Safe Shooting

I got my compound bow for Christmas and immediately became aware of the complexity and power behind these tools. Here are some laws that I have learned to live by whenever I handle my bow. There may be more that I’m missing but these are pretty darn important and I absolutely do not ever stray from these. They’re black and white rules. I will expand on these things more below my list.

  1. Make sure that the area you’re shooting in is totally clear of anything that should not be shot. TOTALLY CLEAR. And never draw or aim your bow when there is anyone between you and your target.  Even if they are between you and your target and off to the side. That counts. Everyone should be behind some kind of firing line.
  2. Never dry fire a bow. This means that you should never draw your string and release it when there is no nocked arrow.
  3. If you are using a release aid, never put your finger on the trigger before you’re ready for your arrow to be shot.


My first rule is to shoot in a clear area. Like I said, I got my bow around Christmas time time but I didn’t actually get to shoot it until March. Any bow/weapon, and especially more powerful compound bows are incredibly powerful. Their main purpose is to kill. Sure they’re a fun tool and I, myself only target shoot, but they are made to end life. So DO NOT mess around with this first rule. Even if someone is between you and your target and a little off to the side. DO NOT DRAW YOUR BOW. You should have or establish some kind of firing line that everyone stays behind while shooting. If anyone goes to collect arrows out of the target make sure everyone knows to stop shooting. Here is a link with some more safety rules. It also includes an example of what can happen when this particular rule is not followed. It’s terrible. People die.


Never dry fire your bow. The first day I went to the range I joined my dad came along. I turned around for one second and he had drawn and shot my bow with no arrow. The cams (the two wheels that the string attaches to at the top and bottom of the bow) were crooked and my string came off. When you do this you can destroy your bow or hurt yourself. The video below shows a dry fire. When there is no arrow to shoot, the bow releases all of that energy back into its limbs and there is no telling what will happen.


Keep your finger off the trigger until you are totally ready for you arrow to be launched from your bow. As you can see below, my finger is pointing straight down my trigger release. When I am ready to shoot, I will slide my finger down to the trigger. The trigger is the little silver thing that you can almost see. My cat Weezy is also featured in this lovely picture that my little sister took. The cat is in front of the chair. See if I was actually shooting, I would stop everything and get her behind my firing line. She’s kind of in front of it. That counts. This would also be an example of a dry fire if I had released the string.

Pictured is an archer who is demonstrating how to draw a compound bow without having their finger on the trigger.
Pictured is an archer who is demonstrating how to draw a compound bow without having their finger on the trigger.

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