Tips for Hunting at Night
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One of the most rewarding experiences a hunter can have is to head out into the wilds and do some serious night hunting. If you are traditionally a day hunter, it’s important to realize that taking down a kill in the dark is an entirely different ball game. Night hunting requires an entirely different set of skills, knowledge, and even tools; if it’s something you want to try and need the inside scoop on how to get started, read on and we’ll give you our top tips for hunting safely and successfully.
First though, think about why you are deciding to hunt at night. Are you going predator hunting for something that’s easier to hunt at night such as coyote? Or are you just looking for a thrilling night hunting experience that you can tell all your fellow hunters about? Take the time to decide what it is you’re actually going after in dark, and what you’re looking to gain out the whole experience. Hunting in the dark is extremely hard if you have no plan of action or are kitted out with completely the wrong gear for the job.
Why You Should Night Hunt
Hunting in the day, especially for predators, is all about setting up your location, but at night, despite not having such a clear field of vision, the prey actually has the same disadvantage. When day hunting, you can certainly break up your shape, or stay in cover, but if the animal gets a glimpse of you, game over. At night, our poorer quality sight is not made up for by your prey’s lack of clear vision.
Not only can you catch different critters at night, it is a whole new skill set that is in itself rewarding. If you want a real challenge, give it a go!
Getting the right lighting is the key to a successful night hunt. It’s not only about what kind of light you use, but also about how you position the light. Most hunters will use either a gun mounted light or a head torch because they allow you to have a full range of movement that they won’t get with a hand-held torch; it saves the need to pick up and put down your weapon every time something comes into sight.
But it is also important not to just choose a basic white light. Use either a green or red filter to diffuse the light and not spook your target. Green will give you a better distance, but red will impact your natural night vision less and also reflect well off your prey’s eyes.
In terms of positioning, you want to ensure that any light you have is not reflecting back on you from white tree trunks or other obstructions; this can light you up for the animals and make them wary of approaching.
Unless you have a lot of local knowledge about where the animals wander in their regular routine, you’ll have to use a method of drawing them in. Callers (either electronic or mouth calls) can really help in making sure that you have a successful hunt. Some hunters prefer distress calls for night hunting, but be aware that you never quite know what will respond.
Coyotes and wild pigs are active at night, but so are bob-cats, so make sure that you don’t end up in a tricky situation where you could be in danger.
The people who know the land and layout best are those that own the land or live nearby. If you can ask a local about local trails and likely routes of animals, you’ll have a better shot of an encounter.
Getting the right location is absolutely on one of the key aspects involved in successful night hunting; not only for finding the prey, but also for safety. It is worth scouting out the area during the day t make sure there are no obstructions, no deep ditches that might trip you up, and of course, make sure that you can safely get to and from the site.
As with day hunting, patience is a key element to a successful hunt. This is even truer of night hunting. From sun-up to sun-down, you’ll get more likely targets, but at night, it is a question of maximizing your chances on the target you have. You really want to make sure that every shot you make is a clean kill because traipsing around a forest at night looking for an injured animal is the last thing any hunter (or animal) wants.
Try not to get into a “make or break” situation with your shots. Take your time and don’t fire until you are 100% certain that you have a clean kill shot. It takes patience and skill, but getting the right shot in the dark is far more satisfying than getting it during the day.
Above all, when hunting at night, put safety first. Follow your basic firearm safety protocols and be aware of your surroundings in the event of a miss; where will the bullet go? If you go with a group, it’s worth having a safety briefing first just to make sure everyone is aware of the added dangers.
Ready To Go?
Does all our tips make sense to you and apply to what you have in mind with your night hunting adventure? Just remember that if you’re not experienced with low light hunting, then it will take time to get to grips with it. As mentioned, gear is an essential factor in deciding how successful you end up. You have to get the right lighting for whatever it is you’re going in search of, as even the wrong color of light and you’ve wasted the full night for yourself.
Hunting at night is very rewarding, though it possesses even more dangers than hunting throughout the day. Make staying safe your number one priority, and always make sure you have at least one person with you on the night adventure.