Hunter aiming crossbow

Crossbow Safety Tips

How to keep yourself and others safe while on the range or out hunting.

by Wade Middleton

Crossbows have evolved both in features and speed in the past decade. During that time, I had a chance to spend time testing and hunting with the fantastic lineup of TenPoint & Wicked Ridge Crossbows. The lineup of crossbows for both brands ranges from entry-level price point models to top-of-the-line crossbows that can be outfitted with a variety of magnification accessories, such as the Garmin Xero X1i crossbow sight.

When choosing from those two legendary brands, you will be sure to find a crossbow that fits your needs based on the model, price point, energy, and speed you want to put into the target. Once you choose a crossbow, get it home and open the box, you will notice it comes with a complete set of well-thought-out instructions that make it easy to set up and sight-in your crossbow. I suggest you read the directions first, then go back and begin to build your crossbow, set it up, and shoot it.



Man reading directions for crossbow

Always read the instructions, SAFETY FIRST!

This is why I said above to read the directions before starting to build your crossbow. Safety is something that we cannot reiterate enough on really anything. Always pay attention to the different safety components, do not assume! I’ve built a lot of different crossbows, and while all are similar, they all have different parts that you need to learn about and understand.

Safety on anything you shoot is important and is no different when using a crossbow, giving your crossbow a good once over before using it is key. I always check out and pay attention to the limbs, cables, and strings. Look for any damage that may have happened in shipping or while you are on a hunt. Let’s say the crossbow gets knocked around while traveling or is dropped inadvertently during a hunt, something could end up going wrong if not checked. Crossbows are a mechanical device so always assume and look at everything. It’s what I do with any firearm, compound bow, and even my fishing gear.



Man aiming crossbow

Make sure BOTH HANDS are below the flight deck when holding and aiming the crossbow.

Next thing I always tell someone when they shoot a crossbow for the first time is be mindful of where our hands are. It is important to pay attention to your hand positioning on the crossbow. Make sure everything is below the flight deck when holding and aiming the crossbow; do not get your fingers above the flight deck or anywhere there is a moving part.



Close up of safety mechanism on a Wicked Ridge crossbow

The safety on these crossbows is remarkably similar to that on any firearm.

Another thing to keep in mind is the safety on your crossbow. The safety on these crossbows is remarkably similar to that on any firearm. When you go from safety to the fire, remember the safety is still a mechanical device. It can fail. Follow the same four safety rules you would if you were handling a firearm.


  • Always keep your firearm (in this case, a crossbow) in a safe direction. Never point your crossbow at anything you do intend to shoot.
  • Treat all crossbows as if they are loaded.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger (and under the flight deck) until you are ready to shoot.
  • Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.


Pay attention to your surroundings if you are at the range or out hunting because if you miss your target, the arrow can skip off the ground and travel a long distance, inflicting significant damage on someone you may not see, the wrong deer, or even livestock. Just like a firearm, make sure you know what is around and behind your target before shooting.



Crossbow hunting is just another means and method to enjoy the outdoors and hunt big game!

We are excited that you have purchased or are interested in getting into the sport of crossbows! You can easily find tons of question-and-answer videos on TenPoint’s Youtube Channel, our YouTube Channel. TenPoint’s website is a great resource as well to learn a lot more about crossbows, how they are set up, and perform out in the field.


***See the rules and regulations for your state here AND check with your local Wildlife Enforcement Agency***

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