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Night Hunting Equipment.
By Popular Demand: Discussions related to Varmint Hunting
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wiersy111
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:23 pm    Post subject: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

I have given night hunting a couple of tries with zero success. What kind of equipment/ lights do your guys use at night? Pretty sure it will be easier to call then in at night around here.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:38 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

we always used to use a 60-100wt spotlight that threw a broad beam of light rather than an intense pencil beam. any quick moving animals were too hard to keep in the intense ones but they come into thier own out past 200 yards,,,now with the super good LED lights that cost less than a box of ammo and will last allnight on single battery ...something above 600lumens will be ideal aslong as you can adjust focus to suit.
now with 2 people life gets much easier (although I got pretty darn good at shooting with spotlight in left hand and forestock resting across forearm) the biggest single improovement we made was a really cheap lazer pointer..like what they use in lecture halls as often the guy with light can see animals eyes but shooter cant...a quick wiggle with lazer is a heck of alot easier than whispered directions and if range is close and using shotty I often just said "shoot the f$#%en red dot then" when shooter couldnt see animal in plain sight for me.
a low power scope with fat front lens helps but plain old 4x32 was ok the 4x40 was better and 3x9x40 ideal.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:02 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

When we spotlight I have an 8 inch, 100 watt quartz halogen spotlight that throws a good solid bean that will hold a rabbit or fox easily at 200 metres. This light also puts out enough peripheral light at maybe 35 degrees either side to see anything moving about.

We always use two guys for spotlighting, usually the driver of a 4WD ute with the light and the shooter either in the passenger seat or in the back tray shooting over the cabin. Apart from the obvious safety factor, it is much easier to have one guy operating the light and one shooting. Make sure the guy with the light doesn't get behind you because if he inadvertently hits the back of your scope with the light you won't see anything through the flare.

I have done a walkabout shoot with a spotlight, but a battery for my spotlight can get damn heavy after awhile. This is where a quality LED light will come into it's own. Make sure you carry a spare battery though because on full power usage time is reduced and can be minimal. Fortunately, most LED torches give you different power options by using different 'clicks' on the ON button.

Rifle...whatever calibre suits your needs, so long as it is capable at the range you 'spot' the critter (no sense in using a 30.30 at 200 metres for argument sake). When spotting foxes, we use a .223 Rem with an illuminated reticle...for rabbits, the humble old .22 rimfire with a 4x or 6x scope. Pretty much any scope will do the job because the spotlight provides the light.

As Elvis pointed out, sometimes the guy with the spotlight will see the critter when the shooter can't. I really like his idea of the laser pointer...will have to get one for when we go out because most time you rely on the 'eye shine' to identify and pinpoint the critter, but if you are not in a position to see that eye shine you might not be able to see the target.

There are plenty of LED torches available now that can be mounted under the rifle barrel or on top of the scope that put out more than enough light to use for spotlighting. Personally, I prefer something in the 1000 lumen plus range (preferably double that), but the options are many and varied, so pick one that suits your needs. The following link is to an Aussie light shop, but the brands are internationally universal, and the show some good LED options.

LED Torch Shop

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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:30 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

They only thing around here that I would hunt at night are coyotes, thicker than (theives) politicians. It has been my experience that the moment a light of any kind hits them they are gone. And, sadly I cannot afford a decent night-vision scope.

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wiersy111
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

Thanks guys, here in Minnesota we are limited to shotgun when hunting coyotes with spotlights. I have one light that is nice and bright that would fit the my needs but I might as well get a couple other ones. I think I just found a new use for Big Bertha ( 10ga). Should make a good gun for popping coyotes. We are restricted to hunting with artificial light from 1 January to 15 March here in MN. Which means it is usually pretty damn cold and deep snow.

During the daylight hours I use the 6.5 Grendel, that bad boy has the range to smack the wary coyotes way out there. We have a lot of stupid laws here in Minnesota that make it really hard to keep an animal population like coyotes down. Even though there is no season and no license requirement these laws make it hard to use methods that would put a dent in the population.

