Night Vision vs. Thermal Optics – What is the Ideal Setup?

Night Vision vs. Thermal Optics – What is the Ideal Setup?

The ideal setup between Night Vision vs. Thermal Optics depends significantly on the type of hunting intended. Night vision or image intensifiers and Thermal Optics each have unique performance abilities. Night vision is best for identifying objects, while thermal helps in detection. Individually, both works great, but when working together, you can’t stop them. Although it is difficult to buy all at once, it’s an investment worth making. You can use the thermal to scan for targets or threats. When you use thermal imagers and night vision together, it guarantees you cover all bases and effectively monitor, identify and engage. 

Night Vision vs. Thermal Optics – What is the Ideal Setup?

Night Vision

If you’ve never viewed a target through a night vision optic, you must have seen military clips on TV with a green-colored screen. Night vision collects light, moonlight, sunlight or any other light in the sky and intensifies it so you can see in the dark. Most night vision optics come together with an infrared light that helps you illuminate a target or field in the blind darkness, especially nights when there’s no moon. You can see The infrared light with the eye but using a night vision scope resembles a spotlight. High-end night vision scopes don’t depend on the infrared illuminator, unlike the cheaper ones. 

Gen. 1, 2 or 3 Night Vision: If you look through night vision devices, you’ll discover that they have different ratings; Gen 1, 2 or 3. Simply put, Gen 1 is a budget-friendly scope. The following steps up from Gen 1 will cost you more, but you’ll get a better image, more clarity and more extended detection, as well as less ambient light with a more comprehensive battery and shelf life. Gen 2 and Gen 3 models are your top-level scopes. 

Digital Night Vision: Night vision has a new classification, and that’s digital night vision. Unlike conventional night vision, which uses an intensifier tube, digital night vision detects light using an objective lens and processes it using a charged coupler device. It then transfers an image to an LCD screen. Digital night vision is displayed on the LCD screen as black and white, unlike the typical green and black traditional night vision. It is also cheaper than normal night vision and offers a clearer image. You can use digital night vision during the daytime. 

Night vision offers an excellent tool for night hunters, so you don’t have to shine any light into the field. Though it has its limitations, you can expect to identify targets over many hundred yards, depending on the power of infrared light used and the optical quality. Nonetheless, night vision can’t see through smoke, fog, foliage or tall grass. So, if you want to scan through a field with tall grass, you may only see a short distance, just like shining visible light into a misty area. 

Thermal Optics

Thermal Optics, unlike night vision, can read heat. They have high-tech processors that can detect the most minor and most significant heat difference and create a digital image of the landscape and object in the optic. Thermal Optics often have color pallets that are switchable, like black-hot, white-hot etc. Thermal Optics that read heat signatures show animals as White or grey when viewed through the optic. When it’s in white-hot mode, cold objects appear darker while hotter things appear cool. So, if you go into a field on a cold night and look through your best thermal optic, the ground or grass will look black or dark, while a warm-blooded animal like a hog will look. Like a spotlight, bright White against black surroundings. 

Thermal Optics has an overnight vision because you can see through anything; fog, smoke or tall grass because it does not use light to see the image; instead, it reads heat. Warm-blooded animals are always detected by thermal unless they stay behind a cover. 

Also, thermal optics has the advantage of detection range overnight vision. Thermal Optics can detect warm targets at a greater distance. With a high-end thermal, it can sight friendly blooded animals at a distance beyond 1,000 yards. Although you may not quickly determine if it is a cow, pig or deer at first, you’ll know there’s an animal at a distance, so you can either choose to go closer to confirm the target. 

But, it’s important to note that these advantages have a price attached to them. Top-notch thermal optics cost some thousands of dollars, while night vision can go for a few hundred dollars. Night vision optics can also cost more, especially top-shelf units. 

