Best Thermal Scope for Deer Hunting
Deer hunting is a pastime outdoor activity enjoyed by many. If you are one of the many people that practice deer hunting either as a hobby or for food, a thermal scope is an important addition to your hunting gear. It will help improve your ability to take out this game at a distance, regardless of the weather and lighting conditions.
Choosing the best thermal scope for deer hunting can be taxing especially if you are on the market for the first time. The market offers so many models, but not all are ideal for deer hunting. For your convenience, we have made a review of the best thermal scopes for deer hunting available on the market today. These scopes should help make your deer hunting expedition more competitive and enjoyable too. Without wasting any more time, let’s get started.
Best Thermal Scope for Deer Hunting – Our Top Picks
ATN Thor 4, Thermal Rifle Scope 640×480
ATN is well-known for its high-quality thermal rifle scopes and the ATN Thor 640 cements this reputation. This is a high-performance scope that comes with everything a deer hunter will need to improve their odds of success. It also offers a ton of features at a great price.
For starters, the scope features a 640×480 thermal sensor which allows you to clearly spot the game regardless of the lighting conditions. This sensor is also capable of detecting heat signatures even when the deer is hiding behind bushes, tall grass or in light fog conditions.
The 4-40x magnification helps you focus on your target even in long distances. On top of that, the thermal scope provides a long detection range to help you make an accurate shot placement regardless of the range. You also get a built-in rangefinder that calculates how far the target is and a ballistic calculator that set the reticle to the right spot so you can hit the deer on the right spot.
The scope comes with an ultra-power profile so it doesn’t consume the battery quickly. On a single charge, it provides more than 16 hours of continuous operation which is sufficient for most hunting needs. To complement this is a comfortable eye relief that provides comfortable viewing during long glassing sessions.
Another notable feature about this high-end thermal scope is the dual-purpose video streaming and recording. You can stream the HD videos directly on your mobile phone and record them to an SD card which is inside the scope simultaneously. The scope also comes with a recoil activated video which ensures that you don’t miss any shot.
- Built-in rangefinder
- Quick detach mount
- Classical ergonomics
- Remote access control system
- Recoil activated video
- Comfortable eye relief
- Ballistic calculator
- Ultra-low power profile
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatibility
- Several reticles with multiple color patterns
FLIR Breach PTQ136 Thermal Imaging Monocular
This multi-purpose thermal imaging monocular offers exceptional vision perfect for deer hunting during the day or at night. It has an internal FLIR Boson thermal core that provides advanced image processing and a high-definition display provides excellent image brightness and clarity.
This compact monocular is designed to provide convenient hands-free operation. It comes with numerous mini-rail mounting points that you can use to attach to your head mounts or helmet mounts. You can also mount extra accessories on this rail mount to make your hunting expedition better.
Weighing just 210g/7.4 ounces, you’ll have an easy time carrying it in the field as you track down your targets. The multiple color palettes available provide comfortable viewing in different lighting conditions. They also help reduce eye fatigue during long viewing sessions. Other than that, this monocular comes with a digital compass/inclinometer to help increase situational awareness.
- Compact and lightweight
- Convenient hands-free operation
- On-board video recording and image capture
- Digital compass/inclinometer
- Seven color palettes
- Outstanding vision
- Multipurpose application
- Day and night application
IR Defense Hunter Mark II 640 Thermal Rifle Scope
Deer hunting gets better and more rewarding when you use the IR Defense Hunter Mark II thermal riflescope. It features a 640×480 resolution which helps you identify your targets smoothly in any light conditions. The uncooled microbolometer included helps you differentiate between living and non-living things in total darkness without the need to use an external illumination.
With a high digital magnification power of up to 20x, this scope brings faraway targets closer for smooth and accurate shot placement. The 1000+ detection range also helps you track down long-range targets easily.
More importantly, the scope is built tough to stand up to the harshest hunting environments. It has shockproof 35mm objective lens that’s comes with a scratch-resistant, diamond-like carbon protective window. The lens is also coated with anti-reflective coatings to improve light transmission for better vision.
To add on this, the scope is made from 6061-T6 aluminum to give you many years of field use. It’s also waterproof for all-weather reliability and shock and recoil-resistant for added durability. To top it all, the scope has an ergonomic and lightweight design with knurled windage and elevation knobs.
- Durable 6061-T6 aluminum alloy housing
- Single-lever quick release system
- Shockproof and waterproof construction
- Ergonomic, lightweight design
- Adjustable windage and elevation
- Numerous polarity modes, E-zoom
- 60Hz refresh rate
- Up to 20x digital zoom
- 640×480 OLED display with video-out
- Anti-reflective lens coatings
- Limited 3-year warranty
Pulsar Thermion Thermal Riflescope
If you are looking for a powerful thermal scope that will help take your deer hunting to the next level, the thermion XG50 is your best excellent option. This thermal riflescope comes equipped with an array of high-end features suitable for every modern hunter out there. First it comes with a 640×480 microbolometer resolution and an extremely powerful 12-micron pixel detail which provide a whole 2400 yards detection range.
