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01/05/17 Green Lens and Hunting Varmints

Article - January, 5 2016 By

Green LED Pistol Grip Hunting Spotlight

Green Lens and Hunting Varmints

Using a green lens while hunting varmints is a common, traditional practice that sometimes generates inconsistent results. This is because the technique is strongly influenced by several factors that go beyond the “invisible” color of the lens.

How Varmints See Color

In order to get a better understanding of how animals react to light, one must first learn how varmints see color. At the most basic level, animals with cones are able to discern some forms of color in their surroundings. The spectrum of colors applied, as well as the intensity of light, are two salient factors that determine the efficiency of hunting lights. Contributing to such components are the number of cones and rods present in the eyes, and the location of the creature’s retina.

For example, deer support dichromatic vision, allowing them to see short and moderate wavelengths of light. The animal’s cones can be found in the back section of the eye in a horizontal configuration. This suggests that deer can detect movement easily, but may have a difficult time distinguishing objects at varying distances. According to a study from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, deer are able to perceive blue colors seamlessly, while seeing red colors may be challenging for the animal.

Furthermore, the varmint can see green, yellow and UV light; however, it has a difficult time differentiating specific color shades or tones. This conclusion suggests that using a green lens shade that is similar to the colors of the environment (leaves, trees and etc.) may be reduce the possibility of detection while hunting deer. If executed properly, the animal should see both components (the green light and the similarly shaded surroundings) as one giant blob. Using an overly bright light may reduce the efficiency of this method, as it would allow the animal to differentiate the beam from its natural environment. This technique can be implemented when hunting other types of varmints, as long as the correct (least detectable) lens color is applied.

Coyotes and Night Hunting

Coyotes dominate as nocturnal hunters because they have high concentrations of rods, compared to cones inside their eyes. Less light is needed to activate the components; however, it also limits the creature’s ability to discern colors. By comparison, humans have more cones than rods, which is why people have a harder time seeing at night. Going back to rods, the components contain rhodopsin, a special photosensitive pigment that is very sensitive to low light. Under the retina, coyotes process light continuously in their eyes through the functions of the tapetum lucidum. When both components are working at full capacity, the animal is able to see exceptionally well at night. But like deer, their weakness lies in the sharp perception of specific color tones. Because of this, the application of an “invisible” light at low intensity levels is also relevant when hunting for coyotes. Using intense brightness settings could increase the risk of activating components inside rods that are sensitive to low light.

Any Lens Color Will Do?

Nocturnal hunters have raised concerns that the application of green lenses spook animals on the field. This has also been tested and reported with other colors, such as red, blue and white. In most cases, it is likely that the color of the light may not be the culprit that’s causing such problems. Instead, one should check the brightness settings of the light beam. This is because even though a color blind animal cannot “see” the green light, it may be able to detect it in a different color tone. For example, if a person, who cannot see the color blue, looks at a blue card on a table, the individual will still be able to see the card (the card isn’t invisible), but in a dark, gray tone.

On the field, some animals instantly react to light beams, regardless of the color, which suggest that they can perceive the light, but not the tone. Moreover, some creatures (in addition to being color blind) have low visual capabilities at night, making them almost completely blind to their surroundings. Hence, if a light with an extremely low intensity setting was pointed at the animal, there is a high chance that it won’t spook the creature. To decrease the risk of detection, it is highly recommended to use a green lens with a minimally bright setting on a nightly creature that cannot discern the color. All of these elements work together cohesively to ensure a safe and undetectable hunting experience.

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