Difference Between Night Vision and Thermal Imaging

  • Night vision requires visible light to function well. In comparison, Thermal Optics don’t need any light for proper functioning. 
  • Night vision amplifies visible light. On the other hand, Thermal Optics uses infrared sensors in detecting temperature differences in objects along its line of sight.
  • Night vision gets a scene and intensifies its light, then translates it to images of green tint. Thermal Optics translate heat readings into clear pictures of view and shoes object with higher heat signatures as orange, bright yellow or red. 
  • Night vision is affected by conditions like rain, fog, dust, smoke and cloudy nights. Thermal Optics is not affected by these conditions and can view objects in total darkness. 
  • Night vision is outdated technology, although it is still in use. It is also cheaper but has lower quality. Thermal imaging is a highly advanced technology that, although it is expensive, can improve safety at night more than its competitors. It is also very affordable.

The Bottom Line

Which is Better, Night Vision or Thermal Imaging?

You can see the notable difference between night vision and thermal optics. A combination of both is a formidable force to reckon with and use in your shooting. Clear night vision and thermal heat sensors are perfect for any hunting experience. 

Night Vision Scope vs Goggles

If you can only shoot during the day, you are missing out on a lot of additional hours. Being able to shoot at night adds a whole other dimension to shooting and hunting. 

Thankfully, there are several options for you that will enable you to extend your time on the range into the night. You can purchase optional accessories for you and your gun that will enable you to shoot at night. You are able to choose between night vision scopes and night goggles. But how do you know which is right for you?

Before you can decide which one is right for you, let’s take a closer look at them.

What is a night vision scope?

A night vision scope is the kind of scope that will utilize special technology that will allow you to see your surroundings in a nighttime setting. This means you’ll be able to utilize such light types like Infrared (or IR) or even ambient light (like moonlight). The scope will even rely on the scope’s reflective abilities to ensure that you will get a better image picture quality that will be easy to see with the help of this kind of night vision lighting. Check more at Boberg Arms if you want to know more about night vision scope.

What about goggles?

Night goggles are designed to be worn by the user, not mounted on a gun. The aim of night goggles is to be the user see in the dark, using both eyes. Goggles do not provide magnification. 

There are 2 different types of night goggles; a 2 eyepiece that views through a single image tube and a stereo vision. Stereo vision is using a 2 eyepiece to view through a dual image tube. A pair of stereo vision goggles will have better depth perception to them. 

The great part about using goggles is that there is no need to spend time learning how to use them. Simply strap them on and go. They are a great asset when you are trying to navigate your way around terrain at night. 

What are some pros and cons of using a night vision scope? 

If you are using a night vision scope, it will definitely help you to see your targets. This is because any light will cause the target to be sighted and show up on your screen. This is helpful at night and if the prey is trying to camouflage. You also have the ability to zero your scope out to a comfortable shooting distance for you. This means you can remain in a stable position, and still get a clear shot at your target. 

When you use a night vision scope it is important to remember a few things. After you mount your night vision scope, you will need to zero it. What this means is that you are going to adjust your scope so that you can hit the target, taking into account factors such as bullet drop. 

Ideally, 100 yards is a good zero since most rounds will not have bullet drop at this distance. However, it can be tough to try and zero at 100 yards with night vision right away. 

It might be easier to start with your zero at 25 yards at night. And then you can move that back to 100 yards as you get adjusted. 

You will not be able to use your scope to navigate the terrain as you walk around in the dark. And you will need to zero your scope at night; using it during the day can severely damage it. 

What are some pros and cons of using goggles?

Goggles are a great tool to use when navigating dark terrain. The purpose of the goggles is to allow the user to use both eyes to see. This is a very helpful feature when hunting at night. 

A drawback to using the goggles is that the user must wear them. This may not seem too bad at first but after a while, the extra weight can become burdensome. This fatigue can affect your shooting. Another drawback to using goggles is that they do not magnify objects. This means that you will not be able to sight your target at a distance. If you are in close range with your target, it may flee. This can be cumbersome. 

Factors to consider

When you are considering adding accessories for night hunting, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

When you are considering a night vision scope, be sure to purchase one that can be mounted on your rifle. Be sure to purchase any necessary mounting hardware. In addition, be sure to sight your scope to zero before your first use. This will have to be done at night so that you do not ruin your scope. 

