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Discussion Starter #1
NM does not allow the use of any type of light for illumination for night hunting. What are some of the best options for night time hunting at a reasonable price, meaning under $2,000?

The ATN ThOR LT Thermals look interesting but I am sure that there are other options.
 

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Sightmark Wraith for NV
Consistently better reviews than ATN stuff and cheaper too. Though some really like the ATN-X
The Wraith requires an IR "light" to be used at night. That leaves him with only thermal as an option. I'd check to see if by light they include IR.
 

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It appears you can apply for a special permit.
New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978
17-2-31. Use of artificial light while hunting prohibited.
It is unlawful for a person or a group of persons together in possession or control of a firearm or other implement to throw or cast the rays of a spotlight or other artificial light into any field, pasture, woodland, forest or prairie where big game or domestic livestock may be, or are reasonably expected to be, whereby any big game animal or domestic animal could be killed by aid of an artificial light. However, the following shall be exempt from the provisions of this section:
A. an officer authorized to enforce the game and livestock laws of the state;
B. a government employee acting in an official capacity;
C. a landowner or lessee or employee of such landowner or lessee, while on the land owned or
leased in connection with legitimate activities; or
D. a person who has received a permit or authorization from the department of game and fish to conduct such activities.

link regarding permit
 

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I have a Sightmrk Photon RT that works well in low light. With no added illumination, I can see to shoot up to almost 1.5 hours after sunset with no moon and still see to shoot with full, or near full moon. If your budget is $2K, the Pulsar RXQ30 is really hard to pass up for night vision. A hunting buddy has one, it is fun.
 

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It appears you can apply for a special permit.
New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978
17-2-31. Use of artificial light while hunting prohibited.
It is unlawful for a person or a group of persons together in possession or control of a firearm or other implement to throw or cast the rays of a spotlight or other artificial light into any field, pasture, woodland, forest or prairie where big game or domestic livestock may be, or are reasonably expected to be, whereby any big game animal or domestic animal could be killed by aid of an artificial light. However, the following shall be exempt from the provisions of this section:
A. an officer authorized to enforce the game and livestock laws of the state;
B. a government employee acting in an official capacity;
C. a landowner or lessee or employee of such landowner or lessee, while on the land owned or
leased in connection with legitimate activities; or
D. a person who has received a permit or authorization from the department of game and fish to conduct such activities.

link regarding permit
Is the night hunting mentioned by the OP a "Legitimate Activity" as listed in section C? I assume hog hunting but he didnt clarify.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, I knew there were others besides ATN.

I am thinking more along coyotes and skunks as the hogs are on the eastern part of the state, at least for now. I will talk with our local Game Wardens to make sure that I don't l get in trouble. One of the really nice features of the Pulsar is the hand strap so you can use it to scan when not hunting. I have a lot of elk in the area and really enjoy watching them. Just a few evenings ago before dark I was about 50 ft from several elk just off my backyard in the forest.
 
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When you guys get loaded up with hogs, will not take long, the state will probably declare them to be vermin and you may take by any means, except in parks or preserves. This is what FL did, we went through the night, sights and lights, etc. permits and call ins, etc. then, they threw in the towel and simply said, kill them by any means. With a little patience, you will be up to your hip pockets in hogs and your version of our idiots will come around. A sow will breed at 6 months, have 6-8 per litter, have 3 litters a year. They are omnivores and can live anywhere. Do the math.....

A cheap thermal makes the neighbor’s dog look like a porker. So here bouts the dedicated hog hunters use $5k to $10k sights. It is not unusual to see an AR with $15k worth of junk on the top. They have several groups that put together YouTube vids of night hog hunting here in FL. You should watch a few before you invest, not buy, invest.🙂
By the way, the military uses an IR laser dot pointer with the latest NVG goggles that make a moonless night look like broadway at noon, full color and all. So you can chase the money right up a $50k rat hole and still be obsolete.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We already have hogs running along a lot of the Pecos River which is on the eastern part of the state and they are considered an invasive species. Invasive species are generally "anything goes".
 

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I know this has nothing to do with New Mexico but when I hunted Oklahoma a few years ago, to obtain a night hunting permit just meant filling out some paperwork with the local game wardens. It was relatively quick and painless.

They wanted to know what type of light. We were using, a red spotting light. What type of guns. We used a shotgun, bolt rifle and an AR-15. And where we were hunting so they knew not to come looking for us when someone reported shots fired at night. The only other thing, they jokingly required a 2 hog minimum per person.
 

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ALL NV pretty much requires an IR light. Wraith comes with a IR but its detachable. Not sure if IR counts in these instances or not. If so then the only option would be thermal in which case i would say Pulsar.
Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22 Thermal Riflescope PL76483Q with Black/White Display $1899
I had one of these. If you don't want to go over $2k then this is the best you're gonna get, but I believe they've been discontinued so get one now if you can. I have a long history with this optic now (it was the green amoled display) and I ended up with a Thermion XP50. Worth every penny. That is, if you're willing to pay.

You'll want this:

Pulsar Core RXQ30V 1.6-6.4x22

and this:

Pulsar Trail QD Mount

Now, the upgrading to a Thermion XQ38 is the bext best thing... And I would highly recommend it over the core. Like I said, I had the RX30V Core and my cousin has the XQ38 Trail and after using both, I Upgraded ASAP. The problem now is that the Trail is being discontinued until they come out with the TRAIL 2, which I think will only be the XP50 and XP50LRF. The Thermion is the beast, they had a XM30 model in Thermion but they've discontinued it. It seems the 30 model just doesn't hold up with resolution and performance and it appears to be fading away for whatever other reasons also.

This is all from experience and I'm telling you, it's worth saving the extra $1300 for the Thermion XQ38 if you're serious about thermal hunting.

Here is Travis Fox, this guy knows everything there is to know about these Thermal Weapon Sights and his videos are great when explaining this stuff, especially operation of the scopes and how to sight them in. I don't think he has anything on the Core though:


Anyway, here's a guy filming an opossum:

 

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Sightmark Wraith for NV
Consistently better reviews than ATN stuff and cheaper too. Though some really like the ATN-X
I heard good things about this. Invest in the IR lights, should work. I don't see how they can restrict using IR lights, but if you watch the news lately, I wouldn't be surprised if people make up retarded ass rules like that. Hell, our land owner believes that the hundreds and hundreds of pigs that are destroying her property are due to our feeders running 4 months out of the year.

Sightmark Wraith HD
 

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IR Illuminators project an invisible beam and should be legal anywhere you can hunt at night.
Arizona allows some night hunting but no electronic scopes, except red dots, are allowed. Unfortunately, IR illuminators would be useless.
 

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IR Lights are still lights. No place I have ever hunted that forbids the use of light has made an exception for IR. I have hunted all across the west.

Thermal on the other hand does not project a light and therefore is legal. If you go with a sight below the quality and clarity of the Thermion you will regret it very shortly. The XM 38 would probably be the best bet for what you've said you want to do. The XP 50 would be cool if you had the cheddar.
 
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