An average modern hunting bow casts an arrow with more than 60 foot-pounds of penetrating energy. When tipped with a streamlined and razor-sharp broadhead, such an arrow can cause significant damage beyond your animal — even if you hit that animal perfectly.
More than one bowhunter has killed or crippled a second critter standing behind the first one. Arrows commonly zip through broadside deer like hot knives through butter, with plenty of energy left over. And if you miss the target, your arrow steams along at even higher power until it impacts something solid. That “something” is usually a tree, log, or dirt bank. But the projectile can also hit an animal you were not shooting at.
Far worse, what if your arrow sails or skips out of sight and hits another hunter just over the horizon or hidden in the woods? Such tragic accidents have occurred on rare occasions, sometimes with fatal results. In a heartbeat, the sport you dream about can turn into a nightmare.
Always anticipate arrow flight beyond your animal, and never shoot unless you’re absolutely certain you can do so safely — without endangering other animals or humans. This might seem like a simple concept. If ignored, however, it could produce very complicated results.