Field Test: Tactacam 4.0 and Lumenok Lighted Nocks
Joe Byers 09.26.17
If you enjoy watching videos of your hunts, you need to explore two products I recently tested on an African safari: Tactacam 4.0 and Lumenok lighted nocks. Both products transformed ordinary hunts into special events. Each was compact and easy to use, and the two products worked very well together. Here’s a quick summary.
Tactacam is a small circular camera tube that attaches easily to your compound bow stabilizer (photo above), crossbow scope, or riflescope. I used it every day while hunting in Africa, even though Pieter Otto, my experienced Professional Hunter, also took video of the hunt. Tactacam offers options in 2.0, 3.0, and the one I tested, 4.0. Models range from basic to the 4.0, which offers a 5X zoom that links to a smartphone to control the camera and act as a viewfinder as you record.
All models turn on with a single push of a button, initiating a vibration so you know it’s operating without taking your eyes from a game animal. The camera has Ultra HD 2,700p at 30 frames-per-second; 1,080p at 60 fps; and 720p at 120 fps, with an illuminated external battery-level indicator so that you know when it’s time to recharge. The included rechargeable lithium battery provides up to 2.5 hours of operation.
A key feature is a series of vibrations when the media card isn’t installed. I wanted to record two mating wildebeest from my elevated treestand, pointed the Tactacam at the “action” and felt the series of vibrations that said I’d forgotten to replace the media card. I used the camera near animals and the subtle sound and vibration were never detected.
Aiming the camera was simple because it paralleled the view I saw in my scope. The scope attachment fit easily on my CAMX crossbow scope, and its next assignment will top a Vortex riflescope on a Colorado elk hunt. Of course, you never want to point a scope at people you want to record on the cam, so the scope mount can be easily removed and then put back into action atop your scope. The resolution and focus are excellent, and the microphone was very sensitive so that I could whisper and still be heard. Check out the clip below to see what I mean.
Lumenok Lighted Nocks
I’ve been an archer for 40 years and a crossbow convert for the past 5, and this is the first time I’ve used lighted nocks extensively. They make a tremendous difference when target shooting, as well as during hunting situations because you can see the exact path of the arrow. For compound shooters, you get a much better feel for the arch of the arrow. I once passed a 40-yard shot at an elk standing broadside because a limb covered its vitals 20 yards out. Too late — I now realize that the arrow would have arched well over that limb.
Crossbow hunters need illuminated nocks for a variety of reasons. My CAMX shot at 330 fps, a speed that made shot placement invisible even through a 6X scope. By using the illuminated nocks, I could see exactly where I hit a target or animal. Additionally, arrows launched in low light are particularly difficult to find, but the lighted Lumenok makes location much easier. Should you arrow not pass completely through an animal, the glow in the dark can make recovery much quicker and more dependable.
Turning off a lighted nock can be difficult, so Lumenok solved that problem with their Arrow Puller and Lumenok Extinguisher. This soft-plastic device (below) grips the arrow for easier removal from targets. Grip and wiggle the nock, and it turns off. Check them out at www.lumenok.com.