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wiersy111
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:36 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

lesterg3 wrote:
They only thing around here that I would hunt at night are coyotes, thicker than (theives) politicians. It has been my experience that the moment a light of any kind hits them they are gone. And, sadly I cannot afford a decent night-vision scope.

I hope the light is not my problem because Minnesota does not allow the use of night vision at all for hunting. I,m sure it still happens but I sure don't want to explain to the warden why I have illegal optics out chasing worthless yotes.

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

Just put a red filter in front of your lamp. Red light doesn't scare animals with fur and you will still see enough eyes to shoot. As for birds... any light will scare them of, very strange. It seems that feathers multiply the light and fur seems to absorb it.
When you use white light, just only flash a little and never stay pointed on the animal. Most of the time I use a red light fixed on my scope and my scope is usually at 8x multiplication.

But you in your nice cabine, why don't you put a few proximity switches on the trails nearby? There come very cheap nowadays and will make some device vibrate inside your pockets when something comes near. That way you don't need to stay focused and you'll still be ready when something comes into range...

And just search on you-tube for night-hunts in Great-Britain on foxes, rabbits and rats. You'll soon find your way into this without paying lots of money.
Of course when you can spare a few thousands on this... there are scopes that operate on heat...
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

The newer LED Cree type flashlight sized are the way to go. You can get red green blue and amber lights. The batteries on these last for hours of use. The old hand held spot light types might get you 20 minutes of running time on a the light.

I purchased the elusive wildlife technologies 250 Kill light kit a few years ago but once I figured out what it was I have been buying other 'torches" off of Amazon and Ebay for a fraction of the cost.

Here is a link to one with a pressure switch included for less than $10
www.amazon.com/dp/B00B...EDME&psc=1

I use a red LED for scanning for eyes that is hand held. Once I see eyes I will line up the rifle and turn on the "burn " light which is white light mounted on the rifle and aligned with the scope to make final ID and take the shot.

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Last edited by Dawgdad on Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

I have posted this here before and I cannot link credit to the original author but it is good information on how to night hunt a coyote or a fox.

Night Hunting Coyotes



There is an unbelievable lack of knowledge about how to conduct a proper stand at night. Questions such as when do I turn on the light, and for how long? What am I looking for, what do I do once I locate an animal. How to identify what you are looking at.

Basic lighting technique starts with the stand selection. You have to be very careful in selecting a stand, taking wind direction into consideration. You should not have any large objects near you, boulders, trees, a hillside in the immediate foreground; anything that would cause shadows beyond the object. The reason is that any animal that is otherwise out in the open, but is in shadow because of a tree in the foreground, you can't identify in the scope. There is only enough diffused light to see the eyes, but the animal is in darkness, and your light is reflecting off the object. A bad situation, unless you can get him to move to the side. So, the answer is to get those terrain features as far away from you as possible; especially downwind.

If you think coyotes have a tendency to circle downwind on a day stand, wait until you try your hand at night hunting. It's almost automatic, if you let it happen. Make sure you have an unobstructed shot downwind, if at all possible. In fact, if the wind is blowing toward one of those near trees, you might have to select a better spot now, rather than let it become a factor in letting an animal get away from you. Under the best circumstances, night hunting is difficult, you need to set up for success. This should be easy, as it doesn't take many mistakes to improve your stand selection process.

Ideally, I like to have an unobstructed view in a fifty yard radius, but rather than search all night for the perfect spot, you need to learn to make the most of what you have. If you are in heavy cover, this calls for a subdued spotlight. As mentioned, you get too much bounce back, from the brush, and it spooks the animals if you are using too much wattage, regardless of the tint.

Open country, you need a little more light, but that's the key, a little more light goes a long way, when scanning with the hunting light. One of the biggest mistakes people make is using too much light, even if they know proper light technique. The second biggest mistake is the way they mover the light, there shouldn't be any sudden Jedi Knight type slashes and irregular movement. You want a steady, level sweep of ten to twelve seconds to make a complete 360º circle. Put the light out on the distant horizon and avoid illuminating the immediate foreground. This is very important.

