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How to Become a Hunter without Experience

man looking through scope

Never been introduced to hunting but want to get involved in the sport? This one’s for you!

Hit the Web

The internet can help you find just about anything, including opportunities to hunt. Here is a handy website that lets you find local hunting clubs based upon state and zip code. You can also search out groups on social media like Facebook. The right people will help mentor you to avoid the big problems of hunting without experience.

Know Before You Go

two men posing with boar

Find out what you want to hunt beforehand. Different game and different seasons appeal to different people. Some may enjoy the cold stillness of deer hunting, while others may prefer the active searching of grouse hunting. This also plays further into the type of firearms, clothing and other gear you’ll need to hunt.

Once you know what you want to hunt and when, search out a resource for gear. Searches like “gear list for deer hunting” or “bird hunting deer list” can give you an idea what types of equipment you need. Some types of hunting, such as backcountry or bow hunting, are more gear intensive and require more specialized equipment and skills. Examples of this include binoculars for long distance scouting, or additional layers for November deer hunting.

After you know when and what you want to hunt, spend some time reading up on regulations for hunting. Some states may require hunter’s safety, or other regulations, such as permits or lottery systems for tags. It is important to follow all regulations regarding hunting. Fines from a game warden are no way to start off your hunting career. Even if you are without experience, the rules still apply.

Get in Gear

After you find out what you need, start purchasing gear. There are a variety of different hunting retailers that will sell all you need to get started. If cost is an issue, used markets such as Facebook Marketplace are a great way to get gear on the cheap. We also sell blemished optics for those looking to get a deal on a usable but less beautiful piece of X-Vision gear. Consider waiting for a closeout sale after the end of a hunting season to rack up seasonal discounts on other hunting gear like apparel.

man looking through x-vision optics with friend

Get Out There!

Once you have gear, the right information, and a group to learn from and hunt with, you’re well on your way to go from a hunter without experience, to a hunter with experience. Furthermore, don’t get discouraged if you aren’t initially successful. Hunting is the work of a lifetime and the waiting pays off!

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Choosing the Right Hunting Scope

Man looking through hunting scope in grass

Here at X-Vision, we think the right optic is extremely important. However, we also offer a lot of different styles of optics. Here are some ways to help to choose between our various selections.

What Firearm are You Using?

This is the first important question to ask while choosing an optic. Rifles and other long arms are best suited for longer range targets. Thus it makes sense to use an accompanying optic with higher magnification.

Shotguns will primarily be used with a non-magnified optic with the exception of slugs. If using slugs, opt for an optic more similar to a rifle optic.

Pistols are almost always used without a magnified optic. There is an exception in the form of hunting revolvers, which may use a magnification to take advantage of larger calibers.

Different firearms may also have different mounting systems for optics systems. All of our X-Vision products mount on standard Picatinny rail systems.

Hunting Scope X-Vision

What are Your Conditions Like?

X-Vision offers a variety of different optics for different situations. One of our specialties is night vision or thermal optics. Night vision is specifically geared towards usage at night with some level of ambient or artificial light. Thermal optics work for both night and day without external or ambient light sources. This means night vision is best for usage primarily at night, and thermal optics work for a mix of both.

We also offer standard optics best suited for daytime situations. Regardless of your shooting conditions, we have you covered.

What is Your Target Like?

The best optic for your needs also depends on the animal you’re hunting and the distance they will be found at. Game like deer tend to be engaged at distances, lending themselves best to magnified optics.

Other game like turkey or other fowl tend to be best suited to use of red dot sights without magnification. For faster moving waterfowl like ducks or geese, red dot sights are the choice for most hunters in most instances.

Some targets like predators or hogs are often best hunted at night, meaning a thermal or night vision scope is the best choice.

Man in camo kneeling with x-vision optics on head

Are You Doing Any Scouting?

Depending on your game choice and hunting environment, you may choose a separate optic to scout with. Monoculars are lighter, but offer a restricted field of view compared to binoculars.

For scouting at night, we offer both monoculars and binoculars with night vision capabilities, including hands free options.

