Can You Hunt Deer With A Thermal Scope? (Night Hunting)

Throughout the United States, hunting laws vary depending on which state you are in. That’s right, California and Pennsylvania do NOT have the same hunting laws. In this post, we’ll answer the questions can you hunt deer with a thermal scope or night vision equipment? There are many reasons why hunters choose to work at night. Read on to see if this is actually legal!

So…Can You Hunt Deer With A Thermal Scope?

There is no question that a thermal scope gives you advantages that don’t exist with a traditional elk hunting scope. Especially in low lighting situations! But are they legal?

It depends. I don’t mean to provide a vague answer. However, the specific state you live in will determine if thermal scopes are legal to hunt deer with. For example, the Pennsylvania Game Commission approved the use of night vision equipment and thermal scopes. On the other hand, states such as Oregon & Kansas do NOT allow night vision or thermal optics for hunting. Just make sure you know the difference between night vision vs thermal scopes!

Map of states which allow thermal scopes for hunting deer

Are thermal scopes legal at night? Most hunters get their own thermal scope to hunt during the night. However, it is NOT legal in every state. In states like Nevada and New Mexico you can only hunt from sunrise to sunset. So if you’re going to use your thermal scope for hog hunting, make sure it’s legal first!

map of the united states which allow night hunting

Benefits Of Night Hunting

There are many reasons why hunters around the US decide to go out at night. They are often eager to grab their thermal scope for ar15 and get out in the field! Sometimes it just comes down to personal preference. In this section, we’ll explore why hunters would choose to use night vision optics and thermal scopes for hunting!

1) More Activity

One of the main benefits of night hunting is that it allows hunters to take advantage of the natural patterns of nocturnal animals, which may be more active and easier to locate during the night. Many animals are simply more active during the night! Once you know how night vision works, it becomes a very useful tool!

Animals are on the move during the cover of night and have less fear from predators of all types. Hunting with a night vision device, like a night vision crossbow scope, can give you a better chance to come across an animal that are otherwise difficult to spot.

2) Less Competition

This is more of an outside the box benefit. 95% of hunters go out during the day. This means that there will be less competition amongst hunters for deer hunting at night. A thermal scope or night vision equipment gives you a competitive advantage because you can hunt when everyone else is sleeping! So sight in your night vision scope and get to work.

3) Animals Can’t Easily Detect You

Any hunter can tell you that the sense of an animal are far superior to humans. Elk can hear, see, or smell you from hundreds of yards away.

Hunting in complete darkness take away one of the animals major advantages. They will not be able to see you as well as you can see them with thermal scopes or other night vision equipment. That is one of the reasons why night vision optics for coyote hunting are so popular!

What About Spotlighting Deer?

Hunters know that spotlighting deer makes it easy to identify deer out in an open field at night. But is spotlighting deer legal?

It depends on the state laws. In states like Wisconsin, it is legal year round to spotlight deer. However, this assumes that you do NOT have a weapon on you. Again, be sure to verify you local state laws before attempting to spotlight deer or go hunting with the best thermal scope under $1000!

You should also fully understand the difference between infrared and thermal in order to pick the best scope for your specific needs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you hunt during the day with a thermal scope?

Yes, you can you hunt deer with a thermal scope during the day. The thermal scope allows you to effectively see through crowded woods and brush with a highly visible heat signature. Night vision scopes are NOT build for daytime use and can actually be damaged from excessive light!

Is it legal to use thermal imaging for hunting?

In the state of Pennsylvania it is 100% legal to hunt using thermal imaging devices and night vision equipment. However, night vision devices are not legal in all 50 states, so check your local laws to be sure.

Can you see deer antlers with a thermal scope?

It is possible to see deer antlers with a thermal scope, as antlers are living tissue and will emit heat. However, this is especially true when the deer antlers are still growing and there is more blood flowing through them.

How far can you shoot with thermal?

With a premium thermal scope you can take shots from over 1,000 yards. However, this will depend on your specific skillset. There is no scope in the world that will make you shoot accurately from super long distances. It takes skill and practice!

Can thermal scopes see through grass?

In most cases grass will not be a large enough obstacle to obstruct your thermal scope. This is one of the main reasons why thermal scopes are for deer hunting.

Final Thoughts

By now you know that hunting deer with a thermal scope or night vision equipment can be very effective for night hunting. More so than traditional Deer Hunting Vortex Scopes. Thermal scopes allow hunters to easily see the heat signatures of a deer or elk. This makes it easier to locate and track game in low light conditions.

However, it is important to check the laws and regulations in your state before attempting to hunt with a thermal scope. Just because something is legal in Pennsylvania does not mean it is legal to hunt deer at night in California! Laws aside, hunting with night vision equipment is very effective and I definitely recommend you give it a try.

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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