Starting your stand.

Bring the light around behind your back, in your right hand, before you turn it on. Turn the light on, pointing it to the rear and slowly move in a counterclockwise direction, until you are twisting your body and pointing the light behind you. You must make complete circles, beginners almost always cheat, and don't go all the way around before the start back, clockwise. This is also a mistake, easily avoided. Always make your stands exactly the same way, right to left, and return with another 360 in the opposite direction. Begin and end every sweep directly to your rear. And, at this point, don't ask; "how come?" just do it.

If for any reason, you want to turn the light off, do it behind your back, on the right side. Keep it pointed behind you until the light is actually completely dark, sometimes there is a glow that will illuminate you or your partner, accidentally. Another mistake.

Let's say that you are hand calling, and you need to retrieve another call, dress the light cord, pick up something, or any number of valid reasons? If you have a stationary animal, and you must turn the light off, you always want to aim the light directly away from the animal, before you turn it off. When you turn it on, do so 180º from his direction, and slowly sweep it around to where you expect him to be. Actually, you should never take the light off a set of eyes, for any reason, but in an emergency, this is how you should do it. Never switch the light off and on where the animal can see you do it. Never point the light to the ground, in front of an animal. Never point the light straight up in the air. All of these actions will spook an animal. If you are dealing with a cat, you can get away with a lot of poor techniques, but if you know better, why do it?

As I said above, once you start your stand, you should plan on leaving it on until you break off the stand, if at all possible. Two reasons. First, a coyote can rush in and back out while you are blowing your nose, and you never even saw him. Secondly, flipping the light on and off will spook some animals, so every time you do it, you are taking a calculated risk. If you turn the light off when working a bobcat, he may never look your way again. Happens all the time. So, you need to keep those eyes in the halo, never lose them. It takes all your concentration to follow an animal moving through cover, but you must not lose him. If he is moving in a certain direction and you lose him, you need to watch the direction he was moving, and the last place you saw him, and do it very carefully. Many times he has entered a fold in the terrain, and other times, he hasn't moved, he is still where you last saw him, but his eyes are averted. They do that just to make it interesting, once in a while.

But, starting from the top, when you first turn on the light, you need to make two complete 360º sweeps with lip squeaks. This is because you may have an animal very close, and you don't want to start a loud series, or turn on a machine at high volume when you don't know what you have before you. This is left to right and right to left, which is one cycle, and then you should do it again, to make absolutely sure that the area is clear. At this time you can turn off the light, optional, before you start your first series, or continue with the slow sweeps while you begin with your selected sound.

Depending on the terrain, you can keep the volume to about twenty-five percent, in heavier cover, and in open areas, go ahead and turn it up, as far as you like. You have already determined that you don't have eyes in the immediate vicinity, so this is actually the beginning of your stand, everything else being preliminary.

The length of the stand will depend on a couple of things. First, in open country, I make stands of no more that twelve minutes. When you have a lot of brush, you can extend the stand beyond fifteen minutes, maybe twenty. And that's the other consideration. You go with your instinct. Some stands just look better than others, good line of sight, no obstructions. Others, you might just be going through the motions. In other words, it can be a lot like daylights. Routinely, night stands are shorter, because you can see eyes, and you know when you have no takers before you arrive at that conclusion, were you on a day stand, even in the same location.

Animals generally respond just as eagerly at night, but they circle downwind on you more often. Your job is to prevent it. If you don't jiggle the light or make any noise or movement, you have a good chance of a direct approach. However, expect him to flare off at any time, the shortest direction to downwind. That's another thing. Above, I said that if you lose the eyes, you need to watch two places; where he was and the direction he was moving. Consider this, they almost never go the long way around to get your scent. If it's a tossup, he will most likely travel counterclockwise to get there.

As soon as you pick up a set of eyes, you need to hold the light very steady, maybe use both hands? Kick or tap your partner on the shoulder, he needs as much warning as you can give him. He will help with the tracking, as sometimes the eyes reflect to one side a little better than the other, depending on exactly where the animal is going. In other words, you may not see both eyes, and he may be looking at an angle. This means that you might see flashes, here and there, and you would be surprised that the man on the gun can sometimes pick up a flash where the light man didn't. Not often, but it definitely helps to have two sets of eyes following the animal, whenever possible.