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Gun Range Day: 5 Things to Bring

Man firing gun at gun range

It’s the day you’ve been eagerly waiting for as the days tick down on the calendar: range day. Here are some things to bring to make sure you have the best possible time. Be sure to consider range of regulations and local laws in addition to this list.

Rifle and Ammunition


gun on shooting bench

Simply enough, there’s no shooting without a firearm. First, make sure whatever gun you choose is clean and lubricated for best performance. Next, make sure to bring your rifle in a case as state, local, and range regulations require.

Once you have your rifle squared away, make sure to bring the adequate quantity and type of ammunition. However, make sure to store rifle and ammunition separately in locked cases for safety reasons.

Furthermore, be sure to check in advance as some ranges may require you to purchase ammunition on the range.

Finally, make sure that both of these components are stored in the locked trunk of your vehicle. Security is important for safe and legal firearm ownership.

Safety Gear

We recommend eye protection and ear protection. Yet other users may opt for additional protection like shooting gloves, a hat, or long sleeves and long pants. These are optional but the first two may be mandatory at some range sites.

Optics and Targets

multiple men aiming guns on shooting rangeHow could we forget a sight to shoot with! Depending on your firearm, distance, and needs, choose from any variety of our optics. If using multiple arms with one optic, consider a optic with single-shot zero to maximize time shooting and minimize time zeroing.

Targets are highly dependent on your personal preference and range rules. But, If you’re training for a competition or hunting, you may want to tailor targets to your needs. Some ranges may require you use their targets, while others will require you bring targets of your own.

Food and Water

Being dehydrated is no fun, and being dehydrated at the range is even less fun. Therefore, be sure to bring enough to eat and drink while you’re out shooting. More food means more time shooting, which means more fun.


The best things in life are shared, and nothing beats a range day with good friends. Correspondingly, friends help keep you safer and can provide important feedback on your form. A well trained observer can also help you dial in shots at a longer range and make you a better shooter in the long run.

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Tube Style vs Open Style Red Dots

X-Vision Product lineup

Red dots are extremely popular, and it’s easy to see why. Red dot sights are small, light, inexpensive, and can make shooting and target acquisition easier on any firearm. X-Vision sells a couple sizes and styles of red dot sights. In this blog we’ll go into the difference between the two main styles of red dot sights.

What Do They Have in Common?

Open style and tube style sights share much in common. Both optics are unlimited eye relief sights with no magnification. This means they are primarily for short distances within 100 yards. Both types of optics allow shooters to shoot with both eyes open, making target acquisition easy.

man looking through x-vision scopeHow do Red Dot Sights Work?

A small red LED projects a beam of light onto a semi-transparent mirror, which is then reflected onto the front lens of an optic. This partial brightness allows the sight picture and the red dot to coexist. Because the beam always comes from the same direction, the point always appears in the correct location regardless of the eye’s location relative to the sight. Here is a great graphic explanation of the technical details.

Open Style Sights

Open style red dot sights, also known as HUD or reflex sights, offer a greater field of view for target acquisition. A field of view is the peripheral area above and to either side of the sight picture. This makes them optimal for environments with fast moving targets such as skeet shooting.

While this open design improves target acquisition, open optics are also open to external factors. This means that they can be affected by environmental conditions like fog or breath condensation, rain, snow and dirt. Any of these contaminants can get on the lens and interfere with the sight picture. It is important to care for and pay attention for any optic to ensure it works well, but if you tend to shoot in bad weather, consider a closed sight.

x-vision scopeTube Style Sights

A tube style sight is exactly like it sounds. The red dot is projected within a tube shaped optic. Tube shapes provide a round sight picture. Closed sights have a sealed lens and are generally more durable than open style sights, but are also bulkier. You can also add filters such as dust covers, filters for haze or with polarization. standardized tube format al

Generally, most shooters prefer tube style sights for distances longer than 50 yards and longer on arms like rifles. Tube style sights have tighter minutes of angle and the more enclosed sight picture helps focus on faraway targets.

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Do I Need a Tracking Dog on my Hunts?

