Judging Distance at Night While Predator Hunting

Night Fox

By Dave Kaprocki

Before you can learn to judge distance at night, you have to know what kind of light-beam your light produces. Is it a small hand-held light, a 6-volt headlight or a large spotlight?

Your light source determines how much of the area in front of you is illuminated at a certain distance. This is a critical component to the equation, one which you need to understand.

Try the following exercise to help you learn to judge distance simply by the size of your light beam.

During the day, in an open field, place markers at 20, 30 and 40 yards from a base location. I like this setup because that’s the distance I shoot most of my foxes from. Feel free to adjust the distances so they are related to your hunting situation.

When all markers are in place, return at night to your base location. Shine your light toward each marker and take note at how they appear in the light beam. How bright was it? How much area around it was lit up? I was amazed at how far away the 40-yard marker looked. Always remember: Objects appear farther away at night.

The purpose of this exercise is to give you practice in visualizing how much area your light source illuminates at a given distance. Also, for this exercise, it’s very important to use the same light you will be hunting with.


To read Kaprocki’s entire article on judging distance at night, you can purchase the digital version of the October 2013 Trapper & Predator Caller issue.

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