One day we’ll look back and laugh at the time I got shot in the eye…
Monday nights at Stowe Archers is reserved for a weekly Youth Program. Anyone under the age of seventeen is welcome to come out to the club and use our indoor range, free of change (equipment is available also). The program has become rather popular and a handful of the more active club members also turn out (some to bring their kids, others to lend a hand for the event). This makes for a good time to meet up with members and go over club business.
This past Monday I took a ride over to the club to meet up with a member and go over a couple of things for the upcoming Curt Peterson / Jim Mease Invitational. As we were finishing up, one of the youth participants came over and asked if we could lend a hand in adjusting the draw length on his new bow.
The process on this particular bow is simple, so the person I was talking to grabbed a set of allen wrenches and began making the adjustment. Once finished, he picked up the bow and drew the string back while pointing it in my general direction. Now, I didn’t get into guns until later on in my life but I’ve developed a strong discomfort for being downrange of anything that launches a potentially lethal projectile. I made an uncomfortable slide of out of the way while the bow was let down and handed to the youth to try out.
Changing the draw length on this particular bow, by two inches, substantially changes the draw weight. The youth archer wasn’t able to draw the bow back so he handed it back over to have the poundage adjusted. Just like before, after the adjustment was made, the bow was drawn back to be checked. Only this time, before I could make my uncomfortable slide out of the way, the string slipped and the bow was dry-fired part way through the draw cycle.
For anyone that doesn’t know, dry-firing a bow is very bad. At full draw a bow holds a lot of energy that, when released, is transferred to the arrow. When there is no arrow for the energy to be transferred to, bad things happen. You can wind up with bent cams, cracked limbs, or broken strings / cables.
In this case the relatively low poundage of the bow combined combined with the dry-fire happening during the draw cycle meant that there was no damage to the bow itself. Unfortunately, there was enough energy that the kisser button broke and was launched into the air. As luck would have it, the plastic button hit me in the eye.
When it happened I clasped my hand over my eye, turned away, and for one brief moment hoped that the pain wasn’t from a piece of something lodged in my eyeball. I pulled my hand away, checking for blood, and blinked a few times to clear my vision. The injury didn’t seem serious but I had my wife (soon-to-be LPN) take a look when I got home. She said something along the lines of sclera and superficial so I of course tried to play the sympathy angle (which didn’t work, by the way).
The moral of the story is this, use common sense. This was a minor injury that could have easily been avoided. I don’t tell this story to shame the guy that shot me in the eye, or to express any sort of anger, it’s a teaching opportunity. Accidents happen. Never point a bow at someone while you draw (even if it is ‘unloaded’) and if you happen to be on the downrange side of that bow – dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge!
I’m not one for dwelling on What If’s but had I been hit with the jagged side of that plastic button, I could be telling you an entirely different story that would probably involve my experience in the emergency room.