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pile of hogs with night vision rifle and scope on top

Night Vision vs Thermal Imaging for night hunting | What’s the difference?

If you are planning to hunt at night, you will need a thermal or night vision scope to be able to acquire the target successfully. But, while both of these devices will allow you to see at night, there are differences between the two.

Each has its own dedicated application, and each has pros and cons.

Let’s take a look at the differences, so that you can easily choose the best option for you.

You need to know the basic difference between thermal scopes and night vision scopes so you can choose the one that’s perfect for your hunting situation. Hopefully, the following section will make the differences between the two clear. So, keep reading!

thermal image of coyote
Thermal scopes detect the heat of a target and use radiation to generate the image.

Thermal Scopes And How They Work

The word “thermal” refers to anything related to temperature or heat.

Thermal scopes detect the heat or temperature of the target and use the radiation to generate the image.

The image can be generated in black and white or various colors depending on the device. The image will becomes lighter or darker with the increase or decrease of its radiation. Therefore, warm objects look brighter through the scope.

Pros and Cons of Thermal Scopes

Unlike night vision devices, thermal scopes can be used both in the day and at night. And, because they use radiation or heat source to render the image, you can easily detect objects even if they are hiding or camouflaged.

In addition, thermal scopes can cover a larger distance than night vision scopes.

hogs through a thermal scope
Some thermal scopes render images in colors.

On the down side, during extreme cold, thermal scopes become blind.

Additionally, thermal scopes are heavier and more expensive than night vision scopes.

How Night Vision Scopes Work

Night vision scopes work quite differently than thermal scopes. Some night vision scopes render images in a green hue and rely heavily on a light source to render them. The light source can be ambient, like that of the moon, the stars, or the surroundings.

If there is no light at all, the infrared illuminator (IR) is used to generate light. Luckily, the IR is not visible to the naked eye. Therefore, your prey will not be alerted.

Pros And Cons Of Night Vision Scopes

Night vision scopes are lighter and also less pricey than thermal scopes. They are available in various models and generations. Therefore, you can easily choose one according to your budget and requirements.

full moon
Night vision scopes rely on a light source like the moon or stars.

You can go for a basic night vision scope if you are a beginner. If you are a pro hunter, you could go with one of the high-end night vision scopes.

Since night vision scopes rely on an available light source, an unfavorable environment can affect the visibility. For example, in the fog, rain, snow, and dust, night vision devices are not as effective.

Additionally, night vision scopes can’t cover long distances as well as thermal scopes can.

Night Vision VS Thermal Scopes For Hunting

While hunting at night, you need to identify the target as your desired game animal, otherwise, you may end up shooting something else. And the choice between night vision and thermal scopes depends on the shooting environment.

thermal image of coyote hunters with coyote
Thermal scopes can detect animals from long distances, but could be confusing for hunters if there are other moving targets in the field of view.

Thermal Scopes

Thermal scopes can easily detect animals or moving objects from a long distance whether it is day or night. Their detection is better than night vision scopes. Even in the roughest weather, they can help you see (except in extreme cold).

However, one thing to keep in mind is that thermal scopes render images in black and white, or in shades of multiple colors, which may be confusing for hunters and shooters if there are other moving objects in the target area. If this is not going to be an issue for you, then a thermal scope would work fine.

Night Vision Scopes

Night vision scopes can render higher-resolution images than thermal scopes. They use ambient light sources or the IR to help you see in the dark.

hogs killed using night vision scopes
If there is no available ambient light, night vision scope users need an infrared illuminator to be able to view in the dark.

Through night vision scopes, you can easily detect your targeted game even if there are other moving objects since, you are getting almost the actual image.

However, during rough weather, night vision scopes can be blind. You also will not be able to find your prey if it is camouflaged or hiding behind an obstacle.

Night vision devices are light-sensitive and can be damaged with bright light exposure. Therefore, you cannot use them in the daytime.

In short, thermal scopes are good for detection and can be used in almost all conditions. On the other hand, night vision scopes are to be used at night and can render better images.

Conclusion

Both thermal and night vision scopes are great in their respective applications. You should choose one depending on your hunting environment.

When buying, remember the pros and cons of each device and choose wisely.

Whichever option you choose, good luck with your night hunting!

[Images used with permission: Jason Brooks and Infected Outdoors.]

Bow Anatomy 101 | Parts Of A Compound Bow

You might be new to the sport of bowhunting and be looking to learn all you can about it.

Or, maybe you are a seasoned bowhunter wanting to test your knowledge of the parts of a compound bow.

Either, way this one’s for you!

Parts of A Compound Bow | Interactive Diagram

In the interactive diagram below, you can click/touch the numbered parts in the chart below to reveal the names of the parts. You can read more about what each part is and does in the sections below the diagram. See how many you can get right!

