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Ever wanted to make your own lighted nocks instead of spending a small fortune on the ones in the store or online? Well, I am going to show you step-by-step how to make your own lighted nocks for bowhunting.
Advantages of lighted nocks
Bowhunters understand that arrows and broadheads can be expensive. On top of that, you never want to lose the animal you just shot.
Now, if you lose your broadhead, your arrow, and your quarry, this can cause full-blown bowhunter’s depression.
That’s where lighted nocks come in.
They can help you not only find your arrow in low light conditions, but in the event that you don’t get a pass-through shot, you will be able to get a better visual on where your deer or other game runs after impact.
Arrow nocks (NAP and Carbon Express Launchpad precision nocks both sell nocks with a diameter large enough to house most bobber lights. They also tend to have a longer shaft, which gives you more room to house the bobber light).
Sand paper (100-grit works great)
PVC pipe cutters or box cutter blade
Time needed: 2 hours.
Step-by-step instructions to make your own lighted nocks:
Remove (cut off) the back of an existing nock
So the first thing we want to do is remove the back of an existing nock with the pvc pipe cutters. Be sure to cut evenly cut all the way around so there’s not a burr on it (if you get a burr, you can use the sandpaper to smooth it out).
Be sure the end of the cut nock fits into the arrow shaft
Once you have cut the end off of this nock, be sure it fits in shaft snugly. If you have a burr from cutting it, use the sandpaper to smooth it out.
You want this part to be a tight fit in the arrow shaft, because whenever you get this inserted, you don’t want it to move back and forth when you’re pulling on the back of the full nock.
Super glue the bobber light bottom into the back of the cut nock
Put some super glue on the bottom end of the bobber light battery. Slowly insert the bottom of the bobber light into the cut nock.
Seal the bottom of bottom end of nock
Put a small bead of super glue on the open end of the cut nock to seal it. You can then set that bottom onto a paper plate to let it dry (2 hours).
Super glue lighted end of bobber light into the full arrow nock
Carefully put a bead of super glue aright around the top of the lighted part of the bobber light.
Be careful not to get glue in between the lighted portion and the battery part of the bobber light. (This would glue the two parts together and prevent the light from coming on when the string impacts the nock).
When finished, let that part dry 2 hours.
Be sure a regular nock will twist easily inside arrow shaft
BEFORE inserting the finished lighted nocks into the shaft, take one of your nocks that does not have a bobber light in it yet and be sure that when you insert it into your arrow, that you can still twist/move it back and forth fairly easily.
If it’s too stiff to move/twist, then take your sandpaper and lightly sand around the long part that goes into the arrow shaft (NOT the cut end) until it moves well enough for you to be able twist it fairly easily with your fingers.
Align nock with arrow fletchings
If you use a rest that requires your fletchings to be pointed a certain direction, be sure you insert the nock in such a way that you will achieve the proper alignment of your arrow with your rest.
Insert finished nock into arrow shaft
Once both ends of the lighted nock have dried, and you’ve also sanded the light nocks well enough for the string end of your nocks to move/twist easily, insert the lighted nock into your arrow shaft.
Test and shoot
Once you have inserted the nock into the shaft, test it by pressing on it to turn the light on, and then untwist the nock until it turns off. Then you’re ready to shoot!
(NOTE: you may need to do some fine tuning of your site, as the added weight at the end of the arrow may slightly impact your current bow site settings.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your very own European mount of your recent big game harvest But weren’t sure where to start? We’ll show you how easy it is!
The European Mount | A Great DIY Opportunity
On a recent bow hunt trip to South Georgia, my partners and I had identified a wide 6-point with spindly antlers and very small brow tines, as a buck that we felt like would be a good one to go ahead and harvest if given the opportunity.
Well, that opportunity presented itself the very next morning, as I was able to able to take this buck with my bow at about 12 yards, which is always fun and always a blessing.
However, this management buck was not one I was going to take to the the taxidermist.
So, we felt like this would be a great opportunity to show those of you at home how to do your very own European mount.
The “euro mount” process is not near as difficult as it might seem. You can do the entire process as home for as little as $10.
Supplies You’ll Need To Make A European Mount
We’ve got a few essential materials that you will need to do European mount. I will go through those with you in just a second.
I want you to know that I’m not a taxidermist. I’m not a professional doing this. But, I have done it several times and over the years and through trial and error, have figured out some of the best practices in doing a Euro mount.
A few supplies that you are going to need to the European mount are obviously, a knife to skin the head from the skull, a good set of forceps, a screw driver.
You will also need two quarts of hydrogen peroxide and some liquid dish soap. You’ll also need some dark wood stain, masking tape, clear shrink wrap, and a pitcher or a big cup to add water to the pot as it’s boiling.
Knife for skinning
2 Quarts Hydrogen Peroxide
Liquid Dish Soap
Dark Wood Stain
Clear Shrink Wrap
How To Make A Euro Mount Step-By-Step
Time needed: 5 hours.
How to do your own European mount…
Remove the skin of the deer head
Using your knife, remove the skin from the deer head and remove the lower jaw.
Boil the skull
Add 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap to the water in the pot you will boil the skull in. On a very slow boil, simmer the skull for 4 hours.
After you remove the skull from the water, use your knife and forceps to remove eyes, tissue and tendons from the skull. Use the screwdriver to remove the ear buds so you can access the brain cavity. Remove the sinus tissue with the forceps. Use a water hose to spray in the brain cavity to remove the brain tissue.
