By Chris Swanson
When trailing a deer after the sun goes down, it’s often very difficult to keep up with a blood trail using only a flashlight or lantern.
I have found a simple kid’s product can make trail marking much easier after dark: Glow Sticks.
When you first find blood and it’s nearing dark, activate the Glow Stick, then carefully cut it open and use the juice to mark places where you find blood. You can also activate them without cutting open and leave the plastic tubes along the trail provided you have enough to do this. Don’t forget to pick them up later.
Once you establish the trail and determine which way the wounded deer is traveling, it’s much easier to figure out the direction it’s headed. The easy-to-see markers also help you stay oriented in the dark woods so you can get out with ease.
Some hunters use bits of Kleenex or toilet paper to mark the trail, which is a great idea if you have to come back the next day, but I’ve found the Glow Stick to be much easier to see at night than paper at a distance.
The illumination typically lasts 6 to 8 hours, so you can use the sticks to mark last blood, then go find some friends to help you take up the trail again. Make sure to leave Kleenex, too, if you have to come back the next day.
Glow Sticks are inexpensive and you can buy a multi-pack for just a few bucks and keep some in your backpack.
And if you don’t shoot anything all year, you can always give them to the kids after the season.
Editor’s Note: If you cut open a Glow Stick, be careful not to let it contact your skin or eyes as some brands may contain low levels of toxicity and irritants.