Muddy Space Trailer with 3d buck target in back

Hunting dogs have a long and storied tradition. Man’s best friend has had a role in helping hunt since before recorded history. However, in the late 19th century, regulations around hunting with dogs changed across the United States. For this article, we’ll largely focus on hunting deer with tracking dogs, but also consider reading our article on mountain lion hunting.

Hunting Dogs vs. Tracking Dogs

There’s a distinction between hunting dogs and tracking dogs. Hunting dogs, or “hounds” flush out deer actively similar to a deer drive. Tracking or “gun” dogs track an already wounded animal via scent or blood trail. Hunting with hounds is very active and can involve up to a dozen hounds, multiple hunters in different roles, and occasionally motorized transportation or GPS tracking of dogs.

night vision view of multiple deer in fieldWhy Hunt With Dogs?

Dogs offer hunters an advantage due to their extremely sensitive senses. Dogs also are much more efficient forest travelers, saving hunters energy and time. Hunting with hounds is also is a more active and exciting pursuit. When hunting with hounds, hunters must shoot at mobile flushed deer rather than unaware, ranging deer.

Hunting with tracking dogs offers a massive advantage in tracking wounded animals. Dogs can follow blood trails a hunter won’t even notice. Furthermore, a dog can a deer with its far superior sense of smell. Dogs can find a downed animal hours or even days after it was shot.
Some hunters enjoy hound hunting for its exciting and adventurous nature. Other hunters enjoy raising and training hunting or tracking dogs. Some areas also have professionals who provide their dogs as an on call service.

man viewing night vision up closeIs It Legal in My Area?

Before deciding to hunt with dogs, it’s important to understand the rules. Most states ban the practice outright, while others require hunters to keep animals on a leash. Here is a resource detailing various federal and state laws around hunting dogs. Generally, southern states allow dog hunting, but some individual counties have bans or other legislation regarding the practice.

Is It Feasible In My Area?

Even if using dogs for hunting is legal in your area, there are more things to consider. It’s important to be courteous to other hunters, and dogs can disrupt other hunters with barking or their scent. Local landowners are also a consideration, as dogs may chase prey across property lines onto private land. Because it is so important to engage with landowners positively, keep this in mind before choosing to dog hunt. You can also check out other dog hunting tips on our blog here.

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Do You Need Any External Light to Work a Night Vision Device?

man looking through firearm scope

The answer is yes, but there is some fine print. Most outdoor night situations have low levels of ambient light that an infrared device can pick up and magnify. This might be a partial moon or starlight that a night vision device can pick up and amplify. If you’re using night vision indoors, or under heavy cloud or foliage cover, you may need to use an artificial IR illuminator. Most night vision sights or goggles have built-in illuminators which can provide some level infrared light.

man looking through firearm scopeShould I Use an External Light Source?

While an additional infrared light is not required, it can be helpful in some situations. An additional source of infrared light can increase the range of a device over an integrated light. Consider an extra infrared illuminator if you want to maximize your hunting opportunities and get the most out of your night vision. The X-Vision infrared flashlight is effective to 500 yards and mounts on most standard rail systems.

How Does Night Vision Work?

To understand how night vision works we have to first understand infrared light. In short, Infrared light is a lower frequency wavelength of light that is invisible to the eye under normal circumstances.

Infrared light is always present, just invisible to us. Night vision goggles detect infrared light that reflects off objects and it processes through a computer. This computer amplifies infrared light before delivering the modified image to your eye in the characteristic green or gray glow we associate with night vision. This allows you to discover the unseen by harnessing infrared light.

What’s the Difference Between Thermal and Night Vision?

Night vision and thermal sights detect different parts of the infrared spectrum. Night vision reads infrared light and magnifies it to display an image. Thermal sights read the difference in temperatures between objects. This is because thermals read a differential in temperatures. Because of this distinction, thermal sights function without any external light sources.

night vision view of pigNight Vision and Noise

The less light available, the more noise is created as a night vision optic amplifies low levels of light inefficiently. This was more prevalent with older units but modern units have very low levels of noise due to digital processing. If you’re experiencing extreme noise on your set, consider adding an external infrared light or contact customer support to ensure your unit is functioning correctly.

