Thermal Cameras: Changing the way Sportsmen See
Let’s face it, advancements in technology are all around us. Yes, that includes when we are trapping, predator hunting, scouting, big game hunting, camping, home security and a lot more.
Leading the way in technology advancements for the outdoorsman is the use of thermal cameras during many outdoor activities. These are not the same night vision cameras that many of us are accustomed to. Today, manufactures are offering top of the line thermal cameras that were once only reserved for our armed forces.
Always looking to have an edge on the animals we pursue rather through hunting or trapping, thermal image cameras could be a good choice for you.
The good news is that purchasing a new camera does not have to mean taking out a loan or saving for months just to purchase one. Yes, there are some models on the market that require a sizeable investment, but not all of them. Some models on the higher end will set a person back several thousand dollars, but quality optics with reduced capabilities can be purchased for a lot cheaper than you might think.
The camera that I’ve been using in recent months is the Axion XM38 by Pulsar. The Axion has a line a sight out to 1,800 yards. This will allow me to spot game from long distances without disturbing the area. I will talk more about the uses in a moment.
The rugged housing on this lightweight unit is built to last and is small enough to fit in a pocket. With video and still recording, memories can be kept for a lifetime. And of course, with all Pulsar products it comes with a warranty.
So, what are the practical purposes for such a camera? I got this very question from my wife, and even the folks I hunt and trap with. After seeing the camera in action, they quickly seen the practical purposes behind it.
I mainly use my camera when entering and exiting a stand location and animal recovery. Other possibilities include trapping and hunting in areas of the country where dangerous game roam (best to see them before they see you), wild hog hunting, checking traps in the dark, predator hunting, home security, and search and rescue.
Something that got me real excited about these cameras happened the middle of last November while deer hunting in Illinois. Much of my family was out for an evening hunt when an unexpected light drizzle moved in. Not wanting to end the hunt before dark during the middle of the whitetail rut, the hunters stayed put.
Shortly before dark, shot opportunities were presented to all three hunters. All three shots looked good, but the drizzle quickly washed away any blood. It wasn’t long before my phone started ringing. In a matter of minutes, I was able to recover each deer in the dark without having a blood trail to follow. The animals showed up better than I expected, and there was no doubting that they were the deer we were after.
The thing that hunters must keep in mind is that these cameras only work if you have a line of sight to the animal. If there is just a small tree separating you and the animal, you will not see it. Being able to locate an animal might be as simple as moving a couple feet in either direction and scanning the area again.
Far too many hunters give up on finding a deer that might not leave a blood trail or lose deer when blood trails vanish. This is where thermal cameras prove their worth at deer camp and for hunting guides.
Entering and exiting stand locations in the dark is a good way to ruin a hunting spot. With a thermal camera it is easy to spot game from a distance and change your route as needed to avoid bumping deer and other game animals that you might get a shot at later.
By being able to scan a field before walking in it will often prevent bumping animals, and ruining any chance of a successful hunt. If a deer is spotted in the distance, a hunter than can make out a route to avoid spooking that animal. Too many times I have been nearing my stand location only to see a white tail bound off, or that unforgettable sound of a deer blowing at me. This can almost entirely be avoided with one of these styles of cameras.
The list of opportunities is long for one of these cameras. Finding missing people in the dark, spotting dangerous game before they spot you, scouting, recovery, checking traps, watching wildlife, predator hunting and so much more. If you haven’t tried a thermal camera yet, I recommend you do so.
Be sure to check your state’s laws regarding the use of these cameras.