Using a Red Hunting Light

Written by ryn gargulinski
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Using a Red Hunting Light
Coyote (Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski)

Red hunting lights are not used just because they look cool. These useful devices were created so folks could hunt in the dark. The red hue of the light insures it will not hurt your prey's eyes or scare them off into the underbrush. Red hunting lights are available in a variety of styles and a wide price range, but no matter which type you choose, you use them all the same basic way.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Red hunting light
  • Regular light for after the kill
  • Proper permits
  • Gun and other hunting equipment

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  1. 1

    Make sure you're allowed to hunt at night. Check with the state Game and Fish Department and other local departments to insure you are allowed to be shooting things dead in the middle of the night in the first place. Once you know the rules, get the proper permits before you even get your red hunting light.

  2. 2

    Get your red hunting light. You can pick one that mounts on a stand, a head lamp or one that is a flashlight you hold in your hand. Some will have a red light only, others will include a red filter you can place over the light when darkness hits. Red lens caps are also available to place over a compatible light you already own. If you want double duty out of the light, pick one that can also function as a regular light. If you know it's for nighttime use only, go for all red so there is one less part that can break. Red hunting lights can be purchased at sporting goods and hunting stores or online. See Resources below.

  3. 3

    Pick the right time of day and the right prey. The dark of night is where your red hunting light comes into play. Nocturnal creatures, such as coyotes, rats and other varmints will be your prey. Any beast that's active in the day is not going to even see your light because he'll be busy sleeping all night.

  4. 4

    Position yourself and your light. Pick your hunting spot, using the light from the red light only, and get comfortable. Mount your light on its stand, if it has one, or scope the area with your flashlight in hand or headlamp on. Slowly sweep the area with the red light, looking for sets of eyes reflecting the light.

  5. 5

    Couple the light with other lures for prey. Use coyote or distress calls to lure your prey to you. Leave the red light as your only source of light during the entire hunt until you want to stop or have to go pick up your kill. Once you turn on a white light, all potential prey will flee for Timbuktu and you'll never get any of them--at least not that night.

Tips and warnings

  • The site, in Resources below, points out that the red light will reflect differently in each prey's eyes. It says coyote eyes will be small and white, bobcat eyes will be larger and white, grey fox and raccoon eyes will be orange red, red fox eyes will be red.
  • Hunting at night is even more dangerous for human injuries than hunting during the day. Make sure you always know where your hunting buddies are so you don't accidentally shoot and kill them.

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