A flash will be a big hindrance for any sort of distant shot at night. It will illuminate only the foreground, get reflection from the highlighted surfaces and then adjust the lighting for the brighter images, blocking anything farther away. You want the camera to adjust for the evening sky. A flash has a very limited distance, varying qualities but maybe an average around 30'. For handheld night shots without flash you are probably looking at a slowest speed of 1/30 sec for steadiness and then whatever your camera can give you for maximum aperture. My experience with flash is that is has no real effect on animals, it "may" cause them to pause but not much else. I think they are accustomed to headlights flashing in the woods and lightning.