By Mark Taylor
If you've ever tried to find your way to and from a treestand after dark in a thick area, you'll know how easy it is to lose your bearings.
Sometimes it's easy to lose your trail even when the woods are fairly open. Orange flagging doesn't help under a flashlight beam especially in dense foliage, and reflective thumbtacks are hard to remove.
There's a better way.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to mark your trail is to use spring-type clothespins covered with reflective tape. You can pick up a pack of 100 pins and a roll of tape at the discount store for next to nothing, and your markers will last for years.
Make sure to put strips of reflective tape on both sides of the clothespin so it will be visible no matter which way you hang it from a tree limb.
Some people like to tie a 12-inch length of fishing line between two reflective clothespins and hang one from a tree limb, allowing the other to dangle, which doubles the chance you'll see them.
Unlike some pushpin markers that stick into tree bark, clothespins aren't difficult to remove and don't bend. Simply unsnap the clothespin markers at the end of the season and take them with you.
I really like using silver or white reflective tape because it reflects well no matter which color flashlight you use. For instance, a red tape might be difficult to see if you use a red filter, and green is especially hard to see with a green light.
One tip reflective tape manufacturers offer is to hold your light source as close to eye level as possible. The vinyl was designed for auto headlights to bounce off. Because of this reflectivity angle, a headlamp works best for spotting the tape. If you have trouble seeing it, try holding the flashlight on the tip of your nose. It works!