Best Scope for Night Hunting Coyotes

3 Best Scopes for Night Hunting Coyotes

Are you a predator hunter? Finding the best scope for night hunting coyotes is an important part in making sure you have a successful coyote hunt.  There are many things to think about including light, night vision, what season it is…etc. Ideally for any predator hunter while varmint hunting, the target would step out within 40 yards of the area with plenty of light available.  Since that is usually not the case for hunters, hunting coyote at night has taken off thanks to available night-vision equipment options. Sometimes all there is to see is are the eyes of the animal and it could be anything; livestock, a deer, a dog, bobcats, wolves, or some other type of wildlife. Years ago night vision was thought to only be available for military snipers in the field or the super wealthy- that is not the case anymore.  Hunters in most states are able to hunt coyote with a night vision scope, and use the coyote’s stealthy night time habits against him.  Putting the best scope for night hunting coyotes on your rifle for any predator hunting situation will make the difference in getting the kill or walking away empty handed.

Coyote hunting can be done with a wide variety of calibers.  Some prefer a smaller rifle such as a .22 or .17, and others use their regular hunting rifle they bring deer hunting or for other big game.  Having a larger rifle is not always better when it comes to predator hunting for smaller animals.  Smaller, flatter shooting, and quieter rifles have an advantage when after these nuisance animals, especially when hunting at night or wanting to preserve the pelts.  When using these smaller calibers and setting up a rifle solely for predator hunting, you still want to have a high quality rifle scope, especially one that will perform well in low light.

Which Option Works Best For You?

When choosing a rifle scope for your favorite predator gun there are many factors from magnification and area you are hunting to hunting light that influence which scope you should buy. You do want to have a good sized objective lens since the bigger your lens, the bigger your sight picture will be to give you more light.   Whether you are after coyotes, foxes, hog hunting or just want to add a new element to your varmint rifle, these three scopes for night vision hunting are worth taking a look at.







Sightmark Photon XT 4.6X42S Digital Nigh Vison Scope 4.6x 15.7 inches 23.6 ounces
Vortex Optics DBK-03-BDC Diamondback Riflescope, Black, 3.5-10x50mm 3.5x 12.5 inches 16.2 ounces
Vortex Viper PST 2.5 – 10x32mm FFP Riflescope, MOA 2.5x 12.8 Inches 18.7 ounches

 1.  Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night

  1. Model # SM18008
  2. Camera Resolution – 656×492
  3. LCD Display Screen
  4. RCA video input/output
  5. 4.6 Magnification
  6. 42 Lens Diameter (mm)
  7. 50 Lens Focus (mm)
  8. FOV – 7.5m

Want to hunt during daylight hours but have trouble with predators only being active at night? With the Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vison scope you get the best of both.  This scope is great for night vision hunting with up to 120 yards of view, and also functions well in daylight.  The Photon digital night vision scope has been a popular choice for many due to the rising popularity of night vision hunting and the affordable price.  The Sightmark Photon XT is a newer upgraded version of the original making it a great option if you had the original and loved it or want to get into night hunting.

The Photon XT offers six digital reticle options, including 2 Duplex reticles and 2 crossbow reticles.  Also includes a German reticle and for range finding, a Mil-Dot reticle.  The night vision simply runs on two AA batteries (not included) with a battery life of approximately 4-5 hours.  Another feature that makes this scope stand out is the ability to capture the action day or night using the RCA input/output.  The LCD display has a 640×480 resolution for clear viewing at night.  Shockproof and with a waterproof rating of IPX4, this digital night vision scope will work well in all weather conditions.  This is an excellent choice for entry level to night vision, anyone doing predator management or night shooting with a rifle or crossbow.


2.  Vortex Optics DBK-03-BDC Diamondback Riflescope, Black, 3.5-10x50mm

  1. Model # DBK-03-BDC
  2. 3.5-10x Magnification
  3. Tube Size- 1 inch
  4. FOV-  35.8-13.5ft (100 yrds)
  5. 50 Lens Diameter (mm)

You don’t exactly have to have a futuristic looking digital night vision scope to successfully get out there and hunt predators and varmint at night.  By making sure you have optics with good magnification and quality lenses you can have the ability to hone in on these targets in lower light settings.  The Vortex Diamondback 35-10×50 Matte BDC Rifle scope is on the list for that very reason.  Vortex is known for excellent customer service, but also for their fully multi-coated and anti-reflective lenses- such as the Diamondback Matte BDC that has a 91% transmission of light.

