Archery has become increasingly popular lately, particularly when considering movies like Brave and The Hunger Games bringing the sport onto the big screen. It seems as if a major revival in the interests in archery is ever increasing, and will continue to rise. According to ArcheryTrade.org, as o 2013 more than 18 million people practice archery: That is about one out of every 12 people in the United States. As per 2012 statistics, .8 percent of archers participated in bow hunting, while 2.8 percent participated in bow hunting and target archery. In the same year, 84 percent of bow hunters were men and 41 percent of archery-only shooters were women. Roughly, 42 percent of men were ages 18 to 34 and 45 percent of women who got into archery were 35 to 55 years of age.
Clearly, many adults find the sport particularly appealing. The practice also appeals to the young. As of the year 2013, USA Archery, which serves as the nation’s governing body of the sport, has witnessed a 121 percent increase in the interest in learning archery. Compared to two years prior where there was a 104 percent increase in archery interest among teens, and one can easily see the interests in the sport are still on the rise today. Of course, with rising interests, many parents question the safety level of the sport as well. In fact, parents may be quite surprised to find that archery is amazingly safe.
Many archery ranges have never witnessed an injury or accident. As per information made available by the National Safety Council, archery is more than three times safer than a game like golf. Statistics reveal for every 2000 archers participating in the sport, that a single person will be injured whereas in a game like golf, one out of every 625 people gets injured. Statistics also reveal that in as much as 94 percent of any injuries that are archery related are due to the individuals hurting themselves by cutting their fingers on razor sharp arrowheads. These latter types of arrowheads are only for use during hunting (they are ultra sharp to make for better piercing of animal flesh) and, therefore, do not cause a problem on the archery range.
The most common injuries one faces when participating in archery following cuts include forearm injury resulting from when the bowstring slaps against the forearm: An issue that can be reduced by wearing a forearm guard when using the bow and arrow. Statistics reveal bystanders have not been injured in ranges and the very rare occasion outside the range that a bystander is injured as well. Essentially, with the use of good equipment and with heightened awareness, many injuries and safety issues can be eradicated quickly. The need for greater archery education is revealed in “Epidemiology of recreational archery injuries” appearing in a 2012 issue of the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. In the latter article, researchers from George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services assert that while there is some risk for injury due to lacerations, these risks can be reduced when the archer takes a bow hunter safety education course that places emphasis on how to handle broadhead arrows safely. The experts also found that participation in an accredited archery training program helps in minimizing the likelihood of acute injuries occurring, while back injuries or chronic shoulder injuries can be reduced through the implementation of some joint and strength training.
Some Precautions to Take
- The archer should always respect his or her equipment by inspecting it before and after use. The examination should include looking for wear, tear, or broken parts or parts that look as if they need replacement. All parts of the bow, the arrow, release mechanisms, and other equipment needs to be inspected thoroughly.
- Check arrow bodies to ensure there are no splinters or unseen cracks.
- Examine the bow limbs, both upper and lower, for potential cracks.
- When the bow is strung, make sure it is strung correctly.
- Make use of a stringer to string a recurve bow as this is the safer solution for bow stringing.
- Make use of special safety equipment such as finger tabs, string releases, stringers, and forearm guards in order to maximize the protection of the body.
- When preparing to face the target or prey, look around to see what’s near you and within the pathway of you and the target. Make sure all areas are clear.
- Do not point the bow and arrow at another, especially if it is drawn. Do not draw the bow back to full draw until you have your target in your sight.
- Never release an arrow up into the air.
- Make sure the arrow is nocked before you fire. Always nock the arrow as you have the bow directed toward the ground: This will protect you and others in the event of accidental release.
- Do not overdraw a bow at any time. An overdraw occurs when you pull back the bowstring further than the actual length of the arrow you are shooting. Overdraws can result in significant injury as well as the damage and destruction of your equipment.
- If you are on a range shooting your bow and arrows, adhere to the rules of the range.
- Do not walk into the path of other archers.
- Care for your equipment to prolong its use and to ensure that it remains safe to use.
- Make sure you do not wear jewelry or accessories that will get in the way of using the bow and arrow.
- Wax your string for every 100 arrows of use to keep the string in good, unfrayed condition.
- If you are retrieving arrows, walk, do not run.
- If at a range and you want to retrieve equipment, you must wait until it is safe to do so. This is when the instructor calls out a command like “all clear” or “all bows down.”
eHowSport’s “Archery 101: Safety Rules for Archery.” Video. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpmvufefAYA.
ANR’S University of California’s “Clover Safe: Archery Safety.” PDF file: Newsletter #47. URL: http://safety.ucanr.edu/files/3158.pdf.
West Bend’s “Archery Safety.” Website. URL: http://www.cultureofsafety.com/safety-tips/archery/.
Morrisonville’s State College’s, “Archery Safety.” Website. URL: http://www.morrisville.edu/documents/studentactivities/archery/rangesafety.pdf.
Kidbow.com’s “Traditional Bows and Arrows for Children Safety.” Website. URL: http://www.kidbow.com/archery_rules_for_kids.htm.
Archery 360’s “Archery Safety Tips and Rules.” Website. URL: http://www.archery360.com/archery-for-beginners/archery-safety-tips-and-rules/.