Important Choosing Factors
I only advocate ethical hunting, and ethical hunting means shooting at a range you know you’ll kill an animal at. At night your ethical hunting range is limited for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, you need to be at a range you can properly identify an animal at. You aren’t just shooting at glimpses of hair, you need to have positive identification of the animal you’re hunting.
So, at night, you are limited to about 100 yards. Coyotes are small animals in general, and a dog and a coyote aren’t much different.
So, to be sure of your target you want to be hunting at no further than 100 yards, if you are exceptional shot, or using night vision optics you can extend that range.
You’ll need a hunting light that reaches at least 150 yards. This way you have a little extra range and a little extra power.
Longer range lights are always suggested because you can spot an animal, or pack of animals, and then move towards them to ensure identification and then take a shot.
150 yards is the minimum, and there really is no maximum.
There are three main types of predator lights you can use. Which style of light is best is really dependent upon the user. It’s really opinion based, and you’ll need to choose based on your hunting style.
We’ll cover the pros and cons of each style of varmint hunting light, and give you an idea of the pros and cons of each style.
Handheld lights are going to be the most common style of flashlight, and they will offer you the most options. Handheld lights can also be the largest lights, with massive power outputs and exceptionally long ranges.
Handheld flashlights are great if you are hunting with a partner who can hold the light while you take the shot. They are difficult to use when you hit the field alone unless you are mounting them to a truck, an ATV, etc.
Weapon mounted lights are my personal favorite lights for predator hunting. I like to be able to scan and aim at the same time. Weapon mounted lights can be quite powerful while being relatively lightweight.
The issue is they tend to drain batteries faster because they have to use small and lightweight batteries.
The downside to weapon lights is that you are effectively flagging everything you shine with your weapon when scanning. I prefer to back my weapon mounted light up with a small handheld light for safety reasons.
Headlamps are great compromises when it comes to the ability to scan and the ability to shoot one-handed. Headlamps can be quite powerful, but have the same issues weapon lights have.
The most powerful models will quickly drain batteries.
Due to their size restrictions, they are also going to be less powerful than handheld lights.
The main downside of headlamps is you are not going to be able to aim and use the light very well, so a backup weapon mounted light, or a partner with a handheld light works well.
Size and Weight
Size and weight are almost always one of those compromising factors that come with flashlights.
There is always a bit of trade-off when it comes to power, battery life, and size. You’ll want a light that is easy to carry, and easy to use.
Predator hunting requires scanning across fields and too heavy of a flashlight is going to fatigue you quite quickly.
There are several different types of lights for predator hunting and size is more important with some than others.
1. Too heavy of a flashlight on a rifle will throw your rifle off balance and make it difficult to carry and slower to aim.
Too heavy of a headlamp is just going to suck. You’ll start feeling that pain grow quickly when scanning and wearing the headlamp.
2. For a handheld light, anything over 3 pounds is a bit much. You don’t need a baton style Maglite for hunting predators. On a weapon light, you really want to stay under a pound and a half.
A pound and a half is going to be excessive, to be honest.
3. Headlamps need to be nice and light, about a pound or so. Some lights actually get way up there in weight, and these can be great lights.
However, they will need a lot of supportive straps, even then you’ll get fatigued and you’ll need to train your neck a bit for them.
There are a few different theories regarding the proper light color for hunting predators. Each type has different fans and critics. This will be largely personal preference and up to the shooter and hunter.
Let’s increase our knowledge base light colors in this section.
The brightest and most intense light will be white light. White Light has the longest range and brightest beam. The downside is it kills your natural night vision.
Some coyote hunters claim white light is too intense for coyotes and you are forced to use the edges of a white light over the center of the beam.
Red light is a bit dimmer, but most animals aren’t able to spot that spectrum of light. Red light also preserves your natural night vision. Red light is dim though and doesn’t have a very long range.
Green light is the compromise between red and white light. It’s brighter than red but not as intense as white light. This helps preserve natural night vision while retaining an intense and bright light.
Check the video to get more insights about light colors.
You won’t necessarily need some superbly powerful light. You aren’t calling Batman to come to the rescue. You just need a beam than reach out and illuminate a small area.
It’s better to have a focused beam that’s bright than a flood style light. You need a good reflector system that can really increase the intensity of your beam.
An adjustable lamp is great for changing between a high-intensity beam and a wide flood lamp.
A few hundred lumens will do, it’s all about the reflector when it comes to hunting. You aren’t trying to blind an opponent, just trying to spot a coyote.
As a rule, smaller lights are going to need more lumens due to their smaller reflectors.
- Weapon lights and headlamps will need to be in the 300+ lumen range.
- Large handheld lights can be less powerful, with 150 lumens being an excellent range to work in.
Spotting predators is difficult, but man it’s fun. Having the right light makes a big difference in your chances of being successful.
For an example, coyote lights got to be bright, easy to use, and capable of spotting those beady little coyote eyes.
Predator hunting is an adrenaline-fueled experience, and to be successful you’ll have to be equipped with the right gear.
Take your light selection seriously, it’s just as important as your firearm.
Make sure you also have a coyote call, see our coyote call reviews to find the best one.