Traveling in darkness is a challenge to every hunter. You need enough light to sneak to your destination, knowing full well that too much of a glow can send game stampeding away. In open fields and tree lines, you may be able to travel by starlight, but it’s still possible to step in an animal burrow or poke yourself in the face with an unseen branch.
Headlamps are the best lighting option, because they are hands-free and you automatically direct the light wherever you look. Some offer colored light, which is supposed to be less offensive to animals at night. If that buck comes sneaking past your stand just before dark, a headlamp allows you to carry your bow and follow sign. Once located, you have both hands free to field dress the animal and shed light on the way out. If you’ve never used a headlamp, be sure to give it a try. Consider starting with one of these three popular models:
Phoenix Pro: Cyclops makes this 25- lumen unit with two light options, a high-power LED lamp that has a 160-minute run time (sufficient to trail most game animals and still find your way back to your truck) and three small LEDs with a battery life of 730 minutes (enough to walk or ride all night if you have a serious emergency). If you’re in any type of backwoods situation, a quality light is a necessity. www.gsmoutdoors.com
Primos Top Gun: Helping you navigate into a target-rich environment is the job of the Top Gun headlamp, which offers multiple lights in one: high white, low white, and green and red filters to keep you under the radar. The Top Gun can be clipped to a hat or used with the included camo strap. Burn time is six hours on high setting and 12 hours on low setting. The headlamp works on 2 AA batteries (included) with a lumen output of 150 lumens on high and 85 lumens on low. www.primos.com
Brite Strikes APALS: Technically not a headlamp, an APALS (All Purpose Adhesive Light Source) is a small adhesive flashlight that provides a surprising amount of light from the lightest light source you can imagine. Developed for military use, here’s their take: “Completely submersible and dustproof, the hermetically sealed APALS are intended for use in the worst possible conditions, from the searing heat of the desert to the frigid waters of the harshest seas. With more than 80 hours of run time, the disposable APALS will meet the most stringent mission requirements.” The light operates as constant or flashing, making it an excellent locator should you get lost. If you track a buck or bull at night, you can use these light posts to locate the kill the next day. www.brite-strike.com/APALS