Spotlighting or Lamping (also jacklighting) is a method of hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 nocturnal animal
Nocturnal animal
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by activity during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal"....

s using off-road vehicle
Off-road vehicle
An off-road vehicle is considered to be any type of vehicle which is capable of driving on and off paved or gravel surface. It is generally characterized by having large tires with deep, open treads, a flexible suspension, or even caterpillar tracks...

s and high-powered lights, spotlights
A searchlight is an apparatus that combines a bright light source with some form of curved reflector or other optics to project a powerful beam of light of approximately parallel rays in a particular direction, usually constructed so that it can be swiveled about.-Military use:The Royal Navy used...

, lamps or flashlight
A flashlight is a hand-held electric-powered light source. Usually the light source is a small incandescent lightbulb or light-emitting diode...

s, that makes special use of the eyeshine
Tapetum lucidum
The tapetum lucidum is a layer of tissue in the eye of many vertebrate animals....

 revealed by many animal species. A further important aspect is that many animals (e.g. foxes and rabbits) often remain to continually stare at the light and do not appear to see the light as a threat as they normally would view a human. It is possible to carefully approach animals on foot to a short distance if the bright light is continuously maintained on the animal to greatly improve chances of successful killing.

The most common vehicles used are light four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 trucks and utilities
Sport utility vehicle
A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

. A team may consist of three persons, the driver and the shooter and the spotter. The shooter and spotter stand side by side behind the cab, holding onto a bar at the front of the tray or on top of the cab, which allows them a good 360 degree view. The spotter sweeps the surrounding countryside with a powerful hand-held lamp with a tightly focused beam.

Spotlighting can be conducted by two persons where the driver operates the spotlight or alone where the driver spotlights using a remote mounted spotlight or automotive lighting
Automotive lighting
The lighting system of a motor vehicle consists of lighting and signalling devices mounted or integrated to the front, sides, rear, and in some cases the top of the motor vehicle...

 and shoots from the driver's seat of the vehicle.

Experienced spotlighters can recognize different animals by the spacing and size of their eyes and the color of their eyeshine. For example, eyeshine is reddish in foxes and bluish in sheep; like sheep, horses and cattle have bluish eyeshine but their eyes are wider spaced and larger.

The spotting and shooting often take place from the moving vehicle. Experienced drivers on familiar territory (such as farmers in their own paddocks) may turn off the vehicle headlights to minimize the distractions.

Spotlighting may also be used as a method of surveying nocturnal fauna. Repeated, frequent spotlighting may have a detrimental effect on animals and is discouraged.

Spotlighting is illegal in many states and provinces of North America.

UK and Ireland: lamping

Lamping is a similar practice in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 of hunting at night using powerful lamps and either guns, birds of prey or dogs. It does not always involve vehicles. Its legal status in the UK is complicated by a swathe of different laws relating to firearms and to specific animals. Animals associated with this form of hunting include fox, rabbit, and hare.

In England Scotland and Wales, most forms of hunting with dogs have been made illegal by the Hunting Act 2004
Hunting Act 2004
The Hunting Act 2004 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The effect of the Act is to outlaw hunting with dogs in England and Wales from 18 February 2005...

 but rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s and rat
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

s were specifically included on a list of exemptions, so that lamping these animals with dogs is still legal. Hunting fox, rabbit and hare with dogs is still legal in Northern Ireland. In Britain lamping fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

es with dogs has been rendered illegal, but lamping is still possible if shooting. Killing badger
Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the weasel family, Mustelidae. There are nine species of badger, in three subfamilies : Melinae , Mellivorinae , and Taxideinae...

s without a licence is illegal in the UK in any case.

Once an animal has been located with the beam of the light, either it is shot or the dog(s) is/are released.

Although white light is often used for lamping, sometimes a red or orange filter is preferred, as this still makes the animal's eyes reflect back the light but has less negative effect on the night vision
Night vision
Night vision is the ability to see in low light conditions. Whether by biological or technological means, night vision is made possible by a combination of two approaches: sufficient spectral range, and sufficient intensity range...

 of the hunters (both humans and dogs).

The dogs used are generally lurcher
The lurcher is a type of dog originating in Ireland and parts of Great Britain. While not a pure breed, it is generally a cross between a sighthound and any other breed, usually a pastoral dog or terrier, dependent on the attributes desired by the breeder; originally stealth and cunning...

s (cross between a sighthound
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.-Appearance:...

 and any other breed of dog, longdog
A Longdog is a type of dog; it is a crossbreed between two sighthounds . They are distinct from the Lurcher which is a cross between a sighthound breed and a non-sighthound breed...

s (cross between two sight hounds, typically a greyhound and a saluki
The Saluki, also known as the Royal Dog of Egypt and Persian Greyhound is one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dog. From the period of the Middle Kingdom onwards, Saluki-like animals appear on the ancient Egyptian tombs of 2134 BC. They have connections both to the Bible and Imperial...

), but they can be a cross of many breeds and Teasles.

Other uses

  • Lamping may also refer to using a light to test if a pipe (i.e. sewer pipe) is straight.
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