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Field Tested: Covert Optics ThermX TRF

FeraDyne's new thermal rangefinder is the first of its kind.

Field Tested: Covert Optics ThermX TRF

$2,499.99 | Covert Optics | 270-743-1515 |

When it comes to nighttime hunting for predators and hogs, the majority of equipment on the market is geared toward firearms hunters, with few products designed specifically with bowhunters in mind.

Well, if you’re an archery hunter who enjoys pursuing wild pigs, coyotes or other predators in low light, you’re now in luck, since FeraDyne Outdoors has launched a line of thermal optics gear as part of its new Covert Optics brand.

One of the line's highlights is the ThermX TRF, which FeraDyne bills as the world’s first thermal rangefinder. Designed to detect anything with a heat signature out to 1,600 yards, it can be used as a rangefinder and scouting tool when predator hunting, and it even has applications for deer hunting (where legal). For example, if you're in your treestand waiting for daylight, you can survey your surroundings to see if there are already deer in the immediate area, allowing you to properly position yourself for a potential shot when the first rays of light peek through. Similarly, you can scan the field as you're leaving in the evening to ensure you aren't spooking deer into the next county as you head back to the truck.

As far as operating the TRF, it's fairly simple, with three buttons atop the unit controlling all menu navigation and functions. To use the rangefinder, you simply power up the unit, hold the rear button down once you acquire your target and the distance is shown at the top of the display screen. If you continue to hold the button in, the TRF will remain in ranging mode until you take your finger off it.

Powered by a Lepton 3.5 micro core sensor with 160x128 sensor resolution and a 9hz frame rate (9 frames-per-second refresh rate), the TRF displays images quickly and offers a wide range of functionality and options. Imagery is viewed via the 1.5-inch color OLED display (160x128 resolution), with the unit offering 8X magnification, as well as a narrow, 7-degree field of view to help with target acquisition. If you need to adjust the display due to temperature or lighting conditions, there are four palette options: White-Hot, Black-Hot, Green and Color. Further adjustments to enhance image visibility can be done by manipulating the unit’s brightness control.

As far as archery hunting with the TRF, the unit comes with threaded holes on both sides so it can also be mounted to a compound or crossbow as a thermal sight, where permitted. Zeroing-in is done via the Reticle Menu, which allows you to set and save different "pin" configurations, including the ability to change distances between pins and remove select pins if desired. The unit offers four preset options, including a single-pin setup, vertical bow (multi-pin) and setups specifically for FeraDyne’s Axe crossbows.

All the pins are fully adjustable, with the ability to change elevation and windage with the push of a button. To aid in pin positioning, the unit’s Visible Laser Pointer (VLP) can be turned on via the menu, and the laser can be exposed by removing a screw on the front of the unit.

The TRF offers several options for pin sizes and colors, allowing you to customize the setup to your liking. If you’re using the muti-pin configuration, setting the first pin automatically adjusts the other pins by the same amount, which is helpful in the calibration process. Display orientation can be changed via the menu to show images properly whether the unit is mounted to a compound or a crossbow. It's important to note, however, that if you plan to use the TRF as a sight, you'll need to purchase a mounting plate from FeraDyne (sold separately).

At only 3.4x3.25x1.5 inches and weighing just 7 ounces, the TRF is lightweight and compact, but it’s also well built, with waterproof and shockproof construction to withstand heavy use in the field. If you’re a hunter who's always looking for the ultimate challenge — such as taking down coyotes or hogs with archery gear at night — or you simply want to check the field before heading to your stand in the dark to avoid spooking deer, check out this thermal optics masterpiece from Covert. — Associate Editor Mark Demko

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