Montana Legalizes Lighted Nocks

Montana is a beautiful state with ample opportunity for bowhunting big game. But along with nature’s bounty, you’ll also find Montana to have some of the quirkiest wildlife rules and regulations in the country. One being that lighted nocks are not legal for bowhunting in the state. That is until now. MT FWP recently voted 3-1 to allow lighted nocks for bowhunters during the archery-only hunting season.

lighted nock

Montana bowhunters finally have the chance to catch up with more modern times and enjoy the excitement of hunting with a lighted nock.

The ruling has been a long time coming. The topic has been tabled again and again over the last five years. Traditional bowhunters in the state have continued to oppose the use of lighted nocks for fear that it will be the beginning of technological advancements creeping into the hunting lifestyle enjoyed in Montana.

Regardless of what side you’re on, lighted nocks will now find their way onto the arrow shafts of bowhunters across the Treasure State in 2017.


  1. Pretty simple. Lighted nocks increase records recovery by the hunted and decreases waste. Cetainly limit some technologies, but not those that increase the efforts of hunters to decrease wanted waste.

    • How does a lighted nock help in the recovery of game? High percentage of game I’ve taken never has the arrow still intact.

      • Ray, most commonly it has to due with knowing precisely where your arrow impacted so you know the proper course of action to take when attempting to recover the animal. Since a considerable amount of shots happen during low light conditions the lighted nock allows you to see the exact impact instead of guessing. Knowing if your shot was too far back or too far forward can help avoid pursuing the animal too quickly, which as we all know significantly decreases the chances of a successful recovery. Think of a lighted nock as simply an extension of using a brightly colored arrow wrap or fletchings.

        • Colby Trumps says:

          Justin, Couldn’t agree more. Less chance of bumping your critter. Finding the arrow after a pass through is another point I’ve pushed. Same situation, low light means less chance of recovering even your arrow for a visual ID on blood, sinew, etc. I honestly couldn’t be any more happy we can finally use them. Been a long time coming! In no way does it give you any advantage over your game. Never understood where people get that idea. Shoot straight man!

  2. And if the arrow does stay in the animal, you will hopefully have a nice little light taking you right to them.

  3. Justin Michels says:

    Advancements like these have been developed to solve problems. The lighted knock allows you to be more certain of your arrow flight and where you hit an animal. If you made a great shot, it eliminates the fear that something may have gone wrong; and that fear can mess with your mind. If you made a bad shot (back for instance) you immediately know that you need to give that animal some time. By having lighted nocks we are able to make better decisions in the field with better information, and that should equal a better harvest. I hope the next ruling is to accept some of the technological advancements in bow sights for 2018. These advancements have been made to solve some of the biggest problems in archery – misjudging yardage, the affect of slope, etc. These issues have caused people to miss or wound more animals than anything else. The new Garmin Zero will fundamentally change bowhunting forever, and that is not an overstatement. It will prevent game losses and errors made at an astonishing level. The use of this type of technology is an ethical necessity as it has the potential to prevent so much of the tragedies afield. Losing a bull elk, or a huge buck, ANYTHING because you misjudged the yardage is a heart break. I am glad that we are advancing the methods of harvest to prevent these losses.


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