Although archery rigs don’t possess the same level of power as firearms, it’s still important to understand and practice basic bow safety on the practice range and in the field.

Regularly inspect your setup for signs of wear and damage.

Frayed bowstrings, loose components, bent cams, and broken accessories can lead to you not shooting your best or worse — injuring yourself, others, or an animal. Before every practice session and hunt, give your rig a once-over to make sure everything is in working order.

Never dry-fire.

Dry-firing a bow could cause significant damage or leave it completely inoperable. It could also cause bodily harm. Avoid drawing your bow without an arrow nocked and ready to shoot to prevent this problem and don’t allow other people to play with your bow.

Use caution when handling broadheads.

You should be careful even when dealing with field points, but broadheads could do some serious damage with the slightest misstep — they take down big game, after all! Avoid touching blades and keep broadheads secure in a case or within an appropriate quiver when not in use.

Nock an arrow when you’re in position and it’s safe to shoot.

Don’t nock an arrow while you’re hiking to your hunting spot or wandering around the range. The arrow could come loose or you could easily slip and fall onto a broadhead. Wait until you’re in your treestand or shooting position.

Point only in a direction that’s safe to shoot.

Just as you should only point a gun at something you’re ready to shoot, you should always be sure you’re pointing your bow in a safe direction. Don’t point at other people or an animal you don’t intend to kill. And never shoot directly up into the air.

Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

Too many people get injured or killed every year by careless hunters who shoot at anything that moves. Be completely confident in your target before you even think about coming to full draw. Don’t shoot if there are other animals directly behind your intended target or if you’re unsure of the terrain/landmarks farther beyond. And when you do decide to shoot, take the time to make the best shot possible

Don’t go beyond your personal limitations.

Don’t get caught up in cranking up your draw weight to ridiculous poundages or taking shots outside your maximum effective range. You’ll be shaky and inaccurate. You could hurt yourself. And there’s a decent chance you’ll make a poor shot that simply wounds an animal.