If you’re new to indoor archery, there are some essential rules you should know. It’s not uncommon to see a few people from different walks of life shooting simultaneously. Some people shoot for fun, while others are serious competitors. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you need to know archery range etiquette. This article will concentrate on the five unspoken rules in archery you need to follow.

Stay On The Line

This is the number one rule that is not spoken about indoor archery. If the archer in front of you is shooting at full draw, and you leave the line, they can discern your movements through their peripheral vision. This could lead to an interruption. To avoid this, after shooting, look left and right and determine if the archer is beside you. If he is, remain on the line until they’ve completed shooting their arrow.

Another reason not to step away from the line is if you and the shooter are the only ones remaining on the line. Being on the line while the archer shoots their final shot is viewed as good behavior, and they won’t be left standing on the line on their own for their final shot.

No Need To Pick Fallen Arrows

You’ll often be nipping an arrow only to have it land at the other end of the line. If this happens to you, and it’s a regular occurrence, leave the arrow there. Don’t bend to pick it up. This is a bad idea and is a policy where the range officer will shout at you loudly if you try to reach over and grab it.

It’s more frequent with archers who use a recurve bow. Typically these bows have an arrow rest, but it doesn’t hold the arrow in place.

Whatever you do, remember that regardless of your bow, leave it there if the arrow falls on the ground. The ranges are extremely strict regarding the rules of indoor archery.

Do Not Cross Lanes

While you’re in a safe zone, you should respect the space of other archers. The archery range or competition venue has specific areas for each archer. There may be numbers on the floor to designate where each archer stands. Don’t stand in another archer’s space unless the range announces it in advance. This will keep everyone else safe. You can even ask a pro to show you the proper way to approach the line to shoot. But, again, don’t go over the line until the Range official gives you the go-ahead.

No Dry Firing At The Range

“Dry firing” pulls back the bowstring and then releases when there’s no arrow nocked. This is a massive no-no because it may damage the bow or the bowstring cable. If you search for “dry fire” on Youtube, many videos show archers ruining their bows.

Therefore, it’s evident that archery ranges won’t allow drying fire as it could cause damage to the rental equipment you’re using, and more importantly because it’s risky. When you dry fires and the bow or bowstring breaks, it could cause a projectile outwards and strike the person. It’s incredibly risky and not far-fetched for someone to imagine being blinded by a dry fire, so be careful.

Keep It Quiet

It is a rule that is not explicitly stated during archery competitions since speaking on the line could distract the archers around them from striving to shoot. Additionally, it’s also considered rude to speak too loudly in front of archers when they shoot. You can get removed from the range.

The best way to practice at an archery event is if there is space to move off the line and step some distance away before engaging in conversations. If the event is held in a smaller location with limited space, take a step back and ensure you maintain your voice low to be courteous to other archers. If you want to chat with another archer at the shooting line, you can wait until they’ve finished shooting or until everyone has walked downrange for a brief conversation.


If this is the first time you’ve prepared for an archery tournament, you must bear in mind the above-mentioned unspoken rules. These five archery rules that you’ll be required to know will make your experience at the range more enjoyable and smooth.