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Hook & Barrel
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Pulsar’s Axion monocular is a bowhunter’s walk, wait, and recovery problem solver.

The Walk

Trekking across unfamiliar ground in the dead of night is no small task; of course, my knack for picking out the loudest twigs and leaves to step on during the walk to my stand doesn’t help either. I have even employed scores of lights over decades of hunting in attempts to leverage odds in my favor of making it to my hunting spots undetected—white lights (a non-starter), filtered-color lights, colored LED lights (red and green), laser illuminators, headlamps, flashlights—but the familiar sounds of does blowing or feral hogs barking and groaning over those many years… never ceased. I always risked getting caught. Making my exit often was another consideration, especially if I planned to return after a quick break or the next morning. 

The Wait

Many of the areas I hunt are rife with heavily wooded stands of trees and tangled webs of thick underbrush. As a bowhunter, I am most often in tighter spots with less visibility. More often than not, whether I’m nestled up high, under the canopy of a tree, or down low, tucked into a ground blind, trying to detect movement in the impenetrable layer of shadows darkening the woods around me is an exercise in futility — my only answers have been to remain as still and as quiet as possible. However, this isn’t very practical for hours on end. You’re going to move on occasion.

What could be worse than getting busted on the way to your hunting setup? Getting caught while you’re there. 

Bowhunting with Thermal: OPTIONAL?

The Recovery

With respect to wild animals, I hear the term “fight or flight” often. I’m here to assure you that if your arrow makes its mark, the fight is over. But more often than not you’ll experience flight and subsequent blood tracking. Even when I know I have made a great shot, I wait at least 30 minutes and sometimes as much as an hour (or longer if the shot was marginal).

Waiting for the hunt’s final moment, recovery, makes me anxious and hoping for a short, easy tracking job. Some have been easy while others, not so much. Even recalling the exact spot the animal was standing — the starting point of nearly all tracking — can be difficult, especially when descending from a treestand. Things have a strange way of looking different at ground level. Even so, picking up the first sign of blood is often the easiest part of recovery. 

Often, the toughest part of tracking is simply finding that next drop of blood. If an animal does not bleed well, you may find yourself on your knees looking for droplets, and this may continue for quite some distance. Bowhunters know even a good shot doesn’t come with a meat-in-the-freezer guarantee. Honestly, this is the simple, sometimes frustrating truth for all hunters no matter what tool they use to send a projectile through the vitals of their prey. As it relates to ethics, recovery is often the most critical component of hunting. And employing whatever means necessary (and legal) is an acceptable measure. That said, as hunters, we live in great times! We have help!

Bowhunting with Thermal: OPTIONAL?

The Technology

Through decades of the walks, the waits, and the recoveries, the technology continues to improve. We own unmatched glass quality in optics like binoculars, intelligent rangefinders, illuminated nocks, bows capable of sending arrows with ridiculously devastating energy and momentum and razor-sharp, precision-machined broadheads designed to fly with surgical field-point-like accuracy and produce easy-to-track blood trails. Of course, we also now possess technology that specifically addresses those problematic walk, wait, and recovery issues — thermal imaging. 

First and foremost, thermal imaging is NOT night vision. Thermal doesn’t care what time of day it is. Imaging is as exceptional in zero light as it is during daylight hours. While thermal devices used to cost as much as $10,000 to $20,000, they are now quite affordable, feature-rich, and boast extended detection ranges. Even better, thermal imaging monoculars like the Pulsar Axion ($2500) are lightweight and compact enough to fit in your pocket and carry all day—roughly the same weight and size as a rangefinder. The affordability and accessibility of thermal technology nowadays can only mean one thing for any geared-up hunter, it is no longer optional. 

Bowhunting with Thermal: OPTIONAL?

The Pulsar Axion Thermal Solution

Yes, I said it, thermal monoculars, especially affordable imagers like the Axion are no longer optional. Walking in and out of your hunting areas without getting busted? Fixed with Axion’s heat signature detection ranges of 900- to 1,800-yard heat-signature detection ranges. You now have the ability to see heat signatures clearly at extended distances no matter the light condition—observing game animals in heavily shaded woods are a non-issue—heat signatures absolutely GLOW! The recovery? Fixed! With imaging details pared down to differences of just .4 degrees (F) blood can easily be spotted before it cools to ambient temperature, but you may not need it. I found the last animal I killed with archery equipment in seconds. I simply scanned the area as I turned, and my prey’s body glowed just 30 yards away. Of course, the heat signature registers at much greater distances, even hours later. 

Axion thermal imagers are available in Key XM22, Key XM30, and new XM30S models. While Pulsar’s new Axion XM30S does feature onboard video and Wi-Fi, Axion “Key” models do not. The Key XM22’s heat signature detection range is 1,000 yards while the Key XM30 and XM30S reach out to 1,400 yards. All Axions include full-color displays—960×720 LCOS for Key models and 1024×760 HD AMOLED for the Axion XM30S—with eight color imaging themes, and magnification varies by model from 2x to 24x. Powered by rechargeable B-Pack lithium batteries (up to four hours) protected by a rubber-armored housing and an IPX7 waterproof rating, Pulsar Axion thermal monoculars deliver reliable heat-seeking performance, even in extreme hunting environments. To learn more about Pulsar Axion thermal imaging monoculars, visit PulsarNV.com.     

Join the hunters that already using thermal monoculars for hunting.

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