Element Mini Solar Red Dot

Sightmark Element Mini Solar Red Dot Sight


Solar red dot sights are the rock-stars of the firearms-optics industry. Solar optics hold a massive advantage over every other optic – they don’t need batteries. The solar panel atop products like the Element Mini ensures that the device will remain powered if the sun is shining. No more dependence on batteries, no more showing up at the range and discovering you’re on ‘low power’, nor tedious trips to Target for some batteries.

Element Mini Solar Red Dot


Naturally, the sun isn’t always shining. Clouds happen, and that’s why the Element Mini has dual-power capability. No sun? Use batteries. No batteries? Use the sun. Neither? Buy some batteries or go shooting on a different day. If you have both, the device will be supercharged, providing users with up to 400k hours of operation. With dual-power, users have greater control over how and when they shoot.


A hunter holding a rifle with an Element Mini

Choose Your Brightness

Like all red dots, the Element Mini is ideal for close or mid-range shooting distances. At long ranges of 100 yards or more, a red dot is virtually invisible. At 50 yards or less, the red dot should be easily visible, and with the Element Mini’s digital switch brightness controls, the user gets to decide how bright their red dot is. This ability to manipulate the dot’s brightness has a purpose – to manage the device’s power levels. In the depths of night, a mildly-bright red dot is sufficient; in the dazzling glare of daylight, the brightest setting may be needed.

A shooter aiming with the Element Mini

Automatic Lighting Feature

The Element Mini, along with its other great qualities, boasts the revolutionary Eclipse Light Management System (ELMS). This state-of-the-art technology supports shooters, who don’t want to worry about adjusting their own red dot brightness, during dawn and dusk hours. Experienced hunters know that many prey animals, such as deer, rabbits and certain birds, are crepuscular. That means they are most active at dawn and dusk, which is why hunters will wake up in the wee hours of the morning to set up in a deer-blind, or set out in late afternoon to reach their hunting spot. As they wait, the level of natural light changes, and with the ELMS, the red dot will adjust automatically. There is no fooling around with dials, switches, menu options or settings – ELMS does it all. If the sun is going down, the red dot automatically brightens. If the sun is rising, the red dot dims. It’s just that simple.

An Element Mini mounted on an AR rifle

A Durable Device

The Element Mini is a powerful, affordable solar red dot sight – that much is clear. What is not obvious at first glance is the Element Mini’s durability. It has a unique, shockproof design that can withstand recoil up to .338 Win Mag. The Element Mini has a scratch-resistant, anti-reflective lens coating, a hinged battery door, and an IP67 waterproof rating. To go further, the Element Mini can operate in temperatures from -22°F to 122°F, so whether you’re in Siberia or the Sahara, the Element Mini will function perfectly.

An Element Mini with accessories

The Total Package

Every aspect of the Element Mini Solar Red Dot is designed for efficiency. This device gives you more choices and flexibility than any other solar red dot in the industry. Do you want to use batteries, the sun, or both? Would you prefer to adjust the red dot’s brightness yourself, or just sit back and let the ELMS manage things? Which environment do you want to shoot in? Freezing tundra, boiling desert, stuffy woodlands, open prairie? The Element Mini works virtually anywhere on the planet. What if you accidentally drop the Element Mini, step on it, or it gets thrown around in your gun case? No worries, the Element Mini is eminently durable. If the device is truly damaged, Sightmark offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty to cover accidental damage. With included accessories such as flip caps, a low Picatinny Mount and absolute cowitness mount, the Element Mini from Sightmark is one of the most affordable, quality optics you’ll find anywhere in the firearms optics industry.

Benefits of Solar Red Dots

Red dot sights were invented in 1975, and since then, they have become a fixture of hunting and shooting activities. Red dots give shooters an element of professionalism and accuracy, and they are wielded by many of the world’s elite fighting forces. Not appropriate for long-range shooting, red dots are generally effective for mid-range shooting with an accompanying magnifying optic. For short-range, red dots are ideal because they allow fast acquisition of a target. This unique combination of speed and accuracy sets red dots apart from iron sights and even magnified optics, and for the most reliable and affordable red dot sights on the market, look no further than Sightmark.