Add 2 quarts of hydrogen peroxide to your boiling water.
Use shrink wrap to wrap around the bases of the antlers to protect them from being bleached. Secure the plastic wrap with masking tape.
Boil skull again for 30 minutes
Put the skull back in the water containing the peroxide for another 30 minutes.
Remove shrink wrap and touch up as needed
Remove the deer skull from the boiling water and touch up the bases of the antlers with the dark wood stain if there has been any bleaching.
This whole process will take about 5 hours. You will boil the skull on a very low boil for 4 hours. Then, you’ll need to budget about 30 minutes or an hour for cleanup and for bleaching the skull (bleaching will take about 30 minutes.)
The key to the process is the 4 hour boiling time. If you do it for 3 hours, it’s not going to come off as good. Slow simmer for 4 hours works best. If you boil it too hard, it’s going to weaken the bone and you’re going to break some bones. So, be sure it’s a slow simmer. Don’ try to do it too fast.
Remove Meat and Tendons
After 4 hours of boiling the skull in the liquid dish soap, the meat around the skull will be very tender. You just work your knife in and remove the meat and the tendons as best as you can. Much of the meat will just fall away during this process.
You don’t want to get too aggressive with it because you can pop a bone loose.
The most aggravating part is around the eye sockets because all the eye sockets connect to the inside of the skull in the brain (we’ll cover how we are going to get the brains out shortly) and it makes them a little bit harder to get to.
Remove The Ear Buds
All After you’ve gotten all the meat scraped off, it’s now time to pop the ear buds out. This is how we get the brains out.
Take your screwdriver and work it around in the ear buds and pop them out.
Remove Sinus Tissue
Now use the forceps to remove all the sinus tissue.
You need to get everything out of the sinus cavity because anything that you leave, will cause the bone to turn yellow. It may take two or three years for it to happen, but I’ve had it happen.
Be gentle while the skull is hot, because if you are too rough while removing the tissue, you could break the bone.
And, if you do break the bone, don’t worry. Sometimes the bones at the bottom of the nose will come loose if these tendons get cooked too long. If they do, you can put them back with super glue. So, don’t worry if they come off. You can super glue them back.
Get as much of the sinus tissue as you can from the front side and then you can get the rest under the brain cavity.
Remove The Brain
Once you get the ear buds popped out and you get the sinus cleaned out, you’re going to need a water hose to rinse out the brain tissue.
Some people will use a pressure washer for this step. I don’t like using a pressure washer because if you’re not careful, you can damage the bone.
Put the water hose into the hole where the brain is located and flush out the brain matter. Anything left over will break loose once we boil the skull for the second time in the peroxide.
Prep Antlers And Boil Skull In Peroxide
Once you are finished rinsing the brain matter out of the brain cavity, it’s time to boil the skull for a second time in order to bleach the bone white.
Add two quarts of hydrogen peroxide to the existing pot of water.
Wrap the base of each antler tightly with shrink wrap and secure it with masking tape. There’s not really any particular way that you need to do this other than to just get them wrapped from the base up to the bottom of the brow tine.
Once the skull is placed into the boiling water, the plastic wrap will shrink tightly to the antlers and keep out the majority of the water. Some water may find its way through and that’s why we have the dark stain.
We can come back and if some of these darker parts around the base get bleached a little bit, we just use a q-tip to re-color it and you’ll never know the difference.
Once the antlers have been adequately wrapped, place the skull back into the boiling water and peroxide for 30 minutes.
The Finishing Touches
After the 30-minute boil in the peroxide and water, remove the skull and take the plastic wrap off.
The plastic wrap will seem sticky and gummy, sticking tightly to the antlers. And, that’s what you wanted to do because that keeps the peroxide off of the antlers and prevents it from bleaching.
If there has been any unwanted bleaching on the base of the antlers, use a very small amount of the dark wood stain and apply to those areas with a q-tip. You can repeat as many times as you like to get the desired darkness.
But, how do you get the skin off the skull initially?
I wanted to go back and cover the preparation process of the skull before you even start to boil it.
Obviously, you have to cut the deer’s head off. And preferably, you would want to cut it at the last vertebra that connects to the back of the skull. (Normally what happens because the deer’s neck and ears compressed on the spine, is that most people naturally cut about one vertebra back, so you have to two things to cut off before you can start boiling the skull.)
The place you want to be careful about is this lobe on the back of the skull where the brains are. Be careful not to cut into that lobe. Just use it as a guiding point as you cut. Once you cut around it, you will be able to remove the last vertebra.
But while the deer head is lying on the ground, get your knife between the teeth and just cut back toward the back of the head. There’s going to be meat back there, so you want to cut that on both sides, so that you can open the deer’s mouth.
Once you’ve cut, pull the jaw all the way back until the bones that joined up under the brain cavity are loosened. Then then you can remove the meat from around those bones and pop that bottom jaw off.
Now, you are ready to start boiling!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this instructional article and video on how to do your very own European mount. We hope you have a great deer hunting season, and remember… where moments happen, we’ll meet you there!
Euro Mount Instructional Video
BONUS: Watch N1 Outdoors® co-founder, Josh Wells, teach you the Euro mount process, step-by-step! Be sure you watch to the end of the video where Josh teaches you how to prep the head and the skull for this process that he shows you. We hope you learn something. Link below… enjoy!