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Joined: Sep 2007
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I was listening to Gun Talk (I think) on the radio the other day and they read a story of young man that shot his first deer and didn't see exactly which direction it headed. They were was unable to blood trail because it rained heavy so they said they used thermal scopes to locate the deer the next morning by it's heat signature.


Has anybody done this and is there an inexpensive hand held thermal that would work for a situation like this?


The deer hunter does not notice the mountains

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They do work to an extent. I have used a luepold tracker and found a deer for my nephew but it was a cold morning and there was still frost on the ground. I have also found hogs that I shot at night with a thermal. The issue with using thermals is that once the sun comes up and starts heating up the area, everything shows hot. Expensive thermals maybe better. I don't know.


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Thanks for the reply. They did say it was a cool cloudy/rainy day.


The deer hunter does not notice the mountains

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve" - Isoroku Yamamoto

There sure are a lot of America haters that want to live here...



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It certainly works in slightly open woods when the weather is at least cool. If it is a real thicket, not so much. I leave my Pulsar Axion on white hot and have walked to where I've shot game on a trail or lane, then scanned the general direction the deer or hog ran (especially helpful when there is no visible blood trail), and spotted at least a part of the animal lying 40-50 yards out in the woods. I'd likely have found them after a few minutes of searching without the thermal, but it made for an interesting experiment. I will say that a thermal with a lower base magnification is most useful for this, due to the field of view.


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Not legal to use any manner of Night Vision/Thermal for any big game in ND or MT. Not legal for use to find game before it's down, nor after it's down.


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We've got a nice selection of refurbished Pulsar Thermals at very attractive prices that come complete and with a with a Pulsar 1 year warranty


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How far can a basic Thermal spot a game animal or big predator at night? In open country?


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Originally Posted by ol_mike
How far can a basic Thermal spot a game animal or big predator at night? In open country?
I think with thermals its kind buy cheap and regret it or pony up and pay. I have an agm sidewinder 35-640, I can see heat signature on houses 5-6 miles away. I can spot deer sized animals at 1000 yards or more. I have only had mine for a month or so and am saving up for an AGM varmint scope.

low base magnification is both good and bad. its good for close and FOV, however the zoom on a thermal is digital and not optical. so the image degrades quite a bit when you zoom and maybe essentially unusable at the last 2 zoom powers. with higher base mag, you get a more detailed view from a longer distance. AGM recently released a scope that has dual base magnification. that seems to be the best of both worlds.

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Just threw this up to give an idea of what you see through a thermal. This is a 15-384 AGM scanner. I haven't been on this place in the daytime and you just can't estimate range by thermal. But you can definitely see something out there past the obvious black spots (pigs), over by the pond you can see what I believe are deer at about 800? yards. 1.5x base magnification is great for scanning but you will need to get closer to make a shot.

But if you haven't seen a thermal image, here you go.

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Thanks for the information on Scanners.

$3,000+ w/tax & shipping-- expensive buggers.


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Originally Posted by TWR
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
Just threw this up to give an idea of what you see through a thermal. This is a 15-384 AGM scanner. I haven't been on this place in the daytime and you just can't estimate range by thermal. But you can definitely see something out there past the obvious black spots (pigs), over by the pond you can see what I believe are deer at about 800? yards. 1.5x base magnification is great for scanning but you will need to get closer to make a shot.

But if you haven't seen a thermal image, here you go.


that image is black hot. I think its the one I prefer to use as well. its the best at lighting up the terrain around you. hunting jacks at night would be cool with a thermal on a rifle.

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We paid for a night pig hunt out of Van Texas with FHR Outfitters. We sat on a power line for a while and assuming the poles were 200 yards apart we were seeing pigs over 1200 yards away. Randy, the outfitter, had lots of experience and could easily tell they were pigs. It took us a bit longer to determine but it became apparent once they started moving. Scanning fields was the most productive, looking into the timber is not productive, a remote controlled viewer mounted on the roof and displayed on an iPad was handy. It takes some effort to hold up the AR with the scope as a viewer and looking at the screen trashes your night vision. A shout out to all the servicemen on here that have FAR more experience and bless you for your service.

Downside is the thermal doesn't look through windows.

We're headed out tomorrow on a South Dakota ranch to see if we can reduce the porcupine population. I'll be using a Sightmark Wraith Thermal, an entry level thermal.


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There are some guys on YouTube that use drones with thermals for tracking, but it's not legal in many states.

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I use a thermal quite a bit. As mentioned, open fields and pasture, or pasture with light, scattered trees they work well. Moderate timber not very well.

I've tracked shot pigs at night and will find them, other times, I have to wait until it's light. It doesn't take much to block the thermal view. I couldn't find a downed boar the other night, because the grass was too tall. A simple bush can be enough to hide it too. The next morning, I found him easily in the daylight. Scanning with a thermal can also be disorienting. Especially if it's a moonless night and you're walking around. Between the thermal view killing your night vision (think of looking at a TV set), your flashlight and the pitch black, you get twisted around pretty good.

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Be about pointless here in Georgia. Just to thick around here.


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I don’t know…

I have my thermal scanner and a night vision scope. The NV uses an IR light and is about worthless in the timber because the IR splash washes out things behind it. I can focus my IR light down to a tiny spot and that helps but then FOV is gone. Several times I have seen pigs with my thermal scanner in the thick creek bottoms that I just couldn’t find with NV.

I will buy a thermal scope eventually but stuff keeps coming up that I seem to want more.

As to spotting game, we see mice running around in the grass, had an armadillo up under some grass that NV couldn’t see nor could a white light. He blended in perfectly but the thermal picked him out real easy. We even picked up dead hogs that we had drug off a few nights before. Figured the sun heated them up I guess.

Thermal is very useful and I’m only using 384 resolution. My buddies have 640 and now they’ve got a 1080 or so out, I can’t imagine anything could hide from that.

Last edited by TWR; 04/02/24.
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A thermal monocular has been extremely useful for me. When they first came out, my wife got me the Leupold LTO Tracker and later the second generation version of that model, which featured better image quality.

I am mobility-challenged and can't traipse around the woods at night looking for a downed hog or coyote. The use of a thermal monocular has made things much easier for me. Even if behind a screen of brush or grass, the thermal picks up enough of a heat signal to tell me where the carcass is. After several years of use, they've never let me down. And, they are small enough to easily fit into a shirt pocket.

No, they don't possess the quality to make positive IDs of smaller animals at longer ranges, but for my purposes, they've worked exceedingly well.

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I haven’t but that’s a good idea

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Most all the serious competition coon hunters use them to find ( or not find ) coons when their dog trees. Some of these money hunts are in the $50-100k range so finding plus points is a big deal. Most just use the singular monocular though.

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Originally Posted by Razorhog
Most all the serious competition coon hunters use them to find ( or not find ) coons when their dog trees. Some of these money hunts are in the $50-100k range so finding plus points is a big deal. Most just use the singular monocular though.
Wow.

Had no idea coon hunting could get that serious.

DF

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