For many hunters, the summer months are used to prepare for fall; checking feeders and getting stands into place. Some like to work on their accuracy at the range, and many turn to fishing. Still, there are those with the itch to get out and hunt, but with temperatures in the South reaching 100 degrees regularly, what is a hunter to do? Night hunting is becoming increasingly popular due to affordable night vision technology and more bearable temperatures. Below is a quick guide to popular summer hunting game, as well as appropriate gun set-ups. Be sure to check your state and local laws, as hunting laws do vary by state.
What can you hunt in the summer?
It is well known the U.S. has a widespread hog problem. Found in over 75% of states, the invasive wild hog has an estimated population of over 5 million. There are no natural predators to hogs. Hog hunting is beneficial to farmers and landowners, which the hogs cost millions of dollars each year in damages.
Hogs can’t sweat so they need a way to cool down, which is why they are often found rolling in mud. Where you can find water, you can usually find hogs. The problem is hogs are smarter than usually given credit, and most have become nocturnal from hunting pressure and the hot daytime weather. Purchasing a night vision scope is a great investment to successfully eradicate your local hog population.
Hogs are fast, thus a semi-auto modern sporting rifle (MSR) is favorable to use. Picatinny/Weaver rails allow you to add many attachments useful for night hunting. A digital night vision riflescope like the Sightmark Wraith HD allows for clear nighttime viewing and an accurate, precise shot, something you’ll need with hogs. In addition, the Wraith HD also has a color mode for daytime use. I would also recommend keeping a larger caliber pistol on you just in case. Hogs are vicious and will sometimes run straight at you. It’s always better to have a back-up in case your gun jams or you don’t have time to reload.
For deer hunters and farmers, coyotes are always a nuisance. They will kill fawns, chickens and house pets. It’s important to control coyote populations to ensure the survival of other animals. Though it’s entirely possible to spot one during the day, during hot months coyotes tend to limit their movements to the cool period between dusk and dawn. Yet again you’re going to need a night vision scope of some kind to help spot them.
Using a call is a popular way to hunt coyotes. Electric calls utilizing pup in distress calls tend to work best and will have coyotes running in at a dead sprint. Even more so than hogs, you need to be covert, as ‘yotes are very smart in hiding behind terrain and using their keen sense of smell to detect you.
Bolt-action guns in lower calibers are well-suited for coyotes. My personal favorite caliber for coyotes is a .22-250 with a Wraith HD digital night vision riflescope when on a coyote hunt. I keep mentioning the Wraith because, at the $500 price point, its value cannot be beaten.
Small Game and Varmints
Varmint hunting is another popular endeavor during the hot summer. Raccoons and other varmints are always getting into trouble: stealing corn and other vegetation, getting into trash and preying on ground-nesting birds. Most all raccoon hunting is done at night when they love to cause problems.
A lot of people use hounds to hunt raccoon and other varmints, but it can be easily done without them. A .22 with iron sights is a popular small game gun. With ample stopping power for small game, dirt-cheap ammunition, incredibly lightweight, .22’s are perfect guns to take in the woods. While a night vision scope is not necessary, having a night vision device is still very helpful. The Sightmark Ghost Hunter series offers a variety of night vision monoculars and binoculars at affordable prices and in different magnifications. Use the night vision sight to spot the raccoon then shoot it down with the .22. A powerful flashlight like the Sightmark SS600 Tactical is great for spotlighting coons in trees before you take your shot.
There is no reason to hang up the hunting gear just because it’s summer. Though the days are hot, night vision technology enables you to scratch your hunting itch without having to wait until fall. It also gives you something to look forward to during those long summer days. So, get out there and hunt!