Night Hunting: Legality, Tips and Safety Concerns

Lots of hunters make use of opportunities to hunt during the day.

However, many prefer night hunting. In fact, night hunting is becoming increasingly popular, and more budding hunters are gearing up and practicing their night hunting skills.

While night hunting is exciting, to say the least, it does require a different mentality as well as different pieces of technology.

You also need to be fully aware of the rules and regulations surrounding night hunting to ensure that you don’t break the law.

So what are some safety tips and concerns when going night hunting for the first time?

The truth is there’s a long list of tips and concerns that you need to be aware of, especially if it’s your first-time nighttime hunting. However, if equipped with the right guide and right technology, nighttime hunting can prove to be challenging yet enjoyable and exciting at the same time.

If you are considering venturing into nighttime hunting, here are some hunting and safety tips that you should diarise before beginning your nocturnal adventures.

Is It Legal To Hunt At Night?

Man Holding Rifle

Night hunting may be challenging, exciting, and in fact, most wild animals are active, usually between dusk and dawn.

However, the fact of the matter is that the rules and regulations pertaining to hunting at night apply to specific states.

So depending on the state that you live in, you need to consult the authorities to find out exactly what’s legal and what isn’t prior to beginning your nighttime hunting adventure.

Hunting laws are put in place to prevent any accidents from taking place. Hunters could be seriously injured while hunting at night.

The fact of the matter is that one’s sight is limited during times of low light. And this could lead to numerous accidents and could even be fatal.

In some cases, as unlikely as it may sound, you could mistake a friend or colleague for a target. Alternatively, you could trip over something in the dark and injure yourself.

There’s a higher risk of running into wild animals such as bears, wolves, and coyotes at night as it is during the day. So you’d want to use the best light for coyote hunting at night. If you want to use both hands for aiming or navigating, you can use the best headlight for hunting. These tools will give you the hunting advantage that’ll lead to a higher success rate.

On the other hand, being caught hunting at night time could result in fines and suspension of your hunting license and possibly even some prison time.

This is if you are not fully aware of the hunting laws in your state. In most cases, states will allow night hunting to a certain extent.

So hunting at night within reason and obviously, it will have its limitations as to which animals can be hunted, etc.

Where Is It Illegal To Hunt During The Night?

Alabama Hunting Plate

Night hunting in certain states such as Alabama is strictly prohibited.

Alabama is one of 20 states that prevent the use of any sort of night vision equipment, thus making night hunting restricted.

Other states allow night hunting, but only if you have a night hunting license, and you’re only allowed to hunt certain types of animals such as coyotes and possums at night.

Some states allow night hunting but only on private property.

So it is crucial that you are up-to-date with the laws pertaining to night hunting in your specific state. Failure to do so could lead to several consequences.

What Animals Can Be Haunted At Night?

The truth is that daytime hunters have lots of advantages over nighttime hunters. This is mainly due to visibility.

However, hunting during the day can also bring some challenges along with it, such as the lack of concealment.

However, the truth is that the odds are in your favor if you are planning on doing nighttime hunting due to the fact that there is a myriad of animals who are active between dawn and dusk.

Here’s a list of some of the animals that you can hunt at night.


Coyote Standing On Field

Coyotes are the most common animals to hunt at night. Although it’s fairly easy to hunt coyotes according to seasoned hunters, it can tend to be a bit tricky at night.

So some things you can do is scout for good hunting locations during the day as it can be impossible to do this at night. Not unless of course you’re equipped with the best light for coyote hunting at night.

Also, bear in mind that hunting coyotes can prove to be a lengthy process, so patience is key.

Beginners can easily confuse wolves with coyotes. So you’d also have to learn how to tell a wolf from a coyote.


Hogs have always been considered a nuisance in many states, and it’s important to keep the population in check.

They can be found absolutely anywhere, so it is likely that you will find some good hog hunting. The best time to hunt hogs is at night because this is when they feed.

However, you want to check with legal authorities in your state to make sure it’s legal to hunt hogs at night.

Some of the states that allow it include North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.


Deer Standing On Field

Venison, which is more commonly known as deer meat, is considered a delicacy amongst red meat.

Deer hunting also is a favorite and enjoyable weekend activity for the entire family. While not all deer are nocturnal, lots of them tend to be active at night.

However, you should note that the deer have excellent night vision and are sharp to slightest sounds in the woods.

They also have the ability to move their ears without actually turning their heads. In fact, a deer can hear a human being about a quarter of a mile away.

So it makes hunting deer quite a challenge, and if successful, you will need to find a favorable position to hang your tree stand and make sure that the area is frequented by deer.


The seasons for hunting coyotes and raccoons tend to overlap.

However, the good news is that you can bait them in much the same way.

So it’s worth getting a license for each of the species as it might work in your favor, especially during nighttime hunting.

However, what you should know is that these little bandits are extremely intelligent and smart when it comes to avoiding detection by human beings.

So if you’re considering outsmarting them, it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to work. You’d have to learn the basics first, such as how many babies can a raccoon have.

Some of the ways in which you can become successful at hunting them at night are by investing in a squall call device and a reliable raccoon hunting light.

