Infrared Optics

Regulation Number: 
Regulation Type: 
Firearm Restrictions
General Open Season
Limited Entry Hunting
Closing Date: 
January 19, 2020 at midnight
Decision Statement: 

This regulation was approved as proposed and is included in the 2020-2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis.

Current Regulations: 

Section 26(1)(e) of the Wildlife Act states: A person commits an offence if the person hunts, takes, traps, wounds or kills wildlife by the use or with the aid of a light or illuminating device.

Proposed Regulations: 

Section 26(1)(e) doesn’t specify what an “illuminating device” is, and for greater certainty and clarity, an additional provision that prohibits the use of infrared optics (or thermal imaging) for the purpose of hunting is being proposed.


This proposed regulation has been requested by the Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team. For more information on the process that led to the request refer to the “Additional Information” section at the bottom of this page.

Infrared optics, including but not limited to, binoculars and scopes for firearms/bows, allow a person to see the heat signature of a living organism, a signature that is not visible to the naked eye. The use of infrared optics is not considered to be in line with provincial hunting principles and are proposed to be unlawful for the purpose of hunting.

Additional Information: 

A sub-committee of the Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team (PHTAT) with representatives from the B.C. Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters Association of B.C., B.C. Trappers Association, Wild Sheep Society, Wildlife Stewardship Council, and United Bowhunters of B.C., conducted a review of various hunting practices (methods, tools, and tactics), evaluated those practices against a set of criteria that reflect the principles of fair chase, and recommended management actions for specific hunting practices. These recommendations were accepted by PHTAT and were forwarded to the Province for consideration.

Factors that influenced or informed the Management Action Recommendation included:

  1. Does the hunting method, tool, or tactic:
  1. Negate wildlife’s ability to avoid detection?
  2. Negate wildlife’s ability to escape once it has detected a threat?
  3. lead to an inhumane treatment of wildlife?
  4. lead to increased wounding loss/jeopardize a hunter’s ability to retrieve the wildlife?
  5. jeopardize public acceptance of hunting?
  6. result in higher harvest rates/reduced opportunity in the future?
  1. Estimated difficulty in enacting a regulation.
  2. Regulatory enforceability.

The Management Action options available for each hunting practice included:

  1. Encourage/discourage the hunting practice through education and/or training
  2. Regulate the hunting practice through legislative prohibitions
  3. Monitor the hunting practice over the coming years to see if it becomes an issue in B.C.
  4. Defer; not of concern and no specific management action or monitoring is required.