Sightmark’s Volta Solar Red Dot

Not all red dot sights are created equal. The Volta Solar Red Dot is considered a ‘reflex sight’, which means target acquisition is achieved reflexively, and there is no tube-shaped optic; only a small, clear window that the user can look through. This is markedly different from other red dots sights, like prismatic, tube-shaped or holographic. Red dots are also parallax-free, because there is no magnification, and they have unlimited eye relief, maximizing the user’s field of vision and allaying concerns about heavy recoil causing injury. While many red dot manufacturers boast these same qualities, few have the reliability and diversity of Sightmark’s Volta Solar Red Dot.

The solar panel on a Sightmark Volta, which catches sunlight and reduces reliance on batteries for power

Sightmark’s Volta Solar Red Dot stands out from the others in one obvious way – it can be powered by any light source, including the sun. Unlike most red dots, which rely on batteries, the Volta has a solar panel on top, meaning that if enough solar power is available, the Volta will work indefinitely. The Volta is not forced to rely on batteries – so when you pull up to the range, there’s no great concern if you forgot batteries, you’ll be able to shoot anyway.

Another view of the Sightmark Volta Solar Red Dot

Naturally, dedicated shooters must occasionally ply their trade in darkness, or indoors, and that is why the Volta can also accept 2 AAA batteries, to doubly power the device. With the batteries installed, the Volta will work 200k-400k hours. Additionally, the Volta has the Eclipse Light Management System (ELMS), a cutting-edge technology that automatically adjusts the red dot reticle’s brightness based on light conditions. With ELMS, a shooter could go from the outdoors with a super-bright reticle, into a dark building, and the reticle’s brightness would automatically adjust. Similarly, if a shooter went from a dark room with a dimmed reticle to the sunny outdoors, the ELMS would automatically brighten the reticle, eliminating one more thing that the shooter needs to think about. The Volta Solar Red Dot also has an IP67 waterproof rating, which means it could survive in 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes. It is also fog-proof, has a sleek, Matte-black finish, can operate in temperatures ranging from -4F to 140F, and is compatible with a Picatinny mount. Nowadays, red dot sights are constantly improving – they have been used on more than just firearms: cameras, telescopes and even aircraft utilize red dots for various reasons. As the technology of red dots becomes more powerful and affordable, shrewd users choose the company that is friendly, reliable and always on-point: Sightmark.

The Truth About Boresights

Boresights are awesome! These nifty little devices enable shooters to pre-align the bore of their firearm with the optics mounted atop it, whether it’s a scope, red dot or iron sights. All too often, a hunter concludes a hunting session by cleaning their weapon and storing it until their next outing. When they retrieve their weapon (usually after having transported it), they take the weapon to the range, look through the scope, and settle the reticle on the bullseye. They pull the trigger and hit a few inches to the left (or right) of the target. What happened? Well, either during the transport, or perhaps from the recoil of previous sessions, or maybe just from dropping the firearm, the sights have shifted slightly, resulting in a misalignment, and consequently, a missed shot. This is an even more embarrassing problem if a hunter goes straight to the woods and attempts to harvest an animal without ensuring their rifle is zeroed. Instead of a kill-shot, they may get an unethical gut-shot, which is a lose-lose for everyone. To avoid this issue, responsible gun owners use laser boresights.

A lineup of Sightmark boresights

The benefits of using a boresight are numerous. Aside from the greatly improved accuracy, a boresight can save shooters a lot of money on ammunition during the live-fire zeroing process. Along with saving money, a boresight will also save time, allowing the shooter to get on paper faster. Finally, a boresight will save your shoulder from the recoil of a prolonged live-fire zeroing process – and who doesn’t want to avoid physical pain?

A Sightmark In-Chamber Laser Boresight


A Brief History

According to opticsplanet.com, the oldest way to boresight is to remove the bolt on a bolt-action rifle and look down the bore. Position the gun so that it is pointing at your target, and then secure the gun so it won’t move. Then, without moving the gun, look through the scope and adjust the windage and elevation turrets until the reticle is centered on the bullseye. Now the weapon is boresighted, although this antiquated method is less accurate than using a laser boresight, and it likely won’t work on semi-autos, pumps, lever guns and most handguns. In recent years, great advances have been made in the science of boresighting. Magnetic and laser boresights are the most popular and effective methods for modern boresighting.


