Which Safety Guideline For Using Bows Is Unique To The Crossbow?

The use of the crossbow for hunting is on the rise, especially in the United States. There are similar rules governing crossbows and firearms in the states that legalize the use of crossbows.

Even if you follow all these rules, you may not be aware of the crossbow’s unique safety guidelines. These safety guidelines differ from those for traditional bows.

In the article, we will present the specific guidelines that apply to a crossbow. Later in the article, we will go over some more essential tips. So let’s begin without any further delay.

Which Safety Guideline For Using Bows Is Unique To The Crossbow? – An in-depth discussion.

 

  • A little maintenance goes a long way.

Maintaining the product to ensure its durability is crossbow 101. People tend to forget that crossbows are a machine. If you do not take care of it on a regular basis, it will lose its top-notch performance over time. Moreover, a crossbow can cause unexpected accidents without proper maintenance.

Maintaining crossbows is not tricky in the slightest—Wax the bowstring when it is necessary. Ensure the arrow track has enough lube on it. Crossbows eventually develop worn-out parts that hinder their performance. Replace them with new ones.

It may be necessary to follow specific maintenance instructions for certain crossbows. You can find them in the user manual.

  • Dry firing is never a good idea.

The term ‘dry fire’ refers to firing a bow in the absence of a bolt or arrow. It is perhaps one of the dangerous things you can do as an archer. Not only can dry firing damage your crossbow severely, but you could even injure yourself.

The anti-dry-fire feature on crossbows is thankfully becoming more popular with manufacturers. As a result of this feature, the crossbow does not fire until a bolt has been positioned. If you’re planning to buy a crossbow, make sure it comes with the anti-dry-fire feature.

Dry fire can sometimes occur unintentionally. Avoid using the crossbow immediately after. It is best to consult an experienced individual to find out if the item is safe to use again.

  • Bolts need to be in good shape.

The bolts you are going to use need to be in decent condition. They must not have even a single crack, break, or bend. It is because the slightest crack can result in an explosion upon firing the bolt. You may suffer hand or facial injuries due to shards of graphite spreading from the explosion.

Although all this is true, even well-shaped bolts can lead to accidents. Why is that? It happens when a bolt is not compatible with your crossbow.

There are many bolts available on the market designed for certain crossbow models. It is, therefore, crucial to know the right one for your bow.

  • Treat a cocked crossbow as a loaded firearm.

Handle cocked crossbows with extreme caution, and be careful about where you are pointing them. You should already know how massive damage a dry fire leaves. Hence, think of it as treating a loaded firearm, regardless of whether there is a bolt or not.

Always keep the aim of a cocked crossbow at your target or somewhere safe. Never point it towards yourself or anyone else.

Also, pay attention to the place where you are storing the bow. The space needs to be a safe place where children are not supposed to go.

  • Keep your hands off the rail.

The rail, also known as the arrow track, is the spot where you put the arrow. The arrow gathers traction from the rail before being shot at the target.

Most crossbow shooters, including those with experience, hold their bows by the rail. It opens up the possibility of your finger getting tangled between the rail and string, which can cause a fatal injury.

You can eliminate the chances of injuries simply by not touching the rail whatsoever. One good trick is to rest your hand on your lap.

  • Compatibility with nocks is important.

Compared to the safety guidelines we discussed previously, this one is way easier to follow. The manufacturer should provide a list of nocks for you to look at. On the other hand, since the right nock contacts the string when it is fired, it is easy to determine which nocks are compatible.

Dry fire can occur if the bow is equipped with the wrong nocks. As you know, you and your crossbow can sustain damage from dry fire. Thus make sure you are using the correct nocks.

  • Avoid climbing the tree with a loaded crossbow.

Hunters climb trees to reach tree stands where the view is wider than the ground. As you gain experience in hunting, you will find yourself climbing trees more and more.

