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.


Sightmark Pinnacle 3-18×44 Awarded NTOA Tested and Recommended® Endorsement

Sightmark is proud to share that the National Tactical Officer’s Association (NTOA) has Tested and Recommended the Pinnacle 3-18x44.
Sightmark is proud to share that the National Tactical Officer’s Association (NTOA) has Tested and Recommended the Pinnacle 3-18×44.

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2019/11/06) – Sightmark is proud to share that the National Tactical Officer’s Association (NTOA) has Tested and Recommended yet another Sightmark optic—the Pinnacle 3-18×44. The first focal plane Pinnacle 3-18×44 received an overall rating of 4.44 out of 5 from the NTOA’s reviewers. The organization now recommends the Pinnacle to its law enforcement partners based on the Pinnacle’s performance in their strenuous tests.

A mid-range optic ideal for engaging targets at various distances, the first focal plane Pinnacle 3-18×44 features premium Japanese glass and an illuminated, TMD reticle. One reviewer noted, “This is the first scope I’ve found with the green illuminated option and now I’ll run with nothing else.” With an MSRP of just $1,559.99, the Pinnacle is jam-packed with shooter-friendly features and is less than half the price of many of its competitors. NTOA testers agreed, observing “As a sniper, the first focal plane on the sight is a must and the Japanese glass Sightmark uses is extremely clear and crisp; everything I had hoped for.”

The NTOA and its members have tested more than 2,000 products in real-world situations through the NTOA’s Member Tested and Recommended Program since 2003. There is no guarantee of a particular rating upon submission and the NTOA will not approve products receiving a score of less than 3.0. The results of the program are shared with the law enforcement community in The Tactical Edge magazine, the NTOA’s online database and newsletters and the product manufacturers themselves.

Click here to check out the Pinnacle!

Unveiling the New Standard in Digital Riflescopes: Wraith

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2019/01/22) – Sightmark introduces the Wraith Digital Riflescope: the future, in high definition. The 4-32x50mm Wraith digital riflescope is a revolutionary, new high-definition optic designed in Texas by hunters, for hunters.

The Sightmark Wraith features 1-8 digital zoom, 4-32x magnification, CMOS sensor, and 50mm objective lens.
The Sightmark Wraith features 1-8 digital zoom, 4-32x magnification, CMOS sensor, and 50mm objective lens.

The advanced 1920×1080 HD sensor provides full-color clarity in daytime; simply hit the left arrow to enable night mode with classic emerald or black and white viewing options. An included 850nm IR illuminator provides enhanced image brightness and accurate target acquisition to an astounding 200 yards. Notably, the IR is removable for hunters who live in states where emitted light is illegal.

The Wraith allows (and Sightmark encourages) onboard recording and video export so your favorite moments can be shared with your friends and family on your favorite social media platform.

The Wraith also includes:

  • Memory slot for up to 64GB storage
  • Customizability, with 10 reticle options and 9 color choices
  • 4 hours of battery life from 4 common AAs
  • MicroUSB port for external power
  • 4-32 optical magnification; 1-8x digital zoom

Sightmark to Attend CopsWest 2018

(Mansfield, Texas 2018/09/14) – Sightmark will attend the California Peace Officers’ Association’s CopsWest Conference. The conference is scheduled for September 17 – 19, at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, California. Sightmark (booth #933) will showcase top-of-the-line products such as the Ultra Shot M-Spec, Mini M-Spec and prominent other optics.

The most durable and advanced sights in the Ultra Shot line, the new M-Spec LQD (SM26034) and FMS (SM26035) were designed for law enforcement. This cutting-edge reflex sight has an integrated retractable sunshade that reduces lens glare and protects the optic during rain or snow.

The Mini Shot M-Spec series are versatile and compact-sized reflex sights designed for a variety of firearms including shotguns, pistols and AR-15s. Included with the Mini M-Spec are a riser mount and low-profile mount allowing shooters to choose the right height for their firearm. The Mini Shot M-Spec is available in two models; LQD (SM26043) and FMS (SM26044).

Sightmark manufactures award-winning products including riflescopes, gun sights, laser sights, night vision, flashlights, boresights and other cutting edge, premium shooting accessories. Inspired by military and law enforcement technology, Sightmark products are designed for competition, target shooting, home defense, hunting, personal safety and other tactical applications.

