Archery articles, tips and advice

Field Archery

Source Material: NFAA , FITA , NFAS , Merlin Archery Centre

Field archery is one of the most varied disciplines in archery. Here are a few of the most popular types.
NFAS Field
NFAS field archery
The NFAS exists to foster and promote Field Archery as a sport. All our courses are unmarked (i.e. unknown distances), usually situated in woodland, and our targets are predominatly 3D or paper animal faces.

There are nine shooting styles within the society: Longbow, American Flatbow, Hunting Tackle, Bowhunter, Barebow, Freestyle, Crossbow, Compound Limited and Unlimited and each style is split into six classes: Gents, Ladies, Junior Boys, Junior Girls, U12 Boys, U12 Girls.

On a standard round an archer will shoot until he/she scores, up to a maximum of three arrows. Arrows are shot from the following pegs:

Adults: Red, White, Blue
Juniors (14/15): White, Blue, Blue
Juniors (12/13): Blue, Yellow, Yellow
U12s: Yellow, Yellow, Yellow

Shoots are held throughout the year all over the country. We also currently hold three championship events:

* Scottish Champs - Easter weekend
* 3D Champs - Bank Holiday weekend, end of May
* National Champs - 3rd weekend in September

To be eligible to shoot at a Champs, members must have competed in six shoots or a previous Championships and existing members must have renewed their membership by the 31st of March.

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IFAA Field
Archers that have not had the pleasure of shooting a field round often think of it as standing at a stake in an open field and shooting at a yonder target. Not so! A field round is a challenging course, generally placed in a woods, in varying terrain, at different distances from target to target. It is a proven fact that a proficient field archer is also a proficient 3-D and target archer.

There are a few basic differences between field archery and most 3-D courses. Most notably, that field courses have marked yardages. As it was so aptly put by one of our IFAA members: "Field archery is a game of shooting - not yardage estimation". The basic IFAA field round is made up of 28 targets. The round is two 14 targets units. There can be 28 targets 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. The standard IFAA field round has distances that vary from 20 feet to 240 feet. There are four different size faces, the further the target, the bigger the target. "Hey," you say, "I don't shoot at deer that are 80 yards away." No, neither do the rest of us. The idea is that it teaches you to aim at a spot and will make a better all around archer out of you. Now the younger folks get a break. If you're under 15, your longest distance is 50 yards; if you're under 12, the longest range is 30 yards. Targets are round, black and white faces. There is a possible 20 points per target and a perfect round is 560.

Other types of "field" rounds are offered, too. There's the hunter round, something like the above field round except that you shoot at an all black face with a white dot. The ranges on this round vary between 33 feet and 210 feet. Again, 2 fourteen target units make a round. There are four size faces to shoot at and different distances on the roving course. Scoring is identical to the field round.

The animal round is much like the 3-D round but the targets are 2-D, that is, an animal printed on a sheet of paper that is usually pasted to cardboard. Once again, 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, with a bonus X-ring in the center of the vital area, and scored accordingly. Scoring is based on where you hit with which arrow. The first arrow shot is scored 21, 20 or 18. The second arrow is scored 17, 16 or 14, and the third arrow is scored 13, 12 or 10. The best score per target is 21 and the total possible score for the round, a 588.

Scoring on IFAA courses are identical throughout the world. No matter where you live you can compare your score, your level of proficiency, against an archer shooting in your division and style anywhere else in the world. You always shoot against your competition whether you prefer release, fingers, bowhunting equipment or whatever. Want to improve your 3-D scores - shoot field archery.

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FITA Field
  • Shot with three divisions (compound, recurve and barebow) Marked (known) and unmarked (unknown) distances, going from 5 to 60 meters, depending on the division
  • Target sizes and positions have to be recognised by the archer
  • Requires shooting uphill and downhill, with varying shooting positions
  • The arrow flight differs on a given distance due to the angle of the shot, which means that the archer must know by experience how much to subtract or add due to the effects of gravity
  • The archer needs to plan and experiment with clothing and equipment in order to be prepared for “everything” as he/she is carrying everything with him/her
  • The target faces have six scoring zones as you can see on the scheme shown
British fita field champion


The Qualification Round consists of two rounds of 24 targets each, one marked and one unmarked course. These targets shall be arranged along a course with such difficulties in aiming and shooting as the terrain presents and the spirit and traditions of the discipline require.

The top sixteen competitors in each division and class move to the Elimination Round and shoot twelve targets (6 marked and 6 unmarked). Thereafter, the top eight competitors in each division and class shoot twelve targets (6 marked and 6 unmarked).

In those two rounds, the time limit is four minutes. If a judge sees that an archer is taking too long to shoot, he will give him a warning. If this were to occur again, the judge would take away the archer’s highest scoring arrow.

In the Finals Round, the top four competitors in each class and division shoot two matches (Semi-Finales) consisting of 4 marked targets. In the first match, the number one competitor shoots against the number four and the number two against the number three. Thereafter, the losers advance to the Bronze Medal Match, and the winners advance to the Gold Medal Match. Both matches consist of additional 4-marked targets. The four-minute limit is strictly applied and any arrow shot after the deadline will be withdrawn by the judge.

Note: Throughout the qualification, elimination and finals rounds, each competitor shoots three arrows on each target.


A team consists of three competitors (one from each division) seeded according to their position as determined by their total scores in the Qualification Round. During the Team Elimination Round (Quarter Finals), the top eight teams in each class shoot four matches of 8 marked targets each. The winners of each match will proceed to the Team Finals Round in which the top four Teams (Semi-Finals) in each class shoots two matches of 4 marked targets each. The losing teams advance to the Bronze Medal Match and the winning teams advance to the Gold Medal Match. Both matches are shot on additional 4-marked targets.

Note: Throughout the elimination and finals round, each competitor shoots one arrow per target.


The first World Field Championships were held in 1959. However, the second championships was not held until ten years later. World Field Championships are now being held every two years.

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3D Archery
racoon 3d target

A Relatively new, and extremely enjoyable, variation of field archery is 3D archery. The only difference being the type of targets used. They are life sized, '3D' foam animals with scoring zones marked to simulate the animals vitals. Heart and lung shots achieve the highest score, while wounds are scored lower.

3D events are held by most of the different field archer associations, such as the NFAS and IFAA, but it is in the USA where the sport attracts the most participants. The IBO (International Bowhunting Organisation) and ASA (Archery Shooters Association) are two of the most recognised with large turn outs.

moose101 yard shotAlien
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