Bow hunting can be a lot of fun, but it can also be quite dangerous. Just as there are some basic safety rules with firearms, there are basic safety rules and other general guidelines for bow hunting. Whether you’re brand new to archery or you’re a seasoned archer gearing up for the new season, it’s important to take a few minutes and review safety tips before you head out for the first time this year.
Be Safe in your Tree Stand
When you hunt from a tree stand, determine whether or not it can hold your weight before you start to climb. If the tree can’t bear your weight, look for another suitable tree. While you’re climbing, leave your bow, arrows, and other bow hunting gear on the ground and secure a line to them. Climb up the tree, securing yourself to the tree as soon as you’re off the ground, and then retrieve your belongings to reduce the risk of falling out of the tree.
It’s preferable to use a portable tree stand as opposed to a permanent stand. It can be tempting to build your own stand, believing it will save you money in the long run. Over time, permanent stands can break down, becoming unsafe for bow hunters. Deteriorating tree stands can also damage or kill trees. If you do choose to use a permanent stand, check the bow hunting guidelines in your area as these types of stands are illegal in many regions in the United States.
Keep Arrows Properly Stored until Needed
You should only have your quivers out when you’re ready to shoot. While you’re waiting to shoot, store the arrows in a quiver that has a hood to cover the broadheads. Without a proper quiver that has hood, you run the risk of jabbing yourself or another hunter, or knocking your arrows into another hunter’s bows and other bow hunting equipment.
Periodically Check your Equipment
Inspect the bow for flaking or separating laminations and fraying strings. Compound bow owners should look over the cables and pulleys to make sure that they’re in good shape. Then check the spine of the arrow to confirm that it matches the draw weight of the bow. Aligning the spine and the draw weight minimizes the risk of arrows flying off target during bow hunting. Lastly, it’s important to be careful and take your time while sharpening your broadheads. While you want razor sharp broadheads, you also don’t want to injure yourself while you’re sharpening them.
Choose your Hunting Locations Carefully
When you stay in a designated hunting area and you keep your shots within a comfortable shooting range, you minimize your risk of shooting toward people, and either public or private property. Steer clear of popular recreation areas, which includes high traffic trails. Research the access points for the hunting areas that you plan to use before hunting season starts. That way you don’t run into any issues while there are active hunters in those areas. If you’re planning to hunt on private property, or use private property to get to public hunting spaces, contact the landowners before hunting season starts. If you can’t obtain permission, avoid these areas.
Finally, remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re concerned about a situation or have any doubts about your safety, err on the side of caution. For example, if you think that you’re entering private property, double check the area or take another route to your intended destination instead of simply forging ahead.