It may be called field archery but it has nothing to do with fields. The sport of field archery is almost always done in woodland or forest. Taking part in a field archery shoot involves shooting at a targets placed at various distances around the field archery course. Groups of archers negotiate the course and shoot arrows at each of the targets. Each group usually consists of about four archers. The targets are usually placed at distances that range from twenty feet to eighty yards. The targets are spread around an area of land at safe intervals. The archers shoot their arrows from shooting positions that are marked by pegs in the ground. Usually two archers in the group will shoot together. Once they have shot their arrows, the next two shoot until everyone has shot. The archers then walk to the target, add up their score and move on to the next target to shoot again.

The types of targets that we shoot at vary depending on the particular round being shot. The targets may be paper roundels, pictures of animals or even life size 3-dimensional foam models of animals.

Field archery is traditionally done in woodland. The ideal field archery terrain would be area of ground with features such hills and slopes that can be used to make interesting shots. Plenty of trees and bushes are also help make the course of targets more interesting. Archers may have to shoot uphill or downhill at a steep angle, or across slopes, all of which add to the challenge.

Part of the attraction of field archery is the great variety of equipment that can be used. Some archers prefer to use traditional longbows and wooden arrows. Plenty of others prefer to shoot carbon fibre arrows from the latest hi-tech compound bows. There are many different styles of bow and arrow that can be used. No one has an unfair advantage because in competitions each archer shoots against other archers with like equipment. The rules give archers a great deal of scope to choose the style of equipment that interests them, whether that be ultra- modern or traditional, or somewhere in between.

There are field archery clubs throughout the UK. Most clubs hold regular club shoots on a Sunday. A club shoot will usually start at about 10.30 am and finish in the late afternoon. Field archery is an all year round sport. A variety of national field archery events are also held each year in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Field archery is an amateur sport and an archer with even only modest experience is free to attend both national and international field archery events. It is not uncommon for archers with only a years experience, or less, to attend European field archery championships or even the World championships. They may not win, but they will always make new friends and learn a great deal about archery, as well as having fun. Archery is one of the few sports where an individual can go from being an absolute beginner to a shooting at the top level within a fairly short space of time. Of course, this does not happen without dedication, commitment and some good instruction.

What do we do?

The distance from the peg to the target may be marked on the peg ( a so-called 'marked round'). Some field archery disciplines involve shooting at targets where the distance from the peg to the target is unmarked. In an unmarked round the archer has to judge how far away the target is before making his or her shot. This makes the job of hitting the target more difficult.

Marked Distance Field Archery

The targets used will usually be black and white paper targets marked with three concentric circles. Alternatively pictures of animals or even life size three dimensional foam models of animals may be used.

Unmarked Distance Field Archery

Animal pictures or 3-D targets only are used for this discipline, never roundels.