Archery is an invigorating and rewarding sport, but it’s certainly not without the occasional accident and injury. These accidents are usually minor, but the potential for more serious injury is there. That being said, most, if not all accidents can be prevented and avoided by implementing a few basic practices. Let’s go over some common archery accidents and how to avoid them.
String Slap – It’s Never Fun
Ah, yes—the mighty slap your bow string gives you to tell you you’re doing something wrong. String slap, while not deadly, can certainly hurt a fair bit and change your mood instantly. It’s a fairly common occurrence, even among pro archers. That knowledge will do nothing to make you feel better if this happens to you, though. There are a few things you can do to prevent string slap from happening, or at least from hurting.
Get yourself a comfortable arm guard. Sound obvious? To some, it isn’t. An armguard absorbs most of the shock when the string misbehaves and turns a painful slap into little more than a tickle.
The armguard prevents the pain, but it doesn’t actually prevent the slap from happening. To prevent string slap altogether, focus on your form. Form issues that beget a slap are generally holding the bow too tightly, not rolling your wrist and elbow out correctly, or lazy firing. Make sure your form is correct every time you shoot to prevent forming any of these habits, and take a little break if your arms are shaky or fatigued.
Dry Firing Is Always A Horrible Idea
Dry firing your bow — that is, drawing and releasing the bow string with no arrow in it — is a prelude to a number of archery accidents. You weaken your bow every time you dry fire, and sooner or later, it will break. When it does, if you’re lucky, your bow will snap in half. If you’re not so lucky, your bow doesn’t just break — it shatters, sending the pieces flying and probably hitting you. The simplest and most effective way to avoid that explosive experience is to simply never fire a bow without an arrow. It’s easy — just don’t do it.
Common Sense Is Wonderful – A Lack Thereof Is Harmful
The worst archery accidents, while considerably more rare, are usually a result of not using common sense. This doesn’t apply exclusively to beginners, either. Arrows that hit targets poorly have a chance of ricocheting off. This is not supposed to be a problem, but it quickly becomes one if your target is not in a sensible place or you fire while someone is near it.
Always be conscious of what is beyond your target just in case you miss, and make sure no one is anywhere near your line of fire when you release your arrow. Even the best archers miss the target once in a while, so make sure what’s behind your target is sufficient to absorb a fired arrow. In other words, not your neighbor’s porch. As long as you’re not loosing an arrow up at the sky in an attempt to reenact your favorite Braveheart scene, lack of common sense is unlikely to result in archery accidents.
In short, use the right equipment, check your form consistently, and be logical and level-headed. These few things will save you plenty of headaches in the long run.