Field archery takes you out of the local sports field or shooting range and puts you into the woodlands with your bow in hand. With target archery, there is an attempt to make sure that every shot is the same. The distances might change but your shooting position, footing, visibility, line of sight and pretty much everything is kept as consistent as possible. The field archer, on the other hand has to deal with a few more challenges and a good course layer will try to make sure that every target you shoot is different and make you think closely about what you are doing at every shot.
Just for a bit of extra fun, sometimes the distances that you are shooting from are marked on the course and other times the distances are not marked. You will soon learn how to accurately judge distances and make sure that you are aiming in the right place. The 24 targets are laid out in the woodland something like a golf course and a group of four archers progresses through the course shooting each target in turn. With 72 arrows to shoot in total, a 24 target shoot will normally take about 4 hours depending on how many people are on the course.
One of the real beauties of field archery is that no two courses are alike and even shoots at the same course will vary with the season and the course layer’s current mood. A good course layer will make clever use of the features of the woodland and try to challenge your archery skills and judgement. This adds another dimension to archery as you need to refine your technical shooting skills but also refine your ability to read the ground and adjust your style accordingly. This is another great strength to field archery and the learning never stops. You will always find someone on the course or in your shooting group who is willing to share their expertise and advice.
Although governed by a recognised set of rules, field archery is a very informal and sociable type of archery. No dress codes and no hiding in shooting tents. Instead scenic woodland settings, lots of chatting and joking, familiar faces and good shooting, which all makes for a great day out.The