Something good for everyone’s eyes
Some of us are fortunate enough to be able to hunt at night. Professional hunters, those performing depredation and varmint removal, and (in some cases) people hunting over their own property fall into this category. The major advantage to hunting at night is that it’s when many of the hunted species are much more active. The major disadvantage is, of course, it’s much harder for us humans to see.
Enter the Digital Hunter DayNight scope, from ELCAN Sporting Optics of Richardson, TX. As its name implies, the DayNight scope is suitable for all light conditions, including total darkness with the use of infrared flashlights. Beyond its ability to extend your hunting time into the dark hours, though, the DayNight has some features useful to hunting any time of day.
As these pictures show, the Day/Night offers excellent image quality, whether being used in mid-day or in very low light conditions. The alert reader will notice that these two pictures show different reticles.
As explained later in the article, the user has the choice between several reticle options. This flexibility is expecially useful, not only for day vs. night hunting, but also for light-skinned vs. dark-skinned animals.
The DayNight at a glance
The heart of the DayNight scope is its full color, 3 megapixel CCD sensor and 648×480 pixel display unit. The images are bright and plenty sharp enough for most shooting applications. The scope also tracks motion quite well.
The DayNight scope is definitely not compact. At nearly a foot long, rather boxy and weighing in at 26 ounces, it’s probably not going to accompany you on your next Dall sheep hunt at 15,000′ elevation. Apart from such extremes, however, the DayNight is surprisingly versatile – it can be used on a bench rifle for varmint shooting, or on a carbine-length brush gun, or anything in between.
One thing that I especially appreciate about the DayNight is the digital display and large controls. There is a bit of a learning curve on configuring the scope (more on this later) and I’m grateful that this isn’t made more problematic by the use of tiny, hard to access keys and buttons.
The designers of the DayNight evidently went out of their way to ensure that this product wouldn’t be a fragile hot-house flower. The DayNight is very well built and appears quite rugged. While I didn’t subject it to a destructive stress test, I wouldn’t hesitate to subject it to any of the rigors that a conventional scope experiences in the field.
Setting up the DayNight
This is a subject that must be discussed with a bit of caution, to avoid giving people the wrong idea. There is no disputing the fact that the DayNight is more complex than a traditional riflescope. And, there is indeed a time investment needed to configure the scope to your preferences. Having said this, I’d like to make the following observations:
- while the menu features and options can look somewhat overwhelming at first, you can ignore most of them. The most important features are all available in a few simple menus.
- once you have the Day/Night properly configured, it’s pretty much set-and-forget; the only control you’ll be using on a regular basis is the power button.
- the documentation for this product is simply excellent. If you can read, you can find the answer to pretty much any issue you’ll experience.
So, people who are considering the DayNight would do well to focus on its benefits, and not the hour or two they might spend getting it set up. Look at it this way: if worst comes to worst, you can have your 12 year old granddaughter set it up for you after she’s done with your VCR.
Once you’ve gotten the DayNight configured to your tastes, it’s a breeze to use in the field. Once you push the power-on button, no more fiddling with the controls is needed; it’s time to roll. The display on top quickly goes off, and the eyeshade prevents stray light from leaking from the scope. The matte finish contributes to an inconspicuous product that is unlikely to startle whatever game you’re stalking.
Once the DayNight is mounted, its admittedly heavier weight seems less noticeable. I think this is because the scope sits fairly far back over the action, making the added weight less burdensome when leveling the rifle.
The DayNight is quite a really versatile scope. Some people use it for varmint hunting at several hundred yards. I tested it at considerably shorter distances on an AR-15 and found it equally effective. While the match shooters will probably continue to rely on optical scopes, hunters of all varieties should find the DayNight quite useful.
Contributing to its versatility is its ability to store up to 4 ballistic tables. If you use several bullet weights in your rifle, this can be an enormous convenience. At the range you simply sight in the gun with your various loads, and store the sighting data for each load in the DayNight. Later, when you’re ready to use a particular load, you retrieve its table in the DayNight, and the rifle’s ready to go.
Another great feature is the configurable reticle. You can choose from the several options built into the scope, or (if you’re a bit computer graphics savvy) you can create your own and upload it to the DayNight. You can also associate a different reticle with each load table you store, so if you with to tie a varmint reticle to your lightest load, and a German #4 reticle to your heaviest, you can do it. VERY nice feature.
The DayNight is really a fun scope, even during daylight. One thing that I really appreciate about it is its virtually infinite eye relief. As someone who has self-inflicted “scope eyebrow” more times than I care to admit to, this feature is of huge appeal when considering the DayNight for magnum rifles.
One feature that I haven’t mentioned yet is the video output supplied by the DayNight. It can store a short movie of your hunting/shooting experience, which can then be uploaded to your computer. Try doing that with a glass scope!
The Elcan DayNight is a highly innovative, yet practical, approach to the age-old problem of shooting in low to zero light conditions. It can extend the hours of your hunting, and its features can make your favorite hunting rifle even more versatile. Simply put, this is a fantastic option for anyone who plans to be shooting in low-light conditions.