Good archers understand that their tools are not toys. Despite the fact that bows and arrows are fun to use, it is important to follow safety practices at all times. There is no time to be relaxed when using a deadly tool like a crossbow. Since they are relatively easy to use, it is also easy to become lax when aiming, cocking, and firing. But, even with the safety settings included in most modern crossbows, it is still important to always use them with care and concern.
There are several easy safety tips to use at all time when you are around or using a crossbow.
One of the first safety tips is to always carry an empty crossbow. If you walk, carry, or drive with a crossbow that is loaded, it could shoot and seriously injure you or someone near you. Once you load the crossbow, you should never put any part of your body in the direction of the release path – especially fingers or hands. If you have to make an adjustment to the crossbow’s string, remove the arrow first, then make the adjustments.
There are several archers who don their safety glasses when they are using their crossbows. They put them on at all times when they are around their crossbows, not just when they are shooting. They wear them when they are assembling and adjusting their crossbows – because there is tension involved in the crossbow at all times, it is better to be safe than sorry.
One important bit of safety advice involves shooting the crossbow. This safety tip is the first rule of shooting an arrow from any type of bow. Never point the loaded bow at anything or anyone other than your target. You never turn to talk to someone when you are shooting. If you must talk to someone before you shoot, remove the arrow and return to a safe position with the bow.
Safety during shooting, whether at stationary targets or at moving animals, is important on several levels. It is always a good idea to be sure there are not any obstacles in the path your arrow will take. When your target is moving, be sure that you can shoot without hitting anything other than your target. And, it is important to be sure your crossbow limbs are clear of any obstacles if you are shooting in tight confines.
Crossbows have safeties, so it is important to keep the safety on until you are actually ready to shoot. Your finger should be off of the trigger until that moment, too. It is too easy to accidentally shoot if your finger is on the trigger and the safety is off. Preventing accidents and serious injuries is more important that hitting the target.
Another important safety tip involves knowing who is around you before you shoot. It is always important that your friends, family, and fellow archers are behind you, not next to you or in front of you. When strings break, the shrapnel flies to the sides. It does not go backwards, so that is the safest place for people to stand. You should remember this as an archer and do the same when you are with other people who are shooting.
Shooting from treestands involve different rules. The experts suggest that hunters cock the crossbow before they enter the treestand, then carry the crossbow up cocked, but unloaded. Hunters should not cock their crossbows in the treestand because the action involves leaning over. It is best to lift the crossbow to the stand using a haul line that keeps the crossbow facing down the whole way up. Since the crossbow is cocked when it reaches the top of the treestand, make sure your fingers never go on the rail of the bow.
If you must de-cock your crossbow, the safest way to do it is to shoot it. Dry-firing a crossbow can be dangerous. If the crossbow is used for hunting, removing the bolt by hand can result in injuries. There are special bags that you can buy that allow safe shooting instead of de-cocking it. You can also de-cock a crossbow by shooting the arrow right to the ground.
Always remember that a loaded crossbow is just as dangerous as a gun. Even if the crossbow is cocked, but not loaded, it is still extremely dangerous. Always follow the safety standards set by the manufacturer to prevent debilitating injuries.