Archery has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular sports in the United States. With all the fun and excitement of shooting arrows, it’s not impossible for someone to get injured. Here are some basic safety rules to follow.
A short reminder:
The same rules and regulations that apply to firearms also apply to bows and arrows, as in many states, a bow and arrow are considered a firearm. Always follow archery safety rules, and check local laws.
Know the Rules
- You don’t point a gun at someone, right? The same applies to your bow and arrow.
- Make sure it is safe to shoot before you nock an arrow.
- Only shoot arrows once you ensure it is safe to do so. This includes checking the target, the backstop, and your surroundings. Be sure to tell any bystanders to stand behind you and away from the target until you have finished shooting.
- Don’t use a bow and arrow on public lands before checking local laws if it’s ok to do so. You could face fines.
- Shooting an arrow straight up in the air can be deadly (eventually, it will come down). Make sure you know where the arrow will (approximately) land before shooting.
- Bows store a lot of energy when drawn. Do not shoot your bow without a nocked arrow (dry-firing). The bow could literally “blow up” and hurt you.
- Inspect your gear regularly. Any dents and cracks or other damage should be repaired immediately. If you are unsure how to deal with any defects, see your local archery pro shop.
- Use a chest guard, arm guard, and finger protection (or release aid).
- Especially if you are new to archery, using a bow stringer will make your life easier and safer.
- If you are at an archery range, listen to the commands from the instructor. If you are a beginner, don’t try anything yourself until instructed otherwise.
- Do not run while retrieving your arrows.
- Use a bow case! Do not leave your recurve bow (or any other “traditional” bow) strung!
- What is good for your bow is also good for your arrows. Store them safely in a quiver. If you are using broadheads, extra care must be taken. Broadhead blades have sharp edges which may cut fingers or hands. Use broadhead boxes for storage and a broadheads quiver.
- If you are going hunting, always wear proper clothing. Wear long sleeves, pants, boots, hat, etc.
- Alcohol is a big no-no if you plan to shoot your bow!
Know your Equipment
Familiarize yourself with your bow and equipment. Know what each part does and why they are there. Always keep your equipment clean and free of debris. Dirt and dust build up over time and reduce accuracy. Keep your gear dry too. Moisture affects the performance of your equipment.
Know the Area
Check your surrounding before setting up a target. What lies behind the hill, under the tree, next to the fence, behind the bushes, etc.? Is anyone else nearby? Are there farm animals nearby? Be aware of these things. Don’t assume everything is fine just because everything looks good at first glance.
Do you feel comfortable holding a bow? How about aiming and releasing an arrow? Can you hit something 10 yards away? Do you feel tired? Is your concentration waning? These questions help determine whether you should call it a day.
Practice Makes Perfect
Archery takes practice. Practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. Start out slow and work your way up. Aiming and releasing an arrow takes practice. So take your time and enjoy every moment. Take lessons, learn proper form. And most importantly, enjoy yourself while doing this sport. It’s fun!
Be Aware of Others Around You
Always assume that people around you don’t pay attention. They might not even notice you’re practicing. But accidents could happen all the time. Stay alert and watchful.
Learn the basic rules again. Pay attention to your surroundings. Make sure everyone knows where you are shooting. Remember, your bow is a weapon – do not aim at people! Check your equipment before shooting, and always listen to your body. If you are tired, call it a day. Have fun but stay safe!