Missouri Department of Conservation to host free archery clinics (copy)

Missouri bow hunting season reopened this Wednesday, and the Missouri Department of Conservation wants to remind hunters of safety measures and common mistakes that are made with archery.

“I think folks haven’t practiced enough with their equipment,” said Gary Miller, captain of law enforcement for the conservation department’s Northwest Region. “Just like we preach with target practice for firearms, it’s probably even more imperative that they practice with a bow.”

When practicing, keep a consistent stance and make sure to have a slightly loose grip. A tighter grip can cause too much torque on the bow and other problems to arise.

“They need to be familiar with the equipment that they’ve chosen and know their range when they’re shooting,” Miller said. “This can really only be done on a practice range so hunters can see what their equipment can do.”

Look for any fraying on the arrows, as this can result in a string breaking while the bow is in full draw.

“Make sure that your bow strings are waxed routinely and then check the string,” Miller said. “You never want to fire a dry bow because it puts so much pressure on the limbs of that bow and the string it can cause major damage.”

A fall rest system is recommended for those who will be using a tree stand, which includes a full body harness and alignment rope.

“Make sure you know the stand is safe if you are using a manufactured stand,” Miller said. “Sometimes the nuts and bolts will loosen over time and year after year.”

Another safety tip is to leave the bow or firearm on the ground while you’re climbing.

“Attach it to a tow rope that you can pull up after you have made it into your stand and are secure,” Miller said. “If you are using a firearm, make sure it is unloaded.”

Hunting can be carried out 30 minutes prior to sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.

For more information on hunting season and regulations, visit huntfish.mdc.mo.gov.

Archery season will continue through Jan. 15, with permits costing $9.50 for youth, $19 for resident and $265 for non-resident hunters.