Press Release

Shooting down rumors about lighted nocks and expandable broadheads

archery hunters
Creative Commons Licence

Rumors have spread throughout Idaho that expandable broadheads and lighted nocks on arrows are legal for big game archery hunting. However, these rumors are not true.

With archery season starting next week, there is a lot of talk “around town” about the use of lighted nocks. In fact, this talk has spread throughout southern Idaho, carrying with it the rumor that lighted nocks on arrows are legal for archery hunting of big game in Idaho. Not so.

A quick look at page 98 of the 2015-16 Big Game Seasons and Rules booklet reveals that all electronic or battery-powered devices attached to an arrow, bolt or bow are unlawful with one exception: disabled archery permit holders may use a non-magnifying sight with battery-powered or tritium-lighted reticles.

The nock of an arrow is usually made of plastic and serves as the attachment point to place an arrow on a bowstring. Lighted or illuminated nocks are designed to glow after the arrow is released, acting somewhat like a tracer so that the archer can better track the path of the arrow and where it hits its target.

Because lighted nocks are battery-powered, they are not allowed on arrows used in big game hunts per Idaho law. Mounted cameras and rangefinders are other examples of electronic devices prohibited on archery equipment when pursuing big game in Idaho.

Another rumor making its way through the archery hunting community is that expandable broadheads are now legal. Again, not true. Information regarding what archery equipment is or isn’t allowed can be found on pages 98 and 99 of the big game regulations.

Not all of the recent hunting rumors are archery-related.

Contrary to what hunters may be hearing, disabled veterans do not have special hunts, zones or units set aside solely for their hunting opportunities. However, disabled veterans are able to purchase a resident combination license for only $5 or a nonresident hunting license with a three-day fishing license for $31.75.

Tags for both resident and nonresident disabled veterans are also sold at a significant discount. In addition, there are special permits associated with motorized vehicles for which individuals with disabilities may qualify, namely shoot from vehicle permits and permits for using an OHV/ATV as an aid to hunting.

There have been no significant changes to Idaho Fish and Game rules and regulations for big game. Everything that was in place last hunting season still stands for this year because Idaho Fish and Game has gone to a two-year regulations cycle.

That being said, it is the responsibility of every hunter, trapper and angler to “know before you go.” Before heading in to the field, take the time to familiarize yourself with the seasons and rules for the hunting and fishing experiences you wish to enjoy.

For more information about seasons and rules for any species, consult the regulations that can be picked up at any Fish and Game office or Fish and Game license vendor. These regulations can also be found online at

While visiting Fish and Game’s website, be sure to click on other helpful tools such as the Frequently Asked Questions option on the home page or scroll down to the bottom of the page to the Hunt Planner and Fishing Planner.