This thermal riflescope boasts 8x digital zoom suitable for deer hunting in various ranges. This digital zoom provides excellent mage clarity on the 1024×768 full-color AMOLED display to help you place an accurate shot. Better yet, the picture in picture feature accommodates all big hunters in virtually any environment.
This thermal riflescope can be used in all-weather conditions. It features a waterproof construction which provides reliable protection from rain, snow and other precipitation.
Moreover, it has 8 different color palettes which reduce eye fatigue during long glassing sessions and a built-in video and still image recorder that you can use to record every single moment of your hunting expedition.
A e16GB internal memory is also included for storing the images captured and videos recorded. Lastly, the Thermion is built tough to stand harsh hunting environments and heavy recoil rifles.
- Generous 50mm eye relief
- Customizable reticle options
- BAE sensor with 8 color palettes
- Zeroing profiles management
- Instant start-up
- Built-in video and still image recorder
- IPX-7 Waterproof rating
- Durable and recoil resistant
- Variable digital zoom
- 6-7 hours continuous operation time
- 13 variable electronic reticles
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Considerations when looking for the Best Thermal Scope for Deer Hunting
Here are the key factors you should consider when shopping for the best thermal scope for deer hunting.
Thermal scopes are great investments that come at a higher price tag. Generally, thermal scopes cost more than night vision scopes or standard scopes. Typically, how much you spend on a thermal scope for deer hunting will largely depend on your budget, needs and skills.
If you are a beginner, you should get an entry-level thermal scope that’s not only easy to operate but also less expensive. Most entry-level thermal scopes feature lower resolution, fewer high-tech features and shorter range.
On the other hand, if you are a seasoned hunter looking to take your deer hunting skills to a higher level, you should get a professional-grade model. Such scopes fall in between $2,500 and $5,000. They have high-end features, longer detection range and high resolution. You can also go for the high-end models that cost more than $5,000 if you can afford one.
Magnification helps bring distant deer closer. It also helps you to get close-up view of the target without having to get close to it. Your ideal magnification will largely depend on your hunting environment and personal preference.
If you intend to use a lower-resolution scope, make sure that you get a model whose magnification doesn’t exceed 8x. Too high magnification and your images will become grainy. Also look at whether the scope provides both optical magnification and digital zoom.
Its indispensable to get a thermal scope with a built-in rangefinder for deer hunting. It will not only save you the hassle of having to carry a separate rangefinder, but it will also make your hunting simpler as you won’t have to keep switching between the scope and the rangefinder.
The most important feature of a thermal rifle scope is its sensor resolution. When it comes to deer hunting, go for a scope with the highest sensor resolution possible. Higher resolution means more pixels to capture more infrared light. This results to production of high-quality images even in total darkness. The most common resolutions are 384×288 for the entry level thermal scopes and 640×480 for the more expensive models.
The other important factor you should consider is the refresh rate. If you are new in the market, refresh rate is the number of images the thermal camera takes per second. Low-end thermal scopes have a refresh rate of about 30Hz. This is not ideal for deer hunting as the image produced is often of low quality. The best refresh rate for deer hunting is 50Hz or 60Hz. At this rate, the thermal camera keeps up with the target or rifle’s movement easily and produces crisp clear images.
The thermal scope’s battery life can have a considerable impact on the success of your deer hunting expedition. Unfortunately, inadequate battery power forces some hunters to cut short their journeys. To avoid this problem, be sure the model you’re contemplating has a battery that can provide more than 8 hours of continuous operation. If you’ll be engaged in long hunting sessions and this won’t be enough, you should get an external battery pack which will offer more hours of use.
It’s also important that you look at how heavy the scope weighs. If your hunting involves moving from one location to the other in search of game, you’ll want a thermal scope that doesn’t add any unnecessary weight on you and the rifle. So, go for a scope that’s lightweight and portable. Typically, a model that weighs not more than 2lbs will be ideal.
Best Thermal Scope for Deer Hunting FAQs
- Can a thermal scope be used for deer hunting?
Yes, it can. However, a thermal sight can be used for deer hunting during day and night. Nonetheless, it is critical to check local state legislation to guarantee that a thermal scope can be legally used for hunting.
If legal, a thermal scope makes a great tool for deer hunting in all lighting conditions.
- Are thermal scopes legal for hunting?
It depends. In most states, thermal scopes are legal for hunting. Furthermore, in most areas, thermal scopes are not only legal for deer hunting but also for deer counting purposes.
Deer are more active early in the morning or late in the evening. As thermal scopes do not rely on light for precise target views, you’ll find it easier to track them down, especially in challenging conditions
- Can civilians buy a thermal scope?
Absolutely yes. There are no legal restrictions on civilian ownership of thermal imaging scopes. The only setback that most civilians encounter is the limited supply of thermal scopes. However, limits are occasionally enforced in response to strong demand from the government’s Department of Defense. As a result, there are fewer units to match the increasing demand in the civilian market.
Hopefully, this buying guide has given you the insight into the best thermal scope for deer hunting. Knowing what you need in a thermal scope for deer hunting will help make your selection process simpler. Use this guide to thoroughly evaluate the features of each scope, and then select the type that best fits your deer hunting needs.