What flashlight do hunters choose?

by Krzysztof Turowski

The flashlight, next to weapons and binoculars is the basic tool of the hunter. It is an irreplaceable piece of equipment during every night hunting.
So, if a flashlight is such an important part of our equipment, then maybe it is worth to discover what the producers can now offer to the hunter. In this article, we will also find out what expectations from flashlights have hunters themselves.
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Times, when the flashlight had a range of several meters and consisted of a flat 12V battery and a small light bulb is gone. The contemporary market of flashlights is huge and very dynamic. Leading manufacturers offer flashlights with variable light parameters, with a large number of functions, modes, shapes and ways of use. So how do you choose a flashlight suitable for hunting and what are the hunters guided by when choosing? It was difficult for me to answer these questions myself, which is why I contacted the kolba.pl company, asking for a professional help.

I started the conversation with the question about the type of flashlight, which is the most popular among hunters.

The most frequently chosen flashlight is a powerful headlamp, which helps primarily when gutting and when searching for a shot game. Why the headlamp? For a simple reason, after putting the head flashlight on our head, our hands remain free, and the light beam automatically illuminates the direction in which we look. The effective range of a good headlamp is over 100 meters, which allows you to see wounded charging boar early. Mid-level flashlights usually have a 300-600 lumens (range of about 70 m – 230ft) and are also great for hunting, but personally I prefer to have stronger lighting – it’s a matter of individual preferences and needs.

The second group of lighting used by hunters are hand-held torches, which are distinguished by a very strong stream of light, usually with a more focused light beam and range exceeding even 300 meters.
Hunters are very eager to choose flashlight models for which magnetic mounts are available. This type of mounts use very strong neodymium magnets , which allow for stable attachment of the flashlight to the barrel of the weapon and very quick disconnection. Hunters simply say that they usually look for a flashlight that can be quickly mounted on the barrel, but also quickly if necessary to hide it in a pocket (in Poland it is not allowed to hunt with a flashlight mounted on the weapon).

An important thing is the availability and compatibility with shooting accessories such as gel switches. For hunters, the strength of mounting a flashlight on a weapon is also very important. It should be able to withstand shots, for example, from .308 or .30-06 caliber. Questions about assembly appear both at hunting fairs and on the online store. In conclusion, the ease of assembly and disassembly of the flashlight from the barrel of a weapon is currently one of the most important issues that hunters pay attention to.

The division into the age groups of users is also noticeable. Young hunters more often choose torches with more technical innovations. That is why they eagerly reach for flashlights charged via the USB port, because they usually have a powerbank on their hunt, which they can use to charge a phone or flashlight. Older hunters are slowly starting to convince themselves of novelties, although they still choose classic flashlights, whose links are loaded using standard chargers. Such devices clearly inform about the battery charge level, often also about the current voltage and time remaining until the end of charging.
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If you buy two flashlights – headlamp and hand torch, you will often buy a charger with the option of charging 4 batteries at the same time, which is especially useful if you want to buy more rechargeable batteries. When purchasing flashlights, It is worth remembering about the compatibility of the batteries, so that you can transfer the link from one to the other if necessary.

The most popular rechargeable cells are 18650 (18mm × 65mm) batteries. Replacement of the 18650 rechargeable battery, is a two-time CR123A battery. As always, the differences appears in the price. The cost of one high-quality cell is about PLN 90 (30$), and the CR123 battery about PLN 10 (3$). If we wanted to use and recharge our batteries every day, it would work for 1.5 years. The lifespan of one 18650 rechargeable battery is as much as 500 charging cycles. In time to time usage we will have it for a very long time.

The previously mentioned CR123A batteries will not replace, the rechargeable battery. However, they have a great advantage – they are resistant to self-discharge and low temperatures, so they can be used even at -40 ° Celsius. Rechargeable Batteries  have a tendency to be quickly discharged in winter, CR123 batteries are much better to withstand low temperatures and have a longer life when they are not in use.

I think that it is worth using a combination of both. Have a few CR123A for the most severe colds and use rechargeable batteries every day. You can try with the 18650 cells and powerbank, but due to the use of same 18650 cells, it will not be resistant to low temperature.

More and more frequent buyers are buying a really large and powerful flashlights, commonly known as handheld searchlight. These are devices with a powerful stream of light that, in a colloquial way, “make the day out of the night”. A massive hand torch with a wide or concentrated light beam, large range and a huge light beam up to 9,000 lumens is not a toy. The price is also adapted, because the cost of purchasing a brand sandheld searchlight is often comparable to the cost of buying a head lamp, a hand torch, a mains charger, links and small accessories. Is it worth it? In my opinion, the incredible performance and capabilities of such a device will quickly ease the expenditure incurred.

There is also a large group of users who, instead of several models, choose only one product. For hunters, such a product is usually a hand-held torch with a variable focal length, or colloquially zoom. The biggest advantages of such a solution are: large range, the ability to adjust the focus of light and high brightness. All this in the form of a hand flashlight, cheaper and lighter than a powerful handheld searchlight.

An essential parameter of the modern flashlight is of course high water resistance. Therefore, after getting dirty in the game blood, the hunting flashlight can simply be washed in water. It is also resistant to rain, snow and moisture. Most modern flashlights are made of anodized aluminum and will safely lift down from low altitude and full immersion in water up to 1 or 2 meters. I’ve heard about tests where the torches were submerged even to a depth of 5 meters and still work. However, I do not intend to do such tests myself, they are simply not needed.
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Hunters quite often ask for various types of filters. The common and misleading idea is that the wild boar can not see the light of a green color. It is true that the green filter suppresses the light, shortening its sheaf, which in fact may be less noticeable, but the game still sees them and it does not matter what the color will be. The most important factor will be the question of taming animals with such lighting, if it does not know it – it will not react.

Another group of flashlights is laser lighting. Here you can not see a typical beam of light but only an object illuminated in green. Green-colored laser lighting is sometimes treated as a substitute for night vision.

There is one more interesting and innovative flashlight, whose task is to help in the search for wounded game. I’m talking about the Bloodhunter torch from Primos. This is not UV light, but a specially designed optical system that enhances the red colour in the game blood The product, raises a lot of controversy, because some people can not imagine using a flashlight instead of a scenthound dog .

In summary, probably there is no universal hunting flashlight. You can not simply choose one model for each hunting area and situation. Everything depends on many factors, such as the culture of the hunting unit, the terrain, the current weather and the place itself. Today, technology allows a lot, and the equipment we buy is adapted to our needs, circumstances and our wallet.

I would like to thank kolba.pl for the time devoted to help in the implementation of this article.

Darz Bór!

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