CamsLimb DampenerLimbsLimb PivotLimb PocketLimb BoltRiserSight MountsCable GuardRest MountsArrow ShelfStabilizer MountAxleString SplitterCablesStringServingNocking PointGripString StopCable SplitterAxle To Axle LengthBrace Height

Compound Bow Parts | Piece-By-Piece

In the above diagram of the Nexus2 by Prime Archery, you can view the parts of a compound bow. Find out more about what each part does by clicking the words below:

  1. Cams
  2. Limb Dampeners
  3. Limbs
  4. Limb Pivot
  5. Limb Pocket
  6. Limb Bolt
  7. Riser
  8. Sight Mounts
  9. Cable Guard
  10. Rest Mounts
  11. Arrow Shelf
  12. Stabilizer Mount
  13. Axle
  14. String Splitter
  15. Cables
  16. String
  17. Serving
  18. Nocking Point
  19. Grip
  20. String Stop
  21. Cable Splitter
  22. Axle-To-Axle Length
  23. Brace Height

1. Cams

cam of a compound bow

On a compound bow, the cams are the round, or oval-shaped discs that work much like a block-and-tackle pulley system. The cams are connected to the axles of the bow.

The cams act as the “multiplier” of the energy of the person pulling the bow string. This allows the bow to store more energy than the person pulling the bow string is actually exerting.

The bow has a “back wall” where the cams will not turn any more. This is where the archer is at “full draw.” At this point, there is a percentage of “letoff” that allows the archer or hunter to hold the force of the bow at a fraction of the actual pounds of pull being exerted.

For example, a bow that is set to a 70-lb draw weight with a 70% letoff will only take 21 lbs of force to hold at full draw. The energy is stored in the bow’s limbs until the archer releases, which unleashes the multiplied energery, propelling the arrow toward its target.

So, the cams of the bow are what change the bow in essence from a traditional bow to a compound bow.

2. Limb Dampeners

limb dampener

Limb dampeners reduce the noise and vibration throughout the limbs and riser of the bow.

When the hunter or archer releases the arrow the sudden and powerful uncoiling of the string on the cams produces vibration, which causes noise. The limb dampeners help to absorb that vibration, resulting in a quieting of the bow.

This absorption by the limb dampeners is especially helpful in reducing noise when hunting deer or other wild game and also reduces the amount of vibration that is transferred to the archer.

3. Limbs

limbs of compound bow

A compound bow’s limbs are connected to the riser and store the energy that is collected when the string is pulled and the cams turn. When the string is released, the energy from the limbs is transferred to the arrow, which propels it through the air.

Most compound bow limbs are made up of fiberglass or composite material. Some bow limbs are solid, one-piece limbs. Others are “split,” having a gap between both sides of the upper and lower limbs.

4. Limb Pivot

limb pivot

Where the limbs pivot and flex on the riser.

5. Limb Pocket

limb pocket

The limbs of the bow rest in the limb pocket. These can be made of machined aluminum, ABS plastic or other composite materials. The limbs of the bow are secured in the limb pocket by the limb bolts.

6. Limb Bolt

limb bolt of compound bow

The limb bolt is the crucial piece in connecting the limb pockets, which hold the limbs of the bow, to the riser.

Limb bolts are typically allen wrenc adjustable. Tightening the limb bolts increases the draw weight poundage of the bow. Loosening the limb bolts will decrease the draw weight poundage.

It’s very important that any adjustment to the limb bolts be made in the same increments. If the adjustments are uneven, the bow’s cams could get out of time, causing an improper tune.

If you need to adjust your bow’s draw weight, it’s a good idea to back the limb bolts all the way down and then start moving them both up the same amount.

7. Riser

riser of compound bow

The riser is the vertical portion and foundation of a compound bow. The limbs attach to it and it also serves as the fastening point for accessories such as the sight, arrow rest, grip, stabilizer, quiver, etc.

8. Sight Mounts

sight mounts on compound bow

Sight mounts are holes in the riser that serve as the attaching point for the bow’s sight. The archer will look through the peep on the bow string and at the pin(s) of the sight to aim at the target or game animal.

9. Cable Guard

cable guard on compound bow

The Cable guard runs perpendicular to the bow’s riser. It keeps the bow’s cable out of the way of the arrow’s line of fire. It typically has rollers and/or slides attached to it to aid in keeping the cable on track.

10. Rest Mounts

rest mounts on compound bow

Rest mounts are holes in the riser that serve as the attaching point for the bow’s rest. The rest is what holds the arrow in place while the archer is drawing and releasing the arrow.

