In many states, use of a bow and arrow follows the same rules and regulations as firearms.
So, it’s critical that all hunters and target-shooters alike check with local laws to learn about required licenses and programs before you pack up your gear. And remember, many bow-hunting injuries are self-inflicted.
Equipment Safety in Archery
Equipment safety begins before you go hunting. Improper equipment safety can cause damage to the bow, or more importantly, the archer. Some basic rules are as follows:
- Avoid firing a bow when the arrow isn’t nocked
- Wear an armguard and finger protection
- Immediately repair defects in the equipment
- Make sure the arrow matches the draw weight of the bow
- Be careful when sharpening and handling broadhead; they are razor sharp
- Keep arrows in a quiver as much as possible
- If possible keep bows in a hard case when not in use
- Pack extra water, food, and a bright vest so other hunters can see you
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Hunting Safety for Archers
When trekking through backcountry, you should be mindful of potential safety pitfalls: The environment, wild animals, and other hunters alike. Awareness safety includes:
- Only nock an arrow when it is safe to shoot
- When preparing to shoot a target, make sure you know what is between you and the target and what is behind the target in case you miss
- Never shoot into bushes or over a ridge where there is no direct line-of-sight
- Be aware of broadheads that you, and others with you, have exposed
- Avoid areas where a lot of hunters are trekking
- Do not shoot arrows directly up into the air
- Don’t drink alcohol when hunting
- Keep a first aid kit handy
Think Safety Even After the Shot
You take the shot and it hits home, but that is not the end of the safety process: It’s essential that you remain safe as you’re approaching the target.
- Do not run to the target. You may fall and injure yourself in the excitement.
- If the target ran, wait at least 30 minutes before chasing after it. Chasing it immediately will cause it to spook. A spooked animal will either run or turn on its attacker.
- Get help moving the target. A large male elk can be 700 pounds or more.