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Some Archery Safety Rules

Archery Safety

Archery is a fun, sociable and exciting sport where you get to compete with your previous achievements with your friends, family or in a local club. There are many reasons why you should consider getting started in archery if you haven’t already! The sport is growing in popularity and as a result there are ranges everywhere that you can join and get involved with. Regular competitions and leagues are just waiting for you to join if you are a competitive person, and if you prefer less competitive activities archery is also great sport to take up as well. However, you should know some of the basic archery safety rules before you go.

Archery helps you with your mental acuity, lowers stress levels and is a great way to get some light to moderate exercise while having a good time. Getting to know the rules and various safety measures is very important. Different ranges will have some of their rules that you will need to follow, however there are some things you should know when you are getting started which are common to all ranges and clubs.

Basic Archery Safety Rules

Following the basic safety rules of archery will ensure that you have a good time while remaining safe at all times.

  • Always point your bow towards the target and never point your bow at anyone even if there is no arrow in it!
  • Do not fire an arrow up into the air because you won’t know where it could land! (Unless you are in a flight archery competition).
  • As you nock the arrow, keep your bow pointed towards the ground until you are instructed to shoot.
  • Do not draw your bow if there is anyone between you and the target.
  • It’s a good idea to wear an arm guard.
  • Using a bow stringer to restring your bow is highly recommended on safety grounds.
  • Before you start a session check your kit over. Ensure that the arrows are not splintering (if they are wooded) and that your bows limbs are in good working order. Check the bow string and if it’s beginning to fray then replace it straight away.
  • Take off any jewelry, necklaces and watches before you start your session.
  • At the end of your archery session unstring your bow.

Archery Range Rules

  • Learn all the range commands before you start, and obey range instructions at all times.
  • Leave your arrows safely in the quiver, or stuck into the ground if you are outdoors, until you are told to shoot.
  • Wear an arm guard and finger tab to protect yourself during firing.
  • Always keep your bow pointed towards the ground or the target once you have an arrow nocked.
  • Never run while on the range.
  • Never go forwards to the target until you are told to.
  • If you drop one of your arrows on the ground, wait until you are told it is safe to get it.

Range Commands – Whistles

It’s important that you learn the meaning of the different whistles so that while you are at the range you will know what you should be doing.

  • 1 Whistle Blast: You can nock your bow and begin shooting, keeping your bow facing the ground or the target at all times.
  • 2 Whistle Blasts: You can come forwards to the shooting line.
  • 3 Whistle Blasts: You can walk forward to the target line to collect your arrows.
  • 4 or More Whistle Blasts: This means that you should STOP firing immediately and put your arrow safely into your quiver or, if outdoors, you can stick it pointed downwards into the ground.

What is the correct order of commands for shooting archery?

The correct order of commands is:

  • 2 Whistle Blasts – You can come forwards to the shooting line.
  • 1 Whistle Blast – You can begin firing.
  • 3 Whistle Blast – You can go forward to the target line to get your arrows.

What is the Target Line in Archery?

The target line is a line that is drawn in front of the targets. The line is drawn 2 yards in front of the targets. When you are collecting your arrows after you’ve finished shooting, wait on the target line until you are told it is okay to get your arrows from the target. When you are pulling the arrows out from the target make sure that nobody is standing behind you! It’s safest to remove the arrows using two hands.

Archery  Scoring Sheet

For your archery session you can use an archery scoring sheet to keep track of your score during that day. It’s a good idea, and can be fun, to keep hold of your past scoring sheets so you can track your progress over time!

For a free, printable archery scoring sheet you can visit the Online Archery Academy Score Sheet Library, download a pdf and print it out for later use.

Archery Rules

  • All archers must obey all the rules of the range at all times.
  • Archers are allowed a maximum of 2 minutes to shoot an end of 3 arrows.
  • No arrow can be re-shot under any circumstances, although if you drop an arrow or misfire it from the bow then it can be considered as not having been fired.
  • If an arrow that has been fired bounces off the target or hangs down partially in the target then the arrow will be scored as the zone in which it made a mark.
  • If an arrow hits another arrow already on the target, then it will get the same points.
  • Archers are not allowed to raise the bow up until they have been instructed to start shooting (2 whistle blasts). If they disobey this rule, they may be penalized with point forfeits or even disqualification from a competition.
  • Archers must use the correct equipment in accordance with the competition or league rules (type of bow etc). This is so no competitor has an unfair advantage.


When using a standard 10 ring target, the highest score that a single arrow can get is 10 points, if it hits the inner gold ring. The lowest score that you can get is 1 point for hitting the outer white ring. If an arrow misses the target entirely then the arrow scores 0 points.

How do you score an arrow if it lands on the line between scores? If your arrow ever lands on any of the lines between two scoring zones, then you always score that arrow as the higher of two zones.

Rules To Get You Started in Archery

At first it can seem like there’s a lot to remember and so many rules to learn, but you’ll pick it all up very fast. The most important thing to always keep in mind is to be as safe as possible while you are at the range. Always listen out for and follow instructions, never run, respect others at the range and you’ll have a wonderful experience when you take up archery.

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Some Archery Safety Rules You should know

Photo by Aron Cody from FreeImages

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