Night Hunting Of Coyotes And Feral Hogs Coming To NC?

It looks like North Carolinans will soon be able to hunt coyotes and feral hogs at night according to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission. I know the cattle farmers in my county will be very happy about the rule changes as they lose a number of calves to coyotes.

I may have to check out that thermal scope after all even if it is 6 grand.

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 3, 2012) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission took a step toward implementing a rule Thursday that allows for the taking of coyotes and feral swine by hunting on private lands at night with a light.

The rule would also allow the hunting of feral swine and coyotes on public lands from ½ hour after sunset to ½ before sunrise with a light by permit only. Night hunting is one means of controlling localized populations of coyotes and feral swine, both of which are non-native to North Carolina and destructive to the landscape.

The new regulations are year-round, seven days a week. Hunting on Sundays is allowed only on private lands with archery equipment.

The new regulations are scheduled to take effect August 1, 2012 pending final approval by the Rules Review Commission. Currently, there is no closed season on either species, but hunting them at night is not allowed except by permit for feral swine.

More Than A High Priced Toy

I received a press release the other day for a new thermal imaging weapon sight released for the civilian market by ATN. Given the MSRP of $6,599, I at first thought this was a bit much even for the most ardent mall ninja. Then I started thinking about it.

For the average person, it is a bit much. However, for a farmer who loses thousands of dollars in an evening to crop damage by feral hogs, it might be worth its weight in gold. Given that it doesn’t need available light to work nor is the image altered by ground fog, it would allow the farmer to see and shoot the feral hogs in all conditions. So long as the state allows night hunting for feral hogs – or coyotes in the case of livestock ranchers – this plus a suppressed rifle could be just the tool needed to take out that sounder of hogs eating his crops.

I would think contractors who have a crop depredation permit and provide their services to farmers could pay for this in short order from their increased effectiveness.

Of course, if you are just planning for the Zombie Apocalypse and want the ultimate night scope, this might be it. However, I’m unsure about the thermal signature of the living dead so you just might want to stay with your normal red dot sight.

Details on the ATN ThOR-320 Thermal Imaging Weapon Sight from the press release:

South San Francisco, CA – American Technologies Network, makers of military, law enforcement, security and outdoor night vision and thermal applications, is introducing the latest product in their ThOR series of thermal optical rifle scopes; the ATN ThOR-320. The ATN ThOR series of thermal imaging scopes are based on the same 320 x 240 high resolution microbolometer core technology used by the US Military and law enforcement agencies. The new ATN ThOR-320 is the smallest, most compact and lightweight in the ThOR series. The ThOR-320 uses forward-looking infrared (FLIR) that detects heat to create the visible image. The ThOR-320 provides extremely clear images through total darkness, fog or smoke. Nothing affects the sensitivity of these mini scopes, neither darkness, camouflage nor bright lights.

The ATN ThOR-320 is available in three different optical powers to suit the mission; 1x, 2x or 3x. The digital zoom option doubles the magnification. The ATN ThOR-320 thermal imaging sight is easy to use with digital controls and menu buttons that provide the user with a variety of aiming reticles, allow for the change in polarity and adjustment of image brightness of optimal image view. The scope also comes with precision digital windage and elevation adjustments and a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny Rail quick release mount. The multipurpose ThOR-320 can also be converted into a compact handheld viewer by removing the mount and adding a hand-strap (included).

ATN ThOR-320 Features:
• 320 x 240 resolution
• Uncooled VOx Microbolometer technology
• 800 x 600 OLED display
• High resolution OLED Microdisplay
• Available in 30hz Fast Image frame rate and 60hz Enhanced Image frame rate
• Easy to use digital controls
• Interchangeable reticle patterns with push of the button
• Digital brightness control
• Video output
• Precision digital windage and elevation adjustments
• Rapid start up in 3 seconds
• Up to 6 hours of operation with two 3V lithium batteries
• Quick release Picatinny mounting system
• One-Year Warranty
• MSRP $6,599.00 for the ThOR 320-2x

Aerial Gunnery

According to these release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, you can now pay a helicopter pilot to take you up to shoot coyotes and feral hogs. Previous to this revision, a pilot couldn’t be paid for his or her time if it involved shooting coyotes and hogs from a helicopter. I remember Ted Nugent talking about this on Tom Gresham’s GunTalk a few months ago.

Texas OKs Revisions for “Pork Choppers”

AUSTIN – Effective September 1, qualified individuals can pay to take depredating feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter under rules adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The commission at its Thursday, Aug. 25 public meeting approved permit requirements for implementation of HB-716 passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature. The new law is aimed at helping manage feral hogs or coyotes by allowing qualified landowners or their agents to participate in management of feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter. Previously, a person was prohibited from paying, bartering or exchanging anything of value to participate as a gunner or observer from an aircraft.

About 130 helicopter operations are currently permitted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to conduct aerial management of depredating feral hogs or coyotes. The new rules permit qualified landowners or their qualified agents to pay these helicopter operators to participate in aerial operations.

To qualify, landowners or landowner agents must have on file with TPWD a completed Landowner’s Authorization to Manage Wildlife or Exotic Animals by Aircraft (LOA) form. There is no application fee to become qualified, but the LOA does not take effect until TPWD issues an authorization number.

Individuals convicted of a federal Lacey Act violation, or a Parks and Wildlife Code Class A misdemeanor or felony, are prohibited from obtaining an aerial management permit, and from being a gunner, observer or pilot under an aerial management permit.

Feral hog populations in Texas are estimated at upwards of 2 million. According to a Texas Department of Agriculture study, each hog is responsible for $50-500 in damage to agriculture and wildlife habitat annually.

I wonder if sales of this Magpul Dynamics video on aerial platform operations will increase.