Bowhunting can be dangerous. There are many reasons for this. Mother Nature is the most dangerous because of her unpredictable and aggressive nature. Although bowhunting and hunting can be a fulfilling, life-affirming experience, they can also be extremely risky if you don’t know what to do.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced bowhunter, or a novice hunter, it’s important to be as safe as possible. To help you understand the basics of safe hunting, we have compiled the following list. We also divided the tips into more specific categories.
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This incomplete list is not complete. There will always be new ways to put yourself at risk when out in nature. But it’s a start. We’ll continue to add to it as needed. We’d love to hear from you if you have a tip that we didn’t mention.
If you are new to bowhunting or have questions about terms you see below, please visit our Bowhunting Glossary for the correct definitions.
WILDERNESS PREPAREDNESS & SURVIVAL
Hunting is all about being outside and enjoying the great outdoors. It’s easy to forget the fact that nature doesn’t care about you and can make you miserable. These are some things to remember.
Keep a first aid kit. You don’t need a high-end, medical-grade kit. All you need is a few basic items like gauze, bandages, band-aids, and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to clean cuts. They are usually available at a convenience store for as little as a few dollars. You can save money if you already have a first-aid kit.
Make Sure Your First Aid Kit has Everything You Need. It’s not good to get nicked and then realize that you forgot all the bandages from a previous hunting trip. You should make sure your kit is ready for you to go every time you set off.
Use sunscreen. Sunburns can be very painful.
Use a bug repellant. They are also very annoying. Make sure you include tick repellant in your bug repellant. Tick populations are increasing rapidly and Lyme Disease is a serious threat. Before you head out into the field, test it. You can keep looking until you find one that works.
Water. It is amazing how much water you can lose, even in cold weather. No matter what the weather, bring enough water to get you through your trip. ).
Always bring a waterproof fire kit. Even if you are planning to return home before dark, it’s possible to get lost. If you do end up staying outside all night, you’ll be thankful you have one. Hypothermia doesn’t have to occur in extreme temperatures. If you get wet (and humans are made to get wet), your temperature will drop like a rock in still water. Good planning is key to a fire kit.
Take your GPS… Your GPS…But Also Take Along That Compass. 21st-Century Hunting is tech-heavy. A good old-fashioned tool can be very useful. It can help you find your way and doesn’t require batteries that may run out. A good compass is a very important piece of gear that’s lightweight and easy to use.
Keep a cell phone… in a small bag to protect it from getting wet or damaged. A global cell was once essential, and they are still very important if your destination is far away. However, even small phones can pick up signals these days.
A flashlight or headlamp is a must. You’ll be able to see the difference between a flashlight and a quality headlamp if you have used one. Headlamps are superior to flashlights. These are essential if you plan to spend the night outdoors, but they are also essential if you don’t plan to spend the night outside.
That sounds a lot. You may need to keep your head down, especially if you are still hunting. It only takes one situation where your life is in peril, and you will be extremely grateful that you have your first aid kit/firestarter/compass/etc.
Dress for the Worst Case Scenario. Many hunters we know are obsessed with camouflaging and scent masking and neglect the main purpose of hunting clothes: to keep you safe and warm. Dress smartly, learn about your climate and look up weather reports. If you freeze to death, a successful hunt won’t be worth anything.
Always wear your Hunter Orange. You will need to wear certain colors in certain areas, as you learned in hunter education classes before you get your hunting license. Respect the law. And…
Never wear white. Avoid wearing white clothing like undershirts. This can expose your skin and make you appear like a deer. For your base layers, try to wear dark colors. Last but not least…
Don’t Let Nature Get You Down. One good scare can make you realize just how dangerous and powerful nature can be. Be sensible and avoid taking unnecessary risks. A natural wooden bridge that crosses a river is not sturdy may be weak.
GEAR SET-UP & USAGE
Safety on the hunt does not start when you are hunting. It starts at home when you plan and runs through your checklist. These are some important things to keep in mind.
Make sure your gear is in good condition. It will increase your chances of success hunting. Check for wear. Make sure you check the lamination of your bow and the rest of your equipment. Also, make sure that your sight, stabilizer, and rest are secure and in good condition. Make sure you go through all the equipment that you will be using and ensure it is in good condition. And…
Replace Anything That Needs It. Although bowhunters and hunters come from many walks of life, the one thing that unites them all is their FRUGAL nature. Although not cheap, they are frugal. They’ll repair it if it can be fixed instead of buying a new one. This is a great thing. However, if you bow hunt with gear that is no longer reliable, even after all your fixes, then that can be dangerous. Don’t be proud, replace damaged gear.