You also don’t want to get lost in the woods, so make sure you have a GPS tracking device to help direct you back to your vehicle after your nocturnal adventure.

Hares And Rabbits

Rabbit Standing On Field

Rabbits are also known to be somewhat nocturnal, However, just because it’s nighttime doesn’t mean you’re going to catch one easily.

You’re still going to have to play the walking and stalking game.

They can easily detect the scent of the human, and therefore, you need to be smart about it and make sure that the wind pushes your scent away from the hunting area.

Feral Cats And Foxes

Feral cats and foxes are fairly easy to hunt in the day; however, if you prefer hunting at night you can do so using the spotlight method.

You may also choose to take your dog along to flush the targets towards the range of.

You might also need a thermal scope, and this will give you great shots at approximately 100 meters.

There are lots of animals that can be hunted at night, including bobcats, dingoes, and jackrabbits.

However, what you should remember is that you need to have a license for your targets and states and make sure that you are hunting within the specified times as well.

Your safety should also be taken into consideration, so make sure you are familiar with the hunting area prior to beginning your nighttime adventures to avoid accidents occurring at night.

Night Hunting Gear

Man Packing Hunting Gear

It’s nearly impossible to hunt without the basic hunting gear and a great hunting backpack.

There are certain rules that are strictly put in place in certain states, and if you break these laws, there are penalties to pay.

Depending on which state you reside in, the rules and regulations will defer to a certain extent. So it is always better to be safe than sorry.

The best thing to do before going on a hunting trip irrespective of whether it is during the day or night is to get everything that you need prior to starting your adventure.

Some of the basic hunting gear that you need include:

  • Knowledge of the regulations in your state
  • Hunting license
  • Ammo and rifle
  • Scope
  • Screwdriver
  • Hunter’s orange
  • Land
  • Camo
  • Gun cleaning kit
  • Boots
  • Knife
  • Hunting bag
  • Honing stone
  • Various decoys
  • Night vision goggles

Perhaps the most important gear from this list is your rifle and scope. Ultimately this is what you’re going to use to see and hit your target.

So if you’re going hunting during the night time, then you need to ensure that you have a night vision scope that can be mounted onto your rifle.

Night Vision Goggles

High Tec Night Vision Goggles

In order to hunt at night, you must be able to see in the dark.

This only makes sense since you can’t shoot what you cannot see. Or at least you cannot hunt safely without being able to see.

There are, however, two primary methods that are used to provide artificial vision at night, and this includes night vision devices or thermal devices.

This is probably the most effective method; however, it is also quite costly.

Night vision goggles basically work by picking up on ambient light and then intensifying it to bring forth an image.

Ultimately it is an illumination device used in military forces as well as in nighttime hunting. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of night vision goggles include;


  • Increase mobility, as a result, of seeing in the dark
  • Probably having better vision than your game
  • Ability to see an almost total darkness


  • You have a limited field of vision
  • There is a lack of clarity and color
  • You may need an additional power source as well

Night Hunting Safety Tips

Two Night Hunters Walking Uphill

The possibility of accidents occurring while hunting during the day is quite high; therefore, the likelihood of accidents occurring at night when hunting is also highly likely.

However, there are a few tips that you can use to ensure that your nighttime hunting is done safely.

If you’re going to have a successful night hunting trip, you need to make it a safe one. Accidents can happen in the woods due to lack of preparation or awareness.

So by simply putting in place a few safety precautions, you can reduce the likelihood of accidents. So here are a few things you can do to make your night hunting more successful.

  • Assume your firearm is loaded at all times. Never ever assume that your gun is not loaded. Make sure your gun is not loaded when you clean it to avoid accidents.
  • Unless you plan on shooting a target, never point your gun at it. Many accidents have occurred by people pointing their guns at their friends and joking about it until at some, you find out that your gun is actually loaded and this is usually after pulling the trigger.
  • Don’t walk around the woods with your finger on the trigger. Lots of people tend to do this thinking they can get a faster shot if they do this. However, more accidents are likely to occur by you doing this. This is especially when hunting at night where little things can startle you and ultimately cause you to pull the trigger unnecessarily.
  • Before you shoot, identify your target. In the dark, it is easy to mistake a cow for a deer and vice versa. So you want to stay out of trouble with the local authorities by making sure that you know exactly what you’re shooting prior to pulling the trigger.
  • Try to avoid climbing over the fence or across a ditch with a loaded gun in your hand.
  • Dress for success, and this means anticipating the weather before going out at night. Temperatures tend to plunge at night, and it’s always better to be prepared instead of risking hyperthermia.
  • Also, ensure that you have a GPS device to help direct you and guide you back to your vehicle after your nocturnal hunting adventure.

Hunting At Night? Know The Law

Hunting at night is no doubt, exciting, and challenging.

However, it’s important to remember to stay safe, practice the tips mentioned above, be aware of the laws in the state you are hunting, and always take the necessary hunting gear along.

Before starting your adventure, scout the location in the day to familiarize yourself with the area, and this will make it easier when hunting at night.

So once you are equipped with the correct gear and knowledge to hunt at night, your nocturnal hunting adventures should be a complete success.

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