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Thread: First deer 100% down to the thermal finding it

  1. #1

    First deer 100% down to the thermal finding it

    Had an interesting trip to recon one of our aberdeenshire estates this afternoon, using the thermal imager during the day/ late afternoon. First thing noted was we saw a lot more deer, most of them we would never have seen, indeed most took ages to spot with the binnys, even though we knew where they were. At 4 ish they started moving in the forest, and we could clearly see them in the imager, but with binnys they were a battle to find, one buck in particular knew we were in the car, on the roadside but at about 40 meters into the forest just kept feeding and occasionally looking at us. He would move and we would lose him in the glass, and needed to use the thermal to re find him. He was in an open forest, but in reeds and undergrowth, and would not have been shootable in his position, but it was great to be able to spot him, given more season available (sand less commitments in the next week or so) we could have planned a go at him.

    We mooched about, waiting in the usual spots but eventually gave up and started back to the barn, to clear the pigeons, our actual plan for the day. As we drove along the road at say 20 mph I spotted a thermal heat signal next to a tree base in the middle of the estate, but even at 40 meters was a devil to see. It was lying down and its head was in line with the tree, and it was so camouflaged, though the thermal could see it easily. We glassed constantly for about 5 minutes till we had it exactly in sight. Once I had it in the binnys I guided my pal Iain onto it, but he just could not see it, even identifying the twin trees I was looking at, I knew it was a buck, its antlers clearly visible, though in line with the tree edge were not very clear in the glass, I could just make them out, and at this point it was still reasonably sunny and bright, we probably had an hour more shooting light. The thermal could also see the antlers a little, perhaps some heat transfer from the head rising up them. It would move its head very slightly and the antlers could be seen moving.

    I took Iain’s rifle and head shot it from 40 yards, and it dropped on the spot. When we got to it, it was stone dead, but had a badly broken leg, so perhaps this was why it lay quietly. The lower rear leg had been snapped clear, but showed no infection or healing. I guess it was new. It looked like a snare had had it, but I think it was simply that it had flailed round when moving, giving an indistinct line round the break. I think it was probably a fence hook up from the damage, or possibly an RTC, but this is less likely in the location. We will know more when we peel it!

    This is the first deer we have had that was 100 % down to the thermal finding it, and allowing us to shoot it. We would never have seen it in the binnys unless we knew it was there, and as a scanning tool it is superb, it really does exactly what it claims. Without the thermal we would have scanned for deer and driven on.

  2. #2
    Glad you got it & lessened any suffering .... Only seen myself a three legged deer that had been old injury & healed & body weight was good etc.
    Amazes me how graceful they appear but can take a great of punishment & move on

    That thermal sounds superb for keeping a good eye on your permissions .& what's on the ground


    Paul

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshire lad View Post
    A useful post, many thanks.

    I did consider not saying anything, keeping what happened today quiet after emailing my friends. I have always thought the purpose of this forum was like minded souls sharing experiences, discussing equipment, answering questions and keeping in mind deer welfare, basically passing on experiences. Today's shooting was interesting to me and i think covered all of the above, the kit functioned as expected and it enhanced our day, and thermal imaging is not yet particularly common. The deer was shot totally legally, and my considered post was simply to pass on information. I am sure many will consider that they would have seen the deer, not knowing the region, estate, species or topography in question, and am no doubt some would have, i am equally sure many would not.

    I am not sure the point you are trying to make, but enjoy your popcorn.
    Last edited by diverdave; 14-10-2014 at 22:24.

  5. #5
    Well done on ending its suffering. I am a bit perplexed though. Is what you did legal? I.e, finding where the deer was using a thermal imaging unit? It is not meant as an accusation, I just thought such a think was not in accordance with legislation. Maybe because it was injured makes it legal. Can you please shed some more light? Thanks.

  6. #6
    I cannot think of any reason why not, but look forward to the forums expertise on this. I have looked and considered the legislation on this upon purchase, taken advise, and i think it is quite clear. I spotted a deer with a thermal imager in broad daylight. Confirmed species and sex via binoculars and shot it via a traditional scope about an hour before sunset, and about 70 - 80 minutes before legally allowed via a day scope. This is not night vision or a thermal rifle scope. I guess it is legislated like a range finder / range finding binoculars or illuminated scope. I am told illuminated scopes are not fully legal in the spirit of the act, but like many others i have been offered these for my stalking. The scope was a Z6 non illuminated and cannot be more legal.

