Pulsar Axion XM30 Thermal Monocular Review

By Brodie SwisherFebruary 27, 20201 Comment

When the topic of thermal imaging comes up, we typically think of hog & predator hunting at night. These hunts put thermal optics on the map for hunting purposes. But how can thermal imaging be of benefit for bowhunters?

Today we’re going to take a look at the Pulsar Axion XM30 thermal monocular and how it can help bowhunters be more successful this season.

How Can Thermal Imaging Benefit the Bowhunter? 

Thermal imaging can be worth its weight in gold in two key areas for the bowhunter: 

  1. Scouting
  2. Finding and Recovering Game

Pocket-Sized Performance

The Axion XM30 is an entry-level thermal monocular that is designed to fit perfectly in your hand, pocket, or hunting pack. By design, the Axion ensures a comfortable grip position and easy carrying. The compact size of this thermal imager makes it the perfect, pocket-sized, portable unit for scouting, spotting and recovering game. 

Thermal For Bowhunters? Check Out The Pulsar Axion
The Axion XM30 is compact and fits easily in the palm of your hand.


When and where legal, you can use the Axion to scan a field under the cover of darkness to scout the properties you hunt. You’ll be able to see what, or if, deer are in the field you’re planning to hunt. You can track movements, numbers, identify bucks or does, entry/exit, and much more. All without alerting game to your presence.

Don’t let nocturnal deer get the best of you. The Axion allows you to see what you’ve been missing while sitting on stand. 

Thermal imaging is a great tool for scouting open fields before crossing them either on your way in or way out from your stand locations.  When access to your stands is limited or difficult, knowing where animals are at before you spook them is a game-changer.

Thermal For Bowhunters? Check Out The Pulsar Axion
The Axion is a great scouting tool for taking inventory as well as recovering game after the shot. Here we see a photo that was taken in "Red Hot" mode.

Finding and Recovering Game After the Shot

Thermal imaging can be a lifesaver when it comes to finding and recovering game after the shot. And while we don’t recommend throwing your blood trailing, tracking and woodsman skills out the window, this unit can be a great backup when things go south and you can’t find your deer. 

It happened for Bowhunt or Die team member, Franki Clark, this past deer season when he was trying to recover a buck he shot. Franki and his recovery crew had made the rounds and came up short in finding his deer, in spite of a good hit. However, when he powered up the Axion, he immediately found his deer as the unit picked up on the deer’s body heat.

The Axion can truly be a life saver when it comes to finding more deer after the shot. Consider it insurance and peace of mind when it comes to the gear you stash in your pack. 

Thermal For Bowhunters? Check Out The Pulsar Axion
The cost of thermal imaging technology has come down greatly in recent years, and has made difficult game recovery more manageable than ever. This image was captured using "White Hot" mode.

Long Range Performance

The Axion features a powerful objective lens paired with a professional grade thermal imaging sensor to provide exceptional detection capabilities.

How exceptional?

The Axion has a detection range of just over 1,300 yards in complete darkness.  For scouting purposes, you can expect to get 500 or more yards where you can clearly make out the type of animal you’re looking at using the standard 4x digital zoom.

Thermal For Bowhunters? Check Out The Pulsar Axion
Even through the woods, detecting animals is a cinch.

Other Features of the Pulsar Axion XM30

Video and Still Image Recording – The built-in video recorder is a slick addition to this unit when it comes to filming or taking photos of your encounters in the field. One press of the REC button captures footage that can be shared easily with your hunting buddies, friends and family. 16GB of internal memory provide many hours of recorded video and tons of photos. 

Stream Vision App Supported – Built in Wi-Fi module provides connectivity of Axion with Android or iOS smartphones or tablets. The smartphone and thermal imager combination offers a set of unique features such as direct image streaming, downloading and sharing recorded files, firmware update and many other.

Pulsar Axion
Despite it's compact size, the Axion XM30 has plenty of technology built in.

B-Pack Battery Pack – Miniature power elements used in Axion models provide sufficient operation time and can be quickly replaced. B-Pack mini batteries can be quickly charged either with included charger station or in the unit connected to USB. You can expect the battery to last 3 1/2 to 4 hours of continuous use.

Picture in Picture Function – Once activated, the Axion features Picture in Picture function that displays a second small image with magnification in the top part of the screen. The small image helps to zoom in on a target while retaining the rest of the field of view visible.

The Pulsar Axion XM30 is a super-compact thermal tool that will forever change the way you scout and recover game. The unit is priced at $2,419.99, but you can get 15% off by using Promo Code “BOWHUNT.” 

Check it out at the – www.pulsarnv.com.

Thermal imaging can no doubt be a game-changer for just about any big game animal you’re hunting. Question is, would you use it? 

Comment below and let us know your thoughts on using thermal optics for hunting, scouting, or game recovery. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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