The aim of this document is to provide a minimum safety standard which allows the sport of Archery to be practiced in a safe and professional manner by both Clubs and individual members of the BC Archery Association.

Most archery safety is a matter of exercising common sense, good judgement and courtesy. All members are responsible for their own safety and the safety of others. All members must read, understand and abide by this Safety Policy and/or the Safety Polices set by their Club.

This policy covers Outdoor and Indoor Target / Practice ranges.

Section 1: General Safety

  • Clubs are strongly encouraged to undertake a regular Risk Analysis of their facilities and activities to identify any potential risks and hazards.
  • If there is an identified risk the club should develop an action plan to manage that risk.
  • Clubs should either develop their own Safety Policy (in line with this policy) or adopt the BC Archery Association Safety Policy. The Policy should be distributed to all members and prominently displayed at the Club.
  • Clubs should ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage for both the Club Directors and the Club members through their memberships. Ideally, all Clubs and their Members should be members of the BC Archery Association, through which they would be members of the Archery Canada insurance policy. If Clubs have alternate insurance yet still
    have Club membership with BCAA, please make reference to the Guest and Short-Term Participant Insurance Policy on the BCAA website.
  • Shooting must cease immediately if a member of the public crosses the shooting range or moves behind the target butts. Shooting must not resume until all members of the public have reached a safe area. Be courteous to members of the public at all times.
  • Members who invite guests to the Club must ensure their guests comply with all safety rules.
  • Alcohol and drugs must not be consumed by anyone prior to or while shooting. No person may shoot when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Headphones or ear coverings must not be worn while shooting on the target/practice ranges.
  • Should an accident or injury occur during a shooting session, the victim should file an incident report and send it to the club secretary within 48 hours of the incident’s occurrence.
  • Should an accident or injury occur during an organised event or clinic sanctioned by the BC Archery Association, the person in charge must file an incident report to the BC Archery Association within 48 hours after the incident occurred.

Section 2: Target / Practice Range Layout

Outdoor Target / Practice Range

  • Shooting in residential areas, including your own residential property, is discouraged and not recommended.
  • If there is the possibility of uninvited public access onto the venue, warning signs and/or barriers must be erected to warn and protect members of the public. As an example, the warning signs should indicate “Danger, Archery Zone, No Entry Allowed”.
  • The shooting area should be smooth/flat and free of unnecessary objects.
  • The barriers will be at least at 50 metres beyond the longest target distance for the range. This area should be fenced or have a sign posted or both in order to prevent vehicle or pedestrian access.
  • The safety distance of 50 metres may be reduced if an adequate backstop, i.e. efficient netting, a bank or similar device, is erected (not a Hedge or penetrable fence). The backstop must be high enough to stop arrows which have just missed the top of the butts at the longest distance of the range.
  • Considerations should also be given to any distractions caused to the archers by movement of people, etc., behind the butts.
  • If a fence is to be used it should be constructed of such material to stop an arrow but also prevent undue damage to the arrow.
  • There should be a clear zone of not less than 20m on either side of the target/practice range. This area should be suitably fenced and/or sign posted.
  • Ideally, to prevent archers having the sun in their eyes (causing a hazard) the target/practice range should be laid out so that shooting is toward the north.
  • Preference should be given to setting up a target/practice range using a permanent shooting line and staggered target butts.
  • If the target/practice range is set-up using permanent target butts with a movable shooting line the club must develop shooting rules to ensure safety zones are enforced between targets of different distances.
  • There must be a safety zone of at least 3 metres behind the shooting line. The shooting line must be marked clearly.
  • This safety zone must be established with a minimum overshoot zone funnel (refer to Diagram 1).
  • When setting up an outdoor target facility, no diagonal shooting is allowed at the same time as shooting that is occurring perpendicular to the shooting line.
  • Archers from adjoining targets must not shoot in or enter the overshoot zone of another target.

