One of the most commong mistakes for the layperson who buys a bow but has no mentoring, no coach or instructor, just takes the stuff home from the big box, is the risk that the arrows will be shorter than the person's draw length. When that simple error happens, the person will pull the bow, draw the arrow back....and it will fall off the rest, and onto the bowhand. If the archer releases the bowstring, the arrow will be driven through the hand.
This does NOT happen when the newbie is at a JOAD, or part of a senior league course attended by a USAA certified instructor or coach!

This happens in the absence of a qualified teacher, usually alone at home, or with a couple of friends who likewise have never shot a bow nor know what to guard against! Here's an example: Overdraw           


While statistic show that archery is one of the safest sports, far safer than baseball, football, and even soccer,  target archery still has the potential to cause injury and death.   This is particularly true when the simple and easy-to-understand rules are not followed.   A few pictures have come through the internet, and they are displayed here as an encouragement to all, to be as careful as possible.

It is important to always inspect your gear, before you use it and WHILE you are using it.  Especially arrows!  Check this great article on inspections by Tom Barker.

Here are some examples of failed and injured arrows:  (if you click on a thumbnail, you'll need to use your "back" key in your browser, such as your backspace key, to return)




The series below show what happens when the archer uses an arrow that is too short, such that the arrow is overdrawn, falls off of the rest, and then is loosed.  Every NAA level 1 instructor is taught how to avoid this but not everyone has the benefit of such an instructor or coach.


These photos below are the result of a carbon arrow shattering/breaking.  Archers must always inspect their arrows (and bow and other/all gear) at appropriate times, such as first taking them out of bowcase, and after every end




Below is another example of the rules not being observed - hunting archery calls for even more diligence than target archery by its very nature.

Errant arrow pierces man's head
Associated Press — Oct. 14, 2001
BURLINGTON, Vermont — An Underhill man shot in the back of the head with an arrow while bow hunting is recovering slowly, according to his family members.
Ron Derouchie, 24, was recovering at home Friday, Oct. 12, after his brother, Brian, 22, fired an arrow into the back of his head.
The arrow penetrated Ron Derouchie's skull and pierced his brain, stepmother Wendy Derouchie said.
The family is worried about whether the arrow caused lasting vision damage.
Ron Derouchie is having trouble sleeping and not feeling well, but his outlook is good, she said.
"He has a lot of headaches," Wendy Derouchie said. "He gets really tired."
The brothers were hunting deer at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Underhill when the incident occurred, said Lt. Robert Rooks, acting chief of law enforcement for the Fish and Wildlife Department.
Police are treating the incident as accidental.
When Ron Derouchie shot, he bumped his brother, who had drawn his arrow back and was preparing to release it, Rooks said. The bump caused Brian Derouchie to swivel as he was shooting, and the arrow hit Ron Derouchie in the back of his head, Rooks said.
The fact that the brothers were standing close together prevented the accident from being worse, Rooks said.
"The arrow wasn't able to gain the momentum that it would, had it actually been released," he said.
Ron Derouchie remained conscious and walked from the woods with his brother, who was shaken by the incident, Wendy Derouchie said.
"As they came out of the woods, Ron was calming Brian down," she said.
Surgeons spent three hours removing the arrow.