Please read these threads carefully as any and all links to the relevant Laws & Regs re the use of the bow & arrow to take game such as Fish, Birds, etc will be up dated as relevant information comes to hand.
This will hopefully eliminate the constant revisiting of the same questions...can I, can't I etc, but more importantly it will be the correct answer to the question & may save someone ending up in court because of misinformation.
Thank you to those that have in the past cited the correct information & provided the necessary links, this is just to try & keep them together in one place.
To start this off we shall look at;
Laws regarding Archery in the back yard.
There is currently NO law regarding shooting in the back yard in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria or Territories that I could find.
This information is basically for New South Wales though it may be relevant for other states however its degree of relevance for other states is yet to be researched by me.
The legal landscape:
In NSW, the bow is not covered under the Prohibited Weapons Act. However various other acts impact on its use. Like the Criminal code, Game and Feral Animal Control Act. Most are not applicable to the activity of back yard archery except for the Criminal Code, where a person may by his/her actions create cause another person to fear an action or a consequence. This is the basis of an assault charge.
Legislation and Common Law:
It is important to note that the all in Australia is simplistically made up of two parts. First as discussed above is legislation. Legislation is laws that have been passed by Acts of Parliament. The other is a more fluid law and it is generally referred to as the "Common Law". Generally Common Law is judge made law. This means as events happen, Judges decide what is the reasonable course of action and then judge pass the solution via their judgment.
Why is Common Law Relevant:
There are certain areas of law that are only exist in Common Law. Such concepts have never been passed by parliament though we are all expected to comply with them as it is deemed that an ordinary normal person living in NSW would reasonably comply. One such area is the area of trespass.
If you own the land
The common law relating to rights attached to land are that one may enjoy the rights of use over that area of land you own. This means that a person has rights to dig into the bowls of the earth or fly a kite as high as it will go. There are some special legislation that in reality limits your actions like acts governing obstruction of aircraft and law relating to sewerage and other essential services. However that is the basic starting point.
In the backyard that you own you may fire you bow.
If you rent your backyard?
If you rent the property that you stay on then you do not own it and your rights are slightly different.
In a rental property you have rights of occupancy but unlike a true owner the tenant does not have any rights of destruction. This is relevant to archery in the back yard because if you miss and hit the fence, or any party of your rented property you will be in breach of your lease. If this was to happen, the worst case scenario would be the cancellation of you lease for breach of your lease terms. The tenant would also be strictly liable for any and all damage that shot caused to the landlords property. In a best case scenario you would still be up for the cost of the repairs.
How do we lessen the risk in rented property situation?
Generally in most leases any willful destruction of the property by the tenant is grounds for cancellation of the lease. Thus the main method it’s that one does not destroy the property in any way. The following methods are just suggestions and will apply to some people depending on their situation. The methods suggested are both physical and legal and use of a combination of measures is better than the use of a single method.
• Practice in the garage with concrete walls,
• use rubber blunts against a heavy blanket or tarp strung across a pole,
• have your practice of archery noted in the lease,
• get on good terms with the landlord and get him/her to give written permission for your practice
• Practice indoors using blunts and blanket solution.
Again under common law if we assume you have permission or able to shoot on your side of the fence this does not extend to the neighbours property. Even though your arrow does not touch the ground when your arrow goes over the fence or penetrates the fence you are perpetrating an act of trespass. There is not much that can result from an act of simple trespass. For example if you arrow goes over your and your neighbours fence but does no harm there is very little he can get you for as no damage has occurred. In this example you have still perpetrated an act of trespass.
What is important to note is the trespass is both an act and a condition. That means while that arrow in the course of its trespass it has the potential to damage or injure something. If it does that the person shooting the projectile is strictly liable for any and all damage that that projectile causes. Thus any way to lessen the potential damage that an arrow may cause to property and people is a very good thing.
It is permissible to practice archery in the back yard providing reasonable precautions are taken and that you have the permission of the land holder.
Unless you live on a farm, broadheads should never be used in the back yard and even field point use should be limited to an area where effective and reasonable precautions have been taken.
The problem is if you shoot in the backyard and for some reason your neighbour/s feels threatened you have broken a law straight away. It’s good practice to keep in good with your neighbours
In Qld at least it is my interpretation that when used for target purposes a bow may be used in the back yard as a piece of sporting equipment.
Of course, the major concern is safety and there is rarely a place safer than a local club or range. This, however, is not always possible for some and other options have to be explored.
As long as you are not using the bow with intent to kill (i.e. hunting) then you can use it in your back yard.
This is basically what I've been able to deduce from conversations with numerous sources and other governmental docs that I've been able to read.
If I'm incorrect and someone else can set me straight, please do so as I do not wish to be passing on misinformation.
If you live in a townhouse and have lived in flats and units before and I find rubber blunts shot into an orange box stuffed with balled up newspaper works great. Put an IKEA extendable shower curtain rod with one of those army blankets behind it for a backstop and any hallway in a house or a flat is a great place to practice form. This setup can also be used in back yards and if an arrow goes over the fence on a bounce it is less likely to cause major damage. However this is no excuse to be shooting any kind of projectile if you have not cleared and are able to keep clear the area behind the target do not threaten people or let people feel threatened by your actions. It will only result in an assault charge by the boys in blue and be giving the anti's our sport on a silver platter.
I hope this is of use and apologise for its length but I felt it was important to lay the background of the laws as it has an impact on the decision we all must make.
*Note* Also if you find any other relevant info please send an e-mail to Mark, Rossy or myself The Gnome! Or alternatively Pm one of us the link and we will update the data here.