Take a look at the photo at left. There's a good chance you've seen it floating around online before. OUCH! A friend of mine actually had this happen to him and it was painful, handicapping and caused him to cringe while shooting his bow for years after. Archery seems relatively safe compared to racking a round in your big-game rifle, but is it really?
If you want to have a safe practice season and make it to the bowhunting season without incident, follow a few of these practice tips.
1. Don’t overbow. What’s that? It means not to shoot a bow with too high of bow weight. I watched a youth shooter the other day at 4-H and he was wrestling with his compound every time he drew an arrow. I shuddered at the thought of him accidentally hitting his release trigger during the contortion. Luckily, his dad turned the weight down and he finished his session with comfort. Modern compounds have more energy than ever before so draw a comfortable weight. If you struggle the bow could go off accidentally or, more likely, you won’t be able to draw the bow under the pressure of buck fever, or in cold conditions that weaken muscles.
2. Shoot at a different target on every shot. Nicking a carbon arrow can weaken them and possibly cause them to shatter under the pressure of the draw. That is what might have caused the arrow to go through the person’s hand. Don’t chance it. Shoot a target with multiple aiming points, like a Block Black, and pick a different one for every shot.
3. Run a background check. It’s no secret bowhunters are shooting farther than ever before, but don’t believe for a second that a bow is safer at 100 yards than a .22 rimfire. The farther you shoot, the more likely you could miss and have your arrow ricochet off course. In backyards, lots and suburban zones this could mean a dangerous projectile in a target-rich environment. Have a safe backstop and, better yet, think rural.
If you have other safety tips, please share them below.