Perhaps you wonder to yourself about the safety when shooting bows. Obviously, they can be dangerous if not used correctly, but what is the true danger of bows?
Are bows dangerous? Perhaps not as dangerous as guns, bows can still be dangerous. The arrows from a bow kill most often from severing arteries and causing death from blood loss. Severing the right artery, someone has 120 seconds before death. Arrows kill in the same way that stabbing someone does.
If you’d like to learn more about the dangers posed by bows, keep reading because we will cover that subject in depth while looking at how to stay safe.
Everything Comes with Risk
One way or another, you will always face risk on some level, and bows aren’t any different. However, we should put the dangers into perspective—as long as you use them correctly, the risk of serious injury is quite low. In archery, for every 2,000 who participate, only one suffers a serious injury. To put that into perspective, golf players suffer an injury rate of one in every 625. Think of that—golf has a higher injury rate than archery, according to statistics from the National Safety Council.
Most of the serious injuries from archery come from when a hunter cuts himself with the bow because he had a broadhead on the arrow. At most recreational archery ranges, they don’t even let you use this type of arrow because there’s no reason to use it in that setting.
The rare injury where someone gets hit with an arrow usually happens because people didn’t follow safety protocol. For example, they fired the bow when people were out front.
Improper Use Can Make Them Dangerous
If you’d like to know how dangerous a bow can be when handled incorrectly, check out the article I wrote here on, “Can a Bow Survive a Dry Fire?” The improper handling of a bow can lead to serious injuries. For example, never dry fire the bow, and never shoot when someone is in front of you.
Other good practices in archery to use to avoid injury include:
- Never shoot over ridges
- Only shoot with safe backdrops
- Only nock arrows when safe to shoot
- Know what’s in front of you at all times
- Never point the bow at someone
More Skill, More Dangerous
Outside of being dangerous with improper handling, bows pose a danger in the hands of someone skilled with the bow. Rarely, however, will this threaten people. A skilled archer will usually target practice on targets or prey when hunting or bowfishing. He will be more dangerous to what he targets, but luckily, he won’t pose a threat to people.
Still, you need to always respect the bow. Every shot has the potential to kill, and like the gun, you shouldn’t play around with it. Broadheads that hit vital organs can deal death in seconds.
Penetrate through Bone
Given the right tip and shooting the right area, arrows have the potential to push right through bones, breaking them. In fact, one of the biggest goals of big-game hunters is to shoot an arrow straight through the target. This offers a cleaner kill so that you don’t have to spend hours tracking after you shoot. Nothing worse to a responsible hunter than wounding prey only to have it get away injured—you don’t want any animal to suffer. That’s proper hunting ethics.
How Long You Survive Depends on Where You Suffered the Injury…
Let’s say that an arrow punctured one of your lungs. You would likely make it to the hospital and may survive the ordeal. With both lungs punctured, you would die in 30 seconds. Shot through the heart, you would not last 10 seconds. Puncturing the liver, you may make it a few minutes. One of the biggest dangers with the bow is from bleeding out after taking an injury.
Back in the olden days, such as the Wild West days, infection was another danger of the bow. Many pioneers who settled west died from bows and arrows shot by Native Americans. The settlers may have had guns, but you shouldn’t underestimate the danger that a bow can pose.
Bows Rarely Kill Instantly
As many bowhunters will tell you, arrows from the bow rarely kill instantly. Most often, death from an arrow takes time, which means hunters will have to track down the animal. Never shoot an animal in the head with an arrow for this reason. It causes a lot of suffering, and there have been cases where a deer took an arrow shot in the head and survived. This isn’t a video game, and a shot in the head may not kill the animal. However, it causes immense suffering and panic.
When tracking a deer, you should wait for at least a half-hour to an hour before you begin tracking unless you can see him downed nearby. Otherwise, it could lead to the injured animal attacking you. People have died this way.
What Factors Play a Role in the Dangerousness of a Bow
We would like to outline the most dangerous factors of a bow and arrow to understand what makes them so deadly. The key things that will play a role include arrowhead used, draw weight and arrow placement. The biggest factor here is the arrow placement. An arrow that hits vital organs will usually kill much faster. Shooting an arrow with a 70-pound draw weight has a higher chance that it will smash through bone than an arrow with a 30-pound draw weight.
You want to choose a draw weight based on what you’re hunting. Beware of draw weight regulations for certain types of hunting. For example, bowfishing in some states like California will have draw weight regulations. Look up the draw weight regulations before you go hunting or bowfishing.
Should You Be Worried About the Danger of a Bow?
Every sport comes with dangers. As long as you follow the proper protocol with the bow and arrow, you shouldn’t have too much trouble or danger with a bow. The biggest thing is don’t act recklessly or horseplay with a bow. Accidents happen when people don’t respect the equipment, but again, archery has fewer occurrences of serious accidents than golf. This largely stems from the fact that people know how it can be dangerous if you don’t take precautions. It’s not that it isn’t dangerous, but people don’t take things for granted as often with it.
The biggest trouble I’ve encountered with the bow is having the bowstring slap the side of my arm when I go to fire it. Beginners will especially do this often, but as you get better, you will have less trouble. You can buy the Toparchery Leather 2 Straps Arm Guard to protect your arm in the meantime.
Bows can be dangerous especially when handled improperly. Understanding proper bow safety is one of the keys when it comes to the bow and arrow. It can be safer than golf when you understand the dangers, but you should never take that for granted. Breaking any of the rules concerning safety can make it deadly. The biggest dangers from bows will come when you shoot a damaged bow or a damaged arrow. Inspect your equipment at the end of each use.