Where night hunting and hunting with green light is legal, of course.
A green light, a hunting flashlight or spotlight, can make the difference between getting your game and coming home with empty hands. Unfortunately, that is only true for hunting in states where night hunting and the use of lights is legal. Sorry, California pig hunters. You are out of luck, no green lights for you.
Please note that the following article is not intended to promote hunting at night and with spotlights. However, boar hunters in other states, notbly Texas, can use spotlights on wild pigs, lights over feeders, and rifle mounted lights to their heart’s content. Georgia also lets hunters use spotlights and night-vision equipment.
As hunters know from experience, wild boar are normally diurnal. However, in areas with high hunting pressure, they have become nocturnal. For all practical reasons, that is almost everywhere in the United States. Even wilderness areas are not exempt.
As a hunter, your hunting activities are limited to shooting hours in most states, usually between just before sunrise and just after sunset. There is no hunting at night. Even landowners with a predation permit to shoot nuisance boar, need special permission to use lights for hunting any game at night.
Nevertheless, outdoor and hiking enthusiasts are not subject to these limitations. They can freely use green lights to find and observe wildlife. You could also use such lights in your own front yard to watch who is coming to dig small holes in your well-manicured lawn.
No, it is not a pig but a big raccoon most likely. Also, did you ever hear of deer that visit suburban landscaped yards to eat your rose bushes? Here in the Los Angeles, we have a busy night spot up on a hill. On the way back to town, guests regularly can see deer in front yards munching on rose bushes. It happens especially during deer hunting season.
Why green instead?
Plain white lights, flashlights, spotlights, floodlights, are found everywhere. They are inexpensive and easy to get. Why then would anyone go through the trouble of purchasing an expensive green light device? Green flashlights and aerial lamps of all kinds are more expensive than ordinary flashlights. In fact, much more so depending on the quality of the device.
Well, more than one reason accounts for the use of colored lights. A focused, bright white spotlight is the best way to send all wildlife in the area packing. They will not return that same night.
Furthermore, the human eye has its greatest sensitivity in the field of red and green wavelengths. We perceive red light actually even better. But it dissipates faster. Therefore, we can see green light farther out. That makes it more practical for observation, identification, and hunting purposes.
Moreover, it is highly relevant to the user how far a flashlight or spotlight carries with identical light energy. Green is the champion in this category.
By the way, all bipedal primates have three types of photoreceptive cones in their eyes, for red, green, and blue.
Four-legged non-primate animals, on the other hand, have only two. They do not see the full rainbow colors but a ‘modified’ one with mainly dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, darker yellow, and very dark gray.
A few words on swine vision
Many hunters believe that pigs have poor eyesight. That is a misunderstanding at best. The eyesight of pigs is much better than believed. They can tell the difference between a circle and a square under almost all light conditions as long as it is larger than about one inch.
In addition, their peripheral vision beats ours hands down. Our panoramic vision is about 190 degrees, dogs do better with around 250, and boar top it with a 310-degree view. Most importantly for hunters to note, pigs have superb motion detection because the photoelectric receptors in their eyes reach to the edge of their retina. They are denser near the edge than in the center. Peripheral vision and motion detection are the best defensive weapons hogs have besides their outstanding sense of smell.
Then again, their field of vision is limited because they are relatively low to the ground, around 30 inches, and cannot raise their head towards the sky.
When it comes to color perception, swine vision is similar to that of dogs. ur porcine game sees green as shades of gray. To them, green light, therefore, looks more like moonlight flooding the landscape. It is less alarming than the harsh white from a powerful spotlight.
Psychologytoday.com compared how humans and dogs see the rainbow. Note that the wavelengths of green light fall into the gray area on the dog chart.
How humans and dogs see the rainbow (psychologytoday.com)
Therefore, it makes sense for hunters to use a green beam to illuminate the night in search of wild boar. Or for hikers and nature lovers to reveal animals hiding in the dark. By the way, recreational fishermen use green floodlights too, mainly for shooting fish with bow and arrow.
Ways to use colored light.
Though we talk mainly about using light for night hunts, green lights have a much wider application. The majority of them is most likely found in the gardens and backyards of residences as an architectural adornment. Just think of the small solar-powered garden lights for sale in every big box hardware store. They come in green as well or you can just add a green filter. In addition, they are inexpensive. Nevertheless, if you happened to live in the California Central Valley on a 5 to 10-acre property, they enabled you to identify who damages the property nightly.
Nevertheless, hunters are the most dedicated and sophisticated users of green or red lights. Boar hunters in Texas and Georgia, for example, use these lamps, spotlights, and flashlights as feeder lights, rifle-mounted spotlights, and as searchlights to find wild pigs in the area.
Not surprisingly, when, where, and how to use colored lights is a hot topic among boar and predator hunters in states where night hunts and the use of lights are legal. Moreover, European hunters also are discussing how to use the devices best, which light color is superior, and how to use them as feeder lights.
No quality, no fun.
Regardless of whether you use floodlights on a feeder, a rifle-mounted flashlight or a powerful spotlight, only quality lights manufactured with high-quality materials will do the job in the long run. True, you can use inexpensive solar lights to illuminate your front yard. But it takes superior design and well-built devices to withstand the rigors of hunting and to satisfy the needs of hunters.
When shopping for green spotlights, floodlights, moonlights or a mountable flashlight, hunters should consider these criteria:
The material used. Aluminum is the most durable.
The quality of the LED bulbs. Only high-quality light bulbs will last and withstand the shock from the rifle recoil.
High energy LED bulbs for distance. The most powerful green flashlights give you a range of over 200 yards for clear identification. Longer ranges are possible.
Heavy-duty rechargeable batteries. You need more than one to avoid getting stuck in the dark at a critical moment.
Solid, rifle mounts for your flashlight, offset mounts.
Do not use white lights with a green or red filter. They leak too much white light past the filter.
The proper use of green lights
Boar hunters worldwide are engaging in hot debates whether green, red or even white gives the best results. However, in doing so many overlook another important factor: How to use colored light properly.
Game animals can detect any light regardless of color. It does not matter whether they do so by registering shades of gray or changes in color. Consequently, if a hunter suddenly casts a strong green beam of light on foraging hogs, they will spook. Mind you, deer and most other wildlife are more sensitive to a sudden change in brightness than to color changes.
Among the least light sensitive animals are badgers, martens, and a fox that is stalking his prey. Wild boar are not far behind. An old male and the lead sow of a sounder are the exceptions. Her duty is to warn her family of any danger. The old male, however, is motivated by his survival instinct.
What then is the correct way of using green flashlights to find and hunt wild hogs?
First, avoid illuminating the game suddenly and directly. Your game will hoof it out of there as fast as they can. You might as well go home.
Instead, turn on your green spotlight when you are off target. In other words, move the light slowly from a side, from above or below towards the center.
Do so slowly, very slowly and steadily imitating the rise of the moon and the progression of its light.
The pigs will ignore the slow steady movement of the light almost completely.
The use of colored devices is trending upward among hunters, hikers, and wilderness enthusiasts. As a consequence, an increasing number of manufacturers of colored LED bulbs, flashlights, and spotlights for outdoors use and for hunting are joining the fray.
Feral pig populations are increasing at a fast pace. Hunters living in a state that allows night hunts and the use of lights definitely should give the use of green light a try.
As far as California is concerned, night hunting and lights are out. But could the owner of a small rural property, for example in the Central Valley, apply for a predation permit (with night shooting) when his property is raided and damaged regularly by feral pigs?
Why not ask the California Department of Fish and Wildlife?
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