Joyous Field Archery

Field archery is the sport of firing at fixed circular targets of various dimensions at different distances, heights and angles over a natural terrain course. 

The archers shoot at yellow and black targets over distances between 5 and 60 meters. 

The target distances can be made known to the archers or unknown, the latter increases the skill level required to estimate distances more accurately.

Fieldcraft is the term used to describe the ability to measure distance, shoot uphill and downhill, adjust to varying light conditions and a challenging landscape.

World Archery is responsible for organising the World Archery Field Championships which takes place every 2 years. The inaugural event took place in 1969.  

Current and barebow competitions in global games are the ‘archery of the field’.

Field Archery Targets

Archers with recurved bows, compound bows and barebows feature strongly in international field archery competitions. 

Archers in all 3 categories shoot at six round rings with a yellow and black target. The target score for the inner circle is 6 points and the outer circle 1 point, 6  and 5 are scored on the yellow rings and 4, 3, 2 and 1 points on the black rings.

And not actually hitting the target at all scores a bit fat zero!. 

Four different target sizes of 80, 60, 40 and 20 cm diameter are available. The targets are placed around a marked route, so Archers can safely shoot at 1 target, gather up their arrows and advance towards the next target in groups of 4.

For each target, the shooting positions are marked with wooden page driven into the ground. Three arrows at each target are shot by each archer. 

Recurve and compound archers shoot at a marked distance of 10 to 60 meters from red pegs, and at unmarked distance of 10 to 55 meters. 

Barebow archers however shoot over set distances of 5 to 50 meters, and over unmarked distances of 5 to 45 meters.

Best Arrows for Field Archery

In field archery, as in target archery, we must first consider situations that result in no score and which of these situations are more likely to be influenced by arrow choice. 

While we will almost certainly have to contend with wind in target archery whereas we may or may not in field archery. It is dependent on the location of the course. We cope with wind drift in a very similar manner to target archery: the arrow shaft with the smallest diameter will produce less drift. 

We will definitely have to contend with shooting up and down hillsides in field archery, without having the knowledge of distance.

When shooting up or down hilly terrain, you will invariably need to adjust the sights for less distance compared to shooting flat, and probably more so for downward shots than for upward shots. 

You must calculate the angle and account for it relative to the target’s distance. You are allowed to measure the angles in some competitions, but not in others. In World Archery competition for example you definitely cannot.

If you aren’t provided with the target distance and you’re not permitted to take advantage of a range finder, as during the World Archery unknown distance session, you must first guesstimate it (yes, good strategies for doing this are out there), then make your adjustments for the slope, and adjust your sight accordingly. 

There is a ton of room for mistakes, and the impact of these mistakes will be biggest for the targets that are the furthest away, and particularly harsh if the velocity of your arrow is low, such as the arrow velocity generated by a recurve bow. 

When shooting up and down hills and at unmarked distances, the majority of mistakes are more likely to happen when you’re shooting the field round’s longest distances, which in World Archery is somewhere in the vicinity of 50 to 60 meters.

If we can obtain a faster down-range arrow velocity, we can lessen the incidence of errors because the spacing between sight settings will be less. As a result, an arrow with a high arrow speed at distances of around 50 metres is what we’re looking for. 

We need an arrow with low mass and low aerodynamic drag to achieve faster down-range arrow velocity. 

Even if the arrow leaves the bow at a high velocity, when the drag is too much, the arrow will lose speed rapidly. In other words, lighter weight on its own is not enough, we must also include the drag factor in the equation.