Lighted Nocks | Practice with Them for Better Bow Hunting
Feature: Flatline Whitetails
Practice makes perfect, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes? Unfortunately, it’s only true to a certain extent. If you practice your archery hunting skills with sloppy form and different hunting gear than you’ll use in the field, you’re really just setting yourself up for failure. But you’ve no doubt heard the adapted version of this phrase too: perfect practice makes perfect. The better and more realistic you are in practice, the better you should be at the real thing. This is why you should be using lighted nocks on your arrows as you practice this spring and summer. But let’s back up a little bit first.
Using the right hunting gear helps ensure that you’re ready for the real field conditions you’ll face. One, it simulates bow hunting on a very real level so you can get in the right mindset from the get-go. The more you get used to this simulation and the conditions, the more comfortable you’ll be in the field. Two, it helps develop muscle memory so that you will be freed up to think about the situation itself, and not worry about the shot mechanics. To that point, you’ll gain confidence in your hunting gear that you could only get from repeated usage of it. Different arrow nocks produce slightly different shots, so it makes sense that using a consistent nock will produce a more consistent and accurate flight path. If you use them from day one of practice, you shouldn’t have to adjust anything later. And finally, using lighted nocks for arrows in the preseason months helps you identify any form or gear issues before it can become a problem. If you start now, you literally have several months to tweak your gear or perfect your form. That’s much better than realizing it the week before opening day, isn’t it?
Why Should You Use Lighted Nocks?
If you don’t already use lighted nocks, you won’t believe what a game changer they are for hunting scenarios. Think about it – some of the best deer hunting action we face takes place in low light conditions (e.g., dawn, dusk, shaded woodlands, foggy/cloudy/rainy days, etc.). But knowing exactly where your arrow hits a deer in these low light hunting conditions is difficult to impossible. Will your knowledge of where it hit the deer in any way change the shot once you’ve released the arrow? Of course not. But it will really help you to know how to proceed from that point. For example, taking up the blood trail within 10 minutes in the case of a true heart or lung shot is fine, but it would be foolish in the case of a known gut shot. Illuminated nocks really help you weigh your options better to ensure you recover your deer.
The Nock Out® lighted nocks come in a few different options and are excellent additions to your archery supplies. The 3 pack is a great deal, as you’ll definitely want more than just one. Everyone has their own best lighted nock color that they prefer, but these ones come in green, yellow, or red colors. They all stand out extremely well when being fired on the back of an arrow through these low light conditions. If you’re not familiar with how they work, the sudden force of the bow string against the lighted nock when it is fired basically switches the powerful LED light on. To turn the light back off, simply pull the nock straight back until it clicks and the light goes off. They are built with bushings to fit the five most common carbon arrow shafts.
How Do Lighted Nocks Help in Practice?
Of course, practicing with these nocks in the preseason does help your archery form in a few ways too.
Taking time now to practice with lighted nocks on your arrows will help you get more confident in your archery equipment. As we said, practicing with the same gear you would use on a hunt helps you to be consistent over time. You can use these lighted nocks on your arrows during practice sessions by simply switching it to practice mode. This specific mode deactivates the LED light to save on battery life, and is turned on by rotating the activation collar. During most of the preseason and for daytime practice sessions, you have no real need to use the nock light. Therefore, you can easily switch to using this practice mode at these times. Though you’d be amazed how much they look like a rocket flying through the air even in daylight!
But once in a while, it helps to turn the practice mode off. Turn the light back on and take a few shots in low light conditions to get the real feel for it. You’ll be amazed at how well the arrow stands out after it’s released from your bow. It practically paints a line of light through the air on its way to the target. On spring and summer evenings, try setting a 3D deer archery target up at various distances in your yard, and dress up in your hunting clothing (yes, even if it’s 80 degrees out). The idea is to make your practice session feel as realistic and true to a hunt as possible. Raise, draw, and fire your bow as quietly, slowly, and stealthily as you can, just like you were in a tree stand or sitting in a ground blind. Then observe your arrow’s flight path, made easy by the bright LED light. Make any adjustments to your bow that you need to based on the first few practice sessions. Once it’s dialed in, continue with at least a weekly habit of dressing in your full hunting gear to repeat these realistic low-light shots. Come next fall, you’ll be amazed at how natural it feels to make them in a pinch.
If you’re not already using light up nocks, you really should be for the reasons listed above. Give them a try and see how it affects your hunting down the road.