Of all the equipment a bow hunter utilizes, among the most overlooked items are nocks. A nock sits on the tail of an arrow and connects the arrow to the draw string. When you buy your arrows for bow hunting, there are standard nocks on the arrow (non-lighting). For most hunters, that is what they continue to use. But an aftermarket lighted nock has a small button that, when the arrow is fired from the bow, is depressed—causing the entire nock to brightly light up with a LED (there are four colors available through Nockturnal: red, blue, pink and green).
How is this helpful? For one, you can better see the flight of your arrow, which will help you determine if you made a good hit or not. For me, I wanted the lighted nocks for animal recovery. While bowhunting, I was on a steep clear-cut and I found a deer bedded down, quartered away, presenting a fairly good target. I let loose with an arrow and it ripped into the chest cavity; all but four inches of the arrow were inside the chest. As deer will do, it sprang up and immediately ran full-speed away.
I could see that the arrow was firmly embedded, and as the deer ran over a nearby spur, I was 100-percent certain that I had just filled my deer tag. When tracking began, I was surprised to see a complete lack of blood or visible sign from which to start my search. I searched everywhere around where the arrow impacted the deer to no avail. I expanded my search to where I saw the deer run over the spur. Still nothing. Six hours had passed and it was completely dark, but still no sign at all.
In this instance, I have no doubt that a bright green LED would have led me to my deer. However, this was before I started using lighted nocks. As such, the odds of me finding this animal were decreasing the longer I searched. Still, I continued to search; I even went back after deer season in the winter to see if I could find the deer after most of the vegetation had died away. I never found that deer, and I felt horrible about it.
Nockturnal sells nocks in three-packs ($27.99) or in singles ($10.99). The nocks have a 20+ hour battery life, which is great for animal or arrow recovery. Nockturnal also states that these nocks are waterproof and shock resistant. The installation process takes about 60 seconds per nock, and they are completely operational out of the package.
Now for some cons: This product adds grain weight to your arrow. Depending on your needs, the type of bow hunting, this may help you achieve a desired result, or you may have to do some fine-tuning to make sure you are still zeroed. Due to the manufacturing specifications of arrows, you need to make sure that you have the proper model (Nockturnal has models G, GT, H, S, and X), and this can be confusing at times. Lastly, it is not a guarantee that this product will make all of your arrows retrievable, adding another expense to an already expensive form of ammunition. Per arrow, my setup costs approximately $33.15 per arrow, which I’m fine with since I’m trying to emphasize the importance of accuracy while hunting. I would give these nocks a try and see if they work for you. After not recovering a deer, you won’t catch me without these on my arrows.
(Featured image courtesy of Nockturnal.com)