Testfire: Bush Gear Torch and Headlamp Spotlighting ComboBy Nik Maxwell
- 25th Sep, 2020 Sep 25, 2020, 11:12 AM
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My pest control duties generally involve an evening hunt where I will typically see anywhere between 4-5 rabbits.
However, it wasn’t until I tried out some Night Tech thermal optics that I was alerted to how many rabbits were actually getting around the place. Fact of the matter, it was a lot! Within a couple of hours with the thermal, I counted upwards of 60+ rabbits.
Following on from that I used one of the Night Tech thermal scopes (review on that in progress) to get stuck into the rabbits. Thermals are amazing pieces of equipment, but that technology often comes with a hefty price tag and one that is probably well outside the budget of most shooters, me included!
Fortunately, there are other options available that will be more suited to the price conscious pest controller. As it happened, the team from Bronco’s Outdoors recently got in touch to see if I would be interested in trying out some LED spotlights and headlamps that are new to the market. Hell yeh I was keen!
The Bush Gear BG-360Z Red LED Full kit and BG-200Z Headlamp are torches designed and marketed towards amateur and professional pest control operators.
The primary feature of these torches is the Red LED light which emits an extremely strong Red coloured beam. The Red-light spectrum is suitable for pest control as it is all but undetectable by small game.
“As a predator light, nothing really beats a red light. Most animals we hunt have dichromatic vision. Their eyes have two cones and see in two colours (predominantly blue and yellowish/pale green). Light towards the red end of the spectrum is naturally far less visible to them.” Source
Both the flashlight and headlamp come in hard-plastic cases. Inside the flashlight case is the following: 1 x flashlight in Red LED lens, 2 x 18650 batteries, 1 x 18650 double charger, 1 x car charger, 1 x remote switch and 1 x scope mount.
The Bush Gear BG-200Z Headlamp also has a Red LED lens and comes with 2 x 18650 batteries plus a charger unit. Together you have everything you need to get started on some pest control!
The flashlight is constructed from aluminum alloy and is O-ring sealed. It has black anodized finish and looks to be well made. The beam on both units is very powerful and adjustable in both beam strength and zoom. The torch beam has a range of 360m, the headlamp a range of 200m.
At full zoom, the torch beam is square in shape and solid right to the edges. Lightly pressing the on/off switch on the torch adjusts the brightness of the beam. The headlamp has the same feature but you instead click the button to cycle through the brightness.
The headlamp is made from a tough polymer plastic with an elastic head band that goes over and around your head. Both operate from a single battery giving you a spare when on the hill.
There is a soft green button on the side of the headlamp to turn it on and a button at the rear of torch. Both have an audible click when turning them off and on. The torch has an additional battery cap with a remote switch on an extended cord. This can be placed nearer to your hand for a quicker response.
For testing purposes, I fitted the flashlight to the KRISS DMK22C rimfire rifle that was also on review. There is a factory supplied plastic scope mount for the torch however Broncos also supplied a separate V-shaped metal mount that is held onto the barrel via two opposing magnets.
The magnets seemed to have quite a bit of holding strength, though I was suspicious as to how well it would hold when on the hill and especially when shooting.
“The headlamp and torch combo worked great, I was able to spot rabbits at distance with the headlamp and then discretely sneak in for the shot.”
IN THE FIELD
Out at the farm and as soon as it was dark enough to use the lights, I headed up the race to locate some rabbits. With the headlamp on my noggin and the torch on the gun, I was good to go. Within a few minutes I located a couple of rabbits about 75m away. At that distance, the headlamp picked up the shine of their eyes easily
I moved in closer and once in position to shoot, I turned on the rifle mounted torch. The torch beam lit up the rabbit well and although the rabbit did seem to detect the presence of the red light, it did not spook. A single shot to the chest and I was on the board.
The magnetic torch mount had not moved once throughout the whole procedure, another tick! The headlamp and torch combo worked great, I was able to spot rabbits at distance with the headlamp and then discretely sneak in for the shot. I spent the next few hours getting amongst it and ended up with an overall tally of 14 rabbits, a good result.
I even managed to spot a fallow doe with the headlamp as it fed on the bush edge about 150 away. Interestingly, it was not the eyes that gave it away just the body of the deer. A great testament to the power of the headlamp beam. Battery life appeared to be good although I did not run them until they were flat.
As mentioned, a few of the rabbits did appear to pick up on the light but still seemed to remain somewhat calm. I have done a lot of spotlighting for possums and rabbits in my earlier years where we would use standard White light spotlights, generally the more powerful the better.
From memory, if they were not momentarily blinded/mesmerized by the light, they would run off, often out of reach of our rimfires! Overall, I was really pleased with the performance of both units. What I also appreciated was the low impact style of the red beam which allowed me to be more ‘covert’ in my approach.
If you are looking for a low cost and effective solution to the pest problem in your area, then the Bush Gear range of torches and headlamps could be just what you are after! For information and pricing, head over to the Bronco’s Outdoors website or follow the advert link below,
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