Make Sure Your Broadheads Are Sharp. You have been planning for this moment all year. Now you’re ready to go. It doesn’t matter what your arrows do if they don’t perform as intended. Make sure you have sharp broadheads.
Take care when sharpening or inserting your broadheads. The cuts can be severe enough to cause nerve damage. Also, you need to…
Take Care When Transporting Your Arrows. While we don’t have statistics, most bowhunting accidents likely occur either before or after the hunt, and when the hunter is distracted by moving, packing, or removing arrows. Remember that an arrow can be deadly and should always be used with care. Always be mindful.
Make sure everything is tuned. Many people think archers spend their time shooting but in reality, they spend most of the time tuning. It’s important. You should have all your equipment ready for when the opportunity arises to play.
Keep your arrows in the quiver and make sure they are covered. This applies to when you are getting ready or transporting your gear. It also applies when you go on the hunt. Keep the broadheads of your arrows covered with a hood until you are ready to shoot.
Do not be overbowed. Footsteps per second are important. The flat trajectory is very important. If you are too bent, that is, if your draw weight is greater than you can bear, and you’re trying to pull the drawstring back, you will be tiring yourself and making poor, inaccurate shots. Do not be tough. Make sure your draw weight is within your state’s guidelines, but do not overdo it. A bow with a lower draw weight can produce a better arrow than one with heavier draw weight.
Planning Your Trip to With Gear.
TREE STAND SAFETY GUIDELINES
Tree stands have incredible advantages. They allow you to patrol large swathes of land from a high vantage point and can prevent you from sharing your scents with the game. These tree stands are fantastic but pose serious dangers to bowhunters if they’re not used properly. Many smart hunters have made terrible mistakes on tree stands and paid the price.
Be extra cautious when you are up there. Tree stand safety This is a complex topic, but here are some guidelines:
Choose a strong tree. Hunters will choose a place they are optimistic about but where the trees aren’t great… and climb those trees anyway because they want to get the shot. This is a dangerous practice. Don’t put your tree stand on a tree that doesn’t appear to be strong enough. Check for any damage, rot, or other weaknesses in the trunk, and make sure you read the instructions. Tree stands often have instructions that relate to the tree’s size.
Check the Weight Capacity. If the company makes the tree stand, they should state the maximum weight it can hold. Pay attention to the tree stand’s weight capacity. Remember that your gear will also be included in the weight limit. You can also run your calculations again if you have gained weight since the last hunting season.
Don’t be afraid of old hunting towers. Years of exposure to the elements can cause them to crumble. If your tree stand is not stable, you should stop using it.
Avoid permanent stands. Tree stands can be hammered into trees and left there for years. While many are in great hunting areas, they can also be very dangerous.
Always wear a high-quality safety harness and ensure it is securely fastened. This is something we cannot stress enough. Falls-from-heights injuries can be very painful and sometimes even permanent. The harness is required for climbing up the tree and coming down. Harness for elevated stand = harness.
Check the Ladder Steps before You Climb. If they are wet from rain, snow, or dew, dry them off and go slower. Also…
Use the Three-Point Rule to Climb Safely. Only move one part of your body at a time. Your left hand should be moved to the next rung if you have both your right and left feet on the ladder. Once you feel stable, move your right arm to the next rung. Keep both your feet and your left hand on top of the ladder. Then move your right foot. Next, move your left foot. You should move one part of your body at a time so that you have three points contact on the ladder.
Make sure you check your safety harness while you’re up there. The harness can become loose even if it’s not being moved a lot. This is unlikely to happen if everything is securely fastened correctly. However, you should still check it.
Get your Gear with a Haul Line. A haul line is used to lift your gear and lower it.
Let your people know the location of your stand. This is good for you: they will know where to go if they need it. It’s also good to let someone you care about know where you are.
Be aware of the edge. Always be conscious of where the platform’s edge is when you are up there. You don’t want to slip and fall on the small ledges.
Do not fall asleep in a blind spot. Not the worst, but still not the best. A tree stand is not a great option and could be dangerous.
Tree stands can be a great tool, but they are dangerous. These are just guidelines. Make sure to read your owner’s manual and call the company if necessary.
GOOD HUNTING PRACTICE
There are many things to remember when you go hunting–in the bush, on the mountain, or anywhere else. These are some guidelines.
Get Help if You’re New to Hunting. Remember that even small problems, such as a sore ankle, can quickly escalate into a major problem when you are out on your own. Safety is found in groups.
Let people know when you’ll be back. It doesn’t matter if you go out by yourself or with a friend. So that people can find you if you are missing, let them know when you will be back.
