By Mark Fike
There are three things that I make a point to have these days when going out in my duck blind. We all know to have our shotgun, license, shells, survival items such as food, water, matches or a lighter etc. The three things I am talking about make the duck hunting trip go smoother and allow you to enjoy the trip better with less stress.
“And let there be light!” Yes, having light in the predawn hours is crucial and necessary by law if you are using a boat to get to your blind. Over the past year I have tested two lights I plan on having with me every time I go out to the blind.
Streamlight’s Waypoint LED Spotlight is very durable. I have had mine for over a year and I have dropped it momentarily in the water, it has been tossed around in the boat (although I am not advocating that) and it has been used extensively for predator hunting, tracking deer, finding my duck blind in the pitch black of night, doing tasks at night and a bunch of other chores too.
This light is 1000 lumens, hits the tops of trees, duck blinds, buoys and so on with authority. You can see with this thing! I like the selector switch on the back of it that allows you to go from low to high output. The high output lasts nearly 4 hours. Low lasts 3 DAYS!
It floats and can take a minor dunking and survive. It is impact resistant. Those things I did test their claims on. It is lightweight at 1.5 pounds and throws a beam 1000 meters. It comes in bright yellow and black. The rechargeable feature make is sweet. I love this light and want to get a second one so I can keep one in my truck and one at home. When I track a deer that is not hit hard, I get this light out.
Streamlight also makes my personal carry light. I started out using their products after finding that they made lights that were just as bright as what once was the supposed leader in the tac light industry. The difference was that Streamlight made their lights featuring actual commonly found batteries vs. the very expensive “other” batteries. I like their ProTac lights but now I am using both the Stylus Pro USB and MacroStream USB lights.
The Stylus Pro is long and thin and throws out 350 lumens of light. It will last 1.5 hours on high and 3.5 hours on low. It is water resistant to a meter (think about that water in the bottom of your duck boat) and very well made. I like its thin size. It is easy to distinguish from my shotgun shells in the dark.
The MacroStream, like the Stylus Pro, comes with a USB recharging cord. It operates up to 500 lumens! It has a high and low setting and a sleeve that protects the USB port. A nice improvement. It will run 2 hours on high and 8 hours on low.
Streamlight has been making some very high quality lights for years now. I have slowly phased out my other lights and have switched over to using their lights entirely. The quality and price point make it a no brainer. https://www.streamlight.com/
We have all sat in a duck blind shivering. I don’t plan on doing that anymore. Mr. Heater has a portable Buddy heater that is easy to stow in your boat for the ride to your blind and it will ride in the pickup there too. If you walk in to your blind that is not a big issue either.
This unit has a low oxygen shut off switch, it shuts off if it is tipped over and has one control for starting and adjusting the heat setting too! It will heat up to 225 square feet. Granted our blinds are open, but it makes for great hand warming and knocking the chill off your body.
I have used this in a goose blind (that was where I first saw one being used by a friend) and you will find it to be a hunt saver when your trigger finger gets cold or your feet get cold. The one pound LP tanks make carrying fuel easy. The tanks last at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours. If you have a hose you can hook up a 20 pound tank and live in your blind for a few days!
While the unit is a tad heavier than typical hunting equipment, it is not like you are backpacking into your spot so it is well worth the space to carry this unit, particularly if you are hunting with new hunters, young hunters or someone that gets cold easily.
Duck hunters were out in the cold for years figuratively speaking, when it came to PFDs. No one wants to get a full-sized PFD and wear it over your waterfowl parka while in the boat. Mustang Survival has been leading the industry for years with PFDs.
Their inflatable PFDs make it stupid not to wear one this season. I hated the thought of the big cumbersome PFDs. This summer I got one of their inflatable ones after seeing our game wardens wearing them. I wore their M.I.T. Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades USCG Type III PFD while fishing and even during my build of my duck blind. It was hot. Towards fall it was cold a few days on the water and I wore it over coats. I have to say, there is absolutely no excuse not to wear it.
With the camo finish on it and the quality materials, this is one PFD every duck hunter should have. It is adjustable and one size fits most. It auto inflates when immersed in water such as when you slip on ice, hit your head in the duck boat and go in the freezing drink!
It is lightweight, easy to repack and rearm with the kits that can be purchased separately.
Consider it a great insurance policy that you will come home after an unexpected bath this winter. You can see through the clear window that it is armed and ready to go and it has a manual inflation cord too.
This is a great Christmas idea for your angler or duck hunter.
In summary, the two lights (three actually) and the Mr. Heater Buddy heater are now regular companions when duck hunting out of my blind or boat these days. The Waypoint lights the way to my spot, helps me put out decoys and the handheld personal Stylus and MacroStream lights make getting my gear set up and so on, a snap. I won’t go duck hunting on my boat without my Mustang M.I.T. 100 PFD on these days. Too many close calls to risk any more.
Give these quality items a look this season.
You won’t regret it.