Archery is a statistically safer sport than bowling and pingpong, but it still requires everyone to follow simple rules at the range. After all, we aren’t shooting rubber-tipped arrows.
Every range has a line that designates where archers stand while shooting. Never go beyond this line while others are shooting, and never draw your bow unless you’re on the line with your bow and arrow pointed toward the target. Depending on the range, you’ll stand behind the shooting line or straddle it.
When you’re not shooting, step back and away from the shooting line. This lets everyone see if all other archers have finished shooting. Many ranges have a waiting line behind the shooting line. If your range has one, you must stand behind that line while waiting to shoot.
You can walk past the shooting line to retrieve your arrows after the range is called “clear.” When everyone is done shooting, you or another archer will say, “clear.” You’ll then check to make sure all archers put down their bows. Only then is it safe to walk downrange and pull your arrows. If an instructor or range-safety officer is present, they’ll say “clear” or give a whistle command to let everyone know it’s safe to go downrange.
You must learn the whistle commands if your range uses them to tell archers when to shoot and retrieve arrows.
— Two whistle blasts: Proceed to the shooting line.
— One whistle blast: Nock your arrow and begin shooting.
— Three whistle blasts: It’s safe to walk forward and retrieve your arrows
— Five or more whistle blasts. Stop shooting immediately.
When drawing your bow, never raise it above your eye line while drawing. That’s called “sky drawing,” and can send arrows off target if they’re released accidentally.
To safely pull your arrows, stand to the side of the arrow, and place one hand on the target and the other on the arrow. Make sure everyone is standing clear of you so they don’t get poked by the nock. Then pull the arrow straight out.
Once you’ve placed your arrows into your quiver, return to the waiting line and wait for all archers to return. After everyone returns, wait for the whistle command or the “all clear” announcement. Then step to the shooting line.
By following these rules, everyone at the range will have a safe, enjoyable experience.