Spotlights For Hunting Small Game|
Night hunting is one of the more challenging and exhilarating methods for taking game. The darkness and quiet of the night adds an air of mystery and the unexpected to the already exciting thrill of the hunt. Finding game and making the shot take on a whole new level of difficulty because of the reduced visibility and shortened targeting distances of hunting in the dark, not to mention having to target an animal with a gun and spotlight it at the same time as well. Varmint hunting with a spotlight presents a new set of demands for the hunter, and all of his senses and equipment need to be at their best if he is to be successful.
Although the gun is the most important tool on the hunter's list, without the lighting equipment, the gun will be useless. Although many hunters will seek to find the biggest spotlight they can find, the idea behind nighttime hunting of small game animals is not to light the area up with a flood of intense light turning the night into day. For hunting small game like rabbits and squirrels, a bright white beam that will highlight the eye shine from these animals at a respectable distance is the most important consideration. Small predator hunting is different and may require a more powerful spotlight with red lenses to better illuminate the animal and prevent spooking it, but for hunting small game, a less intense but whiter light is preferable.
Hunting at night requires additional gear and preparation. In addition to the usual gear, the nighttime hunter has to also include the spotlight, a power source, replacement bulbs, cords and more in his list of supplies. Because of this, reducing the size and weight of this equipment without compromising effectiveness is also a factor. Most hunting spotlights are either rechargeable units that because of their high power ratings, typically are only good for about fifty minutes of use. The other options are the battery-powered spotlights that tap into the electrical system of a vehicle. Although their operation time is significantly better, their need for an external power source severely limits their portability.
Another very important concern for hunters is the heat generated from these spotlights. There is more than one story of the hunter who melted the carpeting in his truck, or picked up some nasty burns because in his haste to take the shot, he was less than careful with his spotlight. Since hunting exposes lighting equipment to the elements, water is also a concern, as some spotlight lenses often don’t react well to getting wet when hot. Addressing these concerns is a part of properly preparing for a nighttime hunt, and choosing the right equipment can address them all without forcing the need to compromise.
For small game, a small but bright handheld spotlight like the Larson Electronics RL-85-10W1 is a good representative of a powerful and efficient way to get the job done. This spotlight's smaller diameter lamp and light weight make carrying and stowage easier. Unlike a traditional spotlight, this light's small diameter lens will slide into a jacket pocket easily. Its light weight reduces the overall weight and bulk a hunter must carry and allows it to be less obtrusive when trying to set up a position. This spotlight provides eight hundred lumens of bright white light, and can light up targets at distances of eight hundred feet. Reflective objects return its illumination at distances up to fifteen hundred feet, so getting a return from a small animal's eye shine at targeting ranges is certainly within this spotlight's capabilities. The spotlight utilizes a single ten-watt LED bulb to create eight hundred lumens of light, which because of the LED’s natural tendency to create light of a directional nature, and the light's unique reflector, is well concentrated.
Rechargeable HID-halogen spotlights carry with them the drawback of short battery life. Typical charge life ratings for these types of spotlights are an hour or less, and charging times vary widely. The Larson Electronics RL-85-10W1 is much different. Because it uses a ten-watt LED bulb that draws over three times less power than a traditional spotlight's bulb, the charge life is greatly extended. The charge life of the RL-85-10W1 is rated at four and a half hours, giving it a distinct longevity advantage over halogens or HIDs. This lamp incorporates rechargeable lithium ion batteries in its construction rather than the more common NiCad's. While lithium ion batteries are more expensive than the common lead acid or NiCad batteries used in spotlights, their advantages for the avid hunter make their cost reasonable. Lithium ion batteries do not require special charging procedures. Unlike other batteries, Lithium ion batteries do not need to be fully charged or fully discharged to prolong their life. They last for thousands of charge cycles as opposed to the five or eight hundred charging cycles of typical rechargeable batteries. They also hold their charges longer and do not lose overall longevity because of disuse. This light can be only partially charged without any worry of shortening the life of its battery.
High power spotlights usually produce a significant amount of heat. The Larson Electronics RL-85-10W1 however, uses an LED bulb to produce light, which greatly reduces the amount of heat the unit generates. Even after an hour of use, this spotlight's lens will not burn anything it comes into contact with. The lower heat reduces the stress on the protective lens as well, allowing it to withstand getting wet without any worries of the glass cracking or breaking.
This spotlight is constructed of chemical and water-resistant materials, with the LED housing made of machined aluminum, and the handle constructed of high impact nylon. The bulb is a single ten-watt LED rated at one hundred and twenty hours of life, far surpassing the lifespan of halogen bulbs. The lens is durable Lexan and the aluminum housing is powder coated to resist corrosion. The Larson Electronics RL-85-10W1 is a good example of how recent improvements in LED technology have helped to produce some amazing lighting equipment for just about every sport there is. The special conditions presented by nighttime hunting are well met by the addition of this small but powerful and durable LED spotlight to a hunter’s arsenal of equipment. Its safe and efficient production of high quality white light and its longevity removes many of the common concerns with traditional hunting spotlights. As any hunter knows, it’s all about the hunt, and dealing with equipment concerns only takes away from the enjoyment of it. With this spotlight, you can rest assured that there will be one piece of equipment that won’t be the reason you missed your shot.