Why you should have a Night Vision Scope or Thermal Scope

The right scope choice is a big topic widely debated by hunters across the globe. If you’ve ever tried hunting at night, then you know the challenges that come with night hunting. These challenges necessitate the need for a good thermal scope or night vision scope. However, you must first decide what device is suitable in certain conditions.

Let’s first have a look at each device and where it works best.

Night Vision Scope

Night vision scopes are also known as NVs. The devices work by amplifying visible light and near-infrared light so that you can see in the dark. These devices have been around for years and have undergone various improvements over the years. We have various generations of night vision scopes with Gen2 the most common in the market.

The light from night vision scopes is transmitted and focused on targets making you see them clearly in the dark. A night vision scope is a good choice when hunting at night with minimal light from the moon and stars.

When using a night vision scope, you will see your targets as a green image. Night visions feature screens coated with phosphors that lead to image creation. Electrons from gathered light pass through the tube enhanced by microchannel plates. The electrons hit the screen and release photons which create an image of where the light is focused.

Thermal Scope

Thermal scopes on the other hand work by detecting thermal infrared light. This is the light radiated by objects. In our case, the target game has a higher body temperature and hence emits more IR radiations. The scope then creates an image on the screen from the temperature variations of the animal and the surrounding.

The best hunting thermal scope can detect a game in a thick bush with ease enabling you to have a clear shot. They usually feature a thermal sensor and can detect game even when hidden behind bushes. Clearer and sharper images can clearly be seen when your thermal scope has a higher resolution.

So why should you have a thermal scope or night vision scope? Below, we discuss the various reasons why you need these two important optical devices.

Why a thermal scope or a night vision scope is needed

Night vision scopes and thermal scopes are needed in various night-hunting situations. Night vision devices are specifically designed for use at night. Thermal scopes on the other hand can be used both at night and during the day.

Detecting game

These two devices can help you detect games in the dark. Thermal scopes are able to detect minute changes in temperature. Since animals emit heat and are warmer than their surroundings, they can help detect games from a distance. Hunters can be sure there is a game at range by using a thermal scope. However, thermal scopes might not identify the exact game detected.

Night vision devices also collect ambient light and can detect game in the dark at longer distances. When hunting at night, the night vision devices collect light from the moon and stars to illuminate targets. Where there is no moonlight, hunters can use IR illuminators to generate light. The IR illuminators work like flashlights for the night vision scopes. The light from IR illuminators can illuminate the game but is not visible to the human eye.

Game identification

Night vision scopes and thermal scopes can help identify the game before taking a shot. Once hunters have detected a game, they have to identify it before taking a shot. While thermal scopes can detect the game in the thickest of bushes, they might not be able to identify the game. Images on thermal scopes are usually displayed in black, white, and various other shades. In such situations, you will need a night vision scope. These two devices can be used together for better game detection and identification.

Once the game is detected, you can then use a night vision scope to identify it. Visible light collected by night vision devices bounces off the game giving a clear image of the game on the screen. A Gen 2 night vision device can clearly identify the game from a distance so that you take a shot of the right game.

The only situation when night vision devices are limited is when the game is standing or camouflaged. Thermal scopes are best for game detection but not identification. They are no inhibited by camo or fog. The only situation where thermal scopes will not work is in extremely cold temperatures.

As a general rule, thermal scopes are best for detection while night vision scopes are good in detection and identification. You can choose to have either devices or just a night vision alone depending on your hunting area.

More natural image with a wide field of view

Hunters can enjoy a more natural image and a wider field of view. You can clearly see the game and shoot with confidence. There is no second-guessing whether you’re shooting the right game.


You will need these scopes since they are extremely durable and can withstand harsh outdoor weather elements. While thermal scopes tend to be a little durable, both scopes can serve you well at night without damage.

Longer battery life

Night vision scopes can last you for a long period when fully charged. They are hugely needed when hunting away from home for days. You can track a game for hours and get close without having to worry about the battery dying.


Both devices are becoming more affordable on the market and with a wide array of choices. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent night vision scope or thermal scope.

Final verdict

When hunting at night, you will need to detect, identify and take down the desired game. As you can see, you need a thermal scope for easy identification when a night vision scope is not suitable. However, you will need a night vision scope for identification and taking down the game. These devices are becoming affordable and are a must-have for hunters.

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