is limited due to its construction being overseas. 

  • Bonus Features

A cool bonus feature is the ability to calculate ballistics with this scope. Simply add the caliber and round specifications you plan to use into the scope software and it will make adjustments to improve accuracy. 


Sightmark Wraith HD

The best budget-friendly night vision scope goes to the Wraith. This unit has almost all the features you would find on top-of-the-line scopes, but for half of the price. The Sightmark Wraith HD brings massive improvements from previous models but maintains the reliability and quality of the Sightmark name.

  • Night Vision

Similar to the last scope on our list, the Wraith HD also comes with an Ultra HD Sensor for improved night vision capabilities. This scope gives users the option for crisp, black and white, or traditional green-scale night vision imaging. I think the green is a bit cooler than black and white, but that is just my opinion. This scope also has the infrared illuminator included.

  • Zoom Capabilities

This scope starts at a fixer 4 power magnification. The digital 8 power zoom is in addition to that base 4, giving hunters a wide range for shooting at targets near and far. 

  • Video Record

While the Wraith does not allow you to stream video to your smartphone, it does have 1080p digital recording capabilities. These videos can be saved directly to an SD card for easy handling and downloading to your computer or other devices. 

  • Battery Life

This night vision scope runs on 4 AA batteries. Lifespan is rated for 8 hours continuous runtime, but again, cold weather or inferior battery brands may underperform. I appreciate the traditional battery route on this unit, because, in the field, you may not always have charging capabilities. It is much easier to carry a few extra batteries and swap them out if need be. 

  • Reliability

This scope is very reliable in the field. It has less software to glitch while in use, so there are not as many opportunities for failure. Using traditional batteries means that recharging is not an issue either, so even if the scope power is left on by accident, just load new batteries and you are back in the hunt. 

  • Durability

The Wraith is water-resistant shock-resistant. While we suggest taking extra special care of any digital or night vision scope, this version is surprisingly durable. 

  • Customer Support

Customer reviews online all give customer service great reviews. There are not many poor reviews for the product on the hardware or customer service sides. This breeds confidence in my opinion. 

  • Bonus Features

This scope comes with the option to change crosshair reticles with the option of ten different choices! It also comes with a universal Weaver mounting rail. This will allow hunters to mount on almost any rifle or tripod. Lastly, this scope allows you to save up to 8 different rifle zeros, meaning you can sight it in and save the settings for each of your rifles. Then, during hunting seasons, you can choose your rifle and add the scope without ever having to sight it back in.


Night Owl Nightshot

The Nightshot scope is a great option for a very low price. This is a generation 1 night vision scope, meaning it does not have the most modern HD qualities of a higher-end model. It does have basic features you would expect from a night vision scope like an 8X zoom. This scope is compatible with external infrared illuminators although it does have its own built-in. Overall, it is a nice optic for the price point and will be effective on your predator rifle. 

  • Night Vision

Generation 1 night vision technology is not the best on the market. However, this scope will do just fine when shooting ranges at or below 100 yards. The scope operates on a grayscale, so black and white images are the only option. The Nightshot also has its own built-in infrared illuminator, but can also be paired with an external illuminator for extra strength night vision at longer distances. 

  • Zoom Capabilities

Standard 3 power all you get with the Nightshot. Because this scope is not designed to be shooting at distances over 100 yards, a 3 power magnification is plenty of power for this application. 

  • Video Record

This scope does not support video or recording either on an SD card or tethered smart device. It is strictly a night vision scope, which helps keep costs low for individuals who are not concerned with video recording. 

  • Battery Life

This scope is powered by 4 AA batteries which give it a short battery life of 4-5 hours. This is made greater or worse depending on the intensity with which you are running the infrared illuminator. An unfortunate feature with regards to batteries on this scope is that they need to be installed from the bottom of the housing. This requires removing the scope from the rifle for every battery change. 

  • Reliability

Because this night vision scope is a bare-bones model, it is quite reliable. With no firmware or additional setup steps, this scope is just a point and shoot! 

