Learning to shoot a bow of any kind requires some knowledge of basic safety tips and rules. These rules were established to provide continuity for shooters on the hunt or in competition. In order to remain safe in all situations, it is important to follow these rules precisely. There are several rules to remember, so it doesn’t hurt to review the rules occasionally.
When you are out in the field hunting for game of any size, there are several rules to follow. Many of these rules apply to shooting in the field and on the archery range.
- 1 Following these first four rules will protect you and the people around you.
- 2 This next collection of rules will protect you from accidents:
- 3 These are helpful rules for your time in the shooting range, whether you are inside or outside:
- 4 Wear Safe Clothing
- 5 Shoot at a Safely Designed Range
- 6 Keeping the Archer and Spectators Safe
Following these first four rules will protect you and the people around you.
1. Avoid pointing your bow at people. This rule should be followed at all times and even when the arrow is not drawn. This is the first rule that shooters of all ages should be taught and they should be reminded of it regularly.
2. Avoid pointing and shooting an arrow into the sky. The arrow could land on someone or it could damage property. The only time this is permitted is when it is under controlled circumstances in an archery competition that judges the flight of the arrow.
3. When loading and nocking an arrow, point the arrow at the ground. This will avoid potential injury to people around you if an accident were to happen.
4. Avoid drawing an arrow when people are too close to you or if they are in the path of your target. You should never joke about drawing an arrow when someone is in your path.
This next collection of rules will protect you from accidents:
1. Avoid overdrawing a recurve bow. If you do this, you could not only damage the bow, but you could also harm yourself if the bow snaps unexpectedly.
2. Put on an arm guard every time that you plan to shoot. This will protect your fragile wrist and forearm from scraping and other injuries.
3. Thoroughly check your bow and arrows prior to shooting. Wooden arrows are prone to cracking and bow limbs can be damaged through continual usage. It is also a good idea to check out string to be sure it is not worn out, too.
4. Safely string your bow with a bow-stringer.
5. Keep the bow string waxed to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the manufacturer does not give a recommendation, then it is best to do it after every 100 shots.
6. Avoid dry firing, because you could damage your bow and you could be injured.
7. Do not wear any jewelry when you are shooting.
8. Keep your cell phone charged so you can call 911 if any emergencies were to occur.
These are helpful rules for your time in the shooting range, whether you are inside or outside:
1. Always know where the first-aid kit is located. A good range will have it clearly marked, but if you do not see it, just ask someone where it is. If the range does not have one, then leave.
2. Always listen to the instructor. If your instructor is too quiet, let the instructor know so he or she can give louder instructions.
3. The moment you hear someone shout “Hold,” you should never shoot. If your arrow is nocked and drawn, keep everything pointed at the ground to maintain a safe environment.
4. Thoroughly inspect all of your equipment before you even think about approaching the line to shoot. This includes the bow, the arrows, and the string. And always stay behind that shooting line until you hear the instructor stop everyone from shooting.
5. When it comes time to shoot, do not nock your arrow or draw the bow unless you are at the shooting line and the instructor has okayed everyone to shoot.
6. Use only field points when you are at an archery range. The hunting points are not recommended for range work because they damage the targets.
7. It is vitally important that you stay behind the shooting line at all times. So, if you drop something in front of it, leave it there until the instructor has given the all-clear signal.
8. Prior to shooting, look behind you so you do not hurt anyone when you draw the bow and when you pull an arrow from your quiver.
9. When shooting is over and the all-clear sign has been given, always walk to retrieve your arrows. People have been injured from running, tripping, and landing ON their arrows. If you have an arrow that has landed beyond the target, make sure your instructor knows you are going beyond the target to retrieve it. This way, the instructor knows if you are behind a target and he cannot see you.
Wear Safe Clothing
One of the most important tips that is not always discussed at ranges is what archers should wear. Jewelry of any type should not be worn. When it comes to clothing, it is important to have clothes are fit well and are not loose. If the item of clothing could get tangled up in the bow, then do not wear it to the range. This means hoodies, scarves, loose long-sleeve tees, and loose tunics should be avoided. Earrings should never be worn, as the draw comes close to the ear.
Shoot at a Safely Designed Range
Another important tip comes with designing the archery setting. All walking paths should be 150 yards or more away from the targets. It is also helpful to have a backstop behind the targets and on the sides of the targets that are on the outer edge of the range. The more safety precautions that are taken, the fewer injuries that could happen.
Keeping the Archer and Spectators Safe
When it comes to archery safety, the rules do help keep the majority of people safe. In the United States nearly 7 million people participate in some type of shooting and many of them are elementary-age and early teens attending summer camps. Of those 7 million people who are shooting at ranges and in the field, around 4,500 need emergency care and most of the injuries are abrasions, not punctures. The common injuries often come from people who are not wearing arm guards. This proves that people are following the basic safety rules and listening to the instructors when it comes to holding arrows and safely firing them.