It is good to remember that the purpose of archery for the first 10,000 years of its existence was to kill someone or something. This natural purpose makes it an inherently dangerous sport.
While not quite as dangerous as a firearm when left unattended, a bow and arrow can cause serious injury and death when not used safely. Archery safety rules, especially on target ranges are much like the safety rules used on firearms ranges. Since archery is something often taught to children at camps and even in school physical education programs, range safety rules are even more important and need to be very strictly obeyed.
The first archery safety rules are fairly basic. Never, under any circumstances, point an arrow at a person. Never, under any circumstances, fire an arrow straight up into the air. Never, under any circumstances, fire an arrow to a point where you can not see where it will land. Although these rules seem to be so very common sense orientated, the majority of archery related accidents will result from not following them. They need to be taken with the same seriousness as firearm safety rules.
Other archery safety rules have to do with target practice and target ranges. A target range should be closely monitored and should have a safe line beyond which no one should be standing when firing is taking place. It is recommended that there be a 20 yard zone of safety behind the targets, and a 30 degree cone of safety extending from the target as well. Ideally, the targets should be backed by a hill or rising terrain.
It is also important to follow basic common sense rules even when checking targets. Remember arrows are pointed objects. Injuries have taken place by running up to targets or when pulling arrows from targets. Many arrows are dangerous even when not being fired due to the points. Treat arrows with care at all times. This is especially true of broad head arrows. They should be handled with the same care you would use when handling razor blades.
Archery should be and usually is a very safe sport. The lethal history of the bow and arrow should never be forgotten, however. Everyone who uses bows and arrows regardless of their reasons, be they target practice or hunting, should be aware of and follow the basic common sense rules of archery safety. There is no excuse for even one archery related accident.