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Campers can become very nervous when wondering if bears are lurking around their tent in the dark, especially in grizzly territory. Being prepared for bear encounters is always a smart choice to reduce this fear and, more importantly, protect campers from harm. How someone chooses to equip themselves in preparation for a possible bear encounter has been written about time and time again; some experts recommend bear spray while others suggest a large-bore pistol and yet others favor a rifle or shotgun. But now, there is a new technology that could even further increase a camper's peace of mind and odds of survival -- that technology is thermal imagery.
Thermal optics work by collecting invisible infrared radiation (colloquially known as a heat signature) and converting it into a visual spectrum of light which is displayed on a screen. Since this technology does not rely on collecting visible light, thermal optics can be used effectively during the nighttime as well as during the daytime to reveal strong sources of radiating heat, such as a bear. During the dark hours, campers can see much further and more clearly when using thermals than when shining a headlamp or flashlight, especially in foggy conditions wherein these traditional illumination devices fail to cut through the moisture. Below is a thermal image of a bison, with the black pixels representing the warmest heat sources. This image shows how the sun is shining on the bison's left flank and reflecting significantly more heat than the bison's right side.
A thermal weapon sight mounted on a long gun can provide great protection against dangerous nighttime bear encounters. These thermal devices give the user the ability to see clearly into the dark with the bonus of coincidently aiming their long gun towards the downrange threat. Of course, bear attacks do not just happen at night. Thankfully, thermal scopes perform flawlessly during the day too, keeping the camper's rifle or shotgun useful in all lighting conditions.
Thermal optics can benefit campers who choose to venture into predator-rich environments. These devices can provide comfort by validating that no bears are circling a campsite and by giving users the ability to combine their self-defense firearm with this new-age optical technology. If you are someone who camps in these wild places, give thermal optics consideration when creating your packing list. These devices may prove to be very helpful for having a restful and safe trip.
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