Archery is a beautiful art and game aimed at shooting arrows from a bow at a target. It is a game that as people practice and play together, they blend and have more wholesome fun together.
The fact that kids as young as 6 can try their hands at playing the sport means the whole family can play and have quality time together.
The fact that you have to shoot at something automatically tells you that you are dealing with potentially dangerous archery, hence the need to imbibe certain safety precautions.
The Popularity and Statistics of The Game
The archery game is a very popular game played by close to 7 million people globally; it is little wonder it is also included as one of the Olympic games.
Of all the practices that these participants engage in annually, which will amount to millions of shooting practices going around the world annually, and statistics show that only over 4 thousand accidents occur yearly, mostly among kids and young teenagers who are just starting in the game.
It would amaze you to know that archery as a sport is even safer than golf because safety is such a big issue among the archery community.
Another impressive statistic is that 94% of all accidents in the archery range are avoidable if people are not reckless and follow all the laid down rules before, during, and after the shooting time.
Archery Safety Rules
The game of archery comes with as much fun as there are rules. This is because when you deal with things that can hurt people, you must put in place the right safety precautions that are all-encompassing.
1. Dressing up for Archery [wear proper clothing and safety gear]
The safety rules in the game of archery start with wear the proper clothing. The first rule is to ensure that you protect your forearm from getting a bowstring slap by wearing an archery arm guard, otherwise known as bracers. These arm guards are your first defense weapon against bruises on your arm in the archery range.
Safe clothing must be worn while shooting. The tighter the clothing you wear, the better because loose clothing has a way of getting caught in the bowstring. Ensure that you wear clothes and footwear that are comfortable.
Avoid wearing jewelry like bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and the likes, including head, wears like scarves and hoods because they can get caught too in the bowstring and get uncomfortable when you are shooting for a long time.
2. Inspecting Your Equipment Before Shooting
Your shooting skills are only as good as your archery equipment will allow them. It is important to ensure that they are functioning properly because, like all mechanical equipment, they are prone to be damaged or malfunction. Below are some of the things you do to ensure that your equipment is always in order.
- Use beeswax or a bowstring wax to wax your bowstring, which helps prolong its life and will stop the effect of wear on tear on your bowstring from happening any sooner.
- Check to ensure that a corner of the vane does not start to separate from the shaft. If not, as you shoot, the vane might fly off during the arrow departure.
- Always inspect your nock before every bow hunt and while shooting to ensure that your arrow flies properly when you shoot.
- Find and tighten any loose screws in your bowstring.
- When your arrow falls or comes in contact with another arrow in a target, it might get damaged; hence, always check to see that your arrows are not damaged.
- A crooked peep sight will be a little bit difficult to see through, especially when it starts getting dark, so make sure to take your bow to a place where they can align the peep sight.
- Install a new cord if you find out that your chord is broken. Also, check your rangefinder battery life to know when to replace them.
- A frayed string loop should be replaced in the same spot.
Tips For Safely Firing a Bow
When a group of archers is at the range, for a tournament or even for practice, they must aim and shoot simultaneously so that no one is shooting while others are retrieving.
1. Pointing The Arrow in The Right Direction
Many accidents in the archery range can be prevented if people are careful where they point their arrows, even when not shooting.
You should never shoot the arrow upward because the chances are that it might come back to hit you or someone close. This technique should not be tried even by professionals.
2. Never Point the Bow at Someone
The bows and arrows used in archery are not tools that should be toyed with. You should make it a way of life regarding archery, never to point the bow or arrow at someone.
After all, accidents had occurred because someone mistakenly poked someone with the arrow when they were carried away chatting.
3. Never Nock an Arrow Until You Are Ready to Shoot
This is another rule of thumbs for archers. Nocking an arrow in archery is the act of loading the arrow onto the bowstring.
Nocking your arrow before you set your nocking point and practice your shooting stance will cause you to miss your target and portends a safety risk.
4. Keep Arrows Aimed to The Ground While You Nock It
The reason why you point your arrow downwards while you nock is to avert the danger of the arrow being released unintentionally, which might hit someone. As the arrow is pointed to the ground, it will only hit the ground in the event of any accidents. This safety precaution is not meant for only kids but all archers, especially the amateurs.
5. Be Aware of What Is in Front and Behind Your Target
Before you take a shot in the archery range, ensure that your path is free from any obstacles or any person or thing that may be damaged; even though you are a professional, it is always important to be sure that there is nothing behind your target so that it doesn’t hit them if your miss your shot. You can worry less about sticking to these safety rules if there is a backstop to your target.
