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Bow & Crossbow Safety

Like any other shooting skill, using a crossbow safely and accurately will require a combination of old and well-learned knowledge.

The four basic rules of firearm safety (TABK) apply to crossbow use and hunting.

Take these other steps to stay safe while using a crossbow

  • Always read and review the manual of your crossbow and follow all manufacture safety rules.
  • Never attempt to repair your crossbow unless you are properly trained, consider taking to a pro- shop for repairs or return to the manufacturer.
  • Crossbows have a safety! Most crossbows are on safe at the end of the cocking process. Immediately after cocking always check to make sure that your bow is on safe before doing anything else. This is very important!
  • Always use bolts/arrows recommended by the manufacturer and handle carefully. Protect yourself and the arrow points with a covered arrow quiver.
  • The safest way to carry, transport, and raise or lower a crossbow from a stand, is to have the crossbow un-cocked at all times.
  • Never dry-fire a crossbow. Crossbows have a draw weight of 125 to 290 pounds. The safest way to un-cock a crossbow is to fire a bolt into the ground or target.
  • Make sure that the limb tips are free of obstructions and your fingers, hand or arm is not in the string path at any time while the crossbow is cocked.
  • Although crossbows can be extremely accurate at great distances due to the slow velocity of the bolt/arrow, care should be taken not to take long shots at game. Most crossbows are incapable of beating an animal's reaction time at distances greater than 50 yards.

View educational videos and training aids to help educate yourself about crossbow safety

Crossbow education and safety information are made available by the North American Crossbow Federation (NACF). One of the primary crossbow training materials is Crossbow 101 [exit DNR] a 20-minute video. You may obtain other written materials that accompany Crossbow 101 by contacting the NACF [exit DNR].

TenPoint Crossbow Technologies offers Crossbow Training [PDF].

Youth Bow Safety

The NASP Program provides archery and bowhunting training and opportunities for young people.

Contact Information
For more information contact:
Law enforcement safety programs