Montana Legislature Strikes Out For Hunters On Lighted Nocks

A few things of note as Mother Nature delivers, hopefully, her last ugly scrawlings of winter before we can escape into spring and summer …

Montana legislators were bludgeoned from the fence they straddled during a recent vote that would have opened the door for bowhunters to use lighted nocks to hunt wildlife.

Lazer_Eye_Lighted_NocksA bill that would have prohibited the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission from barring the use of lighted nocks sailed through the House of Representatives. The overwhelming House approval — a 77-21 vote — sent an obvious message. The issue isn’t about a hunter having a better chance of killing an animal. It’s about helping the hunter find the animal or start the tracking process to locate it.

The Senate, however, didn’t get the message. It rejected the bill, 26-24, and hunters in Montana won’t be able to use lighted nocks unless the wildlife commission changes its mind. That’s unlikely to happen given its previous hardline stance, which jibes with opponents including the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, Montana Bow Hunters Association and the Montana Wildlife Federation.

Reports indicate that senators were lobbied hard on the final day prior to the vote by those opposing the use of lighted nocks. Lobbying is part of the political beast, of course, so that’s no surprise at all. What is surprising is a seeming lack of common sense for what should be an easy issue to decide.

Using a lighted nock isn’t an advantage to the hunting and shooting processes. That lighted nock is not a benefit to the guy when he’s climbing a tree, glassing a hillside, or is at full draw when his skills are required. It’s not like a lighted nock has a homing device akin to a drone missile pounding a target in Afghanistan. There’s nothing in that little piece of bright plastic that makes a released arrow hit a deer, elk or antelope any better.

A lighted nock is only a benefit after the shot, when tracking and recovery — a basic tenet of hunting any game animal — is something we should all be striving for every time we venture forth.

Illinois Wanton Waste Bill

Senate Bill 1620 in the Illinois General Assembly, sponsored by Sen. David Koehler, would amend the state wildlife code to make illegal the wanton waste or destruction of usable meat from game animals.

This would include shoulders and hindquarters from big game animals, presumably meaning hunters now strip the loins toss the rest, and the breast meat of game birds. It excludes meat that is spoiled, rancid, inedible (like a bloody or destroyed shoulder shot), or freezer burned.

Perhaps this is a measure to help combat poachers who might shoot a deer, hack off the head and antlers, and leave it laying or throw it in a ditch. If so, that’s not a bad idea. Those jacklegs give true hunters a bad name and having an additional charge to file if they’re caught and prosecuted is fine with me.

But common sense would say hunters, the majority of them at least, already use the meat from their deer, waterfowl, upland birds and other game animals. They either eat it, give it to someone, or donate it to a food bank for use or distribution.

If you’re a hunter who doesn’t eat your game animals, be sure to seek a grateful donor who will accept the meat and use it.

High Honor for MeatEater

MeatEater, hosted by Steven Rinella and appearing on Sportsman Channel, is a finalist for the 2013 James Beard Awards, the culinary industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honor.The show was nominated for “TV Program on Location.” Beard Awards honor the top culinary professionals including restaurants, chefs, cookbook authors and media. Journalism and media awards will be announced May 3.

“We wanted to make a show that not only highlights the adventure of hunting, but also the fantastic culinary opportunities that a successful hunt can bring,” Rinella said. “It’s great to have those efforts validated with a Beard nomination, and it speaks to the dedication of everyone on the MeatEater team. This honor makes us even more motivated to keep hammering out a solid, authentic hunting show that speaks to a variety of audiences.”

Rinella is the author of “MeatEater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter,” “The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine” and the award-winning “American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon.”


Love To Eat Venison?

Leysath Better Venison CookbookIf you’re a diehard venison eater, you can’t miss with wild game chef Scott Leysath’s latest book, “The Sporting Chef’s Better Venison Cookbook.”

In it you’ll find 176 pages packed with great information and recipes, and 12 chapters about venison preparation, including soups and stews, whole cuts in the oven, grilling and smoking. It’s a fantastic addition to your kitchen or camp, and would make a great Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift, too! BUY IT HERE