6. Only Shoot Down at A Target with A Safe Backstop
Backstops are safety materials made of heavy nylon mesh that helps absorb the arrow’s energy, which causes it to slow down its momentum or stop outrightly.
Different types are readily available in stores and online to prevent the arrow that misses the target doesn’t move further to cause any harm or damage. These backstops also make collecting fired arrows a lot easier.
7. Only Fire When the Range Is Empty
In an archery range, there will be people all around who might be practicing or coaching others, so, before you fire, you should ensure that there is no one within a given area from your stand to the target.
A range master should always be there to tell you when the range is clear for you to shoot to avert accidents.
8. If You Hear ‘Hold’ Then Stop Immediately
It is possible to be so engrossed in trying to fire a shot that you cannot hear your coach or range master give you instructions; this can be very disastrous because hearing and heeding instruction can be the difference between being safe and being sorry.
So, if you are in archery, you must be attentive, and when you hear the command ‘hold,’ it means you should not fire a shot, but you should wait to avert any danger or accidents.
Below are added safety rules that you should follow while in the archery range.
- When people who are less than 16 want too and shoot in an archery range, they must be accompanied by an adult who will ensure that they stick to all the rules of the game before, during, and after shooting.
- While 380 and 400 compound bows must be shot in posted dedicated lanes, all standard longbows, crossbow, recurve bows are acceptable on the range.
- When an archer is in the shooting position, you must avoid touching them so that they don’t make mistakes or accidentally fire the arrow.
- Ensure that you do not use damaged equipment that buttresses the need to always inspect your equipment before getting to the archery range.
- Do not use cracked, broached, or expandable arrows or anyone too short for your draw length.
- Always wear a bow stringer when you are about to string your bow.
- It is also a safety precaution to wear a chest guard when shooting.
- You should always ensure that you do not dry fire: you pull and release the string without an arrow seating.
- Ensure that any archery range you shoot in has a First Aid kit that will be useful in case of an accident, and if you don’t have one, you could always come with one yourself.
- If your arrows are made of wood, you should inspect them to check for splintering or cracking.
- At the end of every shooting session, unstring your recurve bow before storing it.
- You might injure yourself and even damage your equipment if you overdraw your recurve bow: overdrawing in archery happens when you pull the string farther than the length of the arrow.
Retrieving Arrows Safely
When you have fired a shot, and you are about to retrieve your arrow, you must follow these safety precautions:
- You should only attempt to retrieve your arrows when you are sure the shooting line is clear and when you get signaled by the range officer to do so.
- You should always walk while going to retrieve your arrow. Do not run on archery ranges because you might cross in front of other groups of archers, resulting in getting injured from stepping on their arrows that are lying on the ground or even fail and trip on their target.
- It is best always to put your arrows in your quiver when you retrieve it, but if you must carry it in your arm, then you must carry it carefully with both hands while your palms face down.
- Two or more archers are not to try to pull out arrows from the target. Only one person should do so at any time. No one should stay anything close to 6 feet from the person retrieving the arrow so as.
Safe Bow Storage
Storing your bow properly will not only prevent anyone from mistakenly hurting someone if it is kept carelessly but will also ensure that it keeps looking new and lasts longer.
When you keep your bow at home, ensure that the weather is not too hot or cold. The place must not be damp so that it does not rust the equipment.
You can keep them in a bow rack and make them part of your home decoration and can be the focus of discussion when your friends come around because they are a piece of art. You can also store them in bow cases both at home and to be carried to places.
Most archery ranges have a bow rack or a hook where you can hang your bow, but if you shoot in a facility that does not have one, you can get a portable bow because leaving the bows on the ground can lead to accidents.
Conclusion: Archery Safety Rules
From what you have read so far, you can understand why archery is not as dangerous as other sports because there are lots of rules that govern every aspect of the game, from what to wear, to how you wear it, from how to take care of your equipment to how to be safe as you shoot.
This fun sport is as enjoyable as it is challenging, and it is a game that the whole family can enjoy. So, when next you are looking for a way to engage in the competitive fun that will pump adrenaline and keep you delightfully reinvigorated, then archery is the game for you.
But as you play, your maxim must always be ‘safety before fun.
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We trust this article helped you learn about Archery Safety Rules. You may also want to bookmark our article on How to Build a Backyard Archery Range.
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Archery Safety Rules – Top Safety Tips for Every Archer