Can You Use a Thermal Scope During the Day?

Video can you use thermal scopes during the day

Thermal scopes are excellent tools that have become game-changers for shooters, especially those who love to hunt.

But since thermals don’t rely on light to work, you might’ve wondered at one point: can you use a thermal scope during the day?

Well, we already know the answer when it comes to using night vision scopes. But with thermal scopes, the extra light isn’t a problem. In fact, not only can you use thermal scopes during the day, but there are many fantastic advantages to doing so!

The Advantages of Using Thermal Scopes During Daylight Hours

There are several good reasons why you might want to consider making your thermal scope your go-to scope.

Day and Night

One of the most significant advantages of using thermal scopes is that you can use the same scope under all conditions. Since thermal scopes pick up heat signatures, the amount of light has no impact on their targeting efficiency.

The only thing that matters is temperature, so unless you’re hunting on an active volcano or an environment where objects trap lots of heat, then a bit of sunshine should have little impact on the quality of the imaging of a high-quality thermal scope such as the ATN ThOR 4. (1)

Improved Target Identification

While night vision scopes have more defined target detail, many hunters prefer using thermal scopes because of their adept target acquisition abilities that reign over obtaining a more detailed “facial recognition” of their targets.

However, that’s been changing. As thermal technology has improved, it’s made target identification much more accurate. And with this accuracy, it’ll allow you to more assuredly protect fellow hunters and friendly creatures such as pets and livestock.

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Thermal scopes used to be priced out of the range most hunters are willing to spend on optics. However, in recent years, several more affordable budget options have hit the market with improving quality and performance, such as the ATN Thor LT Ultra Light.

When looking at a thermal scope’s price tag, one thing to remember is the incredible value it can bring to your hunts. Saving time, ammo, and possibly your life and others are factors worth considering before making your decision.

Possible Daytime Uses for Thermal Scopes

Bushes and Brush

One thing that can make hunting less fun is spending hours waiting for a glimpse of your quarry. However, with regular and night vision scopes, your game can often hide behind cover such as thick brush and bushes, and you’ll never see them.

This is where thermal scopes shine brightest. Since these scopes pick up heat signatures, any object trying to hide behind foliage will become instantly visible, allowing you to take shots you would never have been able to take using regular or night vision scopes.

Body parts such as a deer’s antlers, which are filled with blood when growing, will light up like a Christmas tree.

Blood Trails

You’ve probably seen those movies and shows where hunters who are expert trackers do wacky things like tasting dirt and examining broken leaves to find their wounded quarry. In the real world, it’s not that easy, even if your target has left a blood trail.

Animals like deer are very durable, and unless you score a headshot or shot to the heart, they can run for miles in many different directions, making it tough to keep on their trail. However, with thermal scopes, you can pick up fresh blood trails much faster and catch sight of your quarry before it escapes.

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Cold-Blooded Creatures

One disadvantage thermal scopes have is that they do not pick up cold-blooded creatures nearly as well. However, with most thermal scopes, you should still be able to make out their outline, which, all things considered, is better than what you would get with unpowered optics or night vision.

Better Scouting

Scouting isn’t just crucial for locating the game and identifying possible threats. Thermal scopes are great tools anyone who enjoys the outdoors should have on them, especially in areas with dangerous wildlife such as bears and mountain lions (or anywhere in Australia).

It’s also well-known that certain predators, such as polar bears, have been known to stalk humans, surprising them in ambush attacks. One can only imagine how many hunters could have been saved from tragedy with this technology. (2)

When Do You Use Thermal Optics?

If you’re curious as to exactly all of the times thermal optics are a good option, check out our article on when do you use thermal optics. We cover exactly when, where and how to use thermal scopes property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sunlight damage thermal scopes?

No, sunlight does not damage thermal scopes. A thermal scope isn’t light-sensitive since it only reads thermal energy, which isn’t visible on the light spectrum. So you can freely use your thermal scope during the day the same as you would at night without concern.


  1. Outdoor Life, Four Reasons to Own a Thermal Vision Scope, retrieved from
  2. Business Insider, A Retired Navy SEAL Explains How to Survive A Bear Attack, retrieved from
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>