Archery is one of the safest sports performed in a group setting. But, the safety of archery honestly depends on the equipment that you are using and if you implement the correct safety rules. In fact, many studies show that archery is around three times safer than that of sports like volleyball or football when it comes to experienced archers (not beginners).
So how can archers, both beginners, and veterans alike, stay completely safe and enjoy the sport of archery? First let’s go over some of the general safety rules that everyone should adhere to, as these will help avoid most potential accidents. Then we will discuss some safety equipment that will help to keep you safe, as well as some archery range rules to be aware of the next time you go shooting!
Archery Safety Rules
In archery, the primary focus is drawing the bow and releasing an arrow to hit a target. If you are familiar with firearms, you will see a few similarities between archery and firearm safety. Here are a few basic archery safety rules to help keep you safe
- Always be aware of your surroundings and others when shooting. Never shoot when someone is anywhere in front of you, and never stand downrange of someone who is shooting either.
- Never shoot an arrow directly upwards. This is very unsafe, as when the arrow comes back down it can easily hit someone, or at the very least something that you don’t intend it to.
- Whenever possible, keep your bow pointed towards the ground when you have an arrow nocked. Only raise your bow when it is time to aim at your target. This will help to prevent accidents in the case the arrow slips out of your hand.
- Always ensure that the path to your target is clear, as well as the area around and behind the target. Ensure that you have a proper backstop behind your target in the unfortunate case that you miss.
- Create a habit of inspecting all of your archery equipment before shooting. Look for cracks, breaks, or damages that could compromise your gear and cause an accident.
- Never, under any circumstance, dry fire your bow. Dry firing is when you pull back and release the bowstring without having an arrow nocked and ready to shoot. This could damage the bow and also lead to physical injuries.
- When you are shooting, avoid wearing anything on your hands, wrists, or arms such as watches or bracelets. Instead, an archery armguard is recommended to protect your forearm from the bowstring when shooting. This leads us to our next topic, which is archery safety equipment that you should consider using!
Archery Safety Equipment
If you follow all of the basic archery safety rules while shooting, archery is a very safe sport. There is also plenty of archery protective gear that is primarily used to prevent minor injuries, but injuries nonetheless. Here are a few pieces of safety equipment that you should consider using.
These include finger tabs, shooting gloves, and mechanical release aids. All of these serve the same basic function of protecting your hands and fingers while shooting, as well as giving you a more consistent shot.
An armguard is a layer of protective leather or fabric that goes on your arm to protect it while shooting. A fairly common injury while shooting a bow is when the bowstring “slaps” a person’s forearm when an arrow is released. An armguard protects this part of your arm, as well as prevents any loose, long-sleeved clothing from hitting the string or getting snagged as well.
Thumb Rings/Finger Savers
These serve the same general purpose of shooting aids, although they are a bit different. A thumb ring protects your thumb when shooting using a particular release method (different from the three-finger approach from shooting tabs). Finger savers, on the other hand, attach directly to a bowstring and are made to give more comfort and relief to an archer’s fingers.
Archery Range Safety Rules
Whenever you go to an archery range, there are usually the same general rules that you should be aware of and adhere to. While these rules may differ slightly from location to location, these are all a good baseline of rules to follow!
Always Listen to the Staff of the Range
Many archery ranges will have staff on hand to run the range, and you should always listen and obey any rules or requests that they have.
Absolutely No Running or Horseplay
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but avoid any unnecessary horseplay or running around as this can cause accidents to happen. It is also important to just be respectful to the other shooters.
Wear and Use All of Your Protective Gear
Some archery ranges may require you to use certain protective gear, but even if they do not, it would still be a good idea to wear the safety equipment you need.
Never Cross the Line Until It Is OK to Do So
Maybe one of the most important range rules is to never cross the shooting line, this is extremely important! If you are on the wrong side of the line and people are shooting, you run the risk of being shot with an arrow. Only cross the archery range line when it is all clear to do so.
More often than not, you are not going to be the only one at the archery range. Always try and be as respectful as possible to others around you. Do not be afraid to communicate with others and work together to promote a fun, safe environment to shoot in.
While archery is one of the safest sports out there, there are still a few different safety aspects that a shooter should be aware of. By following all of these safety guidelines, you can ensure that you will not only be safe but have a great time while shooting your bow as well.