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10 Most Common Archery Accidents & How To Avoid Them

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Tim Rhodes

Here we have got you covered with the 10 most common archery accidents and how you can prevent yourself from a potential accident.

Were you just lucky enough to have a brand new “Bow and Arrow “ as one of your birthday presents?

Or, perhaps it is something that you have always wanted.

Anyways, archery is indeed an adventurous sport.

Archery is deemed to be one of the safest sports of all.

While that might be true, this thrilling sport still causes a lot of common injuries.

These common injuries can also get deadly at times.

If you are a beginner who just got his pair of bow and arrow then you are in the right place, pal.

Within no time you will get to know how to avoid some of the most common accidents in archery.

Table of Contents

1. Dry Firing

Well, dry firing is one of the most common causes of archery accidents and hence makes it to the list for quite obvious reasons.

This is indeed a common mistake with novices.

As the name suggests, “dry firing” basically refers to firing your bow without an arrow.

Beginners usually find it intriguing to try out their new bow.

They end up mimicking a shot but without an arrow.

This can cause accidents.

At the least, it will end up breaking your bow and might as well hurt you in the worst scenarios.

Compound bows are usually more prone to breaking as compared to the old school wooden bow and arrows.

This is because of the presence of those small mechanical parts.

Dry Firing might end up breaking your bow into pieces and throw them back at your face or other parts of your body.


Although dry firing usually ends up breaking the bow or the string, it can also hurt you very badly at times.

To stay safe from all those potential accidents, threats, and injuries caused due to dry firing, here are some steps that you can follow:

  • Never try to dry fire your bow
  • Always practice with an arrow to stay away from accidents

2. String Slap

Did you ever get a string slap?

If not, then perhaps you ain’t a true archer.

String slaps are the symbols of a successful archer.

Almost every archer out there has had a lot of string slaps in his life.

Remember, if you are a beginner, you might end up getting bruised on your arms frequently.

These are nothing but called “string slaps”.

These might get very painful at times.

As a novice, you might think of moving on with another game once you get a string slap.

While a string slap is usually common with novice archers, it happens with experienced archers as well.

The bruises might get nasty at times.

The arms are the most affected part of your body with a string slap.

In the worst cases, you might end up with a red and black swollen arm and a lot of pain and burning(of course).


Believe me when I say string slaps hurt very bad.

Sometimes, you might not be even able to lift your hands.

Follow these steps to stay away from these nasty string slaps if you don’t want to hurt yourselves.

  • Get yourself a good arm guard to protect you from those potential string slaps
  • This will reduce a substantial amount of pain from string slaps
  • Maintain a good posture while shooting and avoid fatigue
  • Take rest if you are tired
  • Don’t have a very tight grip on the bow rather try to have a loose yet firm grip

3. Improper Shots

Next in the list is perhaps the most common among beginners.

Let me tell you that Improper shots here don’t mean taking a shot the wrong way.

It means the shots that archers take which they are not supposed to or should not.

These refer to the shots that are not a part of the usual or normal archery.

One of the most dangerous improper shots is the “Amateur Straight Up” shot.

Sometimes, curious beginners try shooting straight up to the sky to see what happens without thinking of the deadly consequences.

The arrow might come down and pierce straight through someone’s head or face.

In the worst cases, people can also die from such a shot.

Not just you, but the people around you who are unaware of the fact might get hurt very badly.

Archers should not try such improper shots just for the sake of curiosity.


You should make sure you follow these steps to stay away from such archery accidents and not hurt other people as well.

These are some of the important things that you need to take care of:

  • Never try such an improper shot that has the potential to hurt someone and violates the normal and usual archery
  • Practice good archery with proper shots under the guidance of an experienced person
  • Never fire such a shot in a place where people are nearby

4. Lack Of Proper Knowledge & Carelessness

It’s only true that a lack of proper knowledge about anything can be dangerous.

When we talk about a sport like archery, people need to be careful and have proper knowledge of all the archery terminologies and practices.

Beginners usually try to skip this part and handle the bow and arrow carelessly.

This can result in a potential accident.

Improper and careless handling can end up hurting you or someone else.

Having proper knowledge before moving on to practicing is a must, especially for beginners.

While Archery is considered to be one of the safest sports, people should be careful enough and not take it for granted.


This might not sound dangerous but trust me this can cause a lot of accidents if people act carelessly.

