June 24, 2022
By Jeff Waring
Trust me when I say it’s tough for the Bowhunter Magazine & TV team to imagine a time when we couldn’t thrill at the sight of a Lumenok-equipped arrow glowing down range, but it really wasn’t that long ago…
“Actually, my inspiration came early one morning in the fall of ’98, when I’d rattled in a nice 10-point,” Curt Price began. “That buck bought it hook, line, and sinker, but then he busted me trying to draw. I was still able to get an arrow off, and I thought that maybe I’d shot high, but I wasn’t sure. Dad always said, ‘You’ve got to find the arrow!’ So, I climbed down and searched, and searched, and searched. Hours later, I found my arrow in the brush and confirmed a clean miss. But as I headed home, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it had been to see my arrow in the morning light and how difficult it had been to find it in the brushy CRP.”
Too bad my arrow didn’t have a light on the end of it, Curt thought.
On his way home, he stopped to visit at his brother Eric’s place and share his idea for a lighted nock. “Initially, I thought maybe we could use some sort of chemical light,” Curt continued, “but it was Eric who suggested that a small LED and watch battery might be the solution. It was. Within a few days we had a battery powered design, and in about a week we had a working prototype. By the end of hunting season, my quiver was full of arrows with lighted nocks.”
It was about a year later, Halloween of ’99, when Curt took his first deer, a whitetail doe, with what by that time the Price brothers were calling the Lumenok.
Truth be told, there were four earlier patents issued on lighted nocks, and two made it to market; however, the simplicity of Curt and Eric Price’s original design was marvelous — and proved far superior to what had come before. Lightweight, durable, bright, and long-lasting, the Lumenok system’s nock, LED, conductor, and battery combo formed an incomplete circuit that when nudged into the back of an aluminum or carbon arrow would complete the electrical circuit and shine brilliantly! The nock turned on automatically upon release of the bowstring and turned off easily with a gentle wiggle to disengage the contacts.
While the Lumenok design was about as foolproof as could be, and it was very well received by bowhunters, it took a few years for the Price brothers to refine their design and get the business up and running. Eric was a machine tool technician for a heavy equipment manufacturer, and Curt was a full-time electrician. “It was tough,” Curt confided. “I literally was working 20-hour days, installing electrical systems and then coming home to build Lumenoks at night. And Eric was working all day at the shop and coming home to do much the same.” At that time, the Price brothers built, packaged, sold and shipped every Lumenok by themselves.
But by 2002, things started to change. The Burt Coyote Company headed off to the Archery Trade Show with a provisional patent on their Lumenok, and the brothers came home with valuable industry insights, increased knowledge of componentry, vital arrow manufacturer contacts, their first salesman, and a pile of product orders. Soon they were hiring employees to help assemble and package nocks, and they were shipping out of their Yates City, IL, homes to points all over the country. Lumenoks were available in retailers ranging in size from small archery pro shops to Cabela’s. They also were visible on a few TV shows, early adopters of Lumenoks for obvious reasons, and that important exposure made the phone ring.
“By late spring of ’04 they were awarded a patent on the Lumenok and needed to devote more time to the growing business. “That’s when I was able to quit my job and work from home with a few employees,” Curt continued. “And Eric had a few folks working with him, too. We shuttled things back and forth. We called it the five-mile assembly line.” By 2005, however, the brothers were able to purchase a small building in town and began to work on plans for a new headquarters across the street. They moved into those new digs in 2006, with a couple of CNC machines and ample room for R&D, manufacturing, assembly, packaging, warehousing, and more…
Once able to ramp up manufacturing, they went from a handful of employees to a dozen or so working during the day and then an evening shift with mostly high schoolers packing things up. “Today we’ve got 32 employees,” Curt explained. “We always have someone running the machines, prepping nocks, putting them together, packaging and shipping, plus our office crew. It’s a busy place!”
From the very beginning, The Burt Coyote Company set out to steadily improve the product, and today’s Lumenok features best-ever strength, durability, brightness and battery life (their truly unique, replaceable battery lasts up to 40 hours). And the nocks come in a wide variety of models and colors to fit any arrow shaft. The company also offers completed Lumen-Arrow Bolts, Arrow-Glow bowfishing arrows, the Extinguisher Arrow Puller, and the must-have F.A.S.T. Arrow Squaring Tool.
“We did this because we love it,” Curt explained. “Working in the Archery industry has been a privilege because shooting bows and arrows is what our family did every weekend. We lost Mom in ’05, and Dad in February a year ago — I think Eric would agree with me when I say that Dad was our best employee – but our family really got us started in this and has always had our backs.”
The Bowhunter Magazine & TV team would like to thank The Burt Coyote Company for always having our backs, and for lighting our way with Lumenoks for over 20 years! For answers to all your lighted-nock questions, go to Lumenok.com or call (309) 358-1602.