How Does Night Vision Work? | For the Hunters of the Night

We hope you have seen the movie Predator (and that’s the best example we have as we explain this question on how does night vision work, atm). Though it may not be as close or even relatable to you at first compared to what you came to find out since the predator could see during the daytime, too.

But one thing that Schwarznegger for sure would want while hunting the robotic, cheliped-clad, feeding appendages-bearing, gooey saliva-secreting alien creature, is a night vision scope on his machine gun. And brothers, we are not exaggerating one bit. If you want to know what this super important thing is for hunters, we have got your answers.

If you’re not a movie person, you need the night vision scope just as much. Have you ever felt inferior in the jungle at night, or when you’re alone in the dark only seconds away from a Bolt-like sprint to your mom’s room because you can’t see in the dark and it scares you?

Add the fact that you’re a hunter to that. Just to remove the sense of inferiority that the night vision of the predators gives you, that you don’t have, you need a night vision scope.

Also Read: Best night vision scope in 2022

Defining a Night Vision Scope

But first, what is the thing we are putting so much emphasis on? What do you call a night vision scope? Such devices amplify the light. You don’t need it to be amplified to be in the visible spectrum of light. We don’t want you walking with bulbs on hand in the middle of the jungle looking for hogs.

If it can reach/correspond with infrared rays which are not visible to the naked, human eye but visible under a lens, you’re done. It is enough to reduce the darkness.

So, this is basically a mounting device that you can use with your rifle or other hunting ammo, to see and set the target on prey at a distance, during the night time. These work best on lighter-colored, more reflective preys. For hunting dark, camouflaging creatures you’ll have to sweat a lot.

How Does Night Vision Work

How Night Vision Systems Work

Instead of the light that your eyes use to pick up images and visualize them, the night scopes use IR. The older types of night visions have a light sensor and a screen made of phosphor.

Add to this a little visible light cast on the screen. Photons get into the scope, affect the detection screen that you’ve put, and converted to loads of electrons. As they get out of the scope, these negatively charged particles increase in number and hit the phosphor screen, resulting in the glow.

This is a basic idea for the night scope. With better technologies, more things add to or are eliminated from the scope. Also, You can read here Why is night vision green

Kinds of Night Vision Scopes

The modern night visions use 2 definitive technologies. One of them is the digital night vision. This is close in operation to the security CCTVs. They are quite popular and surprisingly less expensive than the traditional; night scopes. But don’t get too hyped. These are also the ones that last for fewer days.

On the other hand, the traditional ones are divided into subgroups termed using “generations” of amplification technology used in them. You can have GEN 1 light amplification tech or GEN 2 light amplification tech, the latter being the costlier one.

The military uses probably GEN 3. Probably because GEN 4 is under development and is, without a doubt, the most expensive one.

Wait, What are Thermal Scopes?

What are Thermal Scopes

Now is where we should’ve used the predator. Remember how the used to see things in hazy blobs of red, yellow and green? That was his thermal vision. There are multitudes of differences between a thermal vision and night vision. They may sound and appear similar, but they have a lot of technology in them that makes all the difference.

As you learned, a night vision scope needs to light to amplify and operate. Whether it be in, out or mid-spectrum. Night vision lives off of the reflection principles.

On the other side, thermal vision uses more sensitive IR, without the need for added reflection than what is.

How to Use It (Even During the Day)

Make sure your night scope has the necessary power to operate. Using digital scopes are as easy as that. But for the conventional ones, there’s a difference between the light they can take and the light that they need (to operate). Different manufacturers have different instructions regarding their scopes. Just make sure the light isn’t so bright as to tamper with the optics.

And yes, you can find the digital ones working during the day, if only they have that technology. Also, you’ll be blessed with good-quality color and resolution. Traditional ones won’t work here, and may even be damaged.

How to Find the Best Night Vision Scope?

There are a few things you will need to keep in mind to buy the best night vision scope

  1. Depending on when and how you want to hunt and what you want from it, get the right scope. For functionality, digital. For durability, traditional. For day time, digital; for night time, both. Find your cost vs benefit.
  2. The magnification power will be a matter of concern too. It is mostly moderate for all scopes. Unless you want it for daytime, where it tends to be higher.
  3. Infrared Ray Boosters should come with the digital night scopes and not be something you need to separately buy. If you do have to buy it separately, you will incur an extra cost and that’s what you don’t want if you’re on a budget. There are digital ones that come with the booster. Try to get those.
  4. Recording ability of the vision scope pre- and during target fixation is a super fun part that you may want in your scope.


We hope you read the article on how does night vision work and what works for each type. You should be able to buy your own one now and start hunting in the dark of the night!

If you have a plan for deer hunting during the night then check out another article Best Deer Hunting Tips for Beginners.

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