To do with all such potential accidents, here are some of the safety measures you should take care of:

  • Have a good knowledge of all the terminologies and shooting methods before you move on to practice the actual thing
  • Always handle the bow and arrow carefully
  • Make a shot after ensuring all the proper stuff like the bow grip, draw length, and others to avoid accidents

5. Cross-Check Your Target & Nearby Places

Many cases have been reported earlier where nearby people have been hurt by an arrow.

This happens when there are people nearby and you don’t take a look at your target carefully.

There’s this man who luckily survived after an arrow went straight through his neck piercing through the other side.

The stuck arrow was surgically removed thereafter.

Not just this, a lot of other innocent people have been hurt very badly in the past.

Well, you would never want to end up as a murderer, isn’t it?

After all, you just took up archery as an adventurous sport in the first place.

Hurting someone so badly would not be great at all.


In case you don’t want to end up becoming the reason for someone’s death, make sure you take proper safety measures.

Follow these steps to avoid such accidents and ensure the safety of others nearby:

  • Cross-check your target and the places nearby
  • Most importantly, check what is present behind your target
  • Practice in a proper shooting range and away from places where people are nearby

6. Weak Or Small Arrows

The arrow is everything to a bow.

Well, yes the arrow is what lets you make the shot and has the potential to even kill the target.

That being said, an arrow can also backfire on you.

If your arrows are relatively small or are weak and have cracks on it, you might end up with some gruesome injuries and excruciating pain.

This is something that I’m personally most afraid of.

The arrow can break at times and fire small splinters all over you.

The hands usually suffer the most number of injuries.

A lot of people have gone through such accidents where the parts of the broken arrow backfire and pierce through their hands and fingers.

This can get very painful and dangerous.

A guy got hurt the same way and wasn’t able to move his injured hands for a couple of months.


While these accidents usually cause injuries on the hands, the pain gets extremely unbearable at times.

To avoid such dangerous accidents, follow these safety checks to stay safe from potential injuries:

  • Flex-test your arrow for weakness and cracks or broken arrows
  • Invest in some good quality arrows
  • Repeat the test a couple of times to ensure everything’s fine
  • Stay away from smaller arrows and avoid using them

7. Breast Bruises & Face Injuries

Breast Bruises are perhaps the most common accidents that happen with archers.

While breast bruises usually deliver a lot of pain, an injury on the face can be quite deadly.

Imagine an arrow backfiring right back at you.

How about an arrow splinter piercing right through your eyeballs?

That won’t be great at all, isn’t it?

Breast bruises are mainly caused due to string slaps or backfiring.

This is again because of mishandling the bow and arrow without proper knowledge.

Breast bruises and minor face injuries are common among archers, especially for novices.

You would never want to get hurt on your face or would you?

No, right?

Well then, you need to be very careful about that every time to pick up your bow to take a shot.

After all, it depends on you in the first place how you choose to avoid accidents and injuries.


With proper cautionary measures and safety measures, you can stay away from all such potential accidents and threats.

Well, a breast bruise might be painful but a face injury can get deadly at times.

Take care of these few things if you don’t want to end up with an arrow stuck deep inside your face:

  • Wear safety goggles and other protection on your face to prevent yourself from an accident
  • Use proper clothing to stay safe from breast bruises
  • Thick clothing can help reduce a lot of pain

8. String Torque & Friction

When it comes to archery, the string plays the most important role.

After all, the string brings all the force to shoot the arrow piercing right through the target.

Someone who is not an archer might think that all you got to do is just pull the string and release it to make the shot.

Let me tell you pal that you are wrong. There is way more than that.

A slight torque can break the string and hurt you badly.

That’s why handling a string the proper way is very crucial.

You need to apply the exact amount of torque along with a proper draw length to make a safe shot without getting hurt.

Not just that but twisting the string a lot and holding it a wrong way can rip off the skin on your fingers.

Many archers also get a lot of finger blisters due to high friction between their fingers and the string.

While this might not be that dangerous of an accident, it still hurts a lot.

And breaking the string will, of course, give you some great deal of pain in case you get hurt.


No accidents should be treated as small.

You don’t know when things get worse.

It’s always better to stay away from such potential accidents and practice preventive measures.

These are some of the safety measures that you should never forget to take care of.

  • Do not put a lot of torque on the string and avoid twisting the string
  • This will save you from breaking the string and getting hurt
  • Have a slight yet firm grip on the string rather than applying a lot of friction to keep your fingers safe from accidents and injuries

9. Faulty Equipment & Choice Of Arrows

In case you don’t know, many accidents and injuries happen because of sharp and broadhead arrows.

