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Lighting Up the Whitetail Industry
 

Lighting up the Hunt Industry

Normally when writing an article I often try to build credibility with the reader. I do this by explaining that over the course of the past 43 years I have dedicated my life to whitetail deer hunting. As a result I am on over three dozen hunting pro staffs, have been published in multiple whitetail specialty magazines, harvested 15 Pope and Young Record Book Bucks, and have ran a large whitetail outfitting service for over 10 years in 5 States. (All thanks be to God.) Over the course of my career I have seen the hunting industry evolve from infancy to adulthood. Each day at work there is always a new lesson to learn as a whitetail deer outfitter. Sometimes that lesson is learned in the timber about whitetail deer. Sometimes that lesson is learned in dealing with people. But rarely times is that lesson learned when dealing with outdoor products. There are many long days I spend alone at the lodge while the hunters are in the field pursuing trophy whitetail deer. While hunters are in the woods I am normally sitting at the lodge doing research on whitetail deer, looking over aerial photographs, spotting whitetail deer trends, or cruising the Internet from my laptop in regard to outdoor products. This is but a portion of my job description as a whitetail deer outfitter.

Recently after a long day’s work, several whitetail deer hunters were sitting in the recreational center of our Missouri lodge where we run Missouri deer hunts. Now it’s commonplace for hunter’s and guides alike to brag and compare hunting equipment. I’ve seen many whitetail deer hunting product debates surrounding what compound bow is the best, what tree stand is the best, what truck is the best, what gun is the best, and a host of many other whitetail deer outdoor products. As a Missouri deer outfitter that also runs whitetail deer hunts in Pike County Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas I witnessed a debate last week surrounding flashlights. In all my years of experience as a whitetail deer hunter I have never had any hunters debate flashlights. In fact IMB Outfitters possess’s an Official Light Sponsor entitled Streamlight. I have to be honest, while I have entered into other debates surrounding outdoor products I really never thought that much about flashlights, or headlamps. You see I am a mixture of “old school whitetail hunter” and a touch of “cutting edge” type of whitetail deer hunter. While I valued the sponsorship of a company as great as Streamlight, I had under estimated the importance of a quality light system for deerhunting.

Reggie Little, a client of IMB Outfitters reached down to his hip and pulled out a Super Tac Streamlight Flashlight. 5 seconds later Preston Frazier who was sitting across the table from Reggie immediately whipped out his own flashlight. Preston and Reggie were both now holding two different flashlights manufactured by two of the best flashlight companies in the world. Of course Reggie thought he was holding the greatest flashlight in the world, while Preston was certain his flashlight was superior. I chuckled and thought to myself, they are only flashlights. Little did I know I was about to learn yet another lesson of vital importance as a whitetail deer outfitter.

Both gentlemen stepped outside into the darkness of the parking lot as if a shootout was about to occur. In fact, a dozen men followed behind them to watch the capability of each flashlight. As aforementioned Reggie held the Super Tac flashlight from Streamlight, while Preston grasp proudly to his Sur Fire flashlight. I myself have always used Streamlight headlamps however I really never studied the product line long enough to grasp the technology that is available to today’s whitetail deer hunter regarding lights systems. So for years I used Streamlight headlamps, and for tracking whitetail deer I literally had a couple old MagLite’s shoved under the back seat of my truck. It was time for me to learn a very valuable lesson.

Preston is any little more assertive and was quick to shine his flashlight to the opposing pond bank which was over 125 yards away. As soon as a light beam hit the pond bank I could not believe my eyes. I had never seen a flashlight as powerful in all the days that I have lived. Reggie chuckled and drew his Streamlight Super Tac to attention and pointed to the pond bank. When the light beam hit the pond bank it was evident that the Streamlight flashlight was far superior to its competition. Literally poor little Preston hung his head, turn off his flashlight, and retreated to the confines of the friendly lodge as a defeated man.

The men gathered around to examine the Streamlight flashlight. They took turns shining the powerful beam of light into the darkness. Of course the general comment by our whitetail deer hunters was, “I am going to have to get one of those.” (Streamlight Super Tac Flashlight) The gentlemen walked back into the lodge to make fun of poor Preston. It was literally like a wild west shootout without a fatality.

