Night hunting is an incredible adventure for any hunter. The darkness turns it into extreme entertainment, where you yourself can become a target for a predator. Many shooters go on hunting equipped with night vision or thermal imagers. What these devices are, how they help during the hunt, and how you can combine them, read on.
What is night vision?
Night vision devices have long been considered classics for night hunting. Their design is similar to the cat's eye structure (the light passes through the retina of the eye twice; its amount increases, so the ability of cats to see in the dark too). The main task of NV is to capture light and increase its amount, so night vision manufacturers use image intensifier technology. Outer lenses capture light reflected from the objects (absolutely all objects reflect light) and gather it into one beam. The particles of light picked by lenses are called photons.
Then the magic begins. The photons are directed to the photocathode, which turns them into particles of electricity. The photocathode charges the photons, and they turn into electrons. The stream of electric particles flies through the image intensifier tube and meets the microchannel fiberglass plate. The plate has symmetrically located micro holes on its surface. Electrons pass through micro holes, and their number increases hundreds of times.
In the last stage, the stream of electrons hits the phosphor screen. In this way, each electron transmits a piece of the image carried by the photon at the start. After that, the finished image is sent to the user's screen. The whole process described above happens very fast, so our eyes see a clear image in real-time.
What is a thermal vision?
This technology first appeared in the 30s of the past century, but its real development began only in the 60s. The principle of work of a thermal imager is based on the heat radiation emitted by objects. All objects around us, not only humans and animals, have their own temperature and radiate heat. The thermal imager captures this heat and creates a thermal scheme of the surrounding territory.
The thermal imager has sensors and a microcomputer. Sensors react to heat and pick thermal data from the environment within a specified temperature range. Further, this data is sent to a computer, processed by the software, and converted into an image.
There are no clear details in the thermal image, as the NV shows, but you can see objects hidden in leaves, branches, grass, and bushes, in fog or smoke.
Night hunting nuances
Whom can you hunt at night? That's right, on animals leading a nocturnal lifestyle – predators, pests, fur-bearing animals, and some species of artiodactyls. Each type of night hunting has its own nuances that you should know before buying equipment.
This is the most dangerous type of hunting. It is safer to choose a tree from where you will have a good territory observation, but the beast cannot see you. Choosing a location on the ground is a bad idea because you yourself can become a target for a night animal, especially a cougar or a lynx.
Do you want to hunt deer, elk, or roe-deer? Then it would be best if you had a decoy, as well as a good thermal imager. Artiodactyls are very careful. They react to any noise. Therefore, it is almost impossible to track them down at night if you do not have a night vision device with you, or even better, a thermal imager. The last one helps you see the target several hundred yards away, due to which you will have the ability to aim well and make a good shot before the animal senses your presence or hears any warning sound.
Fur-bearing animals hunting
Hunting for a raccoon or a hare will appeal to those who do not like risk and danger. Although, at night, these animals are slow and inactive. They can be tracked down by traces left on the ground. To track them, you can use an under-barrel flashlight, or even better, night vision goggles or night vision monocular.
One of the most favorite entertainment for hunters of all ages and experience. Coyote hunting turns into a real quest because you need to show your dexterity, cunning, and tactic skills. Coyotes are very careful. They react to sounds and smells, so before you start tracking the animal, choose a location, set up equipment, and freeze for at least 15 minutes. To lure the animal, you need to use a decoy and track it down – thermal binoculars or a monocular. In this case, you will be able to control the territory in real-time and see what is hiding in the dark.
How to combinate devices for night vision hunting
First, you need to understand the purpose you will use the equipment and when you will use it. For example, only at night, to track down the beast in open areas, etc. The choice of the combination of accessories and their effectiveness will depend on this.
Set 1: thermal sight + night vision binoculars, goggles, or monocular
An excellent option for predator hunting. Note that the thermal sight must be high-quality, with reticle and hit resistance. It also may have a built-in rangefinder, magnification from 8x and higher, update frequency from 30 Hz and more, high image resolution.
In such a set, night vision devices will help you calmly wait for your target in the selected location. If you prefer active hunting with night vision goggles, you can easily change the location without removing the accessory from your head. Night vision will allow you to track down the target if it is quite far away from you, and with the help of the thermal scope, you can accurately aim and make a good shot.
Set 2: night vision sight + thermal goggles
Such a kit will cost you less, and its functionality will remain at a high level. With the help of goggles, you can easily track your target in dense grass or leaves. Also, you will notice an animal if it is hiding between branches or thin trees in a forest. NV sight should also have a reticle for more accurate aiming and rangefinder.
Set 2 is a good option if you are hunting in a forest, on a field with tall grass, or in poor visibility conditions (light fog, drizzling rain, or there is smoke in the air).
Set 3: night vision scope + thermal binoculars
Good for long-range shooting. The binoculars have a fairly high magnification, and in more expensive models, you can change the color scheme, set temperature frames, and more. Due to this, you will be able to view the territory in all possible variations, and in this kit, your NV scope may not be the latest generation. The set is suitable for hunting on low or medium active targets in open areas.
Set 4: thermal monocular + clip-on systems
Thermal monocular allows you to simultaneously see the image of the surrounding space in real-time and in its thermal version. With a monocular, you can quickly change the location, and, in general, this device is suitable for active night hunting. Clip-on systems will also give you complete freedom of action. Stay on the hunt as long as you like. With the help of a thermal monocular, you can track down the game in the daytime, at the onset of darkness, attach mounting systems to your rifle for viewing the territory in the dark and continue hunting.
You don't have to buy the latest night vision generation accessories to keep your night hunting cool. The main thing is to make the kit that will be optimal for hunt conditions and the animal you will shoot. For example, a dog on a hunt will be great. It can find the traces of a hare, raccoon, wolf, or fox and then bring you the shot game.
Do not forget about your safety while hunting – do not go to the forest alone. If you are a beginner, do not use alcohol and medications that can slow down your reaction, discuss the location of each other if you are going to hunt in a group.