Anticipation for a predator hunt often runs high. That same eagerness is magnified when you have a new piece of hunting gear to try out. On this particular January night, I was using the second-generation CoyoteLight. After perusing the instructions and attaching the light to my riflescope, I was ready to take on the night.
A short 15-minute ride placed me at the first stand of the night. I set up on a knoll in the middle of a snow-covered field and placed my FOXPRO Fury call 40 yards in front of me in the 10 o’clock position. Baybee cottontail had only played for a few seconds when I detected the glowing eyes from a pair of coyotes.
“Oh, no,” I thought. “The wind is wrong!” Sure enough, both coyotes caught my scent and fled into the nearby brush — never to be seen again.
I continued to scan the terrain and was thrilled to see another pair of coyotes emerge from the opposite side of the field. Knowing they would soon wind me as well, I quickly transitioned to my scope-mounted CoyoteLight to find them. Although they were across the field, I could easily find them in the scope. In fact, it was not only the eyes I had detected — it was the entire body!
I estimated the distance to be approximately 250 yards, which was within range of my Remington 700 chambered in .223. Under the beam of the CoyoteLight, I settled the reticle on the lead coyote’s chest and took the shot. To my delight, the coyote dropped on the spot. I don’t believe I’d have been able to take such a long shot as easily with the shooting lights I previously used. The CoyoteLight’s brightness allowed me to take an extended shot with so much ease it was almost like shooting in daylight.
I’ve been hunting nocturnal predators since 1985. During that time I have experienced the evolution of the hunting light. From the old auto store 6-volt handheld cordless spotlights to the latest LED flashlights, I have used nearly every type of lighting devices made available to night hunters. Field-testing the CoyoteLight proved to be a rewarding experience.
The previously mentioned hunt proved the CoyoteLight is bright. While a lumen rating is often used to determine brightness, it is often misrepresented. Lux, as a measure, is more valid, and the CoyoteLight is measured at 39,000 lux. Numbers aside, I know while using the CoyoteLight that predators’ eyes can be detected at more than 800 yards. This is a great advantage for hunters who like to spot predators at long distances and prepare for a shot as it completes the approach. I could positively identify predator bodies at distances up to 300 yards.
The CoyoteLight can be used as a hand-held scanning light or monopod-mounted scanning light. An ergonomic handle is available to hold and scan the light. I use the light as a scope-mounted shooting light. It’s mounted to an included scope ring and attaches to a Picatinny rail on the light housing.
No matter how the light is used, it has a nice feature for scanning the terrain. The beam is adjustable by rotating the aluminum housing. A simple ¼ twist will vary the beam wide to tight. This allows hunters to customize the width of the beam.
This feature also proved helpful on a frigid January hunt. While scanning the terrain, I detected the eyes of a rapidly approaching predator. I switched to the scope-mounted CoyoteLight in anticipation of the shot. The critter was hidden behind a knoll in the field, and seconds seemed like minutes as I waited for it to come into view.
Thinking the predator might move across the field in an attempt to catch my scent, I rotated the light housing to produce a wider beam of light. Sure enough, the predator had swung downwind. I rotated the housing so the light beam was narrow and focused solely on what I could now identify as a coyote. I did not let the coyote progress any further and took the 100-yard shot at the broadside coyote.
The beam is also adjustable in terms of light intensity. A rheostat knob is conveniently located at the back of the light to easily turn and adjust the beam — even while wearing gloves. This is an attractive feature for hunters who wish to follow the eyes of a predator as it approaches the setup while under the glow of a less intense light beam and then increase the intensity to fully illuminate the predator prior to taking the shot.
That is exactly what I did on my second field test with the light. I picked up the reflective eyes of a red fox at 150 yards with my scanning light and instantly switched over to the scope-mounted CoyoteLight. Purposely, I turned the rheostat knob a quarter-turn so the light was bright enough to reflect the fox’s eyes. As it closed the distance, I turned the knob to increase intensity. The fox was unbothered by the increasing intensity of the red LED light beam. Once its entire body was clearly visible I took an easy 50-yard shot.
For many hunters, battery life is one of the most important criteria when selecting a light. Nothing is worse than having a scanning light or shooting light die in the middle of a stand. The CoyoteLight gives new meaning to long battery life and all but eliminates this dilemma. The light boasts of battery life of 5½ hours under high power. This is how I typically use the light as it is mounted for the shot. Users can expect 20 hours of battery life when using the light at 75 percent of maximum intensity and a staggering 48 hours of use when running the light at 25 percent of maximum.
Another feature is a low-battery indicator light. During my testing — including several marathon all-night hunts in sub-freezing weather — the indicator light never came on. Even though the instructions warned of use in cold temperatures, the light performed perfectly in single-digit temperatures during my field tests.
We all work hard to bring predators into our setups. That is why it is so frustrating when they notice extraneous light around the hunter or even around the vicinity of the predator and then spook on the final approach. Night hunters have long searched for the best possible way to prevent light “splash” from their scanning and shooting lights including using toilet paper tubes to painted PVC pipes. The CoyoteLight features a built-in splashguard. The light’s beam is projected away from the hunter without illuminating the area around the hunter. It doesn’t light up vegetation around the predator, either.
Over the course of the season, I experienced many successful night hunts while using the CoyoteLight. Those hunts made me realize the CoyoteLight might be the best light I’ve used. From the standpoint of durability, convenience and brightness, the light is tough to beat. For the discriminating night hunter who demands top-of-the-line gear, the CoyoteLight is an excellent choice.