From the beginning, the shooter needs to be ready. You cannot predict when you will see an animal, but especially when you do have one approaching, the shooter should be tracking him wherever possible. If it looks like the shooter doesn't know where the animal is, gently pull him around, and help him out, it is important that you both know the situation. Remember that the man with the light is the actual hunter, and he should be making all decisions. It's like playing a bass, you don't hand off the rod, or you don't pay much attention to what the other guy thinks you should do. The light man is working the animal and he has the best idea of what's going on. When you reach a point where a shot is possible, the light man should make that known to the shooter by crowding in closer to him, and making absolutely positive that he sees the animal, has him located in the scope, and understands that this is the best position. At this point, the shooter should assure the light man that he sees the animal, and has him lined up, or will, as soon as the animal stops.

At this point, the light man should lip squeak the animal for the shot. When the animal stops, the shooter takes charge for the first time and commands his partner by whispering "burn him." Now, as soon as the animal is lit up, the shooter must identify the animal, and shoot, before the animal moves. He will typically have about five seconds to do all of this, and he can't make any mistakes. At the shot, the light man has full control and will concentrate all of his attention on exactly where the animal was when he dropped out of sight. They will drop out of sight, count on it. Both team members need to agree on the exact spot, and make a mental note of the distance. Both should look for visual clues to help them fix the location. This can be as simple as a rock directly in front of them, or beside a certain bush, whatever it is, it needs to be something specific. And, keep the light on the spot until you have it bracketed as well as can be done. You would be surprised at the number of animals that are never recovered because of poor spotting. Not only that, but it wastes time better spent on another stand.

Once he is hit, there is usually a distinctive "whop" like a broken watermelon hitting the ground. This sound is a lot easier to pick up at night than daylight, and is a good reason to keep looking, if you didn't get a good location, and can't find him right away.

Never move, once you have an animal down. This is the easiest way to lose him. One guy should retrieve, and the other direct him. Two guys wandering around doesn't save any time, and in the process, you might lose the location, or get confused.

Okay, let's say you didn't see anything, and after a reasonable length of time, you are ready to move on. What is the procedure? The light man will decide when the stand has played out. He will terminate his last sweep with the subdued light, and turn on the burn light, and make four complete circles, right to left, left to right and then do it again, all the time lip squeaking. Never break off a stand without doing this. The number of animals that you pick up, that have previously avoided detection is a low percentage, but never assume that you got them all. If it happens that you pick up a flash when burning and lip squeaking, raise the light and keep him just in the halo, do not go back to the lower hunting intensity. If you have any chance at this animal, you need to work him with the same light that lit him up, but you need to be very careful. If it's a coyote, chances are, he won't get any closer, so as long as he is steady and looking at you, get on him with the gun, and bring the light down on him when the shooter calls for the burn. This will put a lot of coyotes in the truck, if you play your cards right.

So, that is about all there is to conducting a successful night stand, like an expert. These are proven techniques, developed (literally) over decades in the field, by hundreds of skilled night hunters.

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Dawgdad
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

Here is a picture of my set up. I use the hand held Cree with a red emitter then switch to the gun mounted light and then the Stanley for retrieval of a dead one or final sweep of an area before I call it quits.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

Thanks Dawgdad that was some good reading. I am going to try some of them lights. do they come with color filters?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

They come with the LED in different colors. No filters or lenses. I like red and green. They don't spook the critters even though the are plenty bright.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:35 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

www.amazon.com/BestFir...MZQKM8SXNV

here is a red one a green one with mounting hardware and pressure switch too.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:38 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

get a white light 1000 lumen to go along with this and you will be all set.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:36 am    Post subject: Re: Night Hunting Equipment. Reply with quote

I am ordering 2 of the lights you recommended, and thinking of a spot light or high power headlamp.

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