    Basically a deer was seen and shot legally, after being sighted using a thermal imager in broad dayight. On shooting it we found it had been badly injured, so i take no legal consideration from this. This was discovered upon inspection of the carcase.

    However a forum can be used for learning so would value reason why the shot was not legal, and why?
    Last edited by diverdave; 14-10-2014 at 23:08.

  7. #7
    Probably legal, but IMO not ethical.

    i draw the line at shooting from a truck, in fact I don,t even stalk animals I see from the vehicle, but that is just me, but to first spot an animal with thermal then shoot it from a truck...!.!

    i am a firm believer that both thermal and night vision should be illegal when used as an aid for shooting any living quarry (yes even foxes) but again that is just my opinion, but I doubt I am alone in that view.

  8. #8
    I see no problem in spotting the deer using thermal imagers. If it had been shot using a thermal imaging scope that would of been dodgy. I wonder if years ago when folk started using bino's to spot deer if they were frowned apon.

    Al

  9. #9
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    An interesting write up.

    I wasn't clear at first that you had been able to make a positive selection ID (perhaps no more than sex/species was required for your management plan) with the binos. My first impression was that you had relied on the thermal for this. It's probably up to the job for sex/species but not, I'd say, for more specific selection.

    I'd also assumed that using a vehicle, whether shooting from it or simply using it to get into range would not be legal, but it seems that only shooting from a moving vehicle or driving deer with a vehicle is illegal. Another useful SD lesson.

    In general I see ethics as a personal matter, but my personal view is that few things are more unethical than seeking to criminalise activities you personally disapprove of (I'm talking of the opinion that the use of optical aids for shooting that are not dependent on normally visible light should be banned in law). Have we not had enough bans already!

    If the concern is that we will excessively deplete our wildlife as a result of becoming more efficient hunters, then let's discuss tags and bag limits before we discuss blanket bans on equipment -or we could simply leave it up to shooters to decide what is most appropriate for the management of their ground.

    Back on topic. Thermal imaging undoubtedly the most effective way of spotting animals in a landscape currently available, but is no sure guide to detail and safe shooting. It remains to be seen whether the thermal riflescopes coming onto the market now will lead to shots being taken unwisely, but even here I think it pays to remember the furore caused by the introduction of laser rangefinders, which were initially condemned as encouraging shots to be taken at excessive range and are now found in virtually every hunter's pocket, with -in my experience- no negative consequences for our quarry.
    Last edited by Mr. Gain; 15-10-2014 at 06:05. Reason: Typos!
    "Docendo discimus" - Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)
    “Comodidad, tranquilidad y buena alimentacion” - A Spanish recipe for contentment that oddly omits hunting.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Gain View Post
    An interesting write up.

    I wasn't clear at first that you had been able to make a positive selection ID (perhaps no more than sex/species was required for your management plan) with the binos. My first impression was that you had relied on the thermal for this. It's probably up to the job for sex/species but not, I'd say, for more specific selection.

    I'd also assumed that using a vehicle, whether shooting from it or simply using it to get into range would not be legal, but it seems that only shooting from a moving vehicle or driving deer with a vehicle is illegal. Another useful SD lesson.

    In general I see ethics as a personal matter, but my personal view is that few things are more unethical than seeking to criminalise activities you personally disapprove of (I'm talking of the opinion that the use of optical aids for shooting that are not dependent on normally visible light should be banned in law). Have we not had enough bans already!

    If the concern is that we will excessively deplete our wildlife as a result of becoming more efficient hunters, then let's discuss tags and bag limits before we discuss blanket bans on equipment -or we could simply leave it up to shooters to decide what is most appropriate for the management of their ground.

    Back on topic. Thermal imaging undoubtedly the most effective way of spotting animals in a landscape currently available, but is no sure guide to detail and safe shooting. It remains to be seen whether the thermal riflescopes coming onto the market now will lead to shots being taken unwisely, but even here I think it pays to remember the furore caused by the introduction of laser rangefinders, which were initially condemned as encouraging shots to be taken at excessive range and are now found in virtually every hunter's pocket, with -in my experience- no negative consequences for our quarry.
    Agree entirely MR Gain

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