50 Shades of Green - Understanding The Need/Application of Night Hunting LightsNight hunting light basics, understanding the application of night hunting technology to improve night hunting success rate.
With all the night hunting gadgets (some good, some useless) on the market targeting hunters, it is beneficial to have a base understanding; the unique challenges; and varying solutions being thrown at today’s night hunter. I’ll focus this blog on 2 primary discussion points, shadowing and light spectrum.
I chuckle every time I see an ad geared toward hog hunters claiming, “eye shine” @ x number of yards. The claim intended as an indicator of light intensity or brightness.
Hogs eyes lack the reflective surface behind the retina that creates the eye reflectivity you see in other animals, deer, raccoons, etc. This same reflective surface also improves night vision. Hogs DO NOT possess this layer - their eyes do not reflect light and their night vision, comparatively speaking, is poor at best. Hogs are not color blind as some may lead you to believe, they have 2 pigment cones in each eye, this results in poor color perception but NOT color blindness. Poor night vision causes hogs to be hyper sensitive to shadows cast by passing light or objects other hogs moving in a fixed light.
Knowing this it is understandable that a fixed light (feeder light) and the constant motion of other hogs, results in a sounder becoming very skittish when feeding in this environment. It also understandable that constant scanning with a rifle mounted or hand held light may throw excessive shadows creating the same skittishness. Both of these night hunting methods will limit your night hunting success.
Rifle mounted or hand held lights should be used sparingly when night hunting; you don't want to over shine an area creating unnecessary shadows; alarming game in the feed area; or worse yet, scaring other game away before their presence is even detected. Most night hunting lights incorporate LED technology. An LED- light emitting diode is a semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes through it. Without going to deep into a very broad topic I’ll attempt to condense and present information that is relevant in your night hunting light selection.
50 Shades of Green, when green isn't “THE” green. As you can see on the spectrum chart, there are many shades of green that can be produced.
The manufacturing process required in the production of green LED’s results in a large margin of error, producing a wide variation of even a specifically targeted green shade on the spectrum. The end result is a misconception created when a hunter with the wrong or an inferior produced green hunting light creates excessive shadowing, or in some cases, a shade of green that is just plain offensive to the hogs, resulting in them scattering as if you had taken a shot.
It is a challenge to produce a known semiconductor material that can be combined to create a consistent desired shade of green light that minimizes shadowing, yet is powerful enough to shine the desired distance. The primary challenge is that the semiconductors used have varying sized crystal structures, creating a challenge in the alignment of the layers.
Don’t fall victim to judging a book by its cover, just because a light shines green doesn't mean that it will be effective in improving the success rate of your night hunts.
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