  • Durability

The Nightshot is not the most durable scope on our list. While it does list “weatherproof”, there are no specifications as to how resistant it is to either water or shock. I would be as careful with this unit as I would be with any of the others or any rifle scope at that rate. 

  • Customer Support

Night Owl Optics does get 5 stars for customer service and support. There are plenty of great reviews and in one instance, a customer had received a damaged scope from shipping, and the company sent a replacement before receiving the damaged return item. That sounds like the support you can trust. 

  • Bonus Features

The cool bonus feature here is the option to choose reticles again. This may not seem like a make or break feature, but is very convenient when you are familiar with one reticle over another and have the option to keep your sights uniform across multiple platforms.


ATN X-Sight II

The X-Sight 2 has many of the same capabilities as its big brother, the 4k. Other than the quality of the video, this scope is nearly the same. It does have some additional benefits that are not offered with the 4k though. For example, this model allows you to cycle through color pallets, rather than just a day mode or black and white mode for night vision. This is a solid buy if you do not need the 4k quality footage. 

  • Night Vision

Great resolution HD night vision is what you can expect from this scope. The field of view is nearly 1000 yards, and it is compatible with an infrared illuminator, although it does not come with, or have one built in. That would be my first purchase to pair with this scope.

  • Zoom Capabilities

With a three to fourteen power, adjustable zoom, this scope gives users the ability to engage targets near and far. The zoom is digital, so it is smooth and crisp and the eye relief or focus does not need to be adjusted between settings, which is convenient. 

  • Video Record

Ultra HD recordings can be saved to the SD card within the score. This version has the recoil sensing automatic record feature called RAV, which we discussed on the 4K model. 

  • Battery Life

Battery life is an area that was improved upon with the 4k as well. This model has a much shorter 6-hour battery life. There is an optional battery pack that is sold separately by ATN, which does improve battery life to a 12-hour limit. 

  • Firmware

Updating is necessary with this version from ATN as well. The updates can be downloaded online to a flash drive, and then uploaded onto the scope via a USB port. ThisTheThissmartphone is the same process as the 4K scope. The updates are nice because ATN is able to take customer and test feedback into account and upgrade the scope as often as they like to give users the crispest and user-friendly experience.

  • One-Shot Zero

The famous ability of ATN scopes to zero in after only one shot blows my mind. With the cost of ammunition these days, this feature should be regarded as a discount on the purchase price. The days of spending hours and countless rounds, not to mention countless walks to and from targets for inspection, are dead with this unique feature. 

  • Reliability

The reliability of this scope is one of the main selling points by the manufacturer. The scope is rated for shock and water resistance with heavy-duty knobs and button controls. 

  • Durability

This was an area in the reviews I read where customers were having issues though. This scope is not meant for shooting large-caliber rounds with high levels of recoil. Doing this may result in internal damage that is unrepairable. High recoil will also knock your scope out of zero. Be advised on these aspects when purchasing. 

  • Customer Support

Customer service is almost non-existent with these ATN night vision scopes. The reason for this could be that they are manufactured overseas, but it does become a legitimate concern when purchasing one of these high-quality, high-dollar night vision scopes for coyote hunting. Conditions are sometimes rough, so it would be nice to make a call and get an issue resolved if necessary. 

  • Bonus Features

An awesome bonus that comes with this scope is a built-in laser range finder! This seems like cheating to me, but it does save you from switching back and forth from scope to rangefinder when the coyote is darting across a field in the dark. This feature may convert me away from the 4K and into the X-Sight II. 


Pulsar Digisight Ultra

If you are familiar with Pulsar as a company, this scope will make you feel right at home. The Digisight Ultra is set up similarly to the other scopes in this manufacturers lineup. It has similar features to the the ATN brand of sights, such as smartphone connectivity and updatable firmware. Pulsar also runs a version of one-shot zero on their Digisight ultra. It may not be a true single shot to zero your rifle with this scope, but it does still make sighting in your firearm very simple. Because Pulsar has such a great reputation, I would purchase this scope before any of the others on our list. 

