Bow Competency Test
Basic Criteria for Competency
- Can you correctly identify unsafe strings?
- Fraying of string or wrapping
- Stretch marks on loops
- String too short for the bow being fired
- Can you correctly identify unsafe arrows?
- Fletching insecurely attached
- Head damaged or coming unstuck, or frozen
- Shaft cracked or warped such that it will cause shots to behave unpredictably
- Nock insecure or cracked
- Can you correctly identify unsafe staves or mechanisms?
- Signs of cracking or lateral warping
- Insecure hand grip which could slip
- Cracked or overly grooved tips
- Can you correctly string and unstring your own bow?
- Unstring your bow when not in use.
- Can you correctly nock an arrow with the cock feather out and
draw to loose with safe and controlled technique?
- Don't dry fire a bow.
- Always clean the nocks on your arrows.
- Don't shoot the head.
- Can you judge safe declination?
- Do you know how to vary the power of the arrow for range?
- Don't clout people with the bow, even if it's latex covered.
- Don't shoot anything below minimum distance, 12 feet.
- Don't fire an arrow straight up.
Demonstrate the ability to string your bow, correctly nock, draw and loose ten arrows at designated targets and then unstring the bow. For at least some of these shots, the target will be the administrator holding a shield at different heights and ranges.
Examine the following pieces of equipment:
- One damaged arrow, identify all defects.
- Three bow strings, of which one is frayed beyond safety.
Fire an arrow at what you judge to be the highest safe declination which will not cause the arrow to overturn.
The administrator will ask at least five of the following questions. Incorrectly answering any one question requires correction at the end of the test, but is not an automatic failure. Incorrectly answering two questions will fail the applicant.
- When you pick up a fired arrow, what should you immediately check?
- Required answer: if the nock is clear of mud and other obstructions. Greater detail and thoroughness is always good though.
- What is the minimum safe firing distance?
- How should you carry a bow between uses?
- How would you parry a blow with your bow?
- Should the distance to target affect the length of your draw, and if so, in what way?
- As targets get closer to you, draw the bow to a shallower point in order to minimise the force with which your arrows hit the target.
- How should firing from a position of significant elevation affect your shooting?
- Extreme care is needed to ensure that arrows do not risk striking the head or overturning in flight. There are some situations where a slope will make it entirely unsafe to shoot.
- What is "Dry Firing"?
- Drawing and releasing the string without an arrow nocked. A capital crime.
- At what angle should arrow be nocked relative to the rest?
- Approximately 90 degrees relative to the rest on the stave, though some variance will result in rapid fire.
- When aiming at a relatively near target, would you aim above or below your target point?
- Below: arrows tend to jump on release.
- List at least three potential safety failures or damage points on your bow-stave which should be regularly checked during usage.
- Under what circumstances might you fire an arrow straight up?
This page last updated: 10th August 2004
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