Course Outline

Crossbow hunting safety rules apply to proper handling of equipment in transit or in the field. They supplement hunter safety rules learned at home or at the practice range and include the following.

  • Obey crossbow and field safety rules at all times while crossbow hunting.
  • Hunt and shoot within your own physical limitations.
  • Exercise regularly and stay in good shape, especially before strenuous hunts.
  • Let family or friends know exactly where you will be hunting.
  • Make every effort to rejoin your hunting companions at agreed-upon times.
  • Do NOT carry a cocked crossbow in or on a motor vehicle.
  • Transport equipment in protective cases to prevent damage. For airline travel, use a protective hard-sided case that can be secured.
  • Clearly identify the specific game animal you intend to shoot before pulling the trigger and releasing an arrow.
  • Do not shoot at an animal standing on a ridge top (a “skyline” shot) where you can’t identify a safe background.
  • Place arrows in a covered quiver prior to moving around in the field.
  • Always carry broadheads in a sturdy quiver that fully covers razor-sharp blades.
  • Carefully cross barriers or obstacles with arrows securely in the quiver.
  • When climbing into an elevated stand, always attach yourself to the tree from the time you start climbing until you are back on the ground.
  • Use a full-body harness attached so that you drop less than a foot if you fall.
  • Always use a haul line to bring your gear into your elevated stand and to lower your gear when you’re through hunting. Don’t climb or descend with any equipment in your hand or over your shoulder.
  • Plan for a way to hang or hold your crossbow when hunting from a tree stand. Crossbows can be heavy and difficult to hold for long periods of time.
  • Carry basic survival gear every time you go afield, even for short hikes.
  • Carry a flashlight, extra bulbs, and batteries. Always turn on your flashlight while walking to or from your tree stand in low-light conditions.
  • Dress properly for the worst weather conditions you expect to encounter.
Animal on skyline
If you cannot see what lies beyond the target, it is considered a skyline shot. Do not take skyline shots.
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