  • Night Vision

1280×720 sensor, with a 1020×768 AMOLED display. This combination gives users a super crisp display and is a large improvement from the previous Pulsar model. The color pallet is grayscale like most of our other scopes. I can live with that, it always reminds me of thermal scopes, but this is where the industry is going, so, if it helps stack coyotes in the dead of night I am onboard. It does have a built in infrared illuminator that has 3 intensity levels. 

  • Zoom Capabilities

550 yard detection range is the rating from the factory, but real world testing proves that number is a stretch. Base magnification is a 4.5 power with 2x and 4x digital zoom. This may seem low compared to our other scopes tested, but when you are targeting coyotes or hogs, those critters are moving quickly. In a real situation, getting onto a moving target with a 9x or 12x zoom is nearly impossible. Getting a shot of in that scenario is even more difficult. So, this scope is perfectly capable for night hunting coyotes. 

  • Video Record

This scope has full recording capabilities, as well as being able to tether to a smart phone or other smart device for viewing and recording. This is 1080p quality, so not too shabby when it comes to quality. You can see what the shooter is seeing through the scope via external smart device which is a great way to make night hunting a spectator sport! 

  • Battery Life

Rechargble battery packs that are the same as your other Pulsar products. This uniformity makes purchasing all of the Pulsar branded products a no brainer, buttons and user interfaces are the same, as well as rechargeable battery packs and accessories. The lifespan is rated for 8 hours, but that will depend on the conditions because the testing was done on a night wehre it was about 70 degrees fahrenheit. 

  • Firmware

Updating the scope firmware is super easy on the Pulsar products as well. Plugin your smartphone and download the files directly from the internet to the scope. The process does not take very long, and the convenience of using your smartphone are two-fold. First, you are not trying to navigate through a small scope screen, and second, these updates can be done right in the field or at camp if needed. 

  • One-Shot Zero

This feature makes it so much easier to sight in your rifle. It may not exactly be a single shot to get perfect, but even if you spend a few rounds, it is worth having this feature. 

  • Reliability

Pulsar products are known for reliability. The products are specifically designed for hunting and this scope is no different. As long as you keep the firmware updated and the batteries charged, there should be no problems with this scope. 

  • Durability

Similar to reliability, Pulsar builds their scopes to be tough and beaten up in the field. This scope even comes with lens caps that can be left on while shooting. This provides potection even when in use. 

  • Customer Support

Pulsar knows scopes and will support costumers that have product defects as well as troubleshooting user errors to keep customers happy. They even warranty defected products that are damaged in shipping. 

  • Bonus Features

Picture in picture display which gives users the ability to have the full critter in the their main screen, and a zoomed picture layed over that which has their crosshairs on the vitals of the animal. Pulsar is the only scope in the industry with this unique feature. 


What Night Vision Scope is Best For Hunting Coyotes? 

When choosing a night vision scope, there are a ton of important decisions a buyer will have to make before their purchase. These scopes are expensive, and you do not want to be overcome with buyer’s remorse because you did not do the proper research before plugin the trigger on one. 

First, decide what exactly the scope will be used for. If it is for coyote hunting at night only, or will it get some use in the daylight as well? Some night vision scopes perform perfectly at night but lack certain capability that you would want in a morning of the full light situation. 

Next, will you want to be using your scope on a single rifle? Will it see action on multiple rifles depending on the season? This will point you in the direction of a scope that can be zeroed in easily.

The budget has to be part of the equation as well. With the abundance of night vision scopes on the market these days, what will you spend on a high-quality unit for your rifle? Because these scopes have technological elements integrated through, they will inevitably be outdated within a few years, so you have to keep that in the back of your mind as you research. 

Video hunting footage is all the rage! Most night vision scopes now come with the ability to record and even stream live hunt and shot footage. Is this something you will want in your new scope? If so, it will affect the budget significantly. Could it end up paying for itself with eventual uploads to social sites or video platforms? All things to consider.