TEST of Blood Tracking Flashlights!

Hi all,
I decided to go ahead and test as many of the ideas as I could including Red, Green, Blue, Cool White, Warm White, 365nm UV, 415nm UV and Luminol. Plus combinations of those, hope you enjoy :slight_smile:

Let us know what you think which light is the best choice….

Luminol works great. :wink: Chemistry

Hear is an article about it After the Shot: Best Blood Tracking Light • Advanced Hunter but I think they are all overrated.
A good bright warm color light seems to work best for me.

I agree, 95cri 4000k sst20’s in whatever EDC I’m carying works by far the best for me.

Over the years, I have found that a warm tint, think 7A works pretty well. I have tried red, greens and blues and they did not do any better. UV in the low end of the spectrum works fairly well also.

Blue colored lens works with incan bulbs (I used Mag 6 cell Xenon PR based bulbs running on 6 AA Eneloops in series D cell adapters or 2 Li-Ion cells in adapters). A blue lens will not work with LEDs. For LEDs you need blue (or green) and red LEDs running at the same time.

I’m curious where this information comes from. A cursory Google doesn’t show anything.

I would think a cooler white, high CRI/R9 light would work best. Warmer light means less contrast between stark red blood and fallen leaves, dirt, etc.

Maybe a 5700K 219C Jaxman E2? Something like $20, or $30 for the TIR triple E2L.

I’ve seen this come up a couple of times with some seemingly good info (link1 link2) but it never seems to end in anything conclusive.

I’m curious myself as I do a lot of deer hunting, but thankfully I rarely need to do any tracking [knock on wood]

Following. I’m new, but I bought a pretty large range of lights to try to blackpowder next week.

Nothing conclusive, with all due respect is because, it seems, a lot of people posting have no experience and are just repeating something they saw on TV or some place on line.

First of all UV only works with luminol or on TV shows. Without luminol or the like blood looks black under UV.

Secound blue LEDs don’t work without running a red LED at the same time….if you have a blue LED or a blue filter for a white LED light, you can confirm this yourself.

Blue lens do work with incandescent light - this is easy to test for yourself if you have a reasonably powerful incan light and something to use as a blue filter - just don’t expect the blood to jump out like a flashing neon sign, you need to look close and bright red (and orange) will stand out as while other colors will look blue or black. BTW there is nothing magic about blood other than the bright red color of fresh blood standing out - anything of similar color works the same way. Dry blood once it darkens will not stand out.


I think you nailed it.

Like anything it takes work/practice. Add to that our eyes are all a little different. Things like color blindness, ambient light, and perspective/angles can make a big difference.

Thanks. Good information for me. I am trying to run down information on what different UV wavelengths are good for, although 415nm is not really UV. Your information is consistent with xxo. Strong absorption at 415 will make the blood look black. Good for a carpet or floor but probably not too useful in the brush.

Precisely. I’m colorblind, and as such, have really struggled with tracking in the few times that I have needed to do it because the red just doesn’t stand out at all to me.

Another problem is that I’d love to build and test a couple different lights… red+blue, different wavelengths, etc, but I don’t have blood just hanging around that I can test with. I suppose I could go play with my chainsaw for a while and hope for the worst :disappointed:

It really is trial and error… the amount of leaves on the ground, the amount of moisture on them and the time of day makes a huge difference. I have had to track a small number of shot deer over the last 35 years. With the advent of good leds, I have started carrying several to each hunt to test on the splats and puddles after a kill. For me, with my crappy eyes and well focused 7 bin XM-L2 has worked well and as thing progressed I built and tried others. The 3500k Nichia seems to also work very well, I used the sw35 R9080. I think the R9080 is what made the difference, reds really pop. I really have not tried cooler bins, I tend not to like them, they give me a headache. Also the cooler bins are hard to find with higher cri and red, that is R9? rating. Once it is dried… good luck.

good info
my best LED to make Red Pop is a 3500k E21a, its even better than my 3500k 219b 9080, and my 4500k 219b 9080 sw45 and sw45k

focus on the color of the two vertical sets of Red Beads in the middle

disclaimer, in real life the advantage of the E21a is more obvious than in those pics
also the E21a is in a reflector, that has a hotspot, which confuses the camera more than the triples

The E21a is difficult to get a good beam from a reflector, but can be fantastic with a pebbled TiR… Clemence has a board on his site…

Maybe a tracking light benefits from a diffused beam with no hotspot, for close range inspections …

Dr Jones had a novel idea in his rgbw FW, green & blue leds on and blink the red led at the same power level. I never tried blood tracking but it did work for anything red, made it flash at you.

Do the goggles need to be yellow or is orange going to work? If they do need to be yellow would a set of just yellow colored galsses like this protect my eyes from the 415nm wavelength? Or do they have to be special a type?

Matt (and others) check this out…

This is essentially what we used at the PD.

Any polycarb naturally blocks the harmful UV spectrum. Tinted glasses are to increase the contrast of fluorescing objects vs the visible UV from the light.

Polycarb on its own seems to block lower wavelengths like 365nm quite well, but I have noticed with 395nm when I cover the sensor on my light meter with clear glasses about 30% or so still passes through. Using my orange glasses it drops to almost flat zero. I’ve seen many colors of glasses so I was not sure if they were wavelength specific. I will go ahead and order the yellow just in case there is a difference in the contrast.