A rookie mistake many people make while climbing is carrying a crossbow loaded. There is no control over your body during the climb. Unintentional movements of your body can trigger the bow and cause it to fire. For this reason, ensure the bow is unloaded prior to climbing a tree.

  • Leaving the crossbow cocked for too long is detrimental.

Crossbow limbs contain an enormous amount of energy. This is the reason why the cocked crossbow remains under a great deal of pressure. Therefore, you should let the pressure release by firing the machine.

The pressure stays there as long as the bow is cocked. If you allow the pressure to remain, you are shortening the lifespan of the product. You are also likely to end up causing cracks in the bow. It would be best if you discharge the bow every night so that the machine can rest.

  • Solid backstops are indispensable.

Those who think backstops serve only an aesthetic purpose are gravely mistaken. The backstop’s primary purpose is to protect surrounding areas from misfired bolts. Thus, it needs to be strong enough to stop arrows even when they come at full speed.

You should not trust your backstop to stop bolts without testing it first. Moreover, there should be walls or some other sturdy objects surrounding the backstop. In the event of a misfire, they will prevent the arrow from going in another direction.

Some Extra Crossbow Safety Tips When Using Crossbow

What is the point of safety guidelines if they do not come with the supplementary safety tips? Extra caution is always advisable, given how dangerous crossbows can be. You can stay safe by following these crossbow practice tips. Let’s see them.

Crossbow Tips For Beginners:

  • Obey the crossbow laws that are given by the local authority.
  • Make sure you wear safety gear such as safety glasses.
  • In the case of beginners, they should be under the supervision of a professional initially.
  • Ensure you are using the right nocks and bolts.
  • Handle the crossbow the same way you would a firearm.

Crossbow Hunting Tips

  • Do not put all your attention on the target only. Keep an eye on what’s around you as well.
  • Do not load the crossbow unless you are about to use it.
  • Keep the bow aimed in a safe direction when not in use.
  • So long as you aren’t shooting a crossbow, you shouldn’t place your finger on the trigger.
  • Learn trigger safety as soon as possible.

Crossbow Shooting Tips / Safety Crossbow Tips for its usage

  • Prior to using your crossbow, read the manual that comes with it.
  • Assembling the string, cocking, and decocking the bow, as well as its overall operation, should be done according to the user’s manual.
  • Replace the worn strings with new ones.
  • To ensure cocking safety, attach the string to the center of the stock.
  • Put wax and rail lube on the string.
  • You must have the required limb clearance to use a safe crossbow.
  • Turn the safety features on when you want to cock the crossbow.
  • Check to see if the arrow fits comfortably on the bow.

What Is The Recommended Way To Uncock A Crossbow?

Uncocking the crossbow after a hunting trip is a prominent safety measure. While uncocking, you need to be extremely careful as there are several potential risks. Hence, you should follow a specific procedure.

Some people prefer to decock using their hands. Even though you can decock a bow using your hands, it is better to follow a technique that eliminates the need to use your hands. Here is why.

Is It Safe To Uncock A Crossbow With Your Hands? (Spoiler alert: IT IS NOT.)

Without a doubt, you can decock crossbows with your bare hands. It is, however, not recommended to do so because of the risks involved. It seems absurd to risk your life for the mere act of uncocking a crossbow.

As compared to today’s cool crossbows, old crossbows were not as solidly made. Besides injuring your hands, these modern bows are also so powerful that they may end up hurting your chest, stomach, and back.

Here are the three safest ways to uncock a crossbow. They do not pose major risks and are relatively easy for people who are not well acquainted with crossbows.

Method #1: Using Unloading/Decocking Bolts

 

 

  • Instructions

With the help of a decocking bolt, also known as a discharge arrow, you can safely uncock a crossbow. This is not your ordinary crossbow arrow. It is constructed from heavy-duty materials. As a result, the unloading bolts are durable enough to withstand frequent hits against the ground. It is important to note that some unloading arrows are for one-time use only.