The California Peace Officers’ Association serves California law enforcement leaders by providing a resource for leadership development and personal growth and advocates on behalf of all peace officers to support the mission of law enforcement and ensure the safety of our communities.

Sightmark Introduces Its New Core Shot A-Spec Reflex Sight

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/0814) – Sightmark will be adding two new reflex sights to their already top-of-the-line sights. The Core Shot A-Spec FMS (SM26017) and Core Shot A-Spec LQD (SM26018) bring accuracy and reliability for firearm enthusiasts.

The Core Shot A-Spec is not a red dot sight. It is an open reflex sight.
The Core Shot A-Spec

Delivering elite performance, the FMS and LQD reflex sights will enhance your accuracy in recreational, professional and competitive environments. The Core Shot is the perfect reflex sight for anybody looking for a sight sized between a Mini Shot and Ultra Shot, making them a mid-compact sized red dot sight.

Crafted out of aircraft-grade aluminum, for a dependable, lightweight housing, the Cores are IP55 water-resistant, shockproof and feature a scratch-resistant lens coating for a durable product. Featuring slotted windage and elevation adjustments, digital switch controls, reticle brightness levels, and night vision compatibility, the Core Shot includes a protective aluminum shield and a wide lens for quick target acquisition.

Sightmark Sets Sights on TTHA Fort Worth Extravaganza

Stop by booths F877 and F879 at the Texas Trophy Hunters Extravaganza to get hands-on with Sightmark’s first-class product lines.(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/07/16) – Sightmark is happy to announce participation at the upcoming Texas Trophy Hunters Extravaganza, August 10-12, 2018 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The event is comprised of hundreds of vendors, numerous hunting and shooting clinics, contests, celebrities and some of the most passionate and dedicated hunters from around the world.

Sightmark plans to display optics and firearm accessories geared toward hunters, including the new Citadel and Pinnacle riflescopes, Ultra Shot RAM series red dots and Photon RT digital night vision riflescopes. If you’re planning to attend the Ft. Worth TTHA Show, be sure to stop by booths F877 and F879 to visit with Sightmark’s knowledgeable staff about their first-class product lines.

About TTHA

The Texas Trophy Hunters Association is the “Voice of Texas Hunting” and will continue to promote, protect and preserve Texas’ wildlife resources and hunting heritage for future generations. For over 40 years, the Texas Trophy Hunters Association has promoted the sport, science and heritage of hunting in the great state of Texas.

Extend Your Range with New Sightmark T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers

These magnifiers feature a locking quick-detach and flip-to-side mount.
These magnifiers feature a locking quick-detach and flip-to-side mount.

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/03/15) – Helping shooters accurately extend the range of their reflex or red dot sight, new T-3 (SM19063) and T-5 (SM19064) Magnifiers provide 3x or 5x magnification in a straight tube optic system 0.7-0.8” shorter than their predecessor. Perfect for AR-platform firearms and specifically target shooting, 3-gun competitions and hunting applications, T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers feature a locking quick detach and flip-to-side mount, allowing rapid transition between the magnifier and accompanying sight.

An advanced, streamlined, low-drag design prevents the magnifier from snagging on vests and equipment. External windage and elevation adjustments make aligning the center of the magnifier’s point-of-view to the reticle extremely easy. Fully multi-coated optics improve brightness and resolution, increasing target and POI recognition. Both weighing less than 11 oz., T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers provide an effortless and effective way to increase optical magnification without sacrificing the advantages of a close-quarters reflex/red dot sight.

These magnifiers are compatible with most reflex and red dot sights on the market, including Sightmark Element, Wolverine and Ultra Shot models. IP55 water-resistant and recoil-rated up to .308, Sightmark T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers include flip-to-side LQD mount, adjustment tools and a manual.

Sightmark LoPro Combos Receive Facelift for 2018

Inspired by military designs, the Sightmark® LoPro Combo delivers optimal precision accuracy and versatility.
Inspired by military designs, the Sightmark® LoPro Combo delivers optimal precision accuracy and versatility.

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/02/27) – Redesigned and improved for 2018, the latest LoPro Combo units from Sightmark are ideal for your tactical, home defense and hunting needs. Three revamped models ensure you’ll stay on target, including the LoPro Mini Combo (SM25012), LoPro Combo Flashlight and Green Laser Sight (SM25013) and LoPro Mini (SM25016). Hinted at by their name, all LoPro accessories boast a low profile design that allows them to be mounted in front of optics without obstructing the shooter’s view.

