Make Things Easier to Find in the Darkness

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"Oh no", I groaned to myself on a recent hunting trip to the Midwest, "I left my flashlight at the base of the tree when I left the woods this morning".

It was after the evening hunt and I realized that I had indeed left my SureFire flashlight (won on BGH!) at my original stand location from that morning.

It was the last day of the hunt and there was no way I was going to lose my flashlight...

I drove back to the hunting area and walked the 800+ yards in the darkness to my stand location - I even knew exactly which tree I had climbed that morning - but in the leaves, I could not find the light.

I began to question if it was really back in the truck... or in my pack... or had I put it in the cabin at lunch time????

On hands and knees, I raked through the leaves over and over again... man, I hated to leave and not have that light.

Finally, I looked just to the right about a yard or so - and there the light lay, right on top of the leaves... I must have dropped it a little further from the base of the tree than I thought!

When I returned home, I began to think how catastropic losing certain items in the darkness might be... what if you lost your release for the bow and did not have a spare - that would be a hunt ending loss at least for that morning!

Using the same reflective material I use to make trail markers, I started to cut strips to mark items that could easily be dropped in the darkness... I marked my flashlight, my release, my grunt call - all of these items are black and would be hard to find in the dark!

I also marked my pack, my rifles, my thermos.. it takes only moments to do so and you might avert a problem... I know people who have actually lost firearms in the darkness... all you have to do is sit it down and walk a few yards away and it may be hard to find!

I had used these to mark my stands previously - when you are coming back to your stand in the morning (if left in the woods) these make the stand all the easier to find also.

You can get this reflective material at most major home improvement stores - it is commonly used on equipment trailers. If they do not have that type, get mailbox reflefctive numbers and cut them up - they work well too!

You may be able to prevent a lost item and maybe even a lost hunt!


ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the great tip. I

Thanks for the great tip. I have lost knives on numerous occasions. This tip probably would have saved me from having to buy a new knife. Thanks for sharing!!!!!

arrowflipper's picture


Wow, what a creative and great tip.  We have all lost items in the woods and wish we had been able to find them.  I have often wished I could put some electrical device on my stuff that when I called it, it would make noise.  I hadn't thought of the reflective tape.

How many of our items are either black or worse yet, camo?  More and more hunting equipment is being made in a camo pattern, and for some reason we tend to gravitate towards them.  Is it the looks?  It sure can't be so animals won't see them.  Most of our equipment is in our pack and we can't even see it.

Years ago, I bought a Buck knife with a fluorescent orange handle.  I have come to love that knife, not only because it stays sharp, but because it is easy to find.  When I'm cleaning an animal, I often switch from one knife to another or to my small saw.  I put the one knife down and if I don't go right back to use it, it's easy for me to forget.  And I find that as the years go by, I forget more easily.  But I have never missed that orange Buck.  No matter where I put it down, when I'm picking up my things to leave, I always see it.  Why don't more knife companies make bright colored handles??? Because it's more macho to buy a camo handle than a bright one.

I do have one question though.... when you put the reflective tape on your flashlight, what do you use to shine light to find the flashlight?

Great tip.  I will pull out a bunch of my equipment and add a strip of the stuff.

groovy mike's picture

How do you think of it all?

How do you think of it all?  Not only how do you think of these great ideas.  How do you think of photographing them while teh projects are in progress?  Another good idea!

I have often wondered who buys things like camoflauge hunting knives.  How the heck are you supposed to find them if you drop them in the leaves at twighlight?  If I were designing things like hunters' flashlights, skinning knives, and all the items that you mentioned in your article they would be blaze orange with a spot of reflective in the dark only material (like you mentioned) - and  they would all FLOAT!  Can you tell that I've dropped a few things over the years?

I actually sw one company that marketed a butchering knife with a glow in the dark handle for those feidl dressing jobs done at or after the last light of teh day.  I thought that was a GREAT idea but I'm not sure that it would catch on.  I forget the name or even where I saw it, but I hope they sell a ton of them and branch out into other products too.


CVC's picture

Hmmmm.....maybe I will put

Hmmmm.....maybe I will put some on my forehead in case i get lost

This is a good idea and as you said, pretty simple and inexpensive to do.  Someone might question why put it on your back - surely something that big isn't going to be hard to find.  In most situations they are probably right, but I've taken off my pack to finsish a stalk and that darn camo did it job.  It was hard to find my pack as it blended in so your tip might had been needed if I didn't get lucky and find it.