Are luminocks legal?
Contributors to this thread:
gerald martin 29-Apr-08
ELKJNKY 29-Apr-08
Straight Arrow 29-Apr-08
holger_danske 29-Apr-08
holger_danske 29-Apr-08
hntn4elk 29-Apr-08
Elk2008 29-Apr-08
gerald martin 30-Apr-08
holger_danske 02-May-08
howler 02-May-08
dr. bob 02-May-08
holger_danske 02-May-08
JMG 02-May-08
holger_danske 02-May-08
dr. bob 02-May-08
BPS 02-May-08
Straight Arrow 03-May-08
JMG 05-May-08
holger_danske 05-May-08
Straight Arrow 05-May-08
I know the Montana regs state no electronics devices attached to the bow. Does that make luminocks or other similar lighted nocks legal or illegal since they are attached to the arrow instead of the bow? Does anybody care to comment or know how a warden will interpret this law?

Thanks, Gerald

i beleive they are illegal not for sure but thats what i have ben told

They are not legal.

The regs are very specific:

"A bow sight or ARROW which uses artificial light, luminous chemicals such as tritium, or electronics."

Since the Montana Bowhunter's Assoc has taken a public stance against lighted nocks, don't look for that to change anytime soon.

p.s. even if the regs weren't this specific, the arrow becomes attached to the bow when you nock it. Don't expect any mercy from a game warden when you're trying to slip through a supposed loophole. His job is to issue a citation and let the court decide.

p.p.s. 2008 regs are available now.

From: hntn4elk
Gerald, Check out Page 19 of the 2008-2009 regulations, spells it out clearly. This rule has been in place for a number of years as it has been written. The rules say no electronics, etc. on bows or arrows in the archery only seasons.

The definition is in regard to Archery Season only, in the General Season there is no restriction on the use of lighted nocks.

If you were hunting an Archery Only hunting area, like in region 260 for example, lighted nocks would not be legal regardless of the time of year.


From: Elk2008
Just curious, but honestly, why would anyone not want lighted nocks to be legal. I don't have them, but it doesn't aid you in killing an animal, but it sure could help out is seeing the shot.

Thanks guys,

I was pretty sure that was the way was interpreted but wanted to see if you all read it that way. BTW, I must not have read the regs closely enough, I remembered about no electronics on bows but didn't remember seeing the part about arrows.

Elk2008, I have to agree about lighted nocks not helping kill an animal. I do a lot of videoing and lighted nocks would sure help out in being able to see where the shot hit when you review footage.

I guess I'll be sticking with the big bright feathers and cresting.

Elk2008, If you go to the montana bowhunter's assoc website, you can read the statements made by the board members on this topic. Only one member supported lighted nocks.

My quick summary of their comments, is that they wish to keep archery hunting as primitive as possible. Many of the comments begin with a "Back in my day..." type statement.

I don't think anyone has ever been able to make a solid case for lighted nocks giving the hunter any advantage beyond recovery. IMO, being able to clearly see your where you hit the animal and being able to find your arrow on a pass-through do nothing more than help the hunter tell how long to wait to start tracking.

That being said, in light of all the things the MBA has done to benefit bowhunting in MT, this issue is a very minor one.

From: howler
Holger you are dead wrong about the MBA trying to make bowhunting as primitive as possible,

From: dr. bob
F&G doesn't want to mess with every change with new advances with bows, but they sure want to screw with our seasons.

Howler, Maybe I am, but you don't present a very compelling case. I did not mean it as an insult, that was simply the conclusion I drew from reading MBA board & member comments on the issue. And let me reiterate that I don't think the issue is all that important. I would like to use lighted nocks. I think they would be helpful to me as a left-eye dominant right-handed shooter, but I certainly don't think it's worth fighting or causing division over.

If you haven't read the MBA comments on this issue, here's a link:

Here are some key quotes that I feel support my previous statement:

"For a weapon that is meant to be used in a primitive season these rules seem perfectly reasonable. After all, who would consider anything electronic to be primitive?" "It just simply does not offer any advantages that would be worth compromising the rules that ensure our sport remains "primitive",..." Jason Tounsley

"This is not a traditional versus compound issue, this is a primitive or not issue." Bill Skov

"This is a primitive sport." "The illuminated knock is a crutch. It is not needed and should be banned." George Withey

"...Howard Hill never shot lighted nocks..." Jeff Noble

Some responses from MBA members posted in the forum:

" Bowhunting is a primitive means of taking game."

"I Agree with the Law as it is now and do not want it modified unless it becomes more restrictive . This is a Primitive hunting season and We are becoming less so every day BR."

" I am against any electronic devices that are part of the equipment used to harvest the animal...Its bad enough that some bowhunters have to use training wheels on thier bows with sights etc.. this may give you an indication that I use traditional bow equipment."

" There is already a season for those that want to use technology. It's the rifle season. They won't be happy until they can use gunpowder to shoot their arrows."