Laser Boresights

In-chamber laser boresights are exceptionally easy to use. If you visit Sightmark.com and click here, customers can locate exactly which boresight they need based on caliber. There are options for pistols, rifles, shotguns and even crossbows. Once a laser boresight is purchased and delivered, it will become a staple of any credible shooter’s range bag. An in-chamber laser boresight is chambered like a regular round, and it will emit a red or green laser from the barrel of the firearm. Ideally, with a reflective target set about 30 yards away, the red laser beam will be visible. Then, the shooter merely needs to secure their weapon in place and adjust their scope until the reticle is aligned with the red laser. At that point, the shooter can retreat to 50 yards and re-center their reticle. Some shooters will repeat this process at 100 yards, though the red dot will be very difficult to see at that distance, especially in bright daylight. Again, this method will not ‘zero’ a rifle, but it will get the shots close enough so that minor adjustments are all that’s required during the live-fire.

Boresights help you get on paper faster!

It’s worth noting that different calibers will fire at different speeds, with varying trajectory (due to gravity). If you ‘zero’ with a .223 at 100 yards, then you must continue using that same caliber to stay on-point. Basspro.com has an excellent article on choosing the appropriate caliber for your rifle and your prey animal.

Another benefit of a laser boresight is to quickly re-check zero. For example, if a shooter uses an in-chamber laser boresight and gets close to the bullseye, and then they shoot and get ‘zeroed’, they can document exactly where they shot from and where their point-of-impact is. Then, the following hunting season, or the following year, or whenever, the shooter can put the laser back in and verify that the laser is in the exact same spot. This will quickly get their firearm ‘zeroed’.

On Accuracy and Ammo

Now, it’s important to remember that a boresight will not make your gun 100% accurate. Live-firing is still necessary to fully zero-in a firearm. Different calibers have different weights and travel at different speeds, so not all ammunition is equally affected by factors such as gravity and wind, which changes points of impact. For your specific gun, you must choose the correct boresight for your optics. Also, you must always remember to remove your boresight before attempting to shoot – you don’t want to damage your firearm or yourself!

The view through a Sightmark Pinnacle

Some Final Thoughts

Boresighting is a vital component of responsible gun ownership. It is just as relevant as firearm safety, cleaning your weapon and obeying the laws of wherever you’re shooting. Boresighting your weapon the old-fashioned way is still perfectly acceptable, and if that’s your speed, feel free. Most modern shooters, however, use laser boresights because they are quicker, cheaper and more reliable than any other method. If you want to join the ranks of reliable, responsible gun owners, remember to visit http://www.sightmark.com


Cant is a word in long-range shooting

The TMD (tactical mil design) reticle is made for long-distance shooting.

Snow fills the woods – a cold, quieting blanket – and your deer blind smells of energy drinks and beef jerky. You have been sitting for hours, peering through your riflescope at a thicket of pine and spruce. Your bladder is full, toes are numb, and your back aches as you wait for a deer, a boar, anything, to make this early-morning hunt a success. As the sun creeps slowly over the frozen landscape, a whitetail doe saunters into view. She is thick, healthy, and her fur is golden brown. This is the prize you have been waiting for, and with a deep breath, you align your sights on the sweet spot – the heart, just above her front legs. The shot is roughly 150 yards, and with nothing left to do, you squeeze the trigger…and kill a tree branch. The doe dashes off and your morning hunt has been an utter failure.

What went wrong? Several factors can cause a competent hunter to miss a clear shot: nerves, bullet drop, wind, precipitation…and cant. Some of these issues can be fixed through experience, calculations and preparation. Cant, on the other hand, is more complicated. Simply put, cant is tilt, and there are three types of cant in shooting activities: rifle cant, scope cant and reticle cant. Fortunately, most cant is fixable, and with a few adjustments, you can be harvesting that trophy buck in no time.