This Vortex is not an expensive scope and is a budget option for someone looking to add a separate predator gun to their camp or a beginner looking to get into shooting.  This is however, a rugged gun for the price.  The scope is built with durable aircraft grade aluminum in a one piece design.  Like other Vortex scopes, the Diamondback is filled with argon gas with O-ring seals to prevent any penetration of moisture and dust.  This also ensures that your scope will stay waterproof and won’t fog up on you, no matter what temperature you’re in.  The BDC reticle and ¼ MOA adjustments make this a simple easy to use scope for any situation when accuracy counts.


3.  Vortex Viper PST 2.5 – 10x32mm FFP Riflescope, MOA

  1. Model # PST-43103
  2. 2.5-10x Magnification
  3. Tube Size – 30mm
  4. FOV- 47-10.9ft (100 yards)
  5. 32 mm Lens Diameter

The Vortex Viper PST (precision shooting tactical) 2.5-10x32mm FFP Riflescope, MOA is a step up from the Vortex Diamondback mentioned before.  While commanding a higher price, this rifle scope gives you plenty of features demanded of the top level rifle scopes but is much easier on your wallet compared to the rest.  You have all of the features Vortex is known for such as top rated customer service (if ever needed) and a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.

Designed and built for hunting, varmint shooting and even long range shooting.  The Vortex Viper is a one piece light weight but a very solid rifle scope made of aircraft-grade 6061 T6 aluminum from a single block.  Like the Vortex Diamondback, the Vortex Viper PST has lenses that have been coated with proprietary multi-coating to allow excellent light transmission, as well as anti-reflective coating for clear and sharp viewing.  The Vortex Viper comes with XD lens glass that increases resolution and extra-low dispersion.  This also protects the exterior lenses from scratching and smudging.  The O-ring seals prevent dirt and debris as well as moisture from entering the scope and argon gas purging prevents the scope from fogging up especially for n areas where you must be close to the ground. As a hunter, when seconds count, adjustments in the field are quick and easy with tactical-style turrets that are a little taller and easier to read whether you are 100 yards away or just 10.



While there are hundreds of scopes for predator hunters on the market for all different uses, these three best scopes for night hunting coyotes will be great options to add to your predator rifle.  Depending on how you typically hunt and personal preference, you can’t go wrong with one of these rifle scopes for hunting coyotes and other varmint.  If you like the tactical style and look, then the Sightmark Photon XT Digital Night vision and Vortex Viper PST Riflescope will probably be your best bet.  If having a simple yet rugged scope that won’t break the bank is more your style, then the Vortex Diamondback would be a great scope to add to your gun. All three off these scopes are waterproof for use in any weather situations and have suitable magnification.   Either way, you’re sure to get a clear shot on whatever predator is in your crosshairs.

Since most coyote hunting is done with smaller caliber flat trajectory shooting rifles, these smaller and lighter rifle scopes make a perfectly paired solution for hunters wanting to add an additional gun for predator hunting.  You don’t need to spend over $1,000 to get a quality rifle scope product.  But you do want to buy a scope designed for hunting purposes, which these three are, since coyotes are nocturnal animals that typically appear in low light conditions of the afternoon or morning.

With the ever rising population of coyotes thriving in rural and even urban areas, adding a coyote special to your arsenal can be a thrilling way to fight the spread of these predators.  While you can’t always have 100% scent elimination or favorable wind direction, you can tilt the odds of a great coyote hunt in your favor by having quality optics that allow you to hunt later with less light when these animals are most active.

Taking Down a Coyote

Sounds easy enough, don’t it. It can be, but can also be frustrating at times due to a multitude of reasons. Coyotes are a tough animal, tougher than most give them credit for. When it comes to hunting them and at the cusp of squeazing the trigger there can be many factors that contribute to whether the next milli-second is going to do the deed. And that deed is dependent on the little details we tend to miss in the heat of battle.

There has been much written as to what’s the best caliber for shooting coyotes. The truth is they all work, some to a more destructive degree and some to a lesser extent. I won’t go into what’s best, because it’s a matter of personal preference and what your motives are for hunting them, whether it’s for fur or damage control. So your gun of choice is what works best for you. But…I will say this, in my experience is to stay away from rimfire’s. I know plenty of coyotes have been killed by them and in the perfect situation they work, but life isn’t always perfect on the calling stand. If you choose to use a rimfire, keep the shots under say 75yds and head shots. Anything else is going to be marginal and if you don’t have snow, tracking a coyote is gonna be tough, because chances are you will be tracking them if you go for a boiler room shot and it’s not quite perfect. I’m speaking from experience.

