Using Thermal Imagers For Hunting

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A thermal imager hunting (or thermal camera) is an optical device that detects the presence of objects generating heat and displays them in the form of dark or light areas. It works similarly to a light detector. The main difference is that instead of producing visible light it outputs a picture based on the object’s radiation in the infrared spectrum.

In countries where hunting at night is legal and a part of sustainable wildlife management, thermal imagers can be an invaluable tool to enhance deer detection. This will not only increase culling efficiency but also reduce the risk of accidental shoots from other hunters. In fact, transect surveys on Thorne Moors in the UK showed that more roe and red deer were detected using a hand-held thermal imager than binoculars during twilight (1 h either side of dawn and dusk).

Gear Up for the Hunt: How a Thermal Imager Enhances Your Hunting Experience

Handheld thermal units are also invaluable for trailing game. With a good quality thermal they allow the user to see an animal’s heat signature through thick foliage and can be used in cool conditions or when the sun hasn’t yet risen to illuminate the surroundings. They can also be useful when spotting blood trails in woodland environments as the animals’ body heat stands out against surrounding leaf litter.

In terms of selecting a thermal imaging camera for hunting it’s worth bearing in mind that the initial magnification on most models will impact picture resolution and sensitivity. It is important to select a thermal imaging monocular with a low starting magnification and a wide field of view in order to maximise the utility of the unit.

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