Rifle cant refers to the ‘tilting’ or ‘rolling’ of a rifle to one side or the other. This may be caused by the stock-to-trigger distance being too short or long for the shooter, which upsets the steadiness of the rifle, or from the shooter’s position being cramped or awkward. If a rifle is canted, when you look through the riflescope, the horizontal crosswire is not level. At 200 yards, a 1-degree rifle cant might result in a 1-inch POI (point of impact) difference. At 500 yards, a 1-degree rifle cant might result in a 2.5-inch POI difference. The longer the shot, the greater the effect of cant. While it is impossible to 100% solve the problem of rifle canting (human error is unavoidable), there is a product that can greatly reduce canting’s negative effects: SightMark’s Bubble Level Ring.

Sightmark’s Bubble Level Ring  

Pictured above, Sightmark’s Bubble Level Ring comes in 2 sizes: 30mm and 34mm, depending on the size of your riflescope tube. This Bubble Level Ring is a mere $23.99 and can markedly improve the accuracy of your rifle. This device is made from aircraft-grade aluminum for a lightweight, durable design, and utilizes a single-bolt attachment system. Its highly-visible center line ensures the bubble is easily centered, correcting an offset riflescope.

Scope cant occurs when the scope is not mounted level with the rifle. This is both common and fixable. First, you should secure your rifle to a workbench and remove the scope. Now, remount the scope, but place a small level on top of the scope, and tighten the rings slowly, ensuring the bubble on the level is centered. This would also be the time to attach a scope level – just ensure the bubble is centered before you lock everything down. Having a level, accurate scope is vitally important for accurate, ethical shooting, and the further the distance you are shooting, the more necessary a Sightmark Bubble Level Ring becomes.

Reticle cant is a manufacturing error. Because reticles are installed by human hands and not robots, they are never 100% perfect, but most manufacturers maintain a high standard of reticle cant that is within 5-degrees of error. For short-range shots of less than 100 yards, most reticle cant is negligible. For longer-range shooters, you may need to return your scope to the manufacturer to correct severe reticle cant. If your scope is not level, however, it can combine with reticle cant to produce greater inaccuracy. The lesson here is to correct everything within your power, and if your long-range shooting is still suffering, consider contacting your rifle scope’s manufacturer.

Conditions for hunting and shooting are rarely perfect. There may be a crooked tree stand, a sloping hill, rain, wind and innumerable other factors that negatively impact your shot. This is life, and while you can’t control your environment, you can exercise control over rifle cant, scope cant and reticle cant. If you want that next morning hunt to be a success, consider acquiring one of Sightmark’s Bubble Level Rings – your prey, and your trophy case, will thank you.

Sightmark Warriors Continue Operations

Valued customers,

Thank you for choosing Sightmark. During this Covid-19 pandemic, we are fully operational and ready to assist in any way possible. Our outdoor lifestyle products are more crucial now than ever, and our warranties are rock-solid. Our commitment to providing superior customer service and high-quality products has not wavered.

For assistance with your product, please email us at: info@sightmark.com

In support of law enforcement, military and shipping/distribution operations, we are considered an essential business. Many of our employees are working remotely to help support social distancing efforts, and the ones working in-person have been given KN95 masks, protective gloves, hand sanitizer and distancing guidelines.

In these uncertain times, protecting and providing for our families is the top priority. At Sightmark, we get critical survival products into the hands of people who need them – at a great value! Flashlights are especially valuable – when the lights go out, people still need to see what is out there. Red dot sights are also very popular – self-defense, hunting and quick-target acquisition have made Sightmark’s red dot sights some of the most respected in the industry.

We understand that not all of our customers are hardcore outdoorsmen and survivalist fanatics. Average, office-dwelling 9-to-5 working men and women need shooting accessories and outdoor products, too, and our items are constantly on sale! If you are a white-collar accountant, retail salesperson or just a college student, you may not need the strongest, most expensive night vision optics in the world – and that’s where we come in. We provide quality, practical gear at a fraction of the price the large outdoor lifestyle companies offer. We stand behind every product and our customer service is absolutely top-notch. We answer our phones, respond to emails and fulfill every warranty guarantee that we give. We recognize that individual, quality service is what sets us apart – and we hope you recognize that, too!

Many of the discounted products we sell are not what jumps into people’s minds when they think of survivalism. Night vision optics are just for hunting, right? Wrong – night vision optics can help find a missing person in the woods, or an animal that has wandered from the herd. Sightmark Boresights are another product that may not seem essential, but yet, they can help save users thousands of dollars by allowing them to sight-in quickly and accurately without expending unnecessary time and ammunition. These products don’t just make the user look cooler- they help the community! Fighting crime, saving money and building a better relationship between people and their firearms is what Sightmark is all about.

