Some pointers on Bow safety to ensure that those archers learn the proper techniques and accidents are minimised
Safety is paramount when handling a bow. Just like other modern weapons, there are certain techniques and procedures that should be followed when handling the bow. Remember that loaded bow can kill or in least cause grave damage to both humans and other living beings. Never take aim, unless you are ready to shoot. Too many accidents have happened when the lethal weapon was misused or the archer was inexperienced.
Here are some of the points that we would like to discuss to drill the importance of safety
1. Personal tackle
2. The Field and the equipment used in the Field
3. How proper techniques of shooting should be enforced
4. Safety tips that should also be followed by the instructor.
Proper care for personal tackle
Personal tackle care is extremely important. Respect the bow as it is a lethal weapon and you must ensure that it is always kept in good shape. Inspection of the bow at regular intervals is extremely important. Keep arrows in a safe place unless you are ready to shoot and never lose track of the safety procedures that must be followed even in the most difficult situations.
Your bow should be kept dry and waxed at all points in time. Moisture can kill the effectiveness of the bow. Inspection is a critical area and should be done regularly especially for the limbs. If you do find some nicks, they can be easily fixed with clear nail polish. Your next consideration should be the drawstring. This too needs to be waxed. Part of loading the bow is also loading the drawstring. You must also know the procedure for redrawing the bowstring as well as fixing the loops, when it becomes necessary.
The nocking point is important and as a student, you should also learn to check for the arrow nocks and be able to make a quick restoration if required on the field. The arrow shafts should always be straight, in case they have become crooked, then set them aside. They can always be corrected with an arrow straightner. If the arrow is long and the cracked portion can be removed, then do so. Other archers may be able to use them. Other accessories such as finger guards and arm guards should always be in top condition to meet the field competition standards.
Safety standards should also be met on the archery field
When practising on the field, the grass must be mowed really close, since it makes it easier to find the arrows that go missing. When you find the arrows on the ground, ensure that the ground is covered up to prevent any future accidents for other archers that are practising on the field.
The field equipment that includes the arrow stands should also be in a good condition for effective target practice. They arrow stands should be defined and affixed to the ground to ensure that they don’t fall off on impact with the arrow. If the instructor thinks that the butt has become blunt or isn’t effective, then they should be changed. Frequent practice on the butts can soften them making the arrow safety and control a dangerous issue. Blasts coming out of the whistle should be distinct. If word commands are being used then, make sure that they are said loudly and clearly to avoid confusion at all costs.
Instructors should follow the proper technique for shooting when teaching their students
One of the most common mistakes that are made by the beginners is the arm slap. An arm slap happens when the drawstring due to improper shooting technique hits the arm. In fact it can be dangerous as an arm flap can also hit other archers as well. Instructors need to teach various methods of drawing the string perfectly to ensure that the students can aim at the target. The various techniques of drawing and aiming are known as bow hold, draw hand and hook, raise bow and draw and finally the anchor point.
Sometimes the arrow can land just short off the shooting line or even a few feet further away. In case this happens, you can retrieve the arrow. With your feet planted on the shooting line, you can reach the arrow while using the limbs of the bow. In case the arrow can be reclaimed back, then you can take it back or else, the arrow will be considered as shot.
Look ahead directly in front of you especially when looking for arrows that have gone astray. This will prevent you from stepping into the arrows that are in your path (have gone missing from other people’s bow or even your own). Safety precaution is important unless you wilfully want to be killed or crushed.
Arrows are dangerous whether they are zipping across to the target or whether they are being pulled out from the target practice arrow stand. To ensure that one doesn’t get hurt, grab the arrow with one hand and hold the stand with another hand and pull the arrow in a twisting portion instead of just pulling it out. You can also use the arrow puller to keep the arrows straight. Brace yourself since the arrow can suddenly come out right in your face. To ensure that you do not hurt or face or eyes, do not get your face close or in direct level with the arrow. Always wear a chest protector that can decrease the chances of bowstring snapping and hurting you.
Instructors should pay special attention to these safety tips and negligence can cause irreparable fatalities
Instructors should pay attention to the technique in which archers are launching their arrows and need to be extremely vigilant. Moreover when target practice is happening, the field are should be closed for other humans and animals. In spite of the field being closed, at times, people or animals may stray in the path of the target practice. The instructor needs to keep a close watch on the field to ensure that nobody wanders in the path.
Students may indulge in horseplay with the archery equipment and the tackle. Desist the students from doing so. The bow is a lethal weapon, that can maim and kill and students should be aware of its power and respect the strength.
During shooting, the archers should be spread out to prevent stray arrows from hitting the archers themselves. The usual recommendation for the placement of the targets for the archers is about six yards from each other. Now there is enough space for the archers to fully practice their skills without the fear of coming in each other’s way.
All students and instructors should be behind the shooting line when the signal for shooting is given. If not, wait for people to clear off the ground before sounding the signal. Don’t show anything to a student when the bow has been drawn. In case a student experiences pain or discomfort during any time, ask them to speak up and take the required medical action immediately. If a back arm slap does happen, apply an ice bag or cold water to prevent the area from swelling. Above all proper techniques for shooting must be shown, taught and reinforced at all points of time.