For the avid hunter, the pursuit of game has traditionally been limited to daylight hours. With the introduction of night vision optics, however, things have changed.
Following the development of the first generation night vision, manufacturers began to fine-tune night vision optics for use not only by the military, but for the stargazer, the sportsmen, and outdoor enthusiast.
It has only been recently that night vision has found its niche among the outdoor community. That’s mainly because the cost of these sophisticated units has gone down considerably. The average “Joe Hunter” can now afford night vision.
Prices Come Down
Many manufacturers, such as Bushnell, are today producing user-friendly and moderately-priced units for various applications. The new digital Stealthview monocular, for example, allows excellent distance viewing in almost complete darkness. This latest monocular consists of Generation 1-level night vision optics, along with an infrared illuminator for viewing in complete darkness, and image quality that rivals some Generation 2 and 3 products. Night vision binoculars also provide a quality night vision experience.
In fact, many hunters find night vision binoculars easier to use in many ways, as they look and feel very much like traditional field optics.
Night vision goggles and headgear, on the other hand, is a more sophisticated and more expensive product used for very specific applications. The night vision headgear set is great for traveling in the outdoors at night and is very effective for moving through the forest and countryside. With a low magnification, a goggle user may travel quite comfortably after sundown.
Finally, the night vision wildlife surveillance camera is the latest product to complement a growing list of gadgets available to the outdoorsmen.
Uses For Hunting
Night vision has been given a bad rap when it comes to hunting-related activities. Since hunting at nighttime is illegal, you can’t carry a firearm and night vision product at the same time. Where night vision has its place is in the preparation, scouting, and traveling to and from a hunting location after dark. Provided you are not actively carrying a firearm with you, these special optics are fabulous for getting around in the forest after dark, to locate a lost or disoriented hunting companion, or simply for traveling alone in the forest.
The safety aspect of night vision for use in hunting is of utmost importance. The ability to travel safely at dusk and dawn opens up doors for hunters both during pre-season and during the season itself. While scouting and gathering research during the pre-season, night vision binoculars or a monocular are great for spotting whitetail deer as they travel during low-light conditions.
Monitoring the movement of game with your night vision optics, or night vision camera, gives you a huge advantage, as these animals are typically active at twilight, just before sunrise, and after dark. The ability to observe game as they slip through the darkness allows hunters to pinpoint movement both during the day and at night.
Wildlife Surveillance Cameras
The night vision surveillance camera have revolutionized the monitoring of wildlife activity. With the introduction of an image intensifier and infrared illuminator, photographing wildlife movement at night has never been so efficient.
The first surveillance cameras used an incandescent flash, which often spooked animals it photographed. An infrared illuminator and night vision flash mounted camera eliminates this completely, as wildlife do not even realize they are being photographed after dark. A night vision surveillance camera consists of a motion detector, infrared illuminator, and infrared flash connected to a digital camera. The motion detector picks up movement and the optics equipped with an image intensifier and infrared illuminator captures the photo of wildlife as it passes by.
Once you have gotten use to different types of night vision, you will soon establish your own strategies. One technique is to use night vision binoculars as a search or spotting tool. They do not possess huge magnification, but their optical field of view is greater than other types of night vision optics.
Shortly after dark, when light conditions are low to non-existent, a good set of 2X to 4X night vision binoculars will allow you to spot game movement. Once you have spotted something of interest, immediately switch to your digital Stealthview monocular because it’s a more precise tool with greater magnification, and a viewing capacity of up to 200 yards.
Different companies market digital monoculars, but the Bushnell model serves its purpose quite well. The digital monocular can be fine-tuned to spotting game at long distances. With a brightness setting, infrared blaster, and superior optics, the Stealthview is a great long distance night vision tool.
Give night vision a try this fall and you may be surprised at what an effective tool it can be to increase your chance of success!
Check out Sportsman’s Guide for a great selection of Night Vision Gear.