There are many different types of rests. Some use prongs that the arrow will rest on, while others hold the arrow up and then fall out of the way when the arrow is released. Others, called containment rests, completely surround the arrow until it is fired and typically have no moving parts.

11. Arrow Shelf

arrow shelf on compound bow

The arrow shelf is the area of the riser where the arrow sits on the rest. While the rest typically holds the arrow off the shelf on compound bows, traditional bows (non-compound) usually have the arrow resting directly on the arrow shelf.

12. Stabilizer Mount

The stabilizer mount is a universal size threaded hole in the riser that is used to attach a stabilizer to.

The stabilizer helps balance and thus “stabilize” the bow when drawing and shooting, and also typically has vibration dampening properties. In essence, it helps the bow resist movement during the draw cycle and when shooting.

The back of the stabilizer also typically serves as the fastening point for the wrist sling.

13. Axle

axle of a compound bow

The Axle is what holds the cams, in the same way a car axle holds its wheels. The cams have a hole in the center. The axle goes through the center of the axle and attach to the limbs.

14. String Splitter

string splitter on compound bow

Bows with parallel limbs (which eliminate cam lean) will have a string splitter. On these types of bows, the main part of the string that the archer attaches the release to “splits” just before the cams.

The splitter is what essential turns the single string into two strings, each going around its respective cam.

15. Cables

cables on compound bow

The cable(s) runs between the bow’s cams. They assist in moving the cams of the bow when the string is pulled back by the archer. It’s important to replace your cable(s) as well as your string as recommended per the bow manufacturer’s instructions or on the advice of your local bow shop.

16. String

string on compound bow

The string of compound bow serves several functions. It is where the archer will connect their release. It is what the archer pulls (or draws) back and releases to launch the arrow.

Many archers will utilize a “D loop,” which attaches to the bow string and serves as a way to quickly attach the release to the string and also improves accuracy.

You should always inspect your string before and after shooting and hunting. A damaged string could end up being a broken string, which could result in serious injury to the shooter or others.

Any cuts or fraying should be addressed immediately and it is recommended that you take to your local bow shop for an assessment.

17. Serving

serving on a compound bow

The “center serving” is coiled thread wrapped around the center portion of your string where you would nock an arrow and attach a D-loop. The center serving protect the center section of the string from wear and tear that results from nocking arrows as well as drawing and shooting the bow.

There is also serving material on parts of your bow string that go around the cams or through rollers that are attached to the cable guards. This helps the bow string stay together, especially in places that are likely to received the most friction.

18. Nocking Point

nocking point on a compound bow

The nocking point is where the arrow, by way of the arrow nock, attaches to the bow string. The D-loop attaches above and below the nocking point.

19. Grip

grip on a compound bow

The grip is the part of the bow that you hold while shooting. Grips are made of various materials such as wood, rubber, plastic, metal, etc.

The grip can also be a source of inaccuracy. For example, if you hold the grip too tightly, or twist the grip while shooting, you can cause your arrow to go off-course from where you were aiming.

20. String Stop

string stop on compound bow

String vibration is a large cause for noise when a bow fires. A string stop helps dampen that vibration and thus reduces unwanted noise. The string stop is a rubber part that is often mounted on a post that is directly opposite of the front stabilizer.

The string stop not only helps dampen vibration, but also aids in better accuracy for the shooter, often resulting in tighter arrow groups at the target.

21. Cable Splitter

cable splitter on compound bow

On some bows, the cable splitter is a ring that connects the cable to two separate cables, thus dampening vibration and noise of the cable during shooting.

22. Axle-To-Axle Length

“Axle-to-axle” is not a part of a compound bow, but rather a reference to measurement. Axle-to-axle is the measurement from the center of one cam to the other. The axles go through the center of the cams.

This axle-to-axle measurement is often used to determine how forgiving the bow will be in regards to arrow flight accuracy when taking farther shots.

A bow with a longer axle-to-axle height may be more forgiving that a shorter one, but may also be difficult to maneuver in tight-quarter hunting scenarios.

23. Brace Height

The “brace height” is not a part of the bow, but rather a measurement, in inches, of the distance between the “throat” of the grip to the center of the bow’s string.

A shorter brace height means a longer “power stroke,” which is the distance from the grip to the center of the string when the archer is at full draw. A longer power stroke typically means a faster bow, as it increases the amount of time that the arrow is attached to the string.

Conclusion

Whether you are just a beginner bowhunter or looking to brush up on your bow component knowledge, we hope this has been a helpful tool for you!

thorn crown broadhead

Thorn Crown Broadheads Review | King of the Broadhead Hill?

Talk about a crazy, wicked looking, innovative broadhead!

I first saw the Thorn Crown broadheads at the Archery Trade Association (ATA) show and talking with the original designer.