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Birding for Beginners

man birding and looking towards foggy mountains with binoculars

What is birding?

Birding is a shorthand for birdwatching. Birdwatching is the hobby of observing and identifying birds. Some enthusiasts even travel internationally to find rare birds and keep long term catalogs of birds they’ve seen. Simply, birding is also a cheap lifetime activity, meaning it requires little physical or material prerequisites to participate in.

Is Birding for me?

Birding definitely isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. Different people enjoy the outdoors in different ways. Some people appreciate the stillness, silence and careful cataloging that bird watching requires. However, others may prefer more active pursuits like trail running or hiking. All that matters is you enjoy it!

man using rangefinder while golfingWhere do I Bird?

Anywhere there are birds really! A quick Google Search will bring up a variety of destinations nearby or within your state. You could even birdwatch on your lunch break at a local park. Any place with birds will do, but there are parks all over the world that are specific destinations for birders due to their rare habitats or endangered species. A local or state park is a great destination to start.

How do I bird?

Birding can be as simple as looking at birds around you or as complex as recording their songs and cataloging them by area and date seen. The decision is all yours. On the other hand, some people will search out a specific bird by habitat and season, others will observe a habitat for the birds that live within it.

close up of hand holding binoculars for birdingWhat do I need to bird?

We recommend some form of optic to magnify birds and a simple bird identification guide to find out what species they are. You might prefer a rangefinding binocular or monocular based upon what is more comfortable and easier to use. Also a bird identification guide is important to understand what you’re looking at. Simple guides organize birds by color, while advanced guides organize birds by their specific taxonomy. Other birders might bring a sketchbook to draw birds they see or a portable microphone to record bird calls they hear. There are also a wide variety of different apps for birders to use as resources in the field.

Who birds?

Surprisingly, birding can be a social activity for some. Therefore, there is quite a large birding community and it’s surprisingly easy to find a birding group nearby. Online groups such as the American Birding Association also have news, guides, best practices, and other birding information.

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Mountain Lion Hunting Tips

hunter looking through binoculars while mountain lion hunting

Just like a tasty recipe consists of the right ingredients, a safe and successful mountain lion hunt requires the right inputs. Much of this means being prepared with the right information, gear, layers and optics.

Bring the right information

Know your local seasons, quotas, limits and other information before going hunting. Some states might even require an outfitter. Wildlife managers keep a tight eye on the populations of mountain lions and regulate the sport tightly.  It is crucial as sportsmen to respect regulation and properly manage wildlife resources and game population. Furthermore, the hunting situation around wild felines is constantly changing. Colorado recently introduced legislation to ban the practice. Brush up on your state and local regulations, nobody wants a run in with a game warden they are unprepared for!

Bring the right weapon (and the right optic)

scope of firearm towards wooded area

The right rifle and optic can mean the difference between success or failure in a mountain lion hunt. Whether you are hunting with a rifle, revolver or bow, training with the weapon is crucial. A proper zero and match between optic, cartridge and firearm can mean the difference between success and failure. X-Vision scopes make this easy through a single shot zero and adaptive zeroing settings on several models.

Bring the Right Layers

Mountain lion hunting is more active than deer or other prey hunts, demanding different clothes. Dress in thin, light layers that can be easily shed to avoid overheating. It can be uncomfortable and potentially unsafe to overheat and have sweat freeze during an excursion.

Bring the Right Transportation

Mountain lion hunting looks wildly different in different jurisdictions. Some areas may utilize snowmobiles, while some areas require pack animals or foot travel.

Plan for Snowtarget on hay bale in snow


Mountain lions are easiest to track in fresh layer of snow. This means it is of utmost importance to prepare for snowy or muddy conditions before a trip. Waterproof, properly broken in boots are crucial to warm and dry feet during a snowy hunt. Nothing ruins a day out than wet feet or blisters.

Boot hunting or Dog hunting?