Although we carry many different products, we fully stand behind each and every one of them. Everything that is purchasable on www.sightmark.com is backed by a warranty. Customers will never purchase an item, discover it is defective, and then be ignored or left out in the cold. We pride ourselves on human-to-human relationships, and our quality assurance and sales employees are highly knowledgeable and experienced in every facet of outdoor lifestyles.

In a world of uncertainties, Sightmark is a name you can trust. Our employees remain committed to good health, honest business practices and top-notch customer service. During this Covid-19 pandemic, we have never stopped working. Our customers are the #1 priority, and we will continue to comply with all federal, state and local guidelines to ensure that we fulfill our mission to provide quality outdoor lifestyle products at fair discounts. As recent months have shown, the future is unpredictable, and if you want to prepare efficiently and affordably, bring your business to Sightmark!

Protect What You Love: Sight-in on Home Defense

By Kevin Reese  February 17, 2020​​

Protect What You Love: Sight-in on Home Defense

it’s a function of prevention, avoidance & The Subconscious 

“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” Sun Tzu’s ageless adage, adopted by Marine Corps drill instructors everywhere, still rings true today and not just amidst ranks of uniformed troops; substitute “war” with “defensive situations” and you’re left with similar common-sense ideology in the civilian world. While practice doesn’t necessarily “make perfect” when operating in survival mode, it certainly offers a calming of the storm, so to speak, while trapped in its vortex.

In this context, training isn’t a function of simply educating; it’s a function of prevention, avoidance or, ultimately, committing survivor tactics to our subconscious—not processing what needs to be done but doing it automatically and without hesitation. Training also means incorporating the right
tools — the ones you are likely to use when chaos kicks in your door.

Personal defense expert, Rob Pincus, coined a phrase I have adopted, “Protect what you love.” This simple phrase embodies the reason we should take self-defense seriously and to what measure we are willing to commit ourselves to it, both in dynamic training and doing it with the right equipment. To that end, your defense weapons, whatever they may be, must be there when you need them and be the right tools for the job. 

Latest And Greatest Personal Defense Go-To's

AR-style pistol-cartridge carbines have become exceptionally popular for home defense over the past couple of years and rightly so. My latest, greatest in-home go-to is a new Lead Star Arms PCC9 carbine designed to use standard double-stack Glock magazines and 9mm ammo. Atop the PCC9, you’ll find a Sightmark RAM Series Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight. The Ultra Shot M-Spec delivers a crisp, parallax-corrected field of view, even in low light, an adjustable circle-dot reticle, easy-to-use digital controls and long battery life. The Ultra Shot’s rugged M-Spec durability lets me know that if necessary, I can beat the offender senseless with my carbine and it will still hold zero for some Saturday morning trigger time.

For me, a carbine like Lead Star’s PCC9 9mm and the Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight, or another quality red dot sight, are a perfect combo for personal defense in the home, especially at longer distances; of course, my current concealed-carry gun, a Glock 17 9mm (same ammo and magazines) is also close at hand. With respect to red dot sights, as well as reflex sights like the Ultra Shot M-Spec, these types of optics are perfect for self-defense firearms in the home because they facilitate rapid target acquisition, often even in low light.

For my personal home defense, the Lead Star Arms Barrage PCC9, Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight and a road-hard-hung-up-wet Glock 17C, combined with dynamic training, deliver big on the confidence I need to achieve an effective balance of speed and precision if and when a threat darkens our doorway—balance and speed being a focus foundational to the Intuitive Defensive Training I received from Mr. Pincus himself (www.icetraining.us). 

The Solution:

The Liberty Pole had it right when it asked readers, “How many times have you read, 'An unidentified woman, heavily armed with a semi-automatic weapon was raped by a man wielding a knife?’” The question itself carries a lot of weight unless you qualify it with a lack of training and the right tools for the job. Let’s face it, lack of defensive knowledge manifested in ineffective subconscious responses have resulted in hundreds of thousands of victimized firearm owners. Be ready and equipped to—as Pincus puts it—protect what you love.