" This electronic "stuff" has NO place in the "true" hunting heritage ... period! "

" I shoot a recurve and compound bow and the compound is high tech enough. "

"As for me, it would be a COLD DAY IN HELL, before I would go along with the "KOOLAID DRINKERS" who continue to bastardize for the sake of money our primative way of hunting."

"And, we have already gone a long way down the slippery slope of "more gear and gadgets", lets try to stop. "

"That being said I shoot a recurve bow and wood arrows so it's not hard to understand where I'm at."

" Somethings however I beleive should remain as they have been for decades if not centuries. Bowhunting is one of them"

"What ever happen to the bow hunter who, by his OWN ability is able to get with in 20 -30 yards of a big game animal with out the assistance of all the modern gadgets."

" Let's keep it simple with nothing electronic on our arrows. "

If you still think I'm wrong, please respond with something more substantial.

From: JMG

There is an element of skill and ethics involved with hunting. In bowhunting, your skill has to be more fine tuned. If enough electronic devices are allowed, there is a sense that you are no longer bowhunting. And at what point is too much?

The MBA has "drawn a line", that's all. FWP has expressed their concerns with law enforcement and we understand and recognize that once you open the door on electronic devices, where is it going to stop?

Being able to clearly see where you hit the animal and being able to find your arrow on a pass-through is a legitimate concern, but it come down to "take the shot or not take the shot". If your not sure when, where and the result after the shot, maybe you shouldn't have shot. It is a device that allows hunters to become neglectful of their skills as a hunter and a tracker.

JMG, With respect, I feel the line could also have been drawn at lighted nocks and the decision did not have to be made with such a sense of finality. It wouldn't be difficult to phrase the regs include them in allowed equip w/out opening the door to bow-mounted range finders, heat sensing devices, etc. Other device that aid animal recovery could be considered on a case-by-case basis instead of slamming the door on them without consideration.

Also, ethical issues are subjective. IMO, prohibiting a device that does nothing more than aid animal recover is unethical. Part of my hunting ethics are derived from wanting to make a clean, quick, humane kill and recovery, rather than a regurgitation of the P&Y fair chase statement.

You must also recognize that not every bowhunter will have your level of skill and discretion. If you doubt that, go visit one of the bowhunter ed field day courses and witness the level of archery skill demonstrated by those who will be slinging arrows next season. Lighted nocks could result in less wasted/unrecoverable game and prevent situations where a hunter pushes a deer after waiting the recommended 30 minutes, but not being able to recover the arrow to see that it was a paunch hit.

btw, what negative repercussions have developed in the 45 other states that allow lighted nocks?

From: dr. bob
How many arrows are left in farmers fields because you can't find them? When the farmer finds them in his tires or in his fields, kiss that place goodbye.

From: BPS

Here's the link so everyone can read the entire context of our thoughts. Just for your information, I shoot a compound and I never saw the fletching or nock on the bull I shot.

Bill Skov

... But, Mom, every other state does it, why can't I? Gosh, don't we want to be like every other state?

That's a big NO from my corner. 'Bad reason to change a regulation, policy, or Montana tradition. When it comes to hunting or wildlife issues, Montana is a leader ... not a follower.

From: JMG

The MBA had to draw the line somewhere. If we draw a line and step back and draw another line (and step back) then why even draw a line. Lets just open the door and allow everything and anything. They also make "little GPS" units you can put in your arrows, why not allow these? Where does it end?

Sure they can aid in animal recovery, but I would bet some hunters would neglect them and take "risky" shots. They would rely more on "watching their arrow flight" versus taking a good, well placed shot.

The level of skill you referred to is one of the biggest reasons many if not all enjoy the challenge of bowhunting.

BPS, I included the link earlier. Your position statement was one that helped lead to my "primitive" conclusion. "I think we need to keep electronics off of our equipment to stay primitive."

Straight Arrow, your sarcastic comment fails to answer my question. If other states are having problem with lighted nocks, I'd like to know because it may change my opinion. I was asking a valid question, not saying MT should follow anyones lead. Are they really encouraging low light shots even though they don't increase the visibility of the target? Did they allow the electronic boogeyman to gain a foothold in their states by not drawing a line in the sand? The arguments on both sides (including mine) of this issue are largely based in opinion, rather than fact, so I'm just asking for factual information regarding the states that allow lighted nocks. I don't know of any negative repercussions... do you?

JMG, perhaps my statement about the MBA wanting to keep bowhunting primitive is a little too generalized. That's simply the conclusion I drew after reading all of the board & member comments. That site is the only place I know of where bowhunters are so vehemently outspoken against lighted nocks. If you try to reread those statements from a third-party perspective instead of that of an insider, you may see how prominently the "primitive" comments stand out and how I could be led to that conclusion.

And, while this is way off-topic, not every bowhunter is motivated primarily by the greater challenge. There are several other valid reasons to bowhunt, but that's another topic...


You are seeking data to support opinion one way or another. I seriously doubt whether anyone "tracks" such data as "repurcussions", successes, failures, or even problems regarding a minor topic such as luminocks ... other than someone trying to sell you on them or sell them to you.

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