Crossbows are fun. They’re fairly easy to become proficient with, which means even a brand new shooter can feel competent after
just a few shots. They’re also quieter than a gun and have far less recoil, which makes them a genuine pleasure to shoot. And today’s crossbows are lighter and better balanced than ever, which allows shooters of all shapes and sizes to become comfortable with them. And crossbow safety is important.
Besides that, they’re just plain cool. Fire a few bolts from a high-quality crossbow, and there’s a little part of you that’s whispering, “Okay, zombies. Bring it on.”
But the fact that crossbows are so easy and comfortable to use can lull shooters into a false sense of security. Crossbows are very safe, but they’re still weapons, and the misuse of a crossbow can have serious consequences.
We spoke with Dave Robb, marketing director of TenPoint Crossbows, about crossbow safety and how crossbow shooters can stay safe. He identified for us the 15 most critical safety rules you need to follow:
- Always wear safety glasses when assembling, cocking, loading, or shooting your crossbow
- Do not stalk with, transport, or carry a loaded crossbow.
- Do not allow any part of your hands or fingers inside the bowstring’s release path of a cocked and/or loaded crossbow.
- Do not allow the thumb or fingers of your foregrip hand to migrate above the flight deck or inside the cables or bowstring’s release path when shooting
- Be certain of your intended target; do not shoot just because you see movement. Target practice in an open area where you are certain the trajectory of your arrow is clear and protected.
- When target shooting, do not point your loaded crossbow in any direction other than the direction of your target. When conversing, do not turn toward the person you are talking to with a loaded crossbow.
- Make certain there are no obstacles such as branches or tree limbs in the way of your crossbow limbs when shooting.
- Do not move your safety into the FIRE position until you’re ready to pull the trigger.
- Do not put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
- Do not shoot your crossbow with others standing next to you. Keep them well behind you. If a string were to break, all of the debris flies sideways.
- Cock your crossbow before climbing a treestand.
- Hoist and lower your cocked but unloaded crossbow with a bow rope/string and with the front end of the bow facing the ground.
- Check your shooting lanes to make sure there are no obstacles in the way of your bow limbs or your arrow’s potential trajectory.
- Always use a full-body harness and a safety rope while treestand hunting.
- Keep your arrows and broadheads safely protected in your quiver when not in use.
Bonus tip: Seek out an expert to help you select and become acquainted with your crossbow. Finding the right crossbow and becoming familiar with its safety features will make your crossbow experience both safer and more enjoyable.
For everyone but the zombies, of course.