Learn more about Sightmark’s RAM Series Ultra Shot Reflex Sights and other red dot optics at www.sightmark.com.


Kevin Reese is an award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, videographer, Marine Corps veteran, avid long-range shooter and passionate bowhunter. He continues to work actively as an industry voice for our shooting sports, personal defense and outdoor heritage, and contributes to numerous magazines, published nationally and internationally, and high-traffic digital platforms. Kevin resides in Texas with his wife, Kelly, and son, Jacob, a highly competitive swimmer. He spends most weekends hunting, at his local shooting range or poolside cheering for his son.

Kevin Reese blogger


the best sights for home defense

Free Gun Friday

Sightmark has partnered with Athlon Outdoors for Free Gun Friday! This month, you could win a Barrett MRAD 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, a SilencerCo Omega suppressor, 500 rounds of Black Hills ammo and a Sightmark 5-30x50mm Pinnacle long-range riflescope.

This is their biggest Free Gun Friday yet, with the package worth $9,600!

For extreme long-range distances, the 5-30x50mm Pinnacle riflescope will make your shot count out to 1,000 yards and further.
For extreme long-range distances, the 5-30x50mm Pinnacle riflescope will make your shot count out to 1,000 yards and further.

The Sightmark Pinnacle is designed for long-range precision shooting out to 1,000 yards and further. It features a first focal plane TMD-HW reticle for range estimation and holdovers for bullet drop, crosswind and moving targets.

Click here to enter!

From Athlon Outdoors:

How Does “Free Gun Friday” Work?

We’ve partnered with a different manufacturer for every month of 2019.

For the first Friday of every month, we’ll announce the new giveaway gun. On that day, we’ll open up the sweepstakes for readers to enter and win the gun. We’ll also release our first video on the gun, where you can learn about what you’re entering to win.

On the second and third Fridays of each month, we’ll release two more videos showing the gun in action. Our experts have taken it to the range and run it through drills to make sure it’s ready to rock by the time it gets to you.

Which brings us to the last day of the month when the sweepstakes ends. The next week we will select a winner and send out an email notifying the lucky reader.

Click here to check out the Sightmark Pinnacle long-range scope.

Michigan Night Hunting Laws—How One Hunter Made His Mark

Sightmark Pro Staff member, Bob Abbott was pivotal in getting Michigan’s night hunting laws changed. Read his story here…


I have been predator hunting for quite a few years—most of it at night with a red light over a good day scope. I live in Michigan, where we were only allowed to use rimfire rifles or a shotgun when night hunting. It didn’t take long to realize rimfire rifles and shotguns were not an effective humane way to dispatch an animal as tough as the coyote. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of kills that happened quickly, but there were also far too many for me that ran off only to suffer.

Sightmark Pro Staff member, Bob Abbott was pivotal in getting Michigan’s night hunting laws changed.
Sightmark Pro Staff member, Bob Abbott was pivotal in getting Michigan’s night hunting laws changed.

The coyote population and issues they were causing became a hot topic in Michigan in 2015. The Michigan Natural Resource Commission (NRC) had asked Adam Bump, bear and furbearer specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resource (DNR) to do a study and present his recommendations for addressing the issue at the 2015 September NRC meeting in Lansing.

I had been following the NRC meetings and subscribed to their newsletter and noticed that this meeting was set to discuss Adam’s findings, so I went. Adam presented 4 possibilities to the NRC that morning—a year-round season on coyotes, as well as hiring sharpshooters at the cost of $200,000.00 to cover an area in the Upper Peninsula for 2 months. I don’t recall the other two.

Not really knowing how to go about introducing a centerfire at night proposal, I asked a few people I knew during the break. Adam Bump being one of them. He indicated he thought it was a good idea, but the major roadblock would be from DNR law enforcement. Apparently, it had been talked about before and the Chief and Assistant Chief were adamantly against it stating safety reasons.

I had previous connections with the Chief and Assistant Chief for them to clear up other muddled predator hunting laws, so they were familiar with me. During lunch, I approached them and started a conversation about the coyote issues, introducing my idea. It was not received well.

