Guidelines for Safe Archery Practice

Guidelines for Safe Archery Practice

If running through the woods with a bow in your hands and a quiver of arrows on your back sounds like fun, archery may be the sport for you. As invigorating and challenging as this hobby can be, it also involves some risks. Follow these rules and safety guidelines to prevent injuries.

Basic Checklist

Before using a bow, the archer must review a basic checklist to ensure that equipment is ready and safe to shoot.

1. Inspect all equipment to ensure it is in working order prior to shooting. Look for signs of fraying on the string or abnormalities in the wooden sections. Check fletches on the arrows to ensure they are tightly attached. Then check the screw-in points and tighten if necessary. Replace plastic nocks if you find cracks. Never use equipment that shows signs of wear.

2. Remove any loose clothing or jewelry, such as a watch or bracelet that might interfere with the bow.

3. Visually inspect the range to ensure it is clear of people and animals.

Shooting Guidelines

Follow all posted rules and regulations of the venue.

1. Never point a bow at another person, even when not drawing. This rule is fundamental and considered a basic etiquette.

2. Never fire skyward, as it is impossible to predict where it will go.

3. Never draw when people are positioned between you and the target.

4. Check immediately behind you before drawing to ensure no one is standing too close.

5. Point the bow towards the ground when nocking.

6. Never dry-fire a bow. Dry-firing involves pulling and releasing the string without seating an arrow. Dry-firing can result in injury to the archer and damage to equipment.

Shooting and Retrieving

At an archery range, a group of people may be firing at the same time towards a target. In this situation, everyone should shoot roughly at the same time and in the same direction. After completing the shots, wait until everyone finishes before retrieving arrows.

1. Walk slowly towards the target.

2. Do not remove someone else’s arrow without asking permission.

3. Check the field to ensure no one is getting ready to fire when retrieving your arrow.

4. Pull arrows straight out to avoid damaging them.

5. Inspect the ground if some arrows missed the target. Tread carefully to avoid stepping and damaging them. To avoid potential accidents let others know you must move behind the target to search for missing arrows.

Last Minute Precautions

Keep a first aid kit on site at all times when participating in archery shoots. Have a cell phone to call for help if an emergency occurs. Don’t forget to follow the venue’s posted rules. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or experienced, follow these guidelines for safety and etiquette.