Generally, this is an easy question to answer. Night vision and thermal devices are legal to own in the United States. Through our research, only California currently has laws regarding illegal sniper scopes.
The California law states that it is illegal to possess any attachment, device, or similar contrivance designed for or adaptable to use on a firearm which, through the utilization of a projected infrared light source and electronic telescope, enables the operator thereof to visually determine and locate the presence of objects during the nighttime.
Other night vision devices are perfectly legal, though.
The primary law in the United States regarding the import and export of NV device is: without an exclusive license, you cannot export night vision devices overseas and the same goes for importing them. Shipping between states is fine but it just can’t land on a foreign country.
Yes, night vision is a great option for night hunting and can be an absolute blast. But it’s important to use proper night vision gear and to understand what and how animals look under night vision to ensure it doesn’t affect your ability to engage them humanely and appropriately.
Night vision is by far one of the safest night hunting methods due to the ability to see your target plainly. One of the most important firearms rules whether it’s day or night, is knowing your target and what lies beyond it. If you can’t identify your target you are not following this rule and shouldn’t shoot.
This is where it gets a little trickier. The answer is yes and no.
One thing that states always control is the laws regarding hunting. Every state is slightly different. Some states have specific date ranges for night shooting, and others ban it all together. Some ban it for hunting certain animals. All States prohibit hunting game animals (Deer, Turkey, Elk, Moose, Small Game, etc. etc.) at night but a lot of states do allow night hunting of other animals such as hogs, coyotes and more.
This is where hunting with night vision becomes muddled because laws change all the time. This is particularly the case with invasive species like feral hogs that are sweeping the southeast.
Your best bet is to contact your states Department of Natural Resources to verify for sure. You can find the phone number and emails for all states DNR’s here at https://www.digitalcrosshairs.net/page/night-hunting-laws.
Federally, there are no rules regarding night vision use while hunting. Each state regulates it to a certain extent. Some have no issues with night vision. They just ban night hunting altogether.
Genuinely when we talk of hunting, we are talking mostly of game animals. Vermin hunting is actually not regulated regarding night hunting or using NV gear.