So you are in the market for a new night hunting light and you do not know what color to pick.
Well in this article we will go over why you would want to go hunting with a red light. If it is for deer or to use as a predator hunting light this article might help.
First off let’s cover the bases that all of the colors of light are not the same. Animals do not see them the same just as we do not see them the same.
What we are looking for is a light that is inconspicuous to animals but gives us some advantages.
Out the gate, red light is a favorite light for coyote hunting while green light is a favorite light for hog hunting but let’s get into some more specifics.
Green light has its advantages and so does red light. In general, white light is not considered a good night hunting light since it is seen well by most animals and it will spook them. It has so much light intensity.
Advantages Of Hunting With Red Light
One of the main ways to spot prey is by scanning for eye shine.
You know when you get a picture that had a flash and you see the eyes glowing, that is eye shine and it stands out.
Animal eyes have eyeshine too. The glitter from eye shine is way easier to pick up while scanning than the outline of an animal.
Eye shine is one of the main reasons why hunting with a red light makes lots of sense. The red light shows more eye shine than green light.
Red Light Does Not Mess Up Your Night Vision
It is well known that red light does not mess up your night vision very much and gives you eye fatigue.
People in lots of different occupations have been using red light to read maps at night and to get around dark places. Red is great for dark adaptation.
The reason that car rear lights are red aside from being different than white is that it does not mess up your night vision as much when staring at it.
A nice low lumen red light will allow you to get around without disturbing others or destroying your night vision.
Red light has good contrast with the other colors outdoors.
With a higher level of contrast, it is easier to see outlines and hopefully spot the game that you are looking for.
Not Very Reflective
This type of light is not a very reflective light. Since red light is not very reflective it will only really cast light where you are pointing it.
There will not be much spill from the light.
Also, this helps with retaining night vision since you will get less bounce back from things that are close to you. To understand this concept imagine walking through a small hallway with white walls with a really bright white light.
You will blind yourself from the light bouncing off of the walls.
Harder To Notice From Distance
Red light stands out but similar to the previous idea of not being very reflective red light is harder to notice at long distances aside from if you can see right at the light source.
Red Light Is A Natural Light Color At Sunrise And Sunset
Red light is a natural color of light. Green light does not happen very often.
Maybe one of the reasons why animals are less spooked by red light is that a red glow from the sun is something that happens 2 times a day.
Does Not Spook
White light will spook game.
It is believed that the eyes of most game animals can not see red and green like the human eye can but that they just see different shades of gray. They have dichromatic vision since they have only 2 cones they see in two colors. In most animals, those two colors are blues and yellows.
So they can see the spectrum from blue to green to yellow pretty well.
Green since it is brighter shows much brighter shades of gray.
It is really hard to know for sure what animals do and do not see but scientists have their guesses.
Does Not Interfere With Night Vision or Infrared
There are some hunters that use night vision and infrared technology. Red light does not affect this much if at all. Some of the other colors like green and white will throw off the censors.
Disadvantages Of Hunting With Red Light
Does Not Shine As Far
If you are expecting to take some long-range shots then red light is not as effective at long ranges.
We mentioned this as a positive for a red light but depending on your situation it could also be a negative.
Does Not Stand Out On Really Dark Bodied Animals
One of the main animals that people use green lights is hogs.
Hogs like to hide in thick brush and they have really dark bodies. The red light does not perform the best in those situations and the extra brightness of the green light really helps.
On the light spectrum, green stands out really well to humans so we can see the brightness better also.
Also, hogs do not see well anyway so they are not spooked by the increased intensity of the green light.
What To Look For In A Red Light For Hunting
We like to use lights that have both white and red lights so we can use the color that we need when we need it. Or we like a really good white light with a red filter.
Based on some of the positives about red lights above you will notice that red does not come across as bright as some of the other lights so you will need more lumen output to compensate. Check out how bright a flashlight can get.
Remote Pressure Switch & Weapon Mounted
If you want to be hands-free it could be a good idea to get a weapon mounted light with a pressure switch. This way you can use both hands to hold your rifle still.
Another option for hands-free would be a good headlamp with a red light in it.
The last thing that you want to happen when you are out at night hunting would be for your batteries to go dead. Get a light will lots of brightness settings so you can use just what you need.
Also, get a light that is a little bigger so you can have batteries with more capacity.
Get a light with rechargeable batteries that you can replace. This way you can bring a couple of extra batteries with you and then just recharge them when you get home.
You can get a lot of cheap lights with all of the above factors but a really sturdy light will cost you extra money.
The main difference between cheap and nice flashlights is how sturdy they are. You will not need the durability of a SureFire, Elzetta, or Malkoff but there is a reason they are so expensive. They always work and they are almost indestructible.
Adjustable Focus / Zoom Focus
This one is a little tricky.
Most adjustable focus or zoom flashlights are really cheap. We would opt for a light with a brighter and more focused beam than a cheap zoomie flashlight.
With that said there are a couple of well-manufactured zoomies and having the ability to use one light instead of two for flood and throw is beneficial.
Intensity Control Switch / Brightness Settings
This was also mentioned in battery life above since you only want to use the amount of light that you need for power reasons.
You also want to only use the light you need for your night vision and moving around as stealth as possible.
In the same line as durability is being water-resistant. Depending on where you hunt the likelihood of dropping your light in water will be different. The water resistance will be marked with the IP Rating. We prefer IP68 but those are hard to find.
Get something that is water-resistant and durable so you just do not have to worry about it.
We think that these are some pretty compelling reasons to go hunting with a red light.
There are flashlight options that have white, green, and red LEDs so you can cover most of the bases. But we really do like the option of going with filters and a really nice white LED flashlight.
Thanks for visiting the site. We hope that you found what you were looking for. If you are in the market for a hunting light or hunting headlamp check out the respective buyer’s guides. Otherwise, we really suggest you check out our flashlight buyer’s guide hub and see the options.