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What story would you tell your son about last night’s hog hunting expedition? Is it one that highlights success, or that which spells gloom? I am confident you would want to go for the former. However, remember that your hunting success is often dependent on the equipment you have at hand. One such device you cannot afford to miss today is a thermal scope.It is an essential tool when you go hunting for hogs.
The evolution and popularity of thermal scopes, especially in the recent past, cannot go unnoticed. They have become essential tools for every hunter that does any kind of night time hunting.
Now, it would be fair to understand what these thermal scopes are and how they create such images at night. To that end, let’s take this ride together and explore each relevant piece of info.
What are the thermal scopes?
Thermal scopes are optical cameras that rely on establishing heat or temperature differences to detect prey. These sensors detect any slight changes in temperature and consequently display them as shades of grey or other colors, which form electronic images. You could mount them on different types of rifles or weapons, whether small or heavy ones.
Most importantly, people will want to understand how thermal scopes work. While the process is straightforward, it could seem a little technical for some people. This process follows the following steps.
Usually, the sensor points to a specific target area or object, where the lens focuses on the thermal energy produced by the objects within that view. From here, a phased array of detectors scans the focused light.
The detector comes with elements that create a detailed and precise temperature pattern, which now becomes the thermogram. Next, the thermogram translates to electric impulses, which are then sent to a circuit board.
Here, they are converted into meaningful information on the camera’s display. The final image is usually in different colors, depending on the heat intensity of the infrared emission. The lighter the image appears, the higher the heat intensity.
Instructional videos on setting up thermal scopes
Do you know how to set up thermal scopes? Well, the aspects mentioned above will be essential in giving you the invaluable insights you so need. However, you could also take a moment and go through these videos too.
What hunting are they used for?
As mentioned earlier, enhanced clarity is essential for you when hunting hogs, if you want to take down your game effortlessly. That is what thermal scopes assure you.
You can rely on these thermal scopes for different types of hunting. For instance, you can use them to see through fog, mist, smoke, or even camouflage. You could also use them at night for enhanced clarity.
Which is the best thermal scope?
There is no one-fits-all solution to thermal imaging, but your experience in the wild will be dependent on the equipment that you have. In this regard, take the time to identify which thermal device suits your needs and preferences. So, what would an excellent thermal scope have? Always consider the following critical elements.
Magnification is essential in determining how much a distant object can be enlarged. Ensure that the magnification is relatively suitable reliable. That does not mean that it should be so high that it affects the resolution of your image. While at it, a higher refresh rate improves the clarity of your vision.
You will also need to pay attention to the resolution of the sensor and the display of your thermal scope. Preferably, it should be about 640Ä-480 or even above. With this, you will be confident of enhanced clarity in the long run.
• Scope detection range
The scope detection range will be vital in highlighting how far the tool can allow you to see. Usually, an excellent thermal scope will you to identify a target that is between 1000 and 4000 yards away.
Which is the best thermal scope?
It is hard to point out which thermal scope is likely to address your hunting needs adequately. However, the following are some of the most reliable devices you can find on the market today. Whichever you choose, you will be sure of better returns on your money.
FLIR Thermostat Pro PTS 736
These thermal scopes have become relatively popular in the recent past. They pride in a powerful yet compact hardware, which is covered in a sturdy body. Whether you are in dense fog or immense darkness, you will find its imaging to be relatively outstanding. Ideally, it comes with a 60Hz refresh rate, HD display, and a 6X magnification ability.
The performance of this thermal scope is impeccable. However, expect a few mounting issues and relative bulkiness. Despite all this, it will be worth your money.
ATN Thor HD 384 Smart Thermal Riflescope
If you are looking or something inexpensive yet rich in features, this would be your ultimate choice. Its imaging capability and thermal sense are out of this world. Its thermal sensor, which is about 384*288, is capable of catching the heat energy of your prey from a distance.
You will also be sure of advanced technology, which includes the Recoil Activated Video that records your whole experience. Did you know that it comes with a rangefinder that helps in calculating the perfect distance and shot? You could also rely on its ballistic calculator for automatic calculations.
This thermal scope features a 1080HD sensor, a 30Hz refresh rate, and a magnification of between 5 and 20X. You will also appreciate its remote access control, which is usually rechargeable.
However, some people feel that the thermal scope comes with multiple technical features. That way, operating it could be relatively hard. Additionally, the device could be less affordable for some.
Zeus 640 2-16*50 Thermal Imaging
Generally, this is the most reliable and impressive device for you. With this thermal scope, you will easily cut through the thick fog, dust, snow, or any other low-light environment. It guarantees you not only clarity but also room for precision when shooting your prey.
One of its outstanding features is the ability to get clear images even in the worst environment, and without emitting RF energy or visible lights. Its advanced technology is central to these impressive features.
Unlike the ATN Thor mentioned above, this product is neither bulky nor too big. Its operation, therefore, is relatively straightforward. Remember, it features intuitive, simple, and adjustable controls also.
