Hunting Spotlights: Not Your Ordinary Flashlight|
Serious hunting requires an attention to utility that far surpasses what normally suffices in the average activities of everyday life. Success and safety depends as much on the skill and planning of the hunter as it does on the quality and effectiveness of the equipment he carries with him. Equipment carried by the hunter must be of a much higher caliber than what is normally adequate in less critical situations and the choice of equipment to be used in the hunt must reflect this. Lighting is a prime example. While an everyday d-cell battery flashlight might be fine for fixing the pipes under the kitchen sink, it will never be anywhere near effective enough for use in a hunting situation. In the rugged environment of the outdoors, plastic and cheap bulbs simply aren’t going to survive for very long, much less perform with any effectiveness.
Equipment selected for hunting must be of a wholly different design and anything less than professional grade construction and materials will be a compromise at best, a liability at the worst. To be effective in the field a light must be rugged, portable, powerful, weather resistant, and above all else reliable. To that end, the construction and materials of professional grade hunting lights will differ markedly from the common household flashlight. A high grade hunting light will tend to be heavier, with a body made of either high impact composites or metal. The joints will be sealed with rubber rings and gaskets. The bulbs will preferably be high efficiency HIDs or LEDs and resistant to impacts and burnouts. The best power sources are usually rechargeable lithium ion batteries that can withstand repeated partial charging and full discharges without any loss in performance or battery life. Lenses should never be plastic and in professional grade equipment will usually be constructed of unbreakable polycarbonate.
As well as the actual construction of the hunting light, the design must also facilitate the ease of its use. Handles or grips should be textured or lined with high friction materials such as firm rubber to decrease the likelihood of slippage or shifting while in use. The design should be ergonomic and lend itself to easy manipulation and control of the light under adverse conditions while providing a comfortable gripping contour. Switches and controls must be water tight and easily actuated with one hand while also durable and able to last through extensive switching on and off. In hunting situations, you usually get only one chance to hit your target after hours spent in setting up that chance. No one wants to have that chance wasted because their equipment failed to operate so a hunting light must be built to perform no matter the conditions.
Modern technology has produced some excellent options for the serious hunter when it comes to his choice of lighting equipment. The development of small electronic ballasts, compact batteries that can hold significant charges and energy efficient HID bulbs have allowed for the creation of some truly revolutionary light designs. Many of the hunting lights available today hold only a passing resemblance to the traditional portable light designs that preceded them. Now we have spotlights with slim-line bodies and balanced construction that fit into the hand as comfortably as the grip of any firearm while being far more powerful and durable than any plastic spotlight made ten years ago. These light are quickly charged and produce brilliant illumination at the push of a well placed button while never requiring the use of two hands for operation.
Designs like the Larson Electronics 15 Million Candle Power Rechargeable HID Pistol Grip Handheld Spotlight have greatly improved the success and enjoyment of the hunters who use them and promise to continue that performance for years to come. This lights body is constructed of high impact nylon and uses a rugged polycarbonate lamp housing to protect the bulb and reflector from the elements and accidental impacts with objects. The light is well balanced with a contoured handle and ergonomic design that makes the best of its minimal 3.6 pound weight. A lithium ion battery provides 2.5 hours of runtime from one charge and can be fully recharged in 4 hours. The handle is textured to provide a solid handhold even in wet conditions and has a lanyard attachment should the user somehow lose his grip.
Perhaps the most important feature of this hunting spotlight is the power and quality of the light it produces. The Larson Electronics spotlight uses a 35 watt high intensity discharge bulb to produce a 2800 foot long beam at a 15 million retail candlepower rating. The light can also be adjusted from a precise and intense spot to a brilliant and wide flood by twisting the lens cover. The HID bulb used in the Larson Electronics spotlight is a non filament based design that draws considerably less energy than a standard filament based bulb would while producing a much more powerful light beam. The result is increased runtime and extended battery life. An added benefit of the HID bulb is the lack of a fragile filament which greatly improves the overall durability of the spotlight. The reflector design is very efficient and loses little of the light to spillage, resulting in a more powerful and tightly focused light beam.
Choosing the right spotlight for hunting must take into account all of the factors mentioned here. Serious hunters rarely compromise on the quality of their firearms or camp gear and the same demanding consideration should be given to their choice of lighting as well. With the technology and quality designs available today it is easier than ever to obtain professional grade lighting equipment that will fill every job asked of it without the need for special considerations or handling. Like the rest of the gear used in the hunt, the spotlight should be dependable and rugged, powerful and lightweight. HID bulbs and compact lithium ion battery technology make filling these requirements simpler than ever and have allowed manufacturers to produce spotlight designs that are capable of surpassing the expectations of even the most demanding hunters. With all the designs available it is only a question of choosing which hunting light is right for you.