Sight/ Nock Colors

Modern bow sights are brighter than they used to be becasue they all now use fiber optics.  Sights are brighter with longer lengths of the fibers leading to the sights or with the addition of artificial light sources.  And there is a third way to affect the brightness of these sights: color.


If you look at most bow sights you will see that the different pins are of different colors.  As you can, maybe, see from the pictured sight there are three pins with three different colors.  There are two things to note with this.

Firstly different pins lead to ease of pin selection.  If you had three pins of all the same color you may well select the wrong pin when you go to shoot.  With different pins you can remember that the green pin is for 20 yard, the yellow for 30 yards, and the red pin for forty. for example.  Less confusion.

I have seen five pin sights with two green on top and two green on the bottom, with a red in the middle.  It may be worth avoiding those becasue you may well use the wrong pin when the pin selection is critical.

The second thing to take note of is that the different colors will be of varying brightness.  As the day gets brighter or darker at dawn and dusk different colors will appear differently.  Those of you who fish may well know things like dark red is basically the same as black when the water is very dark.

Imagine hunting in the evening.  Early in the hunt it is bright out and you can see for hundreds of yards.  as the night grows closer you can see fewer and fewer yards away, until it is too dark to see your hand in front of your face.  As this is occurring you can see all pin colors at the beginning of the hunt, and as it gets darker you will first lose the red pin to the night.  Theoretically this is the point when it is too dark to shoot safely out to forty yards, or wherever you have your bottom pin set to.

As it grows darker yet, the yellow pin will disappear.  And, theoretically, it is at this point when it is too dark to shoot safely out to thirty yards, or wherever you have you second sight set to.

And finally your green pin will stay visible longer into the night than the others, and when you can no longer see your pin it is too dark to shoot.

Two points of note:

  1. Your hunt may end earlier than your green pin disappears becasue your peep sight will only allow so much light through and it may well become black before your pins disappear
  2. Keep in mind your legal shooting hours

I have never seen a bow sight without a green pin on top, nor a single pin sight that was not green.  (Maybe I have seen a single red sight.)

This color difference may affect you particularly if you are left handed.  Many reversible bow sights just flip the sight over, this is fine except you do not want your top pin red and bottom pin green.  Otherwise you will end up with a situation where you cannot see your twenty yard pin, can see your forty yard pin, cannot see out forty yards, and can see out twenty yards.  If you are a lefty, you want a sight that has the green pin on top.

This color difference should also influence your illuminated nock choice.  You don’t have much choice with sights as nearly all are green, yellow, red when going top to bottom, but illuminated nocks come in multiple colors.

Nockturnal illuminated nocks are the way to go.  They come in four colors: red, pink, blue, and green.  Pink is only used by girls who want all pink, and while I don’t like girls who don’t like pink, you girl hunters should pick what is best not what is the “best” color.  And pink is not the brightest illuminated nock.

For some reason, they say its becasue they think they can see red better against foliage, red is far and away the best selling color.  However if you have ever looked at your bow sight as I have, and have described above, you’ll know that red is easily the dimmest in low light.

That leaves blue and green.  I may need to buy a pack of each to see which is better in low light, but until then green is the way to go.

I say green with my 20/20 eyes, and my dad says green with his less than 20/20 colorblind eyes.  Green is the way to go.

One final note:

It surprises me how few hunters notice things like their bow sights despite, supposedly, hunting a lot.  If you aren’t noticing things like this, then you are either missing things which can cost you deer, or you don’t hunt enough.

If you don’t have all the numbers and letters on your bow and gun memorized by the end of the season, then you haven’t hunted enough.


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