They both said it was not safe and they would never allow it in Michigan. I explained that many of our surrounding states allowed it and asked if they had any safety statistics to go by. They both responded, “no.” I asked them why they thought it would be unsafe when during the day we weren’t restricted by caliper.

Michigan hunters have been allowed to hunt with digital and night vision since 2016.
Michigan hunters have been allowed to hunt with digital and night vision since 2016.

The chief raised his arms as if holding a rifle and fired it into the air and said because some yahoo would do this and the bullet would come down, go through a roof and kill a baby in its crib. I was shocked at his obvious emotional reaction and his words about sportsmen.

I then asked why he thought that wouldn’t happen during the day. The discussion pretty much ended then, but I then knew what I had to do to. I told them they would see me later with a proposal.

I got home that evening knowing I needed to get safety stats from our surrounding states. If the stats showed no concern for safety for both personal injury and property damage, then there was a good chance of getting this through.

I contacted Indiana and Ohio with a request to find out how many personal injury and property damage incidents had happened from predator hunters using a centerfire during the nighttime hours. This proved to be time-consuming as it wasn’t readily known by the main DNR contact numbers for those states who would have that info. I have to say both states were very cooperative and eventually got me to the right people.

I ended up talking to a Major of the Indiana DNR and once I explained what stats I wanted and why I wanted them, he was very happy to help. We spent nearly an hour and a half on the phone gathering all the info I needed, and I was sent an email containing the results.

Next up was Ohio.

It took about eight weeks, but once connected with the person that would be able to get the info to me, things went smoothly. They were very helpful but had requirements and steps that needed to be followed before they could release the info to me. I had to submit a letter with the exact information I needed and why I needed it. Eight weeks later, I received an email with a searchable spreadsheet and an apology for it taking so long.

Now for the results:

Hunting at night is not a crime! Digital scopes and night vision make it easier and more ethical.
Hunting at night is not a crime!

Indiana went back to 2011 and had zero incidents of personal injury or property damage caused by a predator hunter using a centerfire at night. Ohio’s spreadsheet went back to 2003 and showed the same statistics.

This was great news! It was exactly what I needed to get the ball rolling. I knew full well there would be other concerns to address and that recruiting the right people to help was going to be very important as they would need to help address some of the rest of the concerns.

Knowing we would need to have a restricted caliber proposal to even get our proposal looked at, I recruited a friend of mine that was a retired marine and retired DNR officer. He was also a ballistics expert and he helped me form the proposal. He and another retired DNR officer came to testify at the May 2016 NRC meeting in support of the law change. This was a major step forward for the movement. Before this, we had the support of 3 out of the 7 NRC committee members. Afterward, we got the support of the two more we needed.

In 2015, night hunting was not that popular and finding other dedicated night hunters was not that easy. My teammates from “Dog Tired TV” and a few others were the only ones I really knew.

I created the Facebook page “Michigan Predator Hunters for Centerfire at Night” and began to have meetings with the other core supporters that would make up the team. We gathered petition signatures at outdoor expo events around Michigan totaling over 4,000.

From this point on, it was a matter of being present at the meetings to address further concerns and provide expert testimony from others in the sport. Many, many obstacles were thrown up by the opposing side but all of them were answered and in June of 2016, the Michigan United Conservation Club adopted the centerfire proposal (a 42,000 plus membership strong). On December 8th, 2016 the Michigan Natural Resource Commission voted to pass amendment #11.

There are many people who helped along the way, but most notably are the following:

  • Tony Demboski (President Upper Peninsula Sportsman Alliance
  • Merle Jones (Member of Michigan Predator Hunters for Centerfire at Night)
  • Kevin Rought (Member of Overdrive Outdoors)
  • Robert Shultz (Member of Michigan Predator Hunters for Centerfire at Night and Dog Tired TV)
  • Fred Gadsby (Member of Michigan Predator Hunters for Centerfire at Night and Dog Tired TV)
  • Paul Cianciolo (Member of Michigan Predator Hunters for Centerfire, owner of Predator Hunter Outdoors) Order #11 was written to exclude thermal and lights. Paul provided expert testimony on the day of the vote and was able to convince the NRC to amend the order to allow the use of these before the vote.
  • Dale Hendershot (President of Michigan Trappers and Callers Association)
  • NRA for the support

About Bob Abbott

Bob Abbott is the founder of the “Michigan Predator Hunters for Centerfire at Night” grassroots movement that got Michigan legal to use centerfire rifles at night. Bob is also a member of the Dog Tired TV group. Bob has many years of hunting experience. He particularly enjoys hunting the elusive predators at night. Bob starting out with red lights, then moved to Gen1 NV, then to digital NV and now enjoys thermal.

