Safety Tips & Rules

Archery Safety Tips & Rules

Every sport has rules and archery is no exception. The good news is that archery’s rules are clearly defined and very simple to understand. Below, you’ll find the basic guidelines of most archery ranges,. Still, archers are strongly encouraged to work with the certified archery instructor at their local range or pro shop to understand each location’s unique rules.

On the archery range, safety is the first priority. Though archery is one of the safest sports, rules are designed to keep everyone safe and to facilitate fair play in competition.

First, there are 3 key terms

The waiting line is exactly what it sounds like: a line that keeps archers in a designated waiting area until it’s their turn to begin shooting. In reality, this line can be a few yards or several feet behind the shooting area, but it is almost always clearly designated.

The shooting line marks where archers stand when actually shooting their bows. In World Archery and USA Archery sanctioned target archery tournaments, archers stand with one foot on either side of this line. In National Field Archery Association tournaments, archers stand directly behind the line.

The target line is often present at archery ranges, and is a line about 3-4 feet in front of the targets, which acts as a “speed bump” for younger archers approaching the targets to pull their arrows. Some instructors will ask archers to wait at the target line and take turns advancing to retrieve their arrows.

So how do these lines actually apply to shooting?

Archers have to have a way of communicating with pro shop staff or coaches, and this communication is done using a whistle system. USA Archery, which follows World Archery rules, recommends the following whistle commands:

  1. Two whistle blasts: archers may proceed from the waiting line to the shooting line.
  2. One whistle blast: archers may place an arrow on the bowstring and begin shooting.
  3. Three whistle blasts: archers may walk forward to the targets and pull their arrows.
  4. Four or more whistle blasts: stop shooting immediately.

When pulling arrows, there are a few guidelines that must be observed.

  1. Archers are always expected to walk on the archery range.
  2. When retrieving arrows, archers approach the target slowly and go to either the right or left side of the target to pull.
  3. Archers always look behind them carefully before pulling each arrow.
  4. Additional guidelines may apply.
  5. All archers are advised to follow the rules of the archery range where they choose to shoot


Adapted from: Archery 360 – Archery for Beginners