Both flashlights were measured in terms of lumens. Both flashlights were 135 lumens. Both flashlights have the same battery life, however Streamlight had won the battle, and there was no comparison. Meanwhile I was left in utter shock that anyone other than law enforcement or the military would even have access to the purchase of such a technological flashlight. If I had to describe what I saw it was if a police officer was using a floodlight to inspect the darkness in search of a fleeing felon at night from his flood light located near the side mirror of his vehicle. The Sur Fire flashlight was okay, however didn’t present what seemed like fifty percent of the light its opponent Streamlight produced.

My imagination began to run wild as I thought of all the times as a whitetail deer outfitter I had tracked wounded whitetail deer. I had been missing the biggest link to the successful recovery of the game my whitetail deer hunters were seeking. It made me sick to think I had been using a MagLite purchased at WalMart for my tracking duties. I felt humbled and began to ask questions about this Streamlight Super Tac Flashlight. How could this aspect of outdoor products just escape my attention when so much of my job description as a whitetail deer outfitter lies around tracking whitetail deer after dark with a flashlight? It was then I realized I would settle for nothing less to equip my employees and myself for future whitetail deer hunts.

The next day I called the marketing director of Streamlight and began to intensely question her and give this outdoor product the recognition and study it deserves. Any whitetail deer hunter should always be equipped with a quality light system like Streamlight manufactures. It can literally mean the difference between a whitetail deer hunter recovering a buck of a lifetime or losing the buck of a lifetime. I recall as the child we would often times play a game at night that the neighborhood kids called flashlight tag. One child would be “it”, and have to count to 50 while the other children would hide in the darkness. No one ever wanted to be the child in the search of those hiding. Back in the day when we played this game of flashlight tag if I had been equipped with a Streamlight Super Tac I would have insisted to be “it” every time.

Let’s take a look at some of Streamlight’s high quality products for you to think about in the form of flashlights, prior to looking into headlamps, as these are the two primary needs of the whitetail deer hunter. Simply put, it’s my opinion that every trophy whitetail deer hunter should have a high quality flashlight, as well as a nice headlamp. The high quality flashlight should be used when tracking whitetail deer. I further suggest every whitetail deer hunter should take a serious look into the purchase of a Streamlight Super Tac, or any Streamlight flashlight exceeding 125 lumens at minimum. This is the amount of light the whitetail deer hunter will need to enhance his or her whitetail deer tracking capabilities. (Streamlights Super Tac is 135 lumens.) It is now my opinion a high quality flashlight worthy of law enforcement or military implementation, is an ethical tool for the sport of deerhunting.

So you can keep on playing flashlight tagged with Grandma’s old flashlight, or you can step to the plate and grasp onto technology at its finest. While Streamlight produces a vast array of choices to whitetail deer enthusiasts as well as law enforcement and military around the globe, here are some of my favorite choices for us as whitetail deer hunters.