Always have your hunting license with you. These are not only safety tips to keep you safe physically, but also legal security. In case of an encounter with a state or game official, keep your hunting license handy. Follow the hunting regulations in your state.
Keep within your hunting range. No matter how large the land is, it ends somewhere. Hunt only on the designated hunting area, regardless of whether it’s public or private.
Be aware that you may not be–and probably aren’t the only hunter out there. You need to be aware of both the damage that hunters can inflict on you and the potential harm you can cause to other hunters. Always, always, always, always be sure of where you are shooting and consider the possibility that there might be another hunter behind the game. After you have spotted the game, ensure there aren’t any hunters around. It is possible to miss, and your arrow could hit another hunter. However, even if your target is hit, your arrow may pass through it and hit the other hunter. Keep in mind, however, that…
Not all hunters are out there. Many hikers don’t know you’re hunting and won’t be looking after you. This puts all responsibility for their safety on your shoulders.
Avoid driving within one mile of farms and roads. Although we couldn’t find any evidence to support this, it sounds plausible. If you live within one mile of a road, it means that you are near other people. Assume that you are not the only one living in your area.
Do not hunt on private land without permission. It seems obvious and the right thing to say. However, if a private landowner allows another hunter to use their land and the landowner doesn’t know you’re there, chances are that the hunter doesn’t know either and thinks that there’s no one hunting with him. This makes it more dangerous. Always Get Permission To Hunt on Private Land. This is because: 1) It’s legal, 2) It’s right, and 3) It’s Much More Dangerous for You if you don’t have permission.
Stay in good shape and within your limits. Bowhunting can be a physically demanding activity. If you’re spot-and-stalk hunting–particularly out West, where you’ll need to cover a lot of lands–chances are you’ll come across some dangerous ground. You put yourself at risk if you aren’t in good shape to cover it. Keep fit and in good health before you go. Last but not least…
Get to know the Land Well. The more you know the land, the easier it will be for you to hunt the game you want and the less likely that you get lost.
SHOOTING SAFETY TIPS
Be aware of what’s in front, behind, and beyond your target. High-poundage compounds can make your arrows travel far and fast. It is important to understand everything surrounding your target. Bowhunters must remember this because: 1) If you miss your target, your broadhead and arrow can continue traveling beyond it. 2) Even if your target is hit, your arrow may pass through your quarry and continue to sail beyond it. It is important to fully understand the environment around your quarry.
Never shoot over a ridge. It’s impossible to know what’s beyond that ridge. These are often called “skyline shots” and can be extremely dangerous. It doesn’t matter how fun the game may be, it’s not a good idea.
Never point your bow or arrow at a target. Archery Safety Rule 1: Don’t aim your bow at anything you don’t intend to hit. This means that you should only note your arrow when it is safe and you are certain you will shoot.
Take extra care during the Twilight Hours. Light at night and in the early morning can play tricks on your eyes, and you may have difficulty seeing clearly. Do not go any further if you are unsure about your target.
Bowhunting is dangerous! You must be close to your quarry. Bowhunters must be as close to their quarry as possible than hunters who are using rifles. Wild game, as we have said many times here, is extremely dangerous. Expect aggressive behavior from wild animals. Do your research and be aware of their habitats and behaviors.
COMMON SENSE/ MISCELLANEOUS SAFETY TIPS
These are a few tips that don’t fit in the above sections, but which we must mention.
No Alcohol, No Drugs. Bowhunting is a dangerous activity. You can lose your senses if you drink or use drugs. Do the math. Drinking is drinking. Hunting is hunting. These are the words to live by. Remember that…
“Drugs” Includes Medication. Plenty of bowhunters–including our fathers and grandfathers, who might be getting up there in years–are on some sort of medication. You may have to stop hunting if the medication causes any side effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, vision problems, or dizziness. It’s a good idea to stop taking your medication if it puts you or others in danger.
Be a good archer. It seems obvious but it is important to develop your skills. You’ll become a better archer if you spend more practicing and following archery safety protocol.
Be careful around young bowhunters and newbies. Although we don’t have any scientific evidence to support this, our experience shows that novice bowhunters are the most likely to injure themselves or others. This makes sense because younger bowhunters may not be as familiar with the system and have less experience than older hunters. Be extra cautious if you are going out with young people or newbies. Keep an eye on them!
Have a safety tip for us?
We mentioned that no safety tip list is complete. Please visit our “Contact” page to let us know if you have any suggestions. We would be happy to add it to the list.
Have fun, be safe and have fun hunting!