One of the most important distinctions in mountain lion hunting is between boot and dog hunting. The traditional method of hunting is with a pack of game dogs. The keen senses of dogs easily track and tree mountain lions for a prospective hunter. However, some jurisdictions have outlawed dog hunting, leaving hunters to track lions via “boot.” The difference is huge, demanding keen senses and tenacious pursuit from boot hunters.

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Why Thermal Optics are Important

X-Vision Thermal Optics


Thermal optics offer a massive advantage for any hunter in any environment for a multitude of reasons.

24 Hour Usage

Thermal optics function based on differences in temperature, rather than light. By relying on temperature, thermal optics function in both day and night environments. This is different from night vision optics, which require a low level of ambient or projected infrared light to function.

Thermal Optic with hog

Precise Temperature Detection

This precise detection of temperature also includes nonliving objects, such as blood trails, bedding areas or fresh game tracks. This capability offers a variety of uses other than direct hunting such as scouting, tracking, or stalking animals. Stationary or bedded down animals will also be detected by their radiant heat signature.

See Through Brush

Because thermal optics see differences in temperature, they can see through brush that matches the temperature of its surroundings, while concealed animals appear with clarity. That’s not to say they will see through a tree, but light brush offers no concealment. The same goes for smoke or foggy conditions, the radiant heat of an animal will show up clearly.

Useful for All Optics

The X-Vision Thermal monocularman posing with thermal optic after hunt provides advanced scouting tools with integral photo and video capability and 16 GB of internal memory. The XVision scope stores six different sets of zeroing date for accuracy across firearms. Both optics offer hotspot tracking, which follows the hottest object in its field of view. Hotspot tracking is useful for long range use or in dense foliage. They both can detect game to 1,900 yards or more. For closer Our Reflex Sight is effective to 1,000 yards.


Thermal technology has come a long way in price and convenience since its inception. The result is modern prices are more like a single car payment then the full price of a car.


All these factors combine to make hunting easier, safer and more fun for you and your partner. The final important question to ask is.

How could your hunting be improved with thermal optics?

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Why is Eye Protection Important at the Range

man practicing shooting with eye protection

Eye protection does a lot more than make you look cool. Eye protection is a crucial safety precaution around any firearm, and along with a quality optic, can improve your shooting. Your eyes are a vulnerable, fragile and crucial part of your body it’s important to protect while shooting. When you’re at a range, it is a crucial part of your kit to keep you safe and comfortable. In fact, most professional shooting organizations require eye protection for both competitors and onlookers. Here are some reasons to consider eye protection for your next range day.

woman practicing shooting with eye protectionEye Protection Keeps You Safe

There are all sorts of things flying in a range environment. Lead, brass, powder and primer, to begin with, along with the dust, sand and potential target debris caused by target shooting. In short, there are all sorts of known unknown variables in a range environment, all of which you don’t want in your eyes. Catastrophic instances such as ricochets, misfires, or flying spalls all can cause serious injury. In particular, flying brass, a certainty in a shooting environment, can cause permanent damage or blindness in the instance of a direct hit.

Eye Protection Keeps You Comfortable

In addition to the clear safety benefit, eye protection can make your general range experience more comfortable. From dark sun tints to protect you from UV rays, to full seal eyewear to protect from wind, dust or insects, there are plenty of forms of eyewear and reasons to consider wearing them. Different lenses also offer benefits in various situations. Most popular are amber, yellow, gray or purple. Some competitive shooters swear by yellow lenses to increase contrast between targets and the background. Gray or blue lenses can also cut down on glare and increase object perception.

X-Vision scope on a firearm next to binoculars and rangefindersSome Eyewear Tips

It is important to select eyewear that fits properly. Full wrap around lenses leave less of a gap between the nose and eyes and are safer than aviator style lenses. The governing standard for shooting eye protection is American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1. Compliant glasses should have a Z87.1 imprint somewhere on the frame. ANSI compliant safety glasses can cost as little as $20 or several hundred dollars for high end models with more features.

If you wear prescription glasses, there are models that fit over top of most glasses. If you spend a lot of time in safety glasses, prescription safety glasses that can be ordered through an optometrist.

Stay safe on the range! For more information on safe hunting on public land click here.