Bowhunting is one sport that can help sharpen any hunter’s skills. If you engage in this activity and want answers to when you should carry arrows in the nocked position, you are lucky to be here. 

So, what will you get to know here? 

I highlight what arrow nocking is, its importance, how to perform the position, and a safety guide for bowhunters with a nocked arrow.

Time to Nock an Arrow

What is Arrow Nocking?

Before proceeding to the rest of the article, you must be familiar with the term arrow nocking (or nocking the arrow). For those without prior knowledge, nocking the arrow is simply a process of placing the bowstring in between the two lips of the nock. 

Arrow nocking is the act of holding the arrow in the proper position for the nock’s quick snap onto the bowstring. 

Need a different explanation?

Other experts would state it as the process of checking the arrow’s index vanes orientation on the bowstring for proper clearance while the arrow passes the riser.

That’s not all. 

It can also be an act of closely observing the nock attachment position to the bowstring, with the position related to the D-loop or nock set.

Now, let’s take a look at the importance of learning the nock position.

What is Arrow Nocking

The Importance of Learning the Nock Position 

To carry arrows in the nocked position is one bowhunting technique needed by all hunters (novice and experts). Knowing the act of nocking an arrow and when to carry arrows in the nocked position is one thing, but acknowledging its importance is another. 

Why is it important?

Learning the nock position puts you at an advantage of catching a big game or preventing an accidental premature firing. While accidental releases of arrows in the nocked position are rare, there are still possibilities. 

So, if you are a newbie hunter, I suggest that you properly learn the position before beginning a hunt. Don’t just learn the skill, but horn it and master it!

The Importance of Learning the Nock Position

When is The Perfect Time to Nock an Arrow?

Undoubtedly, hunting is fun and exciting, especially for novices willing to give the sport a try. Although it can be exhausting (when waiting long hours for a prey) and challenging to catch one, primarily for beginners. If you are a pro hunter, the secrets to a perfect hunt (arrow nocking) aren’t alien to you.

The perfect time to nock your cut carbon arrows?

Generally, it would be best if you went into this position only when you sight your target (prey) – you may then proceed with caution. The nock position prevents you from wasting your time and arrows (if it fires accidentally).


An improper nock position will alert your prey, making it detect the sound of a failed nock position – eventually, you will lose the game. 

A golden rule and code for hunters are never to draw or nock your arrow when someone stands in front of you. For extra safety and precautions during arrow nocks, never attain this position if some stands after your prey. 

So, yes! The coast must be clear – nobody before and after your prey. 

Think of your bow and arrow as an actual firearm (because its damage is very similar). As earlier stated, there are lesser accidents in archery, but its fatality matches that of a gun when it occurs. Even the best carbon arrows for hunting can get misfired.

How to Perform the Nock Position?

Now that I have answered the question, “when should you carry arrows in the nocked position,” it’s time to reveal how to put an arrow on a bow. Firstly, you will need to assess where your target is and maintain the right angle of it.

Do this with your feet being apart in the width of your shoulders.

You will also need to ensure that you have a robust posture while remaining comfortable. Some hunters take a slightly opened stance by taking their front foot a little back. 

Notice how the cock feather points to the left direction when you raise the bow and nock the arrow (if you are right-handed). After nocking the arrow, position it at about ¼ above the rest of the bow handle. Often, there is a nocking point crimped on most bowstrings – to make things a little easier.

How to Perform the Nock Position

Step by Step Guide on How to Position Arrow on The Bow

Let’s look at some procedures to nock the arrow safely.

  • If you are left or right-handed, take and hold your arrow between your thumb and index finger.
  • Hold the bow steadily, parallel to the ground at about your waist’s height, with your right hand for left-handed shooters (vice-versa). The string should be very close to or on the body.
  • Place the arrow’s shaft on the rest of the bow carefully.
  • Ensure that the cock feather points up and simultaneously aligns the slot with the string in the nock. You nock an arrow with the bow parallel to the ground.
  • Finally, drag back the arrow to the point until the string snaps into the slot.

Safety Guide for Bowhunter In the Field

While hunting involves the act of catching your prey and probably hurting them, your safety and that of others around are paramount. You must use the best arrows for compound bow or any other type when hunting.

Have you asked yourself what do you carry arrows in for your safety? Well, you need a quiver to keep your arrows intact.  

Here are other important safety guide tips every responsible hunter should follow.

Safety Guide for Bowhunter In the Field

1. Never Send Arrows Beyond Your Target

This tip is essential to avoid harming bystanders that may be beyond your target. Frankly, you never can tell what your arrow will hit should you miss your mark. This idea keeps your shots precise and packing just the right amount of force to hit your target.

There is an increased risk of hitting a fellow hunter in the vicinity. Furthermore, you stand a chance of hitting a different game illegally.

2. Never Shoot Straight Up

This is basic physics at work – if you shoot straight up, you must expect the arrow to fall back. Due to gravity, your shot arrow will fall with an amplified speed that can cause harm. A falling straight-up shot arrow packs enough power to pierce through the skull of anybody – instant kill.

3. Do Not Shoot at Other Bowhunters

Follow the golden archer’s rule “don’t be too confident when shooting arrows.” If another hunter lies close to your prey, do not shoot. Arrows get easily deflected when in flight – a little twig can cause a change of course to your arrow.

4. Be Relaxed

Never take shots agitated! It will cause a slight change in your shooting. Find the inner calm and peace, even if everywhere is in chaos.

5. Wait for A Little

Do not be too quick to lower your bow after every shot. Leave it steady for a few seconds before you slowly lower it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which of The Following Is A Common Bow-Shooting Error?

While bowhunting can be super thrilling and exciting, there are also several common errors archers make. Some common mistakes in archery are inconsistent stance, wrong elbow rotation, aiming too quickly, and lousy string anchoring.

Having a weak and over-spaced stance affects your shooting. A bad elbow rotation causes bruises in the inner elbow. As an archer, making a hasty aim often results in weak and bad shots.

2. Do You Nock or Notch an Arrow?

Following the English definition of both words, a notch refers to the v-shaped cut, while the nock is the grove in a bow holding the bowstring. In terms of action, the notch is the cut that allows you nocked to get nocked.

Technically, you nock an arrow and do not notch an arrow because the nocking process allows it to get drawn. 

3. Which Side of The Bow Does the Arrow Go?

Generally, most experts refer to the left side as the appropriate location for an arrow when on a bow. But there’s no exact location for an arrow to get nocked in a bow.


They place their arrows on the left side for right-handed archers, while left-handed shooters will use the bow’s right side. So, whatever side suits and makes you comfortable, use it.

4. How Tight Should an Arrow Nock Be?

An overlooked part for proper speed and accuracy is the nocking arrow fit. Your arrow nock should not be too tight or weak but somewhere in between.

The right fit for your nock arrow should be able to hold the bowstring by itself and rotate freely. Additionally, you should be able to tape off with two of your fingers.

How Tight Should an Arrow Nock Be

5. Should Arrow Nocks Be Glued In?

Traditionally, you don’t need your arrow nocks glued in, especially with press-fit nocks. These types of nocks work perfectly with you just sticking them in and pulling them out. 

The only time glues on nock can be reasonable is to use the outset nock system, just like the old aluminum one with a cone at the back for the nock to fit over.

Final Word

In as much as bowhunting is excellent and a fantastic way to thrill oneself, it can also be dangerous. I guess you won’t need to ask when you should carry arrows in the nocked position,” after following the guide and other information I provided above. 

So, to perform the nock position and get the right aim, carefully follow the guides coupled with the safety measures mentioned above.