Its only disadvantage is that you will need specialized tools to adjust it. However, as long as you have the right tools, you will have nothing to worry about in the long run.
Trijicon IR Hunter MK3 Thermal Scope
You can hardly ignore the rich features and the high-quality optics that the Trijicon IR comes with. Its unmatched precision, variable magnification, and detailed reticles will undoubtedly attract right away.
This product comes with a relatively small weight of about two pounds. It also features a replaceable 35mm Germanium lens that is reasonably high-transmissive. While at it, you will enjoy a magnification of up to 2.5X and an E-zoom of about 8X. The detailed reticles and high refresh rate will redefine the clarity of your vision.
This thermal scope’s advanced features make it one of the outstanding devices. Its digital control system and 640*840 display and sensor resolution are worth lauding. Did you know that it features an advanced target recognition ability too?
Unfortunately, its battery life, which is between 3.5 and 4 hours, is relatively limited. You should also be ready to splash a fortune on this impressive toy before you get it, $5000 to be precise.
What problems do thermal scopes have?
That thermal imaging has become prominent does not mean that it does not have its fair share of problems. A highlight of these problems will be essential in ensuring that you make credible decisions in the long run.
Usually, these thermal scopes tend to rely on temperature variances, which could be a big problem, especially during extreme cold or even on rainy days. Without enough heat for detection, it will be hard for you to see enough details about your prey.
Also, most of the thermal scopes are not capable of providing you with clear and precise images of your target prey. For instance, if objects are overlapping, images are likely to appear closer than they indeed are. You will also witness that their field of vision is reasonably narrow, which can only pile up your disappointment. With these issues, taking a precise shot could be hard for you in certain instances.
You can hardly ignore that most of these thermal scopes tend to be bulky, which could take a toll on your rifle if you are not careful. As long as it is too heavy for you to carry, you will have a compromised hunting experience in the long run.
Interpreting thermal images requires substantial training. Unless you are properly and adequately trained, it will be hard to handle the device and understand these images. You will need enough information on the meaning of different thermal colors, construction techniques and materials, and the physics behind each image. Such training might take too much of both your time and resources.
Did you know that there are hardly any infrared imaging regulations? While we have different regulatory yet voluntary groups, they will scarcely undertake enough vetting. This aspect could end up hurting your experience in the long run too.
Pros and Cons vs. Night Vision
It would be unfair not to compare thermal scopes to night vision. Various elements come in handy in distinguishing these two types of devices. Well, here are a few advantages of thermal imaging overnight vision scopes.
• Detection of prey
Thermal scopes rely on heat to detect prey, and you can use them both during the day and at night. On the other hand, night vision will only be at your disposal at night and can hardly function well in the light. That is because the light is likely to damage intensifier tubes in these Night Vision scopes.
• Value for money
We often rely on durability to determine the value for money you get. Thermal scopes are lauded for their sturdiness, reliability, and enhanced longevity, things that you will miss in Night Vision.
Thermal imaging is not only reliable but also relatively more precise than Night Vision. We could attribute this to the advanced technology that the thermal scopes feature. Additionally, the magnification of thermal scopes is much higher.
Cons of thermal scopes
• Thermal scopes are relatively pricey in both acquisition and maintenance, which could easily scare away many hunters.
• Unlike night vision scopes, thermal imaging will often require substantial training. This training could be both draining and costly.
Make sure you read our guide on the best night vision scopes!
Are Thermal scopes necessary?
Why do you need these thermal scopes? Well, you are not the only one wondering about this. Simply put, you cannot overlook the value of these thermal scopes in the life of a hunter. This value stems from different elements, including those discussed below.
Clarity during poor weather conditions and low light levels is sometimes inevitable. However, with these devices, you will not need to swap your optics from time to time, which improves your hunting experience down the road.
These products have unmatched accuracy, which allows you to see through fog, snow, and even dense smoke. Besides, they will comfortably detect any slight temperatures. This way, you will hardly miss your target.
These exceptional roles that thermal scopes play means that they will offer maximum returns on your investment. Therefore, they are all that you need.
Indeed, thermal imaging is a technology that you should embrace and use when hunting. With these devices at your disposal, taking down hogs will be effortless. It would be sad for any hunter not to have this important tool. Now that you know their value go ahead and get yourself one! Only reason not to have one is if you’re saving up for one!
FAQ Thermal Scopes
How to Sight in a Thermal Scope?
Its really not much different compared to night vision or normal scopes, all of them usually have different procedures. Here is a good guide i found online for it: sighting in guide
Can Thermal Scopes See Through Glass?
No, it can’t see through glass or glazing as glass removes the heat signatures so the scope has nothing to show you.
Can Thermal Scopes See Through Walls?
No, its impossible. It can only see heat and heat doesn’t pass through walls.
Can Thermal Scopes See Through Fog?
Yes, and no. In thinner fog you can see at least twice as far as the naked eye or even more. But it doesn’t entirely remove the fog.
Can Thermal Scopes See Through Smoke?
Yes, that’s why they are used so often by fire departments.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.