Replacing previous LoPro models, the new LoPro Mini Combo adds improvements including aluminum housing, protected windage/elevation adjustments, thread-on and rotating pressure pad and variable LED brightness for flashlight modes. A streamlined, solid metal construction and single-piece integrated mount assure your LoPro stays firm and holds zero in the face of extreme conditions and harsh use.

Similar to the LoPro Mini Combo, the upgraded LoPro Combo is a full-sized flashlight/laser combo that adds a useful IR illuminator to be used in conjunction with night vision units. A high-intensity, variable brightness LED flashlight gives shooters the perfect amount of light for their current shooting scenario. Ideal for a variety of day and nighttime situations, the LoPro Combo’s screw-in pressure pad securely attaches to the unit and stays in place during severe field use.

Lastly, for those wanting the most compact and lightweight setup possible, the LoPro Mini is second to none. Weighing a mere 6.7 oz., this IPX5 water-resistant laser/flashlight is light on your wallet, too, but packs a big punch. Featuring hand adjustable windage/elevation, tool-less adjustments can be made at the drop of a hat. All LoPro Combo models include a pressure pad and a single CR123A battery.

Click here to shop for a LoPro laser/light combo.

Sightmark Takes Home the Hardware

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2017/10/19) – Voted on by Optics Planet’s “Hand-Selected Product Experts” the winners of the Optics Planet 2017 Brilliance Awards are in. After competing against tens of thousands of products, Sightmark walked away with two Brilliance Awards in the following categories:

Best Boresighter: Sightmark OPMOD G.U.M.B. Limited Edition Green Universal Boresight

Best Gen 1 Night Vision: Sightmark Ghost Hunter 1×24 Night Vision Goggle Kit

Powered by a single CR2 battery, the Optics Planet Exclusive Limited Edition Green Universal Boresight attaches magnetically to the barrel of any size pistol or rifle, saving the shooter money on wasted cartridges and the expense of buying different boresighters for different caliber barrels.

The Ghost Hunter night vision goggle kit wins Optics Planet 2017 Brilliance Award.
The Ghost Hunter night vision goggle kit wins Optics Planet 2017 Brilliance Award.

Sightmark’s Ghost Hunter 1×24 Goggle Kit was chosen to be Optics Planet best Gen 1 Night Vision Goggle due to its ability to deliver high-quality image and resolution. The Sightmark Ghost Hunter 1×24 from Sightmark is equipped with a head mount for comfortable, long-lasting, hands-free operation. Safeguards include an automatic shut-off when exposed to bright light sources, ensuring years of operation and its built-in IR illuminator comes in handy when natural ambient light is not enough. Of course, both units are backed with Sightmark’s hassle-free Lifetime Warranty.


Sightmark’s Personal Protection Products to be on Display at NRA Carry Guard Expo

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2017/07/27) – On August 25-27, Sightmark will be exhibiting optics and accessories with a focus on personal protection at the NRA Carry Guard Expo at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, WI. Those looking to protect themselves with easy-to-use, practical personal defense products should come visit the Sightmark booth from 9am-6pm on Friday/Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.

On August 25-27, Sightmark will be exhibiting optics and accessories with a focus on personal protection at the NRA Carry Guard Expo at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, WI.
On August 25-27, Sightmark will be exhibiting optics and accessories with a focus on personal protection at the NRA Carry Guard Expo at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, WI.

Sightmark’s popular Wolverine CSR, an excellent red dot for AR pistols and SBRs boasting over 1 million hours of battery life and a lifetime warranty, will be on full display. The new ambidextrous ReadyFire G5 Pistol Laser will be making an appearance as well. The ReadyFire G5 helps shooters acquire targets in dangerous defense situations. If you will be in attendance at the 2017 NRA Carry Guard Expo, be sure and make plans to stop by booth #519 and talk with our knowledgeable staff.

The NRA Carry Guard Expo is an educational and interactive experience dedicated to individuals interested in increasing their knowledge and skills in personal protection, concealed carry and defense tactics. During the expo, visitors are welcome to attend a broad array of seminars and workshops featuring the best personal protection and concealed carry practices taught and demonstrated by leading experts and instructors from across the country. For more information on the NRA Carry Guard Expo, please visit www.nracarryguardexpo.com.