Bow hunting could be an exciting and challenging hobby, but it also poses risks if you are not careful. Accidents could easily happen to a bow hunter who does not pay attention to his weapon and surroundings.
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Over the years I’ve compiled a list of bow hunting safety tips that have helped me and other bow hunting colleagues stay safe during shooting practice and actual shooting in the field. I’m sharing them today with the hope that they might help you stay safe and make the most of your bow hunting experience.
Tip #1: Check your equipment regularly
Before you go to the field, you should first check your equipment and make sure that everything is working properly. I can tell you that there are a few things worse than going to the field and realizing your compound bow has a broken pulley or snapped cable.
Check your bow’s laminations to make sure they are not flaking. A bow that is falling apart would not be able to shoot accurate arrows. Next, check your bowstring for frays and replace it if you think it won’t last your entire trip. If you’re using a compound bow, check its cables, pulleys and accessories, making sure everything is working properly.
Once you’re done checking your bow, pay attention to your arrows next. Check for any loose feathers, and make sure your arrows’ spline is right for your bow weight. A mismatched spline and draw weight could make your arrows fly off tangent. Sharpen arrows when needed, but be careful so you don’t hurt yourself while you’re at it.
Tip #2: Pick an ideal hunting spot
If you’re new to a hunting area, scope the place first and look for a good location, away from people traffic. You don’t want to accidentally hit a fellow hunter on his way back to camp while you’re waiting for whitetails, right?
If you need to pass through a private property to get to a public hunting ground, make sure you get permission from the landowner first. This will not only save you from getting hit by stray arrows if other hunters are already in the area, but it could also save you from a potential trespassing lawsuit.
Tip #3: Be careful when installing your treestand
Depending on where you plan to bow hunt, there might be a big chance that you’ll do it from a tree stand. If this happens, make sure you use the right stand that could hold your weight properly, especially since you’ll most likely be spending a lot of time up there.
Pick a strong and durable tree stand and install it on a reliable tree in a good location. Make sure to attach it properly, but do not nail your tree stand into the tree’s bark. Doing this has a high possibility of killing the tree, and depending on where you’re hunting, it could be considered illegal.
You might be tempted to save money by reusing old tree stands or making your own, but remember that an unstable tree stand might cause accidents, which would cost you additional (and unwanted!) expenses in the long run. This is why I recommend investing in a good quality tree stand instead.
Last reminder: Don’t forget to wear safety gear when installing the stand. A climbing harness is essential when installing a tree stand. Do not bring your gear with you while installing your stand. Instead, finish the setup first, and then use a haul line to pull up your gear, once the stand is safely installed.
Tip #4: Do not dry fire your bow
Dry firing refers to the act of firing your bow without a loaded arrow. There are many reasons why you might want to do this—to practice your arrow draw, to familiarize yourself with your anchor point, or maybe just to play around with your equipment.
Whatever your reason, I highly advise you against dry firing. Doing this might damage your bow, leaving tiny cracks in it without you noticing. You might think your bow’s in perfect condition, but then it might snap at the most inopportune time, making you hit yourself with the recoil.
Tip #5: Don’t forget your quiver!
Arrows are meant to be kept sharp and deadly, which means it would hurt you a lot if you accidentally stab yourself with them. Because of this, it is imperative that you carry them in a quiver if you’re changing locations. Unless you want to accidentally stab yourself or another person while moving, of course.
These are just some of my tried and tested tips to keep you safe and accident-free during your bow hunting trip. They might sound like extra work, but remember that an additional few minutes to prepare your equipment properly is worth so much more than months of rehabilitation if you accidentally hurt yourself.
Got any more safety tips you want to share? Leave them in the comments’ section below. Be safe bow hunting!