How effective is thermal imaging tech for hunting?

During the day, it is very easy to catch animals. However, animals can easily identify the hunter and run away. This is the reason why most hunters prefer to hunt at night. Since visibility is limited at night, hunters rely on thermal imaging cameras to find out the animals. These cameras enable hunters to find out the animals even from a distance.

Effectiveness of thermal imaging in hunting

The best part about the thermal imaging camera is that they can be used even in pitch darkness. Nowadays, most cameras are featuring an inbuilt light that enables the hunter to find the animal clearly, even behind dark backgrounds.

Thermal imaging cameras are popular in hunting wild animals that cause destruction of crops like the hogs. They can also be used in other applications, such as surveying the hunting grounds.

The use of thermal imaging cameras in hunting is not affected by poor lighting or other adverse weather conditions. Although uncooled thermal imagers are considered to be the best devices for hunting, they are a bit costly. Most of them are equipped with the latest technology and features, such as high resolution and sensitivity.

How do thermal imaging cameras work?

Animals emit some kind of infrared radiation, which is also known as a heat signature. A thermal imaging camera detects the heat emitted by the animals and converts it to an image. The camera features an optical system that directs infrared radiation to an array of infrared detector elements that contain thousands of pixels.

Each pixel reacts to the focused energy by producing an electronic signal. The processor in the camera interprets the signals to create a color map of the field of view. Various temperature ranges are assigned to different colors. The mixture of different colors is shown as a temperature picture (thermal image) on display.

Reasons why you should hunt with thermal imaging devices

  • Can be used day and night

Unlike night vision optics, thermal imaging can be used both in complete darkness and during the day. To demonstrate the versatility of the thermal imaging technology in hunting, FLIR Systems send a team of writers for a scavenger hunt in the southeastern state of Arizona at almost noon when the sun is high and bright.

The point of the exercise was to show that even though thermal technology is mostly associated with night hunting, it can also be used during the day. This means having one thermal imaging device for hunting at any time of the day.

  • Thermal imaging devices have become more affordable

Although affordability is relative, it is a fact that thermal imaging devices cost has dropped significantly in the recent past. For instance, right now, a device like FLIR ONE Gen 3 is averagely retailing at $200. The same technology could have cost more than $1000 dollars like four or five years ago.

High-end features that were initially reserved for the military and independently wealthy organizations are now included in budget-friendly devices. For example, right now, at $600, you can get a thermal imaging camera with a 640×480 LCD display, multiple color palettes, and inbuilt video imaging capabilities.2

  • Helps in combating hogs

Wild hogs found in the US are not native to the Americans. The first hogs were brought by Spanish explorers who were transversing the region. A passel of hogs escaped and went feral. Years later, Eurasian boars were released to the wild for hunting purposes.

In areas where the pigs and Eurasian boars met, interbreeding occurred. Over time, the population of these animals has increased tremendously. This is the reason why there are an estimated over five million wild hogs in at least thirty-eight states.

These swine cost the country billions of dollars in crop losses every year. The worst part is that it is very difficult to eradicate these animals. Fortunately, thermal imaging devices can come in handy. For instance, the new FLIE PTS233 scope is a reliable thermal imaging compact device that can be mounted on your rifle. This is a great device to hunt wild hogs at night, which is the perfect time to intercept them.

  • Eliminating predators

Recently, there has been a booming coyote population, which is a threat to other wild animals such as whitetail. Predator control is a very critical factor in maintaining a healthy population of game animals. Some game managers have, and coyote hunters are embracing thermal imaging technology. A riffle with a thermal imaging scope is less cumbersome compared to the traditional light and filter. The scope will also enable you to see coyotes that are hidden in dark places.

  • Protecting humans

When camping at night, nature can call in unexpected. A thermal imaging camera can be useful for a quick scan of the surroundings to ensure there is no imminent danger. This is just one of the ways thermal imaging devices help the hunter to stay safe.

When hunting at night on public land can become chaotic and unsuccessful because of the numerous hunters involved. A thermal imager will enable you to check whether there are other hunters setting near your site.  Regardless of how you are safe from other external factors, you never know if the guy setting their camp next to you is well-versed with guns.

  • Finding wounded animals

A handheld thermal device is an invaluable tool when it comes to traling wounded animals. This device can come in handy when struggling to find a blood trail at night. A thermal imager will enable you to spot the blood trail and also the heat signature of the wounded animal even in thick bushes.


Hunting is illegal in some states, so it is good to check with local authorities before going to hunt at night. Nevertheless, the thermal imager is a very effective device for hunting. Until recently, thermal imaging devices were very expensive, and most people could not afford them. However, prices are coming down, and these devices are becoming available to ordinary people.

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