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Introduction to Field Archery

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Field archery is the format of modern archery which takes place on a multi-target course (often compared to a golf course) set out over all kinds of terrain including fields, woods and forests.  Typically this includes up and down and cross-slopes shots, unmarked distance targets and challenges of light, dark and shadow. These additional aspects require skills generally known as “fieldcraft”.

Our game mainly consists of either marked Field archery events, in which we shoot at paper target faces over known distances or unmarked Bowhunter events, in which case we shoot at either paper faces or 3D targets over unknown distances, all on a wide variety of terrain.

The targets are all set at different marked distances and may have to be shot up or down gradients, at a variety of different distances or shooting angles.  A selection of different rounds can be shot on the field course but the most commonly shot are the 'Field' and 'Hunter' rounds. The targets vary in size depending on the round being shot and the distance.

There can be 28 targets (two units of 14) one after the other, or you can have a 14 target course and shoot it twice to make the round. Each 14 target unit has the same shots, but not necessarily in the same order, on a 28 target field course. You shoot four arrows at each target, so you shoot a total of 112 arrows per field and hunter rounds. Some of the shooting positions let you shoot all four arrows from one marked stake; some shooting positions have stakes at four different positions where you walk toward the target on each shot, or in a fan position. The distances vary according to the round you are shooting.  


A standard field round has distances that vary from 20 feet to 80 yards. There are four different sized target faces, the further the target, the bigger the target.  For under 15's, the longest distance shot is 50 yards; under 12's, the longest range is 30 yards.  Targets are round, black and white faces. Shooting 4 arrows there is a possible 20 points per target and a perfect round is 560.  Scoring is dependant on how close each arrow is shot to the centre circle (or 'spot') of each target. The accumulated score of all 112 arrows shot during the round makes up the archer's score for that round.


Other types of "field" rounds are offered too. There is the hunter round, something like the above field round except that you shoot at an all black face with a white spot. The ranges on this round vary between 33 feet and 70 yards. Again, two 14 target units make a round. There are four size faces to shoot at and different distances. Scoring is identical to the field round.

Animal rounds are 2-Dimension animal prints (on a sheet of paper that is usually pasted to cardboard). Distances are marked to give everyone an equal chance. Scoring is a bit different on this round. You take three of your arrows and mark them 1, 2, and 3. When you get to the shooting stake you shoot arrow number 1. If you hit the scoring area you need not shoot another arrow. If you miss the first shot you move up to the next shooting stake and shoot number 2. If you hit the scoring zone there's no need to shoot number 3. If you missed number one and two, move up and shoot number three. The scoring area is divided into two parts, the vital area and non-vital, and scored accordingly. Scoring is based on where you hit with which arrow. The first arrow shot is scored 20 or 18. The second arrow is scored 16 or 14, and the third arrow is scored 12 or 10. The best score per target is 20 and the total possible score for the round, a 560.

The Animal round can also be shot from "unmarked" distances and the archer must assess the distance to be shot.  In addition to the 2 dimensional, paper, faces the use of "full sized" 3D targets is becoming ever more popular.

There are usually three bowstyles: recurve, compound and barebow.

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