Streamlight Super Tac Flashlight
The Super Tac™ is an extremely high performance lithium battery-powered flashlight featuring latest in C4® LED technology for extreme brightness and long range illumination combined with a push button momentary or constant "on" tail cap switch for one handed operation.
• C4® LED, shock-proof with a 50,000 hr lifetime, is 3X brighter than a super high-flux LED
• Up to 30,000 candela (peak beam intensity); 135 lumens measured system output.
• Deep-dish parabolic reflector produces a long range targeting beam with optimum peripheral illumination to aid in navigation. Optimized electronics provide regulated intensity.
• Runtime: up to 3.5 hours to the 10% output level
• Anodized Machined Aluminum
• Limited Lifetime Warranty
• Two 3V CR123A lithium batteries (included)
• IPX7 Rated design; all openings o-ring sealed to resist moisture
• Fits Streamlight 69100 Rail Mount; Operates with remote switches.
• LED Solid State circuitry provides regulated light output throughout battery life.
• 6.62"; 7.1 oz
• Available in box (Holster included), or blister pack
Streamlight Scorpion LED
One of the brightest, lightest personal flashlight ever created,the Scorpion® LED is the only tactical light with a rubberized grip and tailcap switch and anti-roll head. Available with a C4® LED.
• Team Soldier Certified Gear
• Anti-roll head
• C4® LED is 2X brighter than a Super high-flux LED – up to 7,500 candela (peak beam intensity); 120 lumens
• Up to 3.5 hours of runtime to the 10% output level.
• 5.72"
• 5.3 oz. with batteries
• Two 3 volt CR123A lithium batteries with a storage life of up to 10 years (included)
• Machined aluminum covered by a rubber-armored sleeve for a sure grip
• O-ring sealed for moisture protection
• Available in black
• Lithium Battery Notice under TECH DOCS
Streamlight TL-2 LED
The brightness of a larger light in a compact size that can be comfortably used with a firearm.
• Team Soldier Certified Gear
• Two 3 volt CR123A lithium batteries with a storage life of 10 years (included)
• C4® LED is 2X brighter than a Super high-flux LED – Up to 7,500 candela (peak beam intensity); 120 lumens
• Anti-roll head
• Up to 3.5 hours of runtime to the 10% output level.
• Pocket clip, adjustable lanyard
• Head: 1.25;" Body: .9" x Length 5.25"
• 4.3 oz. with batteries
• Available in black
• Lithium Battery Notice under TECH DOCS
It is my opinion as a whitetail deer outfitter that a headlamp is normally used to enter and exit the woods, or your treestand site when darkness falls, or before sunrise. Thus, as a trophy whitetail deer hunter, a headlamp can be too bright, and spook whitetail deer when you enter and exit your tree stand site. While headlamps are available that possess’s high volumes of lumens, I would advise using low volume lumen headlamps for enter and exit while whitetail deer hunting. Even when tracking a whitetail deer that has been wounded, a high lumen headlamp will create two problems. If positioned above the bill of a cap a blinding effect through shadows will occur upon implementing tracking strategies of whitetail deer. If a high volume lumen headlamp is positioned below the bill of the cap you will be blinded from the seeing the hints left behind by a whitetail deer you’re tracking. Thus it is my opinion today’s whitetail deer hunter is not in need of a high volume lumen headlamp. Streamlight produces the highest quality headlamps available to today’s whitetail deer hunter. Here are my favorite headlamps that Streamlight manufactures.
Streamlight Green Triden Xenon/LED Combo Headlamp
• Contains 1 safety green LED and 2 ultra-bright white LEDs
• Powered by 3 "AAA" alkaline batteries (included)
• 300 mA xenon bi-pin bulb, plus three 100,000-hour life LEDs
• Xenon Bulb: 12 lumens measured system output; One (1) Safety Green LED: 4 lumens measured system output; Two (2) White LEDs: 18 lumens measured system output.
• 3-position lighting; 1) xenon bulb; 2) one Safety Green LED; 3) two white LEDs
• Spot to flood focus
• Adjustable elastic head strap and rubber hard hat strap
• 90 degrees tilting head
• Runs up to 150 hrs (single LED)
• Facecap diameter: 1.86"
• Max. Width: 2.55"
• Max. Depth: 2.53" including head strap and mounting plate
• 4.64 oz.
Streamlight Argo HP LED Headlamp
Ultra-compact, extremely light weight, high-performance LED headlight features the latest in power LED technology and lithium batteries for a combined performance at the top of the headlight category. New C4® LED technology produces 2 to 3 times the output of previous LEDs. The Argo® HP has been specifically engineered to minimize weight and maximize run time. The light’s optimized center of gravity provides maximum wearer comfort and stability during use. This headlight offers high and low lighting modes and is packaged with an elastic head strap and rubber hard hat strap.
• Powered by two 3V CR123A lithium batteries
• C4® LED is 2X brighter than a Super high-flux LED
• Up to 1,800 candela (peak beam intensity); 62 lumens measured system output.
• Solid Sate Power Regulation provides maximum light output throughout battery life
• RUN TIME:
High Mode (100%): Up to 6.5 hours of runtime to the 10% output level.
Low Mode (25%): Up to 30 hours of runtime to the 10% output level.
• Push button switch; 1st mode: Low, 2nd mode: High
• Ultra-compact, impact-resistant housing, lightweight for maximum comfort
• 90º tilting head
• Water resistant construction with Impact resistant housing – drop test verified
• 4.0 oz. with batteries (included)
• Available in black
In conclusion, never underestimate the value of a quality light system when tracking, and hunting whitetail deer. Who knows whenever someone may challenge you to a flashlight shootout at a hunt camp, find yourself tracking a buck of a lifetime, or involved in a friendly game of flashlight tag. As a result of this week’s lesson, I’ve purchased of half a dozen Streamlight Super Tac Flashlights for my guides here at IMB Outfitters. Now were lighting up the whitetail woods.

Darrin Bradley

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