The answer is when you want to shoot.
Unless you want to shoot your target, it is never advisable to have your arrows in a nocked position. The risks involved are too much to take lightly.
Having the arrows in the nocked position means you are ready to shoot your target. If you draw it and there is somebody or something close to you, it can hit them.
There are several safety rules and precautions guiding archery. The favored opinion of not carrying your arrows nocked is part of a larger pool of tips to stay safe as an archer, whether professional or not.
Why is it risky to carry your arrow nocked?
With your arrow knocked, a lot can happen. It is too risky and not advisable especially if you are with other shooters or companies. If you wondering how harmful it can get, here are some reasons for that:
It increases the rate of accident
Archery is a sport with risks. Aside from hurting yourself if you do not handle your bow and arrow properly, you can hurt others as well. A little pull on the arrow and it can shoot out. Also, arrows are not firmly attached to bows, as such, they can fall off if not properly guided. This is dangerous as it can land on anything or anyone within range.
It makes your hands unavailable
Since arrows are not firmly attached to the bow, you need to keep your hands on the bow and arrow to ensure that they stay firm. This means your hands are occupied and this is not so good. When hunting, you will need your hand for other necessities even if it is as trivial as swiping your face or arm.
If you stumble on something on uneven ground or trip over a root, you will need your hand to break the fall or hold on to something. Generally, you need a hand to keep safe at certain times.
When is it okay to carry your arrow in a nocked position?
There are risks involved in archery. Some of these risks arise from the way you handle your arrows. Carrying your arrow nocked is risky. However, your decision to hold it in that position may be justified. Here are some instances when you will have to carry your area in conked position:
When you want to shoot
If you are hunting and have a target in sight, your arrow knocked means you are fully in the spirit of hunting. If you are approaching your target and you think a shot at the time will seal the deal, then you can have your arrow in the nocked position.
Perhaps you are hunting a big game and you spot it in a position that will afford you a smooth shot, you are better chanced to have a clean and timely shot if your arrow is already nocked.
So, in the hunting scene, can mean the difference between prepared to take a shot and not.
If you compete, you might have your arrow in nocked position. The moment before the command to shoot is given, you are supposed to be ready for the shoot. As such, your arrow ought to be in the nocked position.
If you do not need your hands
If you are in a situation where you will not need your hands, you can afford to have your arrow in the nocked position. If you are hunting, you will most likely need your hands.
However, if you are having your outing in a relatively clean area where you do not have to bother about branches and straying leaves and ropes, you may be able to hold your bow and arrows with both hands.
You are alone
If you are having an outing alone, or there is no one close to you at the time, you can dare to carry your arrow nocked. If no one will get hurt in an accident, you can try the nocked position.
If there is war, you need to be ready to shoot your arrow, the same way you have your poised. Except it is warfare, and another viable reason, you have no reason to carry your arrow nocked. It can put you or anyone else in harm’s way.
If you are desperate
In a desperate situation where you just want to shoot anything in sight, your arrow is in order. However, if there are no harmful aliens to kill with bow and arrow, there is hardly a need for such desperation.
If you are hunting and your targets are not stable, a nocked arrow will give you more chances at spontaneous shooting. If time is of the essence and you cannot afford to spare that split minute nocking the arrow when the target comes into sight, getting ready with your arrow nocked is a smart decision.
So, when should you carry arrows in the nocked position?
When you want to shoot
The short and straightforward answer would be “never”. However, there are some dynamics to this aspect of archery. How you carry your arrows depends on some factors.
You might have a reason or two to carry a tour arrow nocked like when you are about to shoot at your target. However, with the risk involved, except there is a reason to justify this poison, it is safer to avoid it.