When I finally got my hands on them, I couldn’t wait to put them to the test to see if they were the real deal.

It kind of looks like a mace, a medieval weapon.

thorn crown broadhead closeup
Here, you get a close-up look at the Thorn Crown. I mean this is one crazy-looking broadhead. I love innovation from Thorn. This is 125-grain model. It’s an 8-blade broadhead. And you can see all 8 blades are aligned helically and make a star pattern.

Typically, I like broadheads to have a really wide cutting diameter, rather than a concentrated cut. However, I’ve never killed anything with an 8-blade broadhead, and I’m imagining that it would make a hole that is pretty difficult to close up.

Each of the blades are stainless steel and are 0.040 inch thick. So, they are really thick blades. They are arranged with the smallest diameter first, 5/8 of an inch, then 6/8 of an inch, 7/8 of an inch, and 1-inch. So, that’s where you get the total of 3.25 inches of cut.

That’s a lot of cut!

thorn crown broadhead blades
The blades are in a helix pattern and separated by a small stainless steel ball bearing. It’s kind of a cool design. They are replaceable and the heads come with replacement blades. The ferrule is 7075 aluminum, so it’s a really stout, durable and heavy aluminum. And it has a hardened tip as well.
thorn crown broadhead tip
The Thorn Crown has a hardened tip.

>> Want to know what your arrow’s FOC is? Check out our FOC Calculator and find out!

Thorn Crown Broadheads Testing

I tested the Thorn Crown broadheads for flight, edge sharpness and edge retention, for penetration and for durability.

Let’s see how the Thorn Crown performed.

Flight test

I was able to pop a balloon at 70 yards with the Thorn Crown.

Sharpness test of the Thorn Crown

I tested the Thorn Crown for out-of-the-box sharpness. It was able to still cut paper after 5 strokes of a carbon arrow shaft.

thorn crown sharpness test
The Thorn cut paper after five strokes of the arrow.

Penetration Test

I tested the Thorn Crown for penetration by shooting it into ballistic gel, fronted by 2/3-inch foam matting and 1/2-inch MDF.

thorn crown in ballistic gel
The Thorn Crown penetrated 6 and 3/4 inches. I know it doesn’t look like that in this photo, but from over the top, I measured it cleanly. It’s 6 and 3/4 inches.
thorn crown wound channel
Check out the wound channel of this Thorn Crown. It’s the one directly to the right of it there, that big giant swath. And it’s really cool because as you move around the gel, you can see that it’s that way from every side. It’s not just like wide on one side like if you had a 2-blade head or something, but it really is that cut in 360 degrees. That’s pretty cool.

Durability Test

I shot the Thorn Crown into 1/2-inch MDF five times. Below is the result.

Thorn Crown broadhead after being shot through MDF
Here’s the Crown after being shot into the MDF five times. And as you can see, it looks virtually brand new. The blades, the ferrule, the tip, everything is just in pristine shape. And look at those holes. It makes really cool holes. Notice the eight cuts!

Final Thoughts on the Thorn Crown Broadhead

So what do you think of the Thorn Crown?

Like I said, I’ve been wanting to test it because it’s just so unique.

A wicked cut

Cut is one of the many factors to consider when selecting a broadhead. I typically want a wider cut out of my broadheads, because wider cuts tend to produce a better blood trail. There’s more likelihood that you’re going to reach that extra artery and the holes are typically harder to close up.

But, I’ve never shot an 8-blade head before now. And, I’ve got to tell you, when it went into the target, or went into the gel and I pulled it out, man, it just ripped them apart.

So this is a wicked wound channel that honestly, I want to shoot into an animal just to see what happens.

Great flight and durability

I was really impressed with its excellent flight.

I chose ahead of time to test this for the durability compared to a mechanical. And the reason I did that is that it has eight blades. Each of those four individual 2-blade heads would be hitting the steel plate that I typically use for fixed-blade broadheads.

I thought, “There’s no way that’s going to hold up to the steel plate.” But given it’s such a big cut size, let’s test it as I would a mechanical. And as you saw, it did extremely well for the mechanical test.

Now, I was curious and I want to see what would happen through a steel plate so I shot it into the steel plate as well and it punched a really nice 8-blade hole through the 22-gauge steel plate. But as expected, the head itself just did not hold up to the steel plate.

thorn crown broadhead scorecard
The scorecard for the Thorn Crown Broadhead.

But honestly, that wouldn’t hold me back from using it in a hunting situation given its flight and given just the wicked wound channel and the way it held up to the MDF.

This broadhead is not a gimmick. This is something that really could do some serious damage.

So great job, Thorn! Love the innovation. Keep it up. Great job.

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