Many people think that just because bows aren’t firearms, they can be handled carelessly. Just like guns, however, they can also fail or be misused. Odds are that most people who have used a bow regularly have been slapped by their own bowstring at least once, but there are much worse things that can happen. This list covers seven common—and potentially lethal—mistakes that can be easily avoided.
1. Don’t torque your bow
Snap! What just happened? Novice archers often blame this accident on a bow failure or malfunctioning parts, but in reality it just boils down to poor shooting form. When you torque your bow by twisting the string out of alignment, the release can cause the string to shoot out from the cam track and break, possibly causing damage to other parts of the bow—or you—as well. The video below gives a rundown on how to avoid this relatively amateur mistake.
2. Flex test your arrows
Carbon arrows, especially new ones, should always be flex tested before use. This is because a damaged arrow has the chance to break when shot, sending splinters back into the shooter’s face or even embedding parts of the arrow in their hands. A good way to test arrows is to run your fingers along the shaft looking for cracks or signs of damage. If none are found, you can then flex the arrow away from you and listen for any telltale creaking. Repeat this about half a dozen times before moving on.
Sometimes even a flex test may not weed out defective arrows, such as the case in the video below, but many times it will save you from an avoidable injury.
Be warned, the video below contains graphic content.
3. Grip your release correctly
An improper hold on your release could leave you with some bruises, so make sure you hold it correctly.
4. Use proper draw length
As in the video you saw above, improper draw length could lead to some nasty results, such as causing your elbow to lock and earning you an amateurish slap on the arm. John Dudley of Nock On explains proper draw length below.
5. Don’t shoot straight up
This one really should be obvious. After all, what comes up must come down, and if that’s a broadhead, you best find shelter. This video below is an example of what can go wrong when an arrow is haphazardly shot skyward. Fortunately, the arrow in question seems to be a flu-flu and nobody was injured.
“Local stupid man nearly shoots himself with bow and arrow.” There’s some real idiots out there folks. Stay inside until Snow goose season is over.
Posted by Relentless Pursuit on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
6. Do not dry-fire your bows
Dry-firing a bow, or pulling back and releasing the bowstring without an arrow, is a big no-no. Not only can this damage your bows, you can also get slapped with the bowstring in places you don’t want to get slapped with a bowstring. Which is just about anywhere.
7. Know your target and what is beyond it
Many gun safety rules can be applied to archery but none are as imperative as this one. Always, always make sure you have identified your target and what is near or behind it. Ignoring this rule can mean injury to others and a meaty lawsuit against you, so always make sure you are pointing your bow at something you are certain you want to make into a pincushion for your arrows. Otherwise, this can happen.