Daylight is retreating quickly as the buck youve been after since opening morning makes an appearance. What makes matters even more difficult is that you are perched in a treestand located in a group of pines. As he is meandering down the trail, your stomach tightens, hoping he will find the shooting lane before last light. You come to full draw just as he hits your shooting lane. At the sound of the shot the buck bolts but then stops in a nearby thicket
This scenario is played over many times during the season. Questions begin to fill your head as you try to play what just happened. Did the arrow hit its mark; go too low or too far back? Do I get down now and track or wait till morning. All these questions fill your head because you could not follow the flight of your arrow. Could this have been averted? Well if you are using the Tracer lighted nock than the answer to the above question is a definite yes. As the arrow leaves your bow it passes over a magnet on the riser, activating the LED within the nock, allowing you to follow the path of your arrow. You would have now known that the buck is fatally hit and going to expire in that thicket.
How do they work?
Inside a slender housing is amazingly small electronics. A small LED is visible on the back side of the open ended housing or bushing. A supplied nock is then fitted over the LED and inserted into the arrow replacing the standard nock. A magnet is then attached to the riser just beneath the arrow rest.
Upon release the Tracer passes over the magnet activating an electronic trigger thus illuminating the LED. The LED is bright enough to be followed under any hunting circumstance from early morning, throughout midday to dusk.
There are several models of the tracer to choose from, Hunter, Target and Touch On/Off. The Hunter is probably the most popular model and is activated as it passes over a magnet on the riser. Once retrieved simply pass the nock back over the magnet to deactivate. The Hunter model weighs in at a mere 39 grains and has less than an inch low impact at 30 yards. A Target model illuminates much like the Hunter but will only stay lit for approximately thirty seconds. That amount of time is more than adequate, allowing you to view your practice shots in the range target or find an errant one. It also weighs 39 grains and comes in red, green and blue.
The Touch On/Off model is activated by a depressing a switch to turn it on and off. It weighs a little more than the other models, 44 grains, but dont expect the five grain difference to affect shot placement.
Let me start off by saying that battery life is exceptional and you can expect to see a minimum of 24 hour operation with the stay on models. I am also amazed by the size and technology of the circuitry as well as the battery.
Installing the Hunter and Target models were simple after reviewing the instructions printed on the packaging. First start off by installing the battery into the LED electronics. A pin located on the top of the battery is inserted into a receiving hole on the miniature electronics board. A small coiled tension spring is utilized to hold the battery in place. Carefully rotate the battery clockwise, which help open the spring coils, while inserting the battery. Next insert the assembled battery and electronics into the aluminum bushing. Simply slide the electronics into the housing so the LED is visible. Next place the open ended cap over the LED and screw together. The LED will protrude through the opening in the top of the bushing. Install a supplied nock over the LED and you are now ready to insert the assembly into the arrow shaft. Three grommets or O-rings surround the bushing and enable installation of the Tracer into the shaft without using glue. The grommets also allow for simple removal in order to change the battery. Simply wet the O-rings and rotate into the shaft. Once installed the O-rings also allow you to tune the nock, rotating them so they line up with your cock vane or feather.
After assembling into a couple different brands of carbon arrows it was off to the range. The arrows were being shot from a 70 pound bow equipped with a TM Hunter style rest. The Magnet was attached directly below the rest. Now my first thought was how can something moving that fast be able to illuminate with only a split second to be activated. Surely at least one arrow would fail to illuminate during my test runs.
After the completion of my initial run not one arrow failed to illuminate. I was shooting both Hunter and Target Tracers and each worked flawlessly. The O-rings made the nocks easy to adjust and arrow flight was unaffected. The Target nocks would stay illuminated on average from 29 to 32 seconds with the first sign of dimming falling in the 15 to 19 second span. The Hunter model was tested to see just how long the battery would last. After the initial shot the Tracer stayed bright for approximately 24 hours with random checkups occurring throughout the test period. The Tracer in the last hour seemed to lose light quickly, meaning the battery power falls off quickly. Which in fact what you would want and expect.
I did receive an array of different colored nocks to try with the Tracer. Through the evaluation it seemed that red stood out the best, closely followed by a clear fluoresant green/yellow. Now this may have been due to the fact that the LED within the Tracer was red. Next was purple followed last by a dismal colored blue.
The Tracer nock is comes in a variety of sizes to accommodate arrows from the smallest of carbons to the largest of Aluminum.
Tracer Nock is compatible with the following arrows:
PSE - Carbon Force Quick Strike Laser Pro Carbon Impact Carbon Edge Satellite Venture Carbon Tech Whitetail Cheetah Rhino SuperCarbon Hunter Magnum Supreme
Effectiveness 5 of 5 Did the Tracer due what it was intended to do? The answer to that is a definite yes. It worked flawlessly under lighting conditions ranging from night to early morning midday and evening.
Design 4.5 of 5 I am totally amazed at the small size and weight of the Tracer. The 3 volt battery is probably what is most mind boggling in size. In fact it has a 9 year shelf life. The LED has a 100,000 hour life. The circuitry design makes it hard to believe that leaving the bow at that fast of speed can actually activate it. The approximate 24 hour on time of the Hunter model is more than adequate for battery life. My test proved this and looking at the packaging it displays twelve hours.
Price 4 of 5 At roughly 10 bucks a piece the price may seem a little steep but after helping you in the field or finding a target arrow you may be okay with it.
Future products include an ultra light model which eliminates the bushing or housing all together and weighing in at only 25 grains and better battery life.
real Tracer photo
For more information as well as a complete guide to the e Tracer product line:
TRACER Products, Inc 9539 Legend Isle San Antonio, TX 78254