You guys might remember my post on safety a few months back. I originally thought that would not happen to a recurve shooter, that shooting yourself through the hand can only happen with compound bows. I also believe the common wisdom that aluminum arrows do not shatter like carbon arrows.
Well, twice in two weeks, I have seen arrows shatter at the range. I´ve never seen that before in all the time I´ve been practicing, and now I´ve witnessed it two more times than I care to.
Two weeks ago I saw it happen in front of my eyes. I was on the shooting line, minding my own, and trying to get my release right, when I saw a weird movement on a shooter two spots down the line. I turned my head to see him, and while I was puting my bow down, and I noticed that instead of using the middle of the chin anchor we teach, he was puling the string to behind the ear. I began to say “Put your bow d…” but before I said “down”, he released the arrow…an arrow that he had pulled behind the arrow rest (I could not see that, the head of the shooter between me and him obscured his bow.) His arrow hit the backside of the bow, shattered, and the front part of the arrow flew towards my head. Luckily I had the reflexes to move my head out of the way…
I thought this was just a fluke, a one in one thousand chance, until it happened again this Saturday. Thanks to the exposure that archery is getting because of The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Brave, and Green Arrow, we are getting thousands of new archers. Our training has not changed. We still take the same care we always do, but some archers are so excited that they forget the instructions fairly quick.
We had a conversation between all the instructors at the range. We decided that until the archers have more experience, we are only going to teach and reinforce an anchor on the chin. No side of the smile with the index finger or string to the side of the mouth. We are also going to give arrows to the novice shooters that protrude more than four inches in front of the fingers, instead of the traditional 2.5 inches. We will also keep a keen eye on the novice shooters.
Please be safe, and have fun.