We usually tend to identify a thermal imaging optic as a device to be used especially in poor visibility conditions (because of ambient light or rain and fog) and that's certainly correct. But in the case of the Nitehog TIR-M35 X-Core this is quite reductive. We tested it in the field and, considering the results in different situations, we would like to explain what we believe are the fundamental aspects that in many hunting situations can make the difference for the hunter. Let's start from the fundamental technical features to then understand the different possible uses in which we have appreciated its effectiveness.
Our impressions in the field: Nitehog TIR-M35i with GECO Black 1.6x24i and Benelli Argo E-Pro
We coupled the new Nitehog TIR-M35 Chameleon X-Core clip-on device with a GECO Black 1-6x24i day riflescope mounted on a Benelli Argo E-Pro rifle – a gun and an optic typically designed for driven hunting. This type of hunting already gives an idea of one of the characteristics of the Nitehog: its ruggedness, which makes such a high-tech device usable in the various environments that hunting provides without any limitations for the hunter. Just to give you an idea: the TIR-M35 X-Core housing is made entirely from a CNC machined magnesium alloy – strong, rugged and light; the device is also IP66 certified for water resistance and is filled with nitrogen that avoids any risk of lens fogging during hunting actions. There are different types of adapters that allow the device to be fitted to different optics with as many types of eyepieces – in our case the 30 mm eyepiece provided an optimal performance with the 3x magnification.
The lightness combined with the ruggedness is another fundamental aspect that allowed us to appreciate the Nitehog during our test. Precise rifle swinging and aiming are not affected or compromised by the device added to the scope. Besides the ease of swing, the ease of assembly and disassembly through a simple ring nut in a few moments transforms the thermal imager into a stand-alone monocular with which the hunter can devote himself/herself to the observation of the territory and wildlife up to a maximum distance of 1600 meters. In essence, gazing though the Nitehog the hunter is able to detect the presence of wild game in any light condition from the heat emitted by them with the capacity to clearly distinguish the contours of the animals highlighted by selecting the appropriate function.
Fluorescent colors well-differentiate them from other types of heat sources. It is easy to understand what this means in practical terms when hunting: safety and accuracy when shooting. During our test we had the chance to notice the movement of dogs and hunting companions in the woods, highlighted by colors and shapes completely different from the visible contours of the wild game, with a clear awareness of what was moving in the environment in front of us, even in low light conditions. Speaking of safety and accuracy, we should not overlook the ability of the Nitehog to maintain the optic zero. Our tests on the range showed that removing and re-mounting the device in front of the scope, the point of impact remains the same. Operating time of the Nitehog is good, thanks to its battery that can guarantee 4 hours of continuous use and can be replaced in any case also by common CR 123 lithium batteries, easily available on the market.
Hunting in the woods, and often in adverse weather conditions, requires hunting accessories to be easy, quick and precise to use. The only three selection and confirmation buttons that make up the control menu on the top of the Nitehog make it easy to use, as well as the well exposed on/off lever, easy to find both by touch and sight in any light condition since it is provided with a comfortable luminescent insert. Talking about darkness and twilight hours, we could notice another appreciable field of use for our Nitehog device.
It may happen that a game animal is wounded in selective hunting, where track dogs are usually used for recovery. In any case, having a thermal imager able to detect and make visible to the hunter the blood traces left by game on the ground or in the woods can be a decisive aid to achieve a successful recovery. The not negligible price of about 4020 euros of the Nitehog TIR M 35 X-Core thermal imaging optic clearly highlights the performance that the German manufacturer ensures for this device. Having tried it, we can not deny that the correct definition of clip-on indicates the possibility to spend days of hunting and nature observation more safely and more pleasantly even for those hunters who are not experts in technology.