Thermal Imaging and Hunting

Thermal imaging has been around for many years but it is only recently that the price has reached the point where non-commercial hunters are starting to buy them.thermal imaging

Thermal imaging brings a whole new dimension to viewing live animals or other objects emitting heat. The uses for thermal imaging are endless when it comes to hunting as well as other applications.

As a hunter, any game that emits a heat signal will be picked up, and in most cases, will be recognizable by the shape of the heat image. Its uses could include finding game, tracking wounded game, identifying other people in the area, finding a location to hunt before dawn in an area known to have animals, wildlife observation and game management/herd surveys.


For hog hunters they could use them to check out baited sites at night as well as active game spotting. For deer hunters they can be used for watching crop fields, food plots, and game trails. Most of the thermal imaging equipment will pick up man-sized targets from as far away as 500 yards and can see through light fog, smoke, or dust.

A lot of the thermal imaging equipment can “see” heat in two modes including white hot, and black hot. This simply means that the heat signature showing up on the screen is white as opposed to everything else being white in the background while the heat object picked up is black, so the choice of viewing is a matter of personal preference.

thermal imaging

The units marketed to hunters tend to come in at under $3,000 and so would be very useful to an outfitter, a game manager, or private landowners/individual hunters wanting to assess the status of game in their areas. It may also be also in spotting trespassers or poachers where they should not be.

There will probably be debate about using thermal imaging for hunting and if this moves the sport from hunting to just killing. Some hunters will say there is already a lot of high tech equipment being used now such as range finders, electronic deer callers, GPS to track and locate key spots/trails, remote control tracking collars on hunting dogs, trail cams, motion activated deer decoys, a Rackulator,[ marketed as the World’s Only Electronic Calculating Big Game Scoring Too]l that you trace over the antlers and it tells you your rack score instantly—in seven different scoring categories!

Whatever the debate, thermal imaging is becoming popular and is becoming a must have for some hunters.

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