If you hunt wild hogs seriously then you likely use Night Vision. In many cases, the night vision scope uses an infared illuminator as the light source for the scope. While this light source casts no “beam”, there is still a “red” glow from the IR light itself. This IR can alert pigs to your presence and ruin your hunt.
I speak from experience. In my hog hunting escapades I employ the service of the ATN X-Sight 5×18 Day/Night scope. It uses a separately mounted IR as the light source. I use the Osram T38 850nm IR light. I have been very successful with this device. However, recently, I noticed that my IR glow was bothering pigs. They were able to see the red glow. In most cases they just stared at me and then continued feeding and milling about. But on a few occasions, as soon as I pointed the IR at the pigs, they would grunt and bolt! Frustrating.
Since that happened, I modified my approach to spotting and putting the beam on the pigs. I did two things:
- I used tape to condense the aperture on my IR light. I simply covered the edges of the IR with tape to make a smaller face for the IR beam to shine through. This made for a smaller opening and therefore a smaller and less prominent “red glow”. Note that this seemed to work pretty well but be aware that it will affect the performance of the IR in that you will likely have to make adjustments to get the view you want since you are impeding the IR beam (less light to be used by your NV device).
- I “float” the IR onto the pigs instead of “turning it on them”. When I say float, I mean that instead of lining up my scope on the pigs and flipping on the IR, I’ll point my rifle above the pigs, turn on the IR and then slowly lower the scope down to the pigs. This is a much less intrusive way of getting the light source on your targets. If I need to adjust the intensity of the IR, I’ll first raise my rifle then adjust the IR, then lower it back down. This avoids “flashing” the pigs with any sort of glow or light. I have seen this method work very well especially on larger groups of pigs when you are contending with many eyeballs!
Note – Moon may have something to do with it as well – when my IR glow spooked the pigs, there was almost no moon…very dark. So, my IR would have been much brighter. I’ve yet to have pigs spook or be bothered by the IR when there is at least ½ a moon.
Every situation will be a little different and in many cases there won’t be any issues. But, for those really nervous pigs or moonless nights, these two tricks can be the difference between bringing home the bacon or driving home with an empty cooler.
As reference, here’s my night vision equipment setup
Infared illuminator: Infrared Light Hunting Torch Osram Black 850nm IR Night Vision illuminator T38