A while back, I spent some quality time hunting with UFC fighter and—in my estimation—a future world champion, James Vick. With one of the best records in the UFC (13-1-0 professionally and 9-1-0 in the UFC), you’d think his mind is on prizefighting full-time… but it’s not. The truth is, Vick, also known as The Texecutioner, fights for a living just like many go to work—and the guy needs to break away on occasions just like everybody else. So, one weekend not long ago had us hog hunting with the Three Curl Outfitters, a respected waterfowl and hog hunting guide service operating on over 80,000 acres of free-ranging land, much of it crop fields teeming with Texas pigs in need of Texecution.
James and I hit the first field with two other hunters. While four hunters may not be an issue—the two of us definitely have some hog-hunting miles between us—the other two hunters were new and top-shelf guide, Stephen Miley, would have had his hands full and I knew it—not because it’s four hunters but because it was night hunting in a pitch-black environment with two novices. Reality set in on the first field we hit as Stephen quietly described the sounder feeding near the field’s far edge some 800 yards away. While I did not have a monocular, I did have my Pulsar Trail XP50 thermal riflescope and quickly removed it to use it as a spotter.
700 yards into the stalk, the wind circled, the hogs winded us and scurried out of the field before we had time to fan out and establish confident shooting positions—I had drifted some 20 yards behind to watch the action through my thermal. No mistake on our part, we simply were caught—wind doing the sounder quite a favor. We walked back to the truck and in the headlights, I re-mounted the Trail XP50 to my rifle just in case the opportunity to be a triggerman on the next field arose. James and I spoke in the headlights, just talking hunting, as I worked to re-install the optic while, unbeknownst to me, the novice hunters watched, at least until one of them spoke up.
“How can you pull that optic off, re-install it and expect to hit?” His tone was an odd mix of friendliness and skepticism.
“Removing and re-installing the Trail XP50 and its mount doesn’t impact my point of impact like you’d think it might. I’ve taken it off and re-installed it more times than I can count and I’m still stacking up feral hogs.”
They seemed surprised but didn’t question my activity any further, especially after I laid down a longer-range pig heading back into seclusion on the second field. My instructions, “Get him, Kev, before he gets back in.” There was no time to fan out and I was second behind Stephen. The rest were quickly asked to take a knee and not shoot. A single head-shot at 123 yards (ranged after the shot) laid him out. Then they knew, my Trail thermal riflescope was still dead-nuts on. After that demonstration, I was hit with the most common question I get asked, “If someone can only afford one optic, a riflescope or monocular, which should they get?”
My answer is always the same. “Get a thermal or digital night vision riflescope. They work well, day or night, and can double as a monocular. A monocular is always just a monocular. But, make sure you use a good mount so you can do what you saw earlier—remove it, re-install it and shoot accurately.”
Most recently, Pulsar took Pulsar optic installation and removal to even greater heights with a new, locking, quick-detach (LQD) mount designed for rapid on/off without compromising accuracy. Gone are the days of removing and re-installing Pulsar optics in the flood of a headlight. The new system allows for changes within just a few seconds—certainly quick enough to stalk with your riflescope used as a monocular and then re-install on the fly for the kill. While I could have (and did) use Pulsar’s previous mount in this fashion, it took a bit more time. Pulsar’s newest mount is a game changer for those of us using a single optic. When a thermal or digital night vision riflescope and monocular combo just isn’t the cards, Pulsar’s new LQD mount is a near-perfect solution.
All told, we hit roughly 10 fields and I was armed for 2 of them. On at least half of the other eight, I brought up the rear with my thermal riflescope used as an un-mounted monocular again. The group managed to kill a dozen or so feral hogs with the James Vick making good on his UFC reputation—he Texecuted at least half of the stack with his trusty 6.5 Grendel AR-15. The newbie hog hunters also managed to drop a couple each.
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