How have your Made Your Mark? Tell us in the comment section.

Click here for your chance to win a Wraith digital scope.


How Sightmark Makes Its Mark—Charitable Youth Hunts

The Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) have joined forces to offer youth hunts that are safe, educational and very affordable. We sponsor introductory, instructive youth hunts for deer, turkey, hogs, javelina, exotics, dove, small game, waterfowl, varmints and other species. Normally, we provide mentors, lodging and meals.

Sightmark partners with youth hunts by providing mentorship and products.
Sightmark partners with youth hunts by providing mentorship and products.

Sellmark, Inc. (Sightmark’s parent company) has always been dedicated to participating in a wide variety of charitable youth hunts by providing mentorship, sponsorship and products.

We not only design and make products for shooters and hunters but hunting is also in our blood. It is our lifestyle, too. It is just one way we can help pass down the tradition and heritage of ethical hunting to the next generation.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from 2011-2016, our community lost 2.2 million hunters. In 2018, less than 5% of the American population hunted. This is a significant amount of loss in hunting licenses that provide money to fund conservation and advocacy…not to mention the economic impact due to loss of jobs.

The bulk of hunters have been Baby Boomers—people born between 1946 to 1964—and naturally, this group is aging out of being able to participate in hunting. By teaching the younger generation the healthy benefits both to wildlife and ourselves of hunting, we can help prevent the potential loss of $3.3 billion in funding toward conservation. All it takes is introducing just one new hunter a year.

Partnering with landowners and skilled mentors and volunteers, the TYHP organizes deer, turkey, hog, dove, small game, exotics and waterfowl hunts for Texas youth, providing guns, ammunition, calls and other equipment, lodging and meals.
Partnering with landowners and skilled mentors and volunteers, the TYHP organizes all types of hunts.

Sightmark encourages you to #MakeYourMark and introduce a new hunter this season! Show us how you’ve Made Your Mark by following us on social media, posting a picture of you teaching a new shooter, helping out with a youth hunt or other charitable act or event, tag us and use the hashtag #MakeYourMark for a chance to win a Sightmark Wraith digital night vision scope. Winner will be determined by a random drawing on December 23, 2019, and announced on our social media channels on Christmas Eve 2019, December 24, 2019.

This is just one way we made our mark this year…

To support a healthy outdoor lifestyle, we wanted to put our philanthropic efforts toward an organization that aligns with our values, so for the 2019 hunting season, we donated 1,500 brochures, 15 Core HX 3-9x40mm Riflescopes and 5 Solitude 11-33×50 SE Spotting Scope Kits to the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP.)

The Texas Youth Hunting Program

In 1996, the Texas Wildlife Association and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department developed the Texas Youth Hunting Program to encourage youth hunting. Since then, the program has taken over 55,000 Texas youth on guided hunts and other outdoor activities. Children are taught hunter and firearm safety, wildlife management, ethics and sportsmanship.

Partnering with landowners and skilled mentors and volunteers, the TYHP organizes deer, turkey, hog, dove, small game, exotics and waterfowl hunts for Texas youth, providing guns, ammunition, calls and other equipment, lodging and meals. Hunts generally last through the weekend providing ample bonding time between parent and child, mentor and youth and youth and nature.

You can learn more about how to get involved and the youth hunt schedule on the TYHP official website, click here.

Enter to win a Sightmark Wraith Digital Night Vision Riflescope:

Show us how you’ve Made Your Mark by following us on social media, posting a picture of you teaching a new shooter, helping out with a youth hunt or other charitable act or event, tag us and use the hashtag #MakeYourMark for a chance to win a Sightmark Wraith digital night vision scope. Winner will be determined by a random drawing on December 23, 2019, and announced on our social media channels on Christmas Eve 2019, December 24, 2019.

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