To follow this method, replace the existing arrow with the decocking arrow first. The next step is to find a ground with a soft surface. Now is the time to fire the bolt. Make sure you are at least 5-6 feet away from the ground before you shoot the unloading arrow.

  • The Negative

Are there any drawbacks to this method? To begin with, a decocking bolt occupies two of the quiver’s slots (for regular arrows). Moreover, you should not perform this task on a hard surface. For instance, rock surfaces can cause the bolt to bounce off and hit you in the worst-case scenario. This calls for a softer surface. However, there is a risk that the arrow could bury into the soft surface.

Method #2: Using Discharge Targets

 

 

  • Instructions

Uncocking a crossbow with a discharge target is perhaps the safest and easiest method. But what exactly are discharge targets? You probably heard of the archery target. A discharge target is a type of archery target that is stuffed with thick material.

With it, even beginners can easily decock a crossbow. Chances for mistakes are slim. The target also allows you to retrieve arrows conveniently.

You are supposed to hit your arrow from a short range to the discharge target. Thanks to its thickness, the bolt won’t be able to penetrate through the item.

After you finish hunting, swap the hunting bolt for a field point bolt. Place the discharge target on the ground, then shoot the field point bolt at it, and you have successfully uncocked your bow.

  • The Negative

Although discharge targets are small and portable, carrying them around is quite a hassle. This is the only downside of the method.

Method #3: Using Crossbow Defusers

 

 

  • Instructions

Another method our experts recommend is using a crossbow defuser. It is a small tool or device that you have to install on your crossbow. Its job is then to hold the bow’s limbs. This enables you to release tension in a safe manner gradually.

It is crucial that you follow the instructions in the manual when setting up the defuser onto the crossbow. There should be a knob on the defuser once it is installed. Turn the knob, and you will see the crossbow’s limbs return to their default, unfired position. So there you have it, how to release crossbow without firing.

  • The Negative

There is no universal defuser, which is the problem. You have to check if the one you are purchasing is compatible with your crossbow model. In contrast, you may have difficulty carrying the defuser, much like the discharge target.

In short, if you were wondering how should a hunter safely unload a crossbow, these are the three methods you can use. You should follow the one that is most convenient and affordable for your situation.

More FAQs

 

  • How Long Can A Crossbow Stay Loaded?

You can leave crossbows loaded for as long as you want. However, it will be detrimental for the device if it stays loaded for more than 24 hours. Strings and cables get prone to premature stretching after a 24-hour period. It will negatively affect the performance of your crossbow.

  • Can You Shoot A Crossbow In Your Backyard?

It is fine for you to shoot a crossbow in your backyard since this is not a prohibited act, at least not that we know of. However, you do not want your neighbors to call the police on you simply because you were practicing crossbows. Hence, you should check your state and city laws before doing so.

  • What Should You Do When Operating A Crossbow?

While operating a crossbow, never forget to follow the unique guidelines given in the article. For beginners and even for experienced crossbow users, they are invaluable. If you do not want to leave any room for injury, make sure you follow the extra safety tips as well.

  • How To Carry A Crossbow Safely?

You will likely find a sling in the package that came with your crossbow. The sling lets you carry the device by putting it over your shoulder. The carrying method is unfortunately unsafe.

A belt-attached sling has been developed by some manufacturers. This technology is safer than the previous one.

It is safer to carry a crossbow in a backpack made especially for crossbows. These bags are part of crossbow hunting packs. This safe method comes with a price, however. Hunting packs are expensive.

  • How To Store A Crossbow?

There are different cases for crossbows. Get one of them and put your crossbow inside of it. You should keep the case in your house and avoid placing it in the basement or garage, or anywhere else that is hot. If you plan to store your bow for a long time, make sure you apply string wax regularly.

Final Words

The guidelines mentioned above are unique to the crossbow because it poses many risks. You can eliminate all the risks simply by following the guidelines. It does not matter what you use a crossbow for; you should adhere to the guidelines regardless of the purpose. This way, you can avoid injuries as well as keep the safest crossbow in great shape.

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