By Tim H. Martin
Several years ago, something terrible happened that caused me to re-think the value of a flashlight. It’s the reason I carry multiple flashlights in my backpack today, just in case one stops working.
About 10 miles from my hunting land, a man was hunting with his son and a family friend. There was a tragic incident that has haunted me for years.
After dark, the father and son were walking out of the timber together, but without flashlights. From a nearby treestand, the invited friend mistook the son for a coyote.
Although the hunters were wearing safety orange, the guest shot at movement. It was one of the saddest things I've ever heard, and it could have been easily prevented had they been using flashlights.
Over the years, I’ve edited hundreds of stories written by hunters, and I’m constantly amazed at how many describe walking to their treestands in the dark. They’ve either turned off their flashlights or simply didn’t bother to bring one at all.
This is one of the most dangerous things a hunter can do because other hunters only see movement in low light and could easily mistake you for an animal.
It seems innocent enough. We've all forgotten a light at one time or another, and I'm certainly guilty.
One morning when I was about 16 years old, I chose to walk to my stand even though I knew my flashlight batteries were dead. I took a chance in the dark anyway, knowing other hunters were likely hunting on the public land bordering our farm.
Later that morning as I was walking out on the easement road, I ran into a hunter in his truck. I asked him if he saw any deer. He said he THOUGHT he saw one before daylight, crossing the big field on our land, but didn’t shoot. I shudder to think what could’ve happened if had he not been an ethical hunter.
Today, when I take a child hunting, I bring a headlamp for them, as well as a clip-on stylus flashlight for my own cap. I also make sure kids carry a handheld model. If we spook deer coming out in the dark, well, that's just too bad.
Clip-on lights are cheap, available and easy to carry in your pockets. Buy several. Our friends at Streamlight offer affordable models for every possible use, and I highly recommend buying multiples to keep in your packs, pockets and vehicle.
Also, buy replacement batteries before hunting season starts. If you know your batteries are running low, this prevents driving to the store late at night or before dawn to buy more.
Parents, make sure your kids are using flashlights. And check the beams to ensure they have strong batteries before they go hunting.
– Learn more about Streamlight - www.streamlight.com
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