A few weeks ago, courtesy of the enlightened folks at the Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine, I was able to exchange three good scopes plus my adult-diaper funds for the month for a very costly 1X-4X scope to take into the Great North Woods in search of de-ah.

So imagine my chagrin when I got home and found that the illuminated reticle did not illuminate. This was a brand-new scope that cost more than I spent on my first car back when John Kennedy was president. But: It was also the demonstrator, and was the last one of that model the store had. I have no doubt the battery was left in place full-time, and the juice was turned on and off until the battery life of 720 hours was all used up.

I’m a major fan of illuminated everything. Not only are lit-up reticles and red dots visible in nearly impossible conditions, but they’re also faster to acquire than anything else.

However, they do burn out, and they’re going to do it not in your gun closet, but in the woods when you’re actually hunting. This is at the least a pain in the ass, and at the most it can cost you the only shot you may get. So, do this:
Before you go hunting, check to see that the battery still works.

Have at least one spare, and carry it on your person. Do not leave it back at camp.

When you’re done with the rifle for the season, remove the battery and put it someplace where you won’t lose it.

If you’re flying with the rifle, reverse the battery to break the circuit, providing you can do this without damaging anything.

And, be advised that, on October 14th, the TSA decreed that lithium batteries may no longer be carried in your check-in luggage. It seems they can spontaneously combust and/or fuel a fire that’s already in progress. Like all other TSA regulations, I have no idea if this will actually be enforced, but I’m sure that if you cheese them off and they want an excuse to make you miss your flight, they’ll be glad to search through your gear in search of hidden lithium.