As crossbow manufacturers continue to make performance improvements to crossbow designs, they also strive to make these designs safer to use. Thousands of new and experienced crossbow hunters will enter the woods this fall, and whether you are a novice or an experienced crossbow shooter, safety should be on your mind EVERY TIME you pick up your crossbow.
Here are some safety tips to help you familiarize yourself with the proper use of your crossbow and to help reduce the chance that you could have an accident in the field:
1. Thoroughly read all literature and review any DVDs or recommended online videos relating to your crossbow PRIOR TO assembly.
2. When purchasing a crossbow at a store, have the dealer assemble it for you and demonstrate how to properly cock, load, and fire it.
3. ALWAYS follow ALL of the manufacturer’s recommendations that relate to maintenance, proper handling, and crossbow arrow weight, length and nock-style requirements.
4. Check your string and cables for wear prior to each use and regularly apply string wax or conditioner – if you find any broken strands, have the string and cables changed prior to shooting.
5. Have regular string and cable changes performed based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
6. Know the maintenance requirements for your trigger mechanism, as failing to maintain it properly can cause a potential safety mechanism failure and an unsafe shooting condition.
7. Regularly check all bolts on the crossbow for tightness.
8. Learn and master the proper and safe steps for cocking the crossbow.
9. Be sure that the flight rail is clean and properly lubricated.
10. Educate yourself on how to safely load an arrow without placing your hand in the path of the bowstring.
11. Before shooting, inspect each arrow and tip for any damage from a previous shot – NEVER shoot an arrow or tip that is dented or damaged.
12. After loading the arrow, be sure to check that it is pushed all of the way back into the trigger box, and that the nock is making proper contact with the string.
13. Practice cocking, loading and firing your crossbow prior to field use to develop a safe handling routine.
14. When shooting, whether from a rest or from your shoulder, always be aware of the location of your fingers on the foregrip of the stock, and be sure to keep them out of the path of the bowstring. If your crossbow has safety wings, be sure to keep your fingers below them.
15. Always make sure that the bow assembly is positioned without obstructions to the limbs and cams as they move outward from the flight rail as the string moves forward during the shot.
Have fun, be safe and happy hunting!
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