Elk NetworkStaying Safe During Archery Season

General | August 16, 2018

If you’re an archery hunter, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has some simple tips to keep you safe.

RaLynne Takeda, assistant Hunter Education coordinator for the DWR, says archery hunting doesn’t involve firearms, but it does present two unique risks. “Every year,” she says, “we receive reports of hunters falling from trees or jabbing themselves or other hunters while carrying arrows in their hands.”

Another risk is letting an arrow fly without being certain what’s behind the target. Arrows, especially carbon arrows, can hit with great force at distances as far as 100 yards from the point of release.

“Hunting is one of the safest and most enjoyable activities you can participate in,” she says. “It’s easy to reduce both of the risks I mentioned.”

Utah’s general archery buck deer and archery elk hunts start Aug. 19. Takeda provides the following tips to keep you safe:

Tree stands

Before placing a portable tree stand in a tree, look at the stand’s weight rating. Make sure it will support both your weight and the weight of your equipment.

“Hunters sometimes forget to factor in the weight of their equipment,” Takeda says. “If the combined weight of your body and the equipment is greater than the weight the stand can support, it could easily collapse, sending you and your equipment to the ground below.”

Another risk is falling while you’re climbing a tree. Falling from your stand, once you reach it, is also a risk. “Before you start climbing,” Takeda says, “attach an approved safety harness, also called a fall arrest system, to yourself and the tree. And keep it attached until your hunt is over and you’re on the ground again.”

Another risk is trying to carry your equipment with you, as you climb the tree. “Don’t do that,” Takeda says.

Instead, attach a haul line to your equipment, leaving plenty of slack in the line. Then, attach your safety harness to the tree and start climbing, holding the haul line in one hand or tied to your belt. After you’re on your stand, use your haul line to lift your equipment to you.

Takeda also reminds you that it’s illegal to build a tree stand on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. “Only portable stands can be used,” she says.

Uncovered arrows

Another risk is carrying arrows in your hand, or nocking one in your bow, before you’re ready to shoot. Broadheads are extremely sharp.

“Every year,” Takeda says, “we receive reports of hunters stabbing themselves, or someone walking near them, while carrying arrows in their hands that should be in a quiver.”

Takeda says you should not remove arrows from your quiver until it’s time to shoot. “It only takes a few seconds to remove an arrow from a quiver, nock the arrow and shoot it,” she says. “The few seconds you’ll save, carrying arrows in your hand or nocked on your bow, aren’t worth it.”

(Photo source: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)