These are usually meant for hunting.

Being a beginner or just for the sake of practice, using a broadhead arrow or other such arrows can prove to be fatal.

Other than that, accidents are most probable to occur if you are using faulty equipment.

A bow or arrow with cracks, loose parts in a compound bow, an overtight/ slacking string can always lead to some kind of accidents.

Not just this but there is a lot of other such stuff that leads to accidents sometime or the other.

Even if there are no such noticeable faults with the bow and the arrows, there might still be chances of accidents if they are not of good quality.

A weak bow or an arrow can easily break and hurt you in a lot of possible ways.

They have the potential to give rise to a lot of accidents.

A good quality bow and arrow minimizes the risk of such accidents.


To stay away from accidents caused due to such faulty equipment, broadhead arrows, or other sharp and dangerous arrows, you should always take proper safety measures.

Here are some important checks that you need to take care of to avoid such accidents.

  • Invest in good quality bow and arrows rather than some cheap quality ones
  • Always check for cracks in the bow and arrows before you shoot
  • Also, check for the string whether it is extremely tight or loose and slacking
  • Use broadhead arrows only when necessary and not for fun
  • Remember, its not a plaything. As a beginner or for practice sessions, use normal arrows

10. Muscle Strain

Archery involves the use of a lot of muscles and ligaments in your arms.

Many times archers suffer from muscle strain, tendonitis, and other such repetitive injuries.

These strains may go away soon but can remain for a long time as well.

It is quite obvious that you won’t be able to move your arms if you get a strain.

Strains also can get quite painful at times and they cause a lot of discomfort.

Prolonged practice can damage your rotator cuffs and cause a lot of pain as well.

Sometimes improper forms and postures also lead to severe strains and other such accidents.

Beginners usually get strains because of an improper posture of the wrong technique of drawing the bow.

Other archers get strain because of prolonged practicing or other such stuff.

At times you won’t be even able to move your arms for months until you recover.

Nobody would want that to happen in any instances, isn’t it?


Strains and sprains can be prevented pretty easily.

These are those kinds of accidents that can be avoided easily as compared to others which cant be predicted.

So, just follow these simple steps to stay away from such accidents that might occur because of your carelessness.

  • Warm-up your body and stretch your arm muscles with light exercises before shooting
  • Maintain proper posture and techniques when you make a shot
  • Take rests in between your archery sessions and avoid it during fatigue

It is very important to know about all the common accidents that happen in archery if you are a beginner or planning to take up archery soon.

This makes you aware of the potential injuries that can occur and helps you avoid them by taking preventive measures.

As told, “Prevention is always better than cure”, you should always have the proper knowledge.

That being said, these were the 10 most common accidents that are likely to occur in archery.

Well, now you have got a better idea of such potential accidents and how to avoid them.

Things To Know As A Beginner Before You Start

These are only the 10 most common injuries but a lot more accidents occur as well.

Some of them are fatal and some are not so dangerous.

However, it’s up to you to stay safe and avoid those accidents.

If you are careful and take every step after proper analysis and with proper care, you are saving yourselves from a lot of potential accidents.

As an end note, here are some important points that you need to ensure to stay safe from any potential accident in the future.

Before beginning the real archery sessions, beginners should know all the proper postures, handling techniques, and shooting techniques as well.

Always invest in some good quality equipment.

As a beginner, you don’t have to start with those killer arrows rather go with a normal arrow for practicing.

Never forget to warm up before sessions.

It is highly recommended to practice light exercises every time you go for archery to loosen up your muscles and avoid strains and cramps.

Never practice or fire an arrow before you check the target and the places behind it.

Also, make sure to look at all the nearby places to see if there’s nobody around.

Most important of all, use proper safety gear and equipment such as arm guards, safety glasses, and others.

Last but not least, practice good and safe archery.

Never indulge in improper shots or stuff like dry firing.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of archery.

You are good to leap further on your journey to becoming the next Hawkeye.

Its time for practice, pal.

Always keep in mind that you ought to be careful and practice good and safe archery to avoid archery accidents in the first place.

Well, now you already know how to prevent some of the most common archery accidents, isn’t it?

The key, however, remains on how careful you are about everything.

If you are careful enough and always think before you do something, you have a very low probability of having an accident.

Enough talking now, go pick up that bow, put an arrow, and fire a marvelous shot.

There’s a long way for you to go before you can call yourself an experienced archer.

Time for practice!

After all, practice makes a man perfect.

Cheers and good luck!

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