The use of crossbows in hunting is rapidly expanding across the United States. Currently, every state except Oregon permits the use of crossbows for hunting big game or for recreational activities.
Most states consider crossbows as firearms, and the majority of rules and regulations applicable to the use of firearms also apply to crossbows. Every crossbow user is required to check and follow all local laws as well as safety rules to prevent serious consequences.
Whereas most safety guidelines for using crossbows are more or less the same as the rules for using traditional and compound bows, crossbows have their unique set of safety rules. So, which safety guideline for using bows is unique to the crossbow?
Today, we’re going to learn about the unique safety tips for using a crossbow. This unique crossbow safety guideline applies to proper handling of the equipment in the field or in transit.
Which Safety Guideline For Using Bows Is Unique To The Crossbow? – Details Guideline
Keep Your Hands Away From The Rail
A lot of injuries related to crossbows happen when your hands or fingers are caught between the cocked string and rail. Everyone, including seasoned crossbow shooters, can make this grave mistake at some point amid operation.
Most modern crossbows are equipped with guards on their fore-end, which means that placing your hands or fingers in a dangerous or wrong spot when shooting is almost impossible. But then again, issues can crop up when shooting from a rest, because there’s no need to use your off-hand in this position.
When shooting from a rest, the off-hand is prone to wandering in dangerous spots. There’s a solution to this, though. To prevent injuries when shooting from a rest, keep your off-hand tucked into your lap.
Verify The Condition Of Your Bolts
Explosion can occur if a carbon bolt with a slightest crack is fired, sending shards of graphite straight onto your cheek. Of course, no one wants this to happen.
Therefore, always verify the condition of your bolts and ensure they’re in tip top shape. Similarly, make sure the bolts are heavy and befit the bow you’re shooting.
Remember, the one-size-fits-all rule of thumb is not pertinent when it comes to crossbow bolts.
Beware Of Your Backstop
Having an adequate backstop is a crucial safety guideline for using a crossbow. It is rare to ever recover the bolts given that crossbows shoot exceptionally hard.
Be sure your backstop is in proper condition and capable to stop a full force arrow from your crossbow. Same as you would when shooting a rifle, ensure you’ve got a sufficient backstop when practicing shots.
Never Dry-Fire Your Crossbow
A dry-fire simply refers to firing the bow without an arrow. A single dry fire is enough to cause a horrible damage to your bow. For instance, it can make your device unsound to ever shoot again.
Most modern crossbows have an anti-dry-fire device that prevents the bow from firing unless there’s a bolt in place. If possible, make sure to get a crossbow that comes with this useful piece of safety equipment.
Again, in the event of unintended dry-fire, make sure to have your crossbow professionally checked and inspected before using it. Do not attempt to use a dry-fired bow until it’s been inspected by a professional.
Assume A Cocked Crossbow Is A Loaded Firearm
Whether or not there’s a bolt in place, it’s wise to treat a cocked crossbow as if it were a loaded firearm. You probably know the extent of damage a crossbow bolt can do. Even if the rail has no bolt in place, a dry-fired crossbow is capable of hurling broken pieces down the range.
In this regard, always keep it pointed to an appropriate target and make sure it’s pointed in a safe direction away from yourself and others. Treating a crossbow like a firearm also involves storing it in a safe place out of reach of children when not in use.
Do Not Leave Your Crossbow Cocked For Longer Periods
The limbs of a crossbow are designed to store an incredible amount of energy, and the crossbow is meant to be cocked under pressure for shorter periods. It’s not a good practice to leave the crossbow limbs cocked overnight. Develop a habit of discharging the bow each time you take a break or at the end of every day.
This is also meant to allow your gadget to take a break, thus extending its life. If a bow is left cocked for extended periods, its limbs can develop cracks or breaks.
De-Cock The Right Way
The safest and most accurate way of de-cocking a crossbow is to shoot it out. Some crossbows need to be de-cocked using a rope-cocking device.
De-cocking with the aid of a rope-cocking device is simple, but the consequence of making a mistake is a dry-fired bow hovering directly over your foot or arm.
For guaranteed safety when de-cocking a crossbow, keep a discharge or target bolt in the tuck at all times. You’ll also need to shoot it out eventually.
Use The Right Nock For Your Bow
More often than not, crossbow manufacturers list the correct type of nock to be used with their bows. The right nock type is one that stays in contact with the string when fired.
Nocks are designed to stay in touch with the string under the different mechanics of different bows. If you use the wrong nock, it might trigger the string to bounce over the back of the arrow, resulting in a dry fire. A dry fire may cause damage to the bow or injure the shooter.
Never Climb A Tree Stand With A Loaded Crossbow
Climbing a tree stand with a crossbow – more-so a loaded one – is not advisable. Rather, climb it up empty-handed then pull up your bow using a bow rope once you’re in place.
Make sure the bow is pointing downward as you pull it up with a bow rope. Similarly, don’t slot an arrow in the bow until you’ve got in your hands.
Keep Your Crossbow Maintained At All Times
One of the most important safety guidelines for using the crossbow is performing basic maintenance. Actually, checking your equipment is a no-brainer.
Understanding and conducting proper bow maintenance before taking it to the field is vital. Basic maintenance involves keeping strings waxed and moving parts lubed. Replace any crossbow parts exhibiting signs of wear with immediate effect.
Hopefully, this unique safety guideline for using the crossbow will help you avoid injuries and other risks associated with your weapon. In case of any queries regarding how to use a crossbow, or for additional safety tips, don’t hesitate dropping us a message in the “Contact Us” section. We’ll strive to get back to you as soon as possible.