Winter always comes with new experiences and many possibilities for hunters. Fantastic sceneries and a shift in animals’ behavior brings a new thrill to the pursuit, and today, with the help of our ambassadors from various European countries, we’re exploring the best it has to offer.
To those of you who, like us, come from the North, winter is synonymous with crisp weather, forests covered with a blanket of white snow, endless mugs of hot tea, and, if you don’t look closer, seemingly stagnant nature. But if you’re down to venturing deeper, listening attentively, and looking carefully, you can unlock a path to many wonderful adventures.
“Snow makes it possible to see fresh animals’ tracks, which makes stalking very exciting. Snow is also like a “winter moon” – with snow coverage, it is quite bright in the forest even in the middle of the night, which makes wild boar and fox hunting really fun,” says our brand ambassador from Poland, Julia Nowak, when we ask her about the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about winter.
Her counterpart from Germany, Maximilian Schutz, enjoys the process just as well: “In winter, it is always nice to hunt wild boar and fox in the snow. With the Helion 2 XP50 PRO from Pulsar, you can hunt them well in the cold. Stalking in the silent snow is always a great way to get close. Hunting foxes in the snowy fields is always different. They are on the move day and night, and you can lure them well.”
Of course, wild boars and foxes aren’t everything that awaits you in the European forests. Up North, in the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle, you’ll find our ambassador Andrea Lysvold hunting seals at sea, but she’s always ready to venture around: “I love trying new sorts of hunting and game, and I usually love all the different hunts. At home, besides seals, I sometimes do a little fox hunting in wintertime. Ptarmigan is also something I can hunt at home, but if it’s too snowy, I keep clear of the mountains.”
Those who enjoy socializing and seek thrill will embark on a driven hunt. Filled with action, excitement, and various customs, it’s the most eagerly anticipated time for many. However, the process requires a lot of preparation – drawing up plans, assigning hunters to various locations, carefully checking licenses, and, of course, making sure there are plenty of animals on the chosen grounds are just a part of the job the organizers have to do. And yet, a day of the driven hunt “is associated with many exciting and joyful moments, and tradition and hunting customs always play a major role here,” says Christin Geuting, our German distributor.
For those who have pest control duties, winter is also a busy time: “there’s a lot of vermin/rat control around farmyards in the winter due to them coming in the open fields looking for food sources,” says Kevin Murphy, our brand ambassador from the UK.
And down south, in Italy, the exciting search for woodcock begins. “From November to January, many Italian hunters start to hunt woodcocks which come from the North of Europe during their migration. For us, the woodcock is the most iconic bird to hunt with pointing dogs. It is very difficult to find because many of its habits are still unknown, and at night before hunting, I like to go out and use my Merger LRF XP50 or the Pulsar Helion 2 XP50 PRO for spotting all the open grass where I know a woodcock could be.”
Naturally, with a change of scenery, there are changes in animal behavior, as well as in hunting tactics. While it might be easier to track and observe game in wintertime, Julia believes we should not misuse the advantage: “If there is a lot of snow, it is probably easier to “get” the animals, but I think that in very hard weather conditions, it is just fair and ethical not to hunt at all. In extreme conditions, when it’s frosty and crispy outside, it is impossible to be silent while walking in the forest, so the animals can hear you from far, far away, making it fair game.”
If you, like Riccardo, live in an area where snow and frost are rare, you might enjoy the benefits of thermal vision as much as ever: “Hunting with thermal vision becomes easier because we have less foliage, and it’s possible to spot animals even when they are covered in the woods. It helps to prepare yourself for shooting, for when you’ll have a clear line of fire after animals come out from the woods in open grass.”
Winter, especially in southern countries, is typically great for thermal vision visibility. Clear skies and significant temperature differences are a perfect combination for any thermal imager. Devices like the Pulsar Axion 2 spotters and Talion riflescopes will more than suffice. Although, if you live in an area that gets highly humid – or extremely cold – in winter, we recommend considering a device with a bigger resolution and a higher pixel pitch sensor – perhaps the Merger LRF XP50 binoculars or a Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO riflescope, depending on your needs.
All our devices are perfectly equipped to withstand extreme weather – no humidity will harm them, and they’ve been tested to operate smoothly in temperatures up to -25 °C. Although we can admit this is only the official recommendation – last year, we took the Helion 2 XP50 PRO to Lapland, where the weather was even colder, and we’re proud to report it operated as smoothly as ever. Julia is planning to use her Merger LRF XP50 and Digex C50 this year, and we’re sure both devices will serve her well during the lowest temperatures.
Although Andrea has a very practical note: “always bring extra batteries or power banks since the winter cold affects the batteries of all devices.” This is absolutely normal (you probably noticed the effect the cold has on your phone?) and not at all a defect – although once they do invent batteries that aren’t affected by cold, we promise to do everything we can to implement them in our devices as soon as possible.
Of course, if you are practical and already thinking ahead, you are probably anxious about the battery-changing process. Well, if you’ve got a Pulsar device, fret not – all our batteries are quick-release and very intuitive to change, meaning you can do that in complete darkness in mere seconds. Let us quote Night Vision Viking, our ambassador from Sweden, to attest this: “Last winter, in freezing -16C, I had to do a battery change on a Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO while filming wild boar at distances down to 15 meters in complete darkness. Even with gloves on, it was possible to change the battery and do it quietly.”
Whether up North or down South, stepping up your gear game is crucial. Kevin – who admits to loving the colder weather – says that “gloves, a good hat, and warm socks are always with me as keeping the extremities warm makes us much more effective in the field.” But Julia and Andrea, both living in areas where temperatures often go down well below freezing, have more to say on the subject.
For Andrea, who, despite being born in the Arctic Circle, really struggles with the cold, bringing dry change is crucial. “I usually also bring an electric heated vest so that I have some extra help keeping the temperature up, especially if I’m sitting or standing still for a while. Also, I always have to bring some sugar or fast fat, a lighter in case I need fire, and a flashlight.”
Julia admits that the fact that it takes much longer to get ready for a hunt in winter is the only drawback of the season. But you do need to be well-prepared to spend multiple hours in a frozen forest. For her, it includes: “my warmest clothes, gloves, thermos with hot tea with lemon and honey, and, if I plan to stay in the high stand for a few hours, then a blanket or sleeping bag to cover myself as well. And I never heat in the car while going hunting and do not put all the layers on me at once to not get sweaty before hunting. This is very important to stay warm later. Fabric-wise, wool and natural fur are what I’d say is the biggest part of my winter hunting fashion.”
Despite the few inconveniences, winter is a wonderful time for any hunter and nature enthusiast. We hope yours will be filled with many adventures, unforgettable experiences, and new memories to keep forever.
Before purchasing any night or thermal vision device, please make sure you adhere to the local legislation and only use it when it is allowed. Our ambassadors come from various countries and travel a lot, which allows them to test different devices. We do not encourage or support the illegal use of our devices in any events. If you wish to learn more about export and sales restriction policy, please visit the following link: Export and Sales Restriction Policy.