Choosing The Right Type & Color Hog Hunting Light
Light color choice is probably the #1 question I get asked on a daily basis when it comes to hunting hogs.
Choosing the right color light has a little more to do with hunting pressure than it does the brightness of the light.
Bright lights are important when hunting at night. I know that is a basic statement, and you’re probably thinking, “Duh”. Brightness is important, but it’s not the only thing. It’s easy to spook game with any bright light. Use a Rifle Lite (130yd light) at 50 yards and the hogs are going to spook. Guaranteed. Use a Bow Lite on your compound or crossbow at 10 yds (5-75 yd light) and most likely the hogs are going to get fidgety too.
Brightness isn’t everything, though. You will be amazed how little light it takes to make an ethical shot in the dark with some practice. Like anything, the more time you spend hunting in the dark, the better you are at it. Having a very bright light, then gives you an option. You can go to that next level if you need to. You have the ability to reach out there and “touch” them.
So, what color is best? That’s the million dollar question. The $.02 answer is, “It depends”.
There are a couple of things I ask when helping someone choose their light color. Where are you hunting, and what type of hunting are you doing?
If you plan to hunt hogs on ranches, and with outfitters then you should consider talking with those people a little to find out what colors EVERYONE else brings. That’s right. You don’t want to shoot what 1,000 people before you have shot.
Typically this is red. Using a bright red light on a ranch where everyone hunts with red lights will give you fits with spooky hogs. The animals can’t “see” the light, but they know when something is different because of the shadow that is cast, or the angle of the shadow…. Remember pigs are scientifically proven to be one of the “smartest” animals on the planet (about like a dog)….. You’re not going to take 300 shots over hogs and think the ones that didn’t get picked off aren’t going to learn something.
Second, choose your light for the style of hunting you do. If you bow hunt get a good Bow Lite. Are you hunting hogs? Are they free range? Are they in a pen (yes, even a 200 acre pen) on a ranch?
Free range hogs are less spooky because of the reduced amount of hunting pressure they get. Realistically (and I’m sure there’s a statistic somewhere) the percentage of hogs that are shot at regularly in the wild versus the hogs that are shot at on a ranch has got to be significantly less. Keep this in mind when choosing your light for hunting hogs at night.
Probably the best option is to consider a “two mode” light. I started hunting with one of these when I wanted to get a little closer to my game for better film. A two mode light will give you the flexibility you need to not freak your game out with a spot light. Even hunting over spooky hogs on a ranch gets better with a low mode light. This will let you get your light on to acquire your target, while keeping your target under the feeder.
I hope this helps clarify some of the things I have learned about light color choice and brightness when it comes to hunting hogs or other animals at night. Brightness is important, but it’s not everything as long as you have the option to use a “low” mode when you need to.
With hunting lite’s increasing in popularity, animals are becoming more keen to the subtle changes while in the field. The slightest shadow, or cast off from a lite that is too bright, or a lite that is not bright enough is just the right ticket to send your game animals into high alert. Stay stealthy….use 2 mode lights, and pick the right color for the game & place you’re hunting.
Best of luck in the field this month. Keep the rest of us hog hunters in mind and remember that what you do affects our reputations as well. And take a kid hunting…..you won’t regret it.