Hunting Guide

Which safety guideline for using bows is unique to the crossbow?

The crossbow has played a vital role in the past, and now it is used in hunting and as a firearm in so many places. A crossbow is a bow mounted on an elongated frame called stock with a built-in mechanism that holds the string and releases the arrows called bolts or quarrels. 

Crossbow is being used for hunting extensively across the U.S. Every state of the U.S. except Oregon has legalized the use of crossbow for hunting and other recreational activities. Most of the states consider it as a firearm, and all the rules and regulations applicable to use the gun apply to the crossbow. It helps to ensure people’s safety and avoid any severe injuries.

Crossbows come with a unique set of rules and regulations, unlike the other kinds of bows. There are many factors of special rules for the use of the crossbow. A safety guideline is essential to ensure that the gear is handled carefully in the field or during transportation. 

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Safety Guidelines for using a Crossbow

  • Avoid the rails:

When your hands or fingers get caught in between the cocked string and the rail, things become disastrous. The advanced new crossbows are equipped with fore-end guards which protect your hand from getting caught in the rails. 

  • Be aware of your bolts:

You must be aware of the conditions of your bolt as it is essential. These crossbows should be in top-notch condition all the time. Just get the right and heavy bolts for your crossbow and check them properly before shooting them. 

If the bolts are not in good condition or are even cracked a little bit, they can explode on firing, which can be harmful. The explosion might cause the shards or sharp pieces of the graphite to get onto your face and hands. 

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The one-size-fits-all rule of thumb applied to all the other bows’ bolts does not apply to the crossbow bolt.

  • Adequate Backstop:

The crossbows shoot the bolt extremely hard to recover the bolt once it is shot. So it would help if you had enough backstop to ensure that your crossbow is capable of stopping the bolt from leaving the crossbow.

Be sure your backstop is in proper condition and capable of stopping a full-force arrow from your crossbow. Same as you would when shooting a rifle, ensure you’ve got a sufficient backstop when practicing shots.

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  • Avoid Dry-Firing:

Dry-firing is to fire your bow without an arrow or bolt inside it. Even without the bolt, firing a crossbow is extremely dangerous. Dry firing can be destructive to you and to the crossbow itself. It can damage your crossbow to a very great extent.

Most modern and advanced crossbows have a safety feature called an anti-dry-fire device that prevents your crossbow from firing unless there is a bolt in position. You should get the one with the top safety features to ensure the safety of yourself and the bystanders. 

If you dry-fire a crossbow accidentally, make sure you get it monitored by a professional before using it again. Avoid using a dry-fired crossbow at any cost.

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  • A Cocked Crossbow is like a Ticking bomb:

Even if you don’t have a bolt in place, think of your crossbow as a ticking bomb or a loaded firearm that can go off any minute if mishandled. A crossbow can wreak havoc if misused.

Please make sure you point it in the safe direction away from yourself and the others to avoid any unfavorable consequences. Treat it like a loaded firearm and store it in a safe place as well. 

  • Discharge/De-cock your bow after at the end of the day/game:

There is an immense amount of potential energy in the crossbow’s limbs; therefore, it should not be cocked for longer periods. It should be cocked for a shorter period to avoid any calamity. You should never let it be cocked overnight or for a whole day. Always de-cock it by shooting it out or using a rope-cocking device but be very careful as it can be dry-fired if done incorrectly. 

Discharging it now and then makes it less of a ticking bomb, and it also extends its life. Cocking the crossbows for longer periods can also crack its limbs, so better be safe than sorry.


Give your crossbow loads of attention, and make sure you follow all the safety guidelines before even buying a crossbow. Always see the type of nocks and bolts recommended by the manufacturer and never climb a tree stand with a loaded crossbow. Just treat it well and keep it maintained all the time, and you are good to go.

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