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These bad boys make it possible for us to see stuff in the dark, which can be very useful at night. IR illuminators act like an invisible torch by shining invisible infrared light on the person, place. or thing you are scoping out. The subject is not disturbed but the infrared illumination increases the light available to the night vision scope. This makes it more effective, especially at very low natural light levels.
*An infrared torch, or ordinary torch with infrared filter, will show a visible red light, but not enough to cause disturbance to wildlife in most cases.