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For children, a bow and arrow may mean playing Robin Hood and catching the bad guys. But true archery can be a dangerous sport and definitely isn't child's play. If you're interested in trying out an archery shooting range, you must remember that you're dealing with a potentially dangerous weapon. By remembering three general safety rules, you can live out your Robin Hood-esque dreams without posing a hazard to anyone else.
Appoint a Field Captain
Never shoot around other people unless a field captain has been appointed. A field captain is assigned to watch the range with eagle eye vision from the shooting line. Armed with a whistle, he can send out a warning if someone walks onto a range or if there is possible danger present. Without a field captain, you could be shooting blindly in the range.
Watch Your Aim
Before the arrow ever leaves your bow, you need to be conscious of how and where you're aiming. You should never aim your arrow at another person and you should never shoot your arrow into an area where you can't see a clear target, such as when shooting in a forest. Never point and shoot your arrow straight up into the air, either. If you're not planning to aim and shoot at a clear target from the shooting line, don't shoot at all.
If people are practicing at differing shooting distances, the targets should be staggered -- not the shooters. The shooting line should remain the same for all archers.
Don't Cross the Line
Archers aren't perfect, and from time to time they might drop a bow or other piece of equipment across the shooting line. While it might be tempting to scoop up a wayward arrow quickly, no one is to cross the shooting line until the field captain blows the all-clear whistle. Only then may you cross the line and retrieve arrows. If you have to grab an arrow from behind a target, leave your bow leaning against the face of the target for other archers to see. Count on your field captain to let you know when it's OK to begin shooting again.
The archery range can be a dangerous place if all safety protocols are not strictly followed. Remember that you're using a dangerous weapon, not a toy. Never shoot an arrow when you're under the influence of alcohol, and pay attention to any warnings that the field captain gives. Also, it's important to always check your bow for cracks or signs of damage before you begin a session. A broken bow could cause wayward arrows and lead to serious danger.