I have to admit I was in this same category for quite awhile. Last year while I was bow hunting with Cory and our friend Chris, I shot a doe about an hour before dark. We heard the doe go down out of sight; however by the time we got the climbers off of the trees, found the arrow and packed all of our gear up, it was already pitch black out. We found a blood trail and started to track the downed deer. As the blood trail became scarce I found myself on my hands and knees in areas trying to find the next spot of blood. This difficulty was due to the lack of a good flashlight. The lights we were carrying were not bright enough to make the tracking easy.
Once we had admitted defeat we got Chris and headed back to the trucks (a solid mile away) with our gear so we could fetch a brighter light. We walked back to the area we thought the deer had gone down in and started to scan with our light and we found her quite quickly. Let me pause for a quick tip: When looking for a downed deer in the dark, scan with your light from left to right slowly and look for the white under belly and the glow of the eyes from the light. This trick has saved me more than once!
After that trip I decided I needed to spend the money on a good flashlight so this would not happen to me again. Over the past couple of years the technology of flashlights has advanced immensely. The market is flooded with terminology such as LED (Light Emitting Diode), which can make the average outdoorsman cringe with tech lingo. Some of the things to look for when shopping for a solid light are as follows:
1) Multiple brightness settings, a low and a high will be fine for most people.
2) I prefer a light that runs on regular AA or AAA batteries as these are usually less expensive than other batteries and you can use a rechargeable battery as well as they are easy to find at any store!
3) I would recommend an LED light that has an output of at least 100 lumens. I purchased a Browning Hi Power light that can be found here for about $75. In my opinion, the brighter the better!
The Browning light I purchased runs on two AA batteries, is 145 lumens (measure of brightness) and reaches out to about 150 yards. It is also compact enough to fit in a cargo pocket and does not weight a ton! With my new light it makes getting to a stand in the morning much easier not to mention tracking and finding downed game!
So if you are looking for your next hunting investment, think about making it a good quality flashlight.