Merriam-Webster suggests marathons aren’t just for runners; in fact, by the trusted source’s definition, a marathon is “something characterized by great length or concentrated effort.” Always one to box things up with labels, I had to take up marathon hunting. Of course, I’m also one to stir pots so responses to inquiries were immediate… and effectively repetitive, “What’s marathon hunting?”
In the context of long stalks and even longer sits, marathon hunting is practiced by countless hunters, predominately during deer season and especially during the rut; even my own mother, while fighting stage-4 cancer, clocked 12 hours in a ground blind to take a bruiser 140-inch buck—now THAT’s marathon hunting!
That said, there is another side to marathon hunting most hunters have never considered—hunting from daylight well into the throes of the witching hours, maybe clear until dawn the next morning. Yes, it’s a thing and last I checked (2017,) 17 states even permitted this transition during deer hunting season; of course, it’s worth checking your state and local hunting regulations since those rules seem to change about as often as most people change their underwear!
As permissible marathon hunting relates to those 17 states, hunters could (perhaps still can) legally transition from hunting deer during daylight shooting hours to taking hogs, predators and varmints, or some combination thereof, at night. To this end, here in Texas, some of us take marathon hunting pretty seriously, turning hunting adventures into 24-hour pursuits—yes, we load up on energy drinks.
Among 24-hour pursuits, the popularity of marathon hog and predator hunting tournaments has increased. Heck, some competitions even go a might further, clear out to 48 – 72 hours; of course, you do get to sleep, at least in your truck for a couple of hours here and there. To be sure tournament losers often are those choosing lazy slumber in real beds. Glory goes to those with the grit to stay at it—no rest for the wicked… or serious marathon hunters, competition or not.
In years past, hunters committed to hunting during the day and continuing into the night also had to change rifles from one with a traditional day riflescope to another topped with some type of electro-optic, i.e. traditional or digital night vision, or even thermal. For folks with limited firearm options, changing optics may be the only solution; of course, then you have to stop to sight-in or at least double-check accuracy before returning to the hunt—and work through such checks (perhaps including shooting) without blowing your hunt altogether.
Admittedly, optics suitable for handling a 24-hour task have been few, far between and expensive, until now. The Sightmark Wraith solves our 24-hour electro-optic problem once and for all without breaking the bank. At an MSRP of $599, hunters can jump into a digital optic providing true HD, full-color digital imaging by day and with the touch of a button, tried-and-true traditional green or black-white digital night vision for post-sunset pursuits. Even better, the Sightmark Wraith boasts up to 1080 HD photo and video capture with a 1280×720 resolution FLCOS display.
The Sightmark Wraith features 1-8 digital zoom, 4-32x magnification, CMOS sensor, 50mm objective lens, ¼-MOA windage and elevation adjustment values and SD card media storage compatible with up to 64gb cards. Photo and video files are self-contained in easy-to-use .jpg and .mp4 formats. The Wraith’s battery life is up to 4.5 hours and can also be powered with a micro-USB cable. The Wraith also includes up to 10 reticles in 9 colors for a customized display and can detect targets out to 200 yards with the included 850nm LED IR illuminator. All this to close with good news. Marathon hunting is hard work. It’s good to finally see a true 24-hour optic up to the task.
Watching the growing crop of videos showcasing the performance of the Sightmark Wraith gives a great perspective on what to expect. Moreover, the recent trend in night vision videos seems to be detection range. Watching some of these videos should not only support my estimation of detection range but also worthy of noting are the increased detection ranges with the help of third-party IR illuminators, even well past 300 yards. Honestly, it’s hard not to get excited about a digital night vision scope at the Wraith’s price point, making the inclusion of full-color HD imaging for daytime shooting a stellar bonus.
Click here to check out Sightmark’s newest technologically advanced digital day/night vision riflescope, The Wraith.