Whether you are new to the sport, or just need a gentle reminder, here are a few bowhunting safety tips to remember.
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Bowhunting safety comes down to a few simple habits and a little bit of prevention.[/caption]
Don't run with scissors. Look both ways when you cross the street. Put that down. Look at me when I'm talking to you. Eat this. For gosh sakes don't eat that! At my house, with a self-assured and energetic three year old paired with a quickly growing younger sister, at times this feels like our entire vocabulary. Call it an epiphany of parenting, but its a good thing kids are resilient because they dang sure get banged up. To me, part of being a dad is generally taking a little more laid back approach to the preventing every little bump and bruise. Kids get banged up from time to time and that's just the way it goes. Though, with so many words of warning hurled around my house, even I've got safety on the brain.
Lots of times being marginally safe at anything requires a few simple things to keep in mind. Bowhunting safety is no different. If you can follow a few simple rules, look for problems before they arise, and understand your gear you should be fine. Anybody who has taken a bowhunter safety class has heard these succeeding words of caution. It may pay to review them as you hit the woods this fall, no matter how seasoned you may be. The video below proves even experienced bowhunters run into problems.
Possibly the most important bowhunting safety tip is to inspect your gear before each use. This includes examining your arrows for faults, inspecting your string for damage and fraying, and ensuring cams, sights, and arrow rests are all in working order. Gear failures not only can pose a threat to the shooter, but also to bystanders.
It is a good idea to start by inspect your arrows before each shoot. Give your fletchings a quick scan to ensure they are properly glued to the shaft. Lose one of these and arrow flight can drastically change. Also, if you see any cracking in the carbon it is a good idea to discard the damaged arrow immediately.
I once shot a damaged arrow while target shooting at my house. Of course, the arrow promptly snapped upon the shot. Fortunately for me it waited until it had cleared the arrow rest, but it was sure surprising how awry the shot went. It careened into the side of the house that was three to four feet to my side. Had anyone been standing a bit in front but to the side they definitely would have been in the danger zone. Inspect your gear often and don't take any chances.
Whether you are shooting at a static block or a live target shot safety is maybe the most important safety tip to keep in mind. Always know two things; what is behind your target and where other people are. You can't take for granted anything when it considering taking a shot. In a hunting situation this means staying away from shots at skylined animals. Most guys hunting in tree stands won't ever run into this problem, but if you stalk mule deer, elk, or any other wild game, you will need to keep this principle in mind.
For obvious reasons you should also never take a shot when someone is anywhere in front of you. Even if they are not remotely close to your straight lined shot to the target, you never know what could go wrong. As with the arrow explosion I mentioned earlier, arrows can take some awfully funny trajectories at times.
Tree Stand Security
You could probably lump stand security in with gear safety, but it really deserves content of its own. Most bowhunters out there will climb a tree stand
at one point or another. It has simply become the most popular way of bowhunting deer. When you hang something 15 feet up a tree, leave it out in the elements, and then put a human being on it, things are bound to go wrong from time to time. It's important to inspect your stand's security each time you climb the tree. Any hardware showing damage should be discarded and replaced. Don't take the chance and risk a fall.
Here are a few stories about the falls of fellow bowhunters.
As you can see even experienced hunters can put themselves at risk. Many folks using tree stands today opt to use a safety harness system
as well. It is just an easy form of insurance to pack with you when you hunt.
In the end hunting is about having fun, passing on family traditions, enjoying the outdoors, and putting nourishing meat in the freezer, in addition to a million other reasons. No one ever takes to the field hoping to hurt themselves or their friends. Follow these few simple reminders when you take to the woods this fall and you stand a better chance of returning home safe and sound.
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NEXT: 3 TIPS FOR HOW TO AGE A DEER