Head Shot Coyote

As for me my rifle it’s a .243 700 Rem action and barrel cradled in an HS Precision Pro series stock topped off with a Nikon Monarch shooting 100 gr Sierra BTSP Game Kings powered by 45.2g of H 4831sc hand loads. It works for me whether I’m coyote hunting or deer hunting and doesn’t tear up the coyotes hide. I’ve seen guys using 30-06’s , .270’s, 6.5-.284 and then most with in the range of the .204, .223 all the way up to the .243. Well you get the picture.

Now, which ever caliber you choose isn’t going to take down a coyote if you don’t pay attention to a few things. One of course is making sure your rifle is sighted in and you know where it shoots. But that’s only part of it. Even if you hit a coyote, it dosen’t mean he’s going down. Personally I like the bang/flop your dead scenario. And there’s a few things to consider to do that. The main thing is bullet placement, and I have my preferences depending on the situation.

First before you take the shot, it’s always best if that coyote is standing still, they have a lot of fur around that frame, and having a standing shot gives you a better shooting scenario and less chance of a rushed or not so on shot. If the coyote is moving, you’ll want to stop them, what I’ll do is bark at them in my own voice. This will usually stop em’ to give you a shot, if your ready and were tracking them in your scope.

Now for the shot. The saying goes, aim small, hit small. A lot of hunters new to coyote hunting will tend to just shoot when the coyotes in the cross hairs instead of placing those cross hair on a specific area, usually resulting in a center body shot. That’s not good, I’ve seen many times coyotes taking off and you end up on a wild coyote chase tracking him down. Believe me a coyote can go a long ways like this, the furthest I’ve seen one go was a mile and a half. I’ve seen it many times, I happen to take quite a few new comers along so they can get their first coyote, shot by them, so have seen many mistakes over the years and have made a few myself. But the mistakes I’ve seen, taught me a lot.

On a coyote that’s standing broad side I like to hit right where you would if shooting a deer, right inline with the shoulder, this will usually drop them like a bag of rocks, too far back and you’ll probably be tracking a while. What I don’t like about a broad side shot is you have less margin of error at longer distances, all that fur makes them look big, but in reality you only have a depth of some where around 7 inches from the top of the back to the bottom of the ribs, and if you are shooting at distance of say 250 yds or better the shot placement is critical and knowing your bullet drop is of utmost importance. So depending on caliber like my .243 I’ll lay the cross hairs right on the top of the shoulders, knowing my bullet with take out the ticker when it gets there or close to it.

Now, my favorite shot to take on a coyote is a frontal straight on shot, especially if that dog is out there. I use shooting sticks most of the time because they really do make you steady for a shot, especially on the long ones. The reason I like the straight on shot, in my opinion is it gives you the most room in the margin of error dept in judging distance. And for connecting on your intended target. At least for me it is. My windage is pretty much dead center, and the only thing I need to worry about is drop, unless of course it’s extremely windy, then you’ll have to adjust accordingly. But when dealing with light winds and say a bullet like the .243 it’s not a problem. Anyway what I’ve found with the frontal shot is you have a little more area to allow for the bullet drop, like around 12 inches, and for me, I’ll just rest the cross hairs on top of the dogs head or on his nose depending on what I think or how far out he is. And this usually results in those nice bang flops, or those instant butt seaters then collapses. The main thing is, always make sure the dog is stopped and if not, stop him with a bark like I mentioned. Those furry critters don’t have a lot under that fur and it’s easy to miss.

Well, what about those quartering at you deals. Well for me I like where the point of the shoulder meets the neck, but here you have a little less room as you would for a head on shot but a little more than the broadside. This shot will anchor em’ in their tracks as well.

I hope this little write up gives you the basic concept to taking down a coyote. It’s not every scenario but it’s what I run into most, and you have to adjust depending on the approach, but keeping these things in mind coupled with more contact with coyotes and the experience it brings along the way, will increase your success of putting down those coyotes. I’m not saying you’ll never miss, because we all do one time or another, but you’ll be a more consistent coyote slayer. Good Luck.

Nikon Coyote Special Rifle Scope

At the 2011 ATA show we had a chance to chat with CJ Davis from Nikon Sport Optics and although this show is pretty focused on Archery CJ was happy to show us the new scope from Nikon just for coyote hunters- the Coyote Special.

So what makes the Coyote Special so special? It comes in a 3-9×40 or a 4.5-14×40 with two different camo patterns (Real Tree & Mossy Oak).  

The cool thing about this scope is it is specifically built to hunt coyotes with. It allows for fast target acquisition It has a special BDC Predator Retical in it and features circles instead of a cross-hair.  The unique circle aiming design doesn’t obscure the target making it easier to shot at and hit a moving coyote.  Nikon also coats the lens  to boost light transmission up to 92% and has equipped this scope with a quick focus eyepiece that allows the shooter to instantly bring the reticle into sharp focus.