Indoor Target/Practice Range

  • Shooting area should be smooth and free of unnecessary objects. A backstop net should be hung behind the targets and at least 1m between the net and the wall.
  • There must be a safety zone of at least 3m behind the shooting line. The shooting line must be marked clearly. During a competition this safety zone should be at least 5m.
  • When setting up an indoor target facility, no diagonal shooting is allowed at the same time as shooting that is occurring perpendicular to the shooting line.
  • For indoor tournaments the shooting line should not be staggered when two different distances are needed at the same time (e.g. youth distances). Instead, target butts should be placed at the different distances required.
  • The height of the shooting area must be at least:
    • 3m when shooting up to 35m
    • 4m when shooting between 40 and 45m
    • 5m when shooting between 50 and 55m
    • 6m when shooting 60m and more
  • Doors or windows situated in front of or beside the shooting line must be secured to prevent entry to range.

Section 3: Shooting Safety

  • All shooting should be under the control of a Director of Shooting, Field Captain, Range Safety Officer, Line Marshal or suitably qualified and experienced club official.
  • All archers on a target/practice range must shoot at the same time and move forward to retrieve their arrows at the same time, regardless of the layout of the field.
  • Archers do not approach the shooting line until signalled to do so by the official or safety officer. This can be done using a whistle, verbal command, light or flag system. (Verbal commands are not acceptable for tournaments)
  • Typical whistle signals are:
    • Two Blasts: Come to the Shooting line
    • One Blasts: Start shooting
    • Three Blasts: Stop shooting, retrieve & score arrows
    • Multiple Blasts: (5 blasts or more) Danger, stop shooting immediately.
  • There should not be more than 4 archers using the same target butt at the same time.
  • Bows must never be drawn back with an arrow fitted unless the bow is pointed toward the targets and the target/practice range is clear of archers and officials.
  • Sky-drawing–drawing the bow above the targets in a manner whereby if the arrow was loosed it could fly and land beyond the target butt–is considered to be unsafe and must not be used.
  • Never aim a bow, loaded or otherwise, at another person.
  • Never run on the target/practice range –walking pace only, especially while carrying arrows.
  • Any arrows that fall in front of the shooting line will be retrieved only after shooting the end has finished.
  • When crossing the target/practice range always walk behind all archers on the shooting line. Do not cause a fellow archer to stop shooting so you may cross in between them and the target.
  • Be careful not to disturb neighbouring archers when shooting or leaving the shooting line. Avoid bumping other archers with your bow or quiver.
  • When approaching a target, look for arrows that may be lodged in the ground.
  • Approach the target from the sides to avoid walking into arrows in the target.
  • When pulling arrows from the target, ensure there is no one standing in front of the arrows and always pull arrows out while standing to the side of the butt. Never pull an arrow toward your face.
  • At no time shall a person cause any interference to an archer or their equipment while they are shooting.
  • When looking for a missed arrow behind the buttress, the archer will warn person(s) in control of the target/practice range and other archers of his intentions.

Section 4: Equipment Safety

  • Buttresses should prevent rebounds while stopping the arrow and allowing retrieval.
  • Target stands may be made of wood and should be secured into the ground.
  • Archers must regularly check and maintain their equipment. Inspect for cracked limbs and risers, frayed strings, damaged arrows and nocks. It is the archer’s responsibility to ensure their equipment is safe to be used.
  • Always use matched arrows.
  • The archer must not use arrows that are cracked or too short for the archer’s draw length.
  • Never dry-fire a bow (i.e.: firing a bow without an arrow attached to the string).
  • All clubs are strongly encouraged to have a well-stocked and maintained First Aid kit.
  • World Archery How to Make an Archery Practice Range
  • Federation Canadian Archers Safety Regulations
  • Archery Australia Safety Policy and Guidelines
  • Archery Great Britain Archery Range Health & Safety Guidelines
  • Archery Great Britain Archery Guide to Setting up an Archery Range
  • South African Archery
  • Easton Archery Facility Planning Guide