Don’t knock lighted nocks
Few can argue about the impact technological developments have had on archery in the past decade. From broadheads to bows, these advancements now allow many of us to shoot straighter and to achieve better results both in the field and on the range.
Lighted nocks are one of those developments, and the first ones were developed by brothers Eric and Curt Price, who introduced their new nock in 2002. They called their company Burt Coyote and the product the Lumenock. At first sales grew slowly, but by 2004 Cabela’s and Gander Mountain were carrying Lumenocks and bowhunters began asking for them in their local archery shops. Archers quickly recognized the advantages lighted nocks offered and sales were brisk. It wasn’t long after Curtis had to quit his job as a union electrician to devote his time to building the company. Today there are a variety of lighted nocks on the market and all work well, so it’s a matter of personal preference as to which nock a shooter uses.
As bowhunters know, high-quality hunting arrows are expensive, costing around $15 each. Add to that cost the price of a good hunting broadhead and you can easily launch $25 of equipment into the unknown. However, once an arrow is fitted with a lighted nock the often difficult task of watching the arrow fly to its intended mark becomes much easier, particularly with today’s faster bows and crossbows. Now, after taking a shot at a deer, I can easily verify where the arrow struck the animal. If the arrow was a pass-through, the glowing nock makes finding my arrow much easier, especially if it buried itself under leaves or other vegetation. In the end, the result is more recovered game and equipment.
As good as lighted nocks are, some feel they have their disadvantages. One is their cost, but that cost can be recovered by finding just one errant arrow. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, because a lighted nock adds additional weight to the back of the arrow, many bowhunters are concerned about changing the FOC (Front of Center) of their hunting arrow. Admittedly, the additional weight on the back of the arrow will diminish the FOC percentage and potentially decrease both penetration and downrange accuracy. This is certainly a concern if longer shots are anticipated, but most whitetails are killed at ranges of 25 yards or less. Personally, I’ve found the addition of a lighted nock to my hunting arrow to have had a negligible effect in both penetration and accuracy at the ranges I shoot. To offset this change in FOC, some shooters add a heavier brass insert to the front of the shaft to compensate for the weight of the lighted nock.
The importance of lighted nocks to game recovery can’t be overstated because all are designed to provide a bright light that lasts a very long time. Twenty hours is the minimum, but some can remain lit for more than 40 hours, which means the light will glow brightly for almost two days. All nocks currently on the market turn on when the arrow is launched, but the difference between each type of nock is the way they are activated. One type uses a piston at the bottom of the nock that is activated when the shooter releases the arrow. The downside of this system is that if the shooter accidentally activates the light while nocking the arrow the bright light can make it difficult to find the hole that turns it off in low-light conditions. Another brand activates when the momentum of the shot forces the nock to make contact with the arrow, completing a circuit. To turn it off once it’s activated you need only to wiggle it slightly so that contact with the arrow shaft is broken. If a nock doesn’t light after the shot, more than likely it wasn’t installed correctly. Before purchasing a lighted nock shooters should know how the nock is activated and how to deactivated it and then decide which method they prefer. Regardless of the brand of lighted nock you choose, rest assured it will most likely result in more recovered game and equipment.