For Safety’s Sake Use Your Head
If your customers are out shooting in low light conditions, then instruct them to purchase a hands-free flashlight.
With such a wide range of lighting products on the market, it's clear that there is a model to suit every occasion imaginable. In other features, we have offered guidance on how to choose the right light with information on subjects such as IP ratings, beam requirements, strobe functions and night vision. Here we look specifically at the versatility of hands-free flashlights - the benefits of which are sometimes overlooked, but here we discuss how they should be viewed at times as an essential item.
KEEP BOTH HANDS FREE
Firstly, when carrying a load of gear on a hunt, the main benefit is clear in the name 'hands-free'. Where shooting is allowed at night, or in low light conditions, it's much safer to keep both hands available to carry guns and ammunition whether you're
an experienced hunter or a novice. The temptation to prop a loaded gun against
a tree while you rummage about in your pockets for a flashlight is inevitable – we've all heard of accidents happening in this way, so plan ahead with safety in mind.
FINDING YOUR WAY
As destination hunting continues to be on the increase, you can often find yourself
in unfamiliar territory, but sometimes it's surprising how easily you can find yourself disorientated close to home. A discrete flashlight shouldn't spook your prey, instead, it should allow you to read a map and help avoid issues of safety and security by staying on the right track.
An example of an unexpected emergency happened to a farmer some years ago while he was rough shooting one evening, working some ferrets along the edge of a hedgerow on
his farm. As darkness began to fall, and while collecting a purse net from a rabbit hole, he slipped and fell head-first into a ditch. Both arms had sunk into the thick mud at the bottom and in a failed attempt to stop himself sinking, his face became submerged in the surface water. He was badly winded by his fall and was therefore unable to shout for help. His legs were tangled in the undergrowth on the side of the bank so he was well and truly trapped. Nobody had seen him fall but luckily, his shooting partner spotted his legs flailing about in his headlight beam and came to his rescue just in time.
On a more recent occasion, an experienced wildfowler was caught out in the British marshes of the Lincolnshire Wash, notorious for the incredible speed of its tide. Peter decided to wade back to land, navigating his way around the deep eddies that were quickly filling with strong sea currents, only to discover he'd left it too late. There was no way back without a precarious swim in deep, icy cold seawater so he decided just to stand still, wait it out and pray.
With his shotgun held across his shoulders, he stayed there for many hours until the tide actually reached his chin before it subsided. All the time he wished he had a flashlight so he could signal to the dog walkers who couldn't hear him shouting above the noise of the waves. He suffered from hypothermia but was lucky to be able to tell the tale.
When you're out in the wilds you never know quite what to expect. From a twisted ankle, a bite from something large or small, or a lost anchor chain from a small boat, you need to be extra prepared when there are few people around to help. You might be ok, but you might need to administer assistance to someone else. Things can become a matter of life and death in some very unlikely circumstances.
Abiding by rules and regulations when handling game means that you need to see what you're doing. Again, having both hands free, you can dress your prey more cleanly and efficiently. You might not have the will or opportunity to carry a scene light or large lantern, but a more compact hands- free device should be more than capable of providing the necessary light. A large, heavy animal might be a challenge to get back to your vehicle, so you want to make sure you're heading back by the shortest route.
FIT FOR PURPOSE
Only you will know what type of hunting you will be doing, so only you can weigh up the key features and benefits when choosing the right hands-free flashlight. With multiple LED colours, brightness settings, recharging and mounting options available, you'll need to spend time making comparisons. The price ranges are also vast but, as a hunter, our advice is always to consider this investment as an essential item, always – it might just help save your customer’s life one day or someone else's.