If you are purchasing a pair of night-vision goggles, consider the weight. Since this is an accessory you will be wearing, weight is an important factor.  Goggles can be mounted on to helmets and if that is what you prefer be sure to check how it is mounted. There are different chin straps and mounting hardware that can be used. 


Being able to hunt at night opens up many possibilities for you. With the right equipment, you can enjoy target shooting and hunting under the stars. The key to a successful night is having the right accessories and knowing how to use them properly. 

treestand-hunting-tips for beginners

Tree Stand Hunting Tips for Beginners

A tree stand makes the perfect hunting scenario for various reasons. You have a high vantage point with a good view of the area. Besides, tree stands are easy to set up as opposed to ground blinds. They are also portable and easy to carry to the desired spot. A properly set tree stand gets you sitting or standing in a comfortable position. For bow hunter, you can spot target animals and accurately measure the distance using a bow hunting rangefinder before taking the shot.

However, getting started with a tree stand is not easy. There is a lot involved until one is comfortably seated on a tree stand and scouting the area. This is even more difficult for beginners using the tee stand for the first time.

Our tree stand hunting tips for beginners will make your hunting trip a lot safer and successful.

Tree Stand Hunting Tips Every Beginner Must Know

Choose the right stand

You must be able to choose the right tree stand that fits your needs. There are usually different types of tree stands in the market with varying features. Some tree stands like the ladder stand only support standing while others support both standing and sitting. The three main types of stands to consider are the climbing stand, hang on stand and the ladder stand.

The climbing stand is the most common and comes with a seat and floor platform. These stands are quite portable and pretty easy to setup. We also have the hang on which can hang anywhere on the tree. However, one must first climb the tree and find a place to set it. Lastly, we have the ladder stands which require stable trees to set up. This is basically a ladder that is nailed to the tree with platforms to stand. They are heavy and take time to assemble.

Choosing the right spot

Once you’ve chosen the most suitable tree stand, the next step is finding a suitable spot to set up the stand. This is a very crucial step since this is the area where you will be hunting. You must set the stand in a location with a likelihood of finding your target animal. It is best to scout the area a week before and see if there is a possibility of the target game there.  You can make use of trail cameras to gain useful insights into the animal paths, routes, and spots. If you’re hunting for deer, look for signs of deer traffic in the area like footprints, droppings and tree rubs.

Water and food sources are great areas to set up a tree stand. You can also set up your stand between a food source and a water source. These are areas you’re certain the game will pass.

Silence is gold: Pick the right tree

Silence is gold since wild animals are easily alerted by squeaking sounds. You need to pick the right tree that does not produce any squeaking sound. One must be able to get down without the stand producing any noise. You can lubricate the joints where possible. Another great way to silence your stand is to cover with rubber.

The selected tree needs to be alive and healthy. You don’t want to compromise on your safety by choosing a tree that might break. The tree bark must be healthy and rough for a firm grip on the tree stand. A semi-rough tree bark will provide a secure fixing on the stand. The tree should also offer easy climbing without many clustered branches. You can cut some of the branches but make sure you don’t expose yourself.

How High To Go?

The best thing about a tree stand is that it gets you off the ground reducing the chances of your scent drifting the way of the game. You need to set the stand at a perfect height from the ground. The stands must not be too high or too low to the ground. A height of 20-25 feet is usually considered perfect for most deer hunting. Going too high is not as good as you risk falling and injuring yourself.

Safety Tips

Finally, you have to safety when using tree stands. Safety starts in the selection of the tree stand. Choose a stand that accommodates your weight and sets up securely. The stand must also be set on healthy trees that will not fall. Dead or diseased trees are not ideal since they risk falling. The tree bark must also be in good shape to hold the stand without slipping.

In addition, you must check to ensure the stand bolts, carabiners and clasps are functioning and in good shape. The screws must also tighten to keep everything steady and firm. You also need to perform a visual inspection of the stand before climbing to ensure everything works perfectly.


In conclusion, using a tree stand is all about getting the basics right. This is choosing the right stand, good spot, and a perfect tree to set it up. I would suggest you to read, find every suitable gear before preparing yourself for hunting, You can be sure of a successful hunt with everything done correctly.