Course Outline

Crossbow safety rules cover many of the same aspects of using a bow and arrow, including storing, handling, and shooting.

In many states, crossbows are considered firearms, and the same rules and regulations that apply to firearms also apply to crossbows. Always check local laws, and follow all safety rules.

  • Always point the crossbow and loaded arrow in a safe direction.
  • Only load an arrow when it’s safe to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what is in front of it, immediately behind it, and beyond it.
  • Check the travel path of the crossbow limbs to make sure they will not strike tree limbs, blind windows, or other objects when you shoot.
  • Never shoot over a ridge.
  • Only shoot when you have a safe range or shooting area, and a safe backstop or background.
  • Avoid dry-firing a crossbow (pulling the trigger without a loaded arrow). It may cause serious damage to the crossbow and can injure the shooter.
  • Do not shoot an arrow straight up in the air.
  • Handle arrows carefully. Protect yourself and the arrow points with a covered arrow quiver.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for stringing and cocking a crossbow.
  • Immediately repair defects in equipment.
    • Prior to each use, check your crossbow for cracks, dents, breaks, separating laminates, peeling glass, and defects in mechanical parts.
    • Check the bowstring regularly, and replace it if it becomes worn or frayed. Frequent use of bowstring wax and the manufacturer’s recommended rail lubrication can greatly extend the life of a bowstring.
    • Check arrows for cracks, dents, or bends; and discard any that have permanent flaws.
  • Store your crossbow uncocked and in a case. Hard-sided cases are recommended.
  • Store arrows in quivers and accessories in a sturdy box or padded bag.
  • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes while you are assembling, servicing, cocking, loading, or shooting a crossbow.
  • Keep your emotions under control, and think about safety first.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take mood-altering drugs before, during, or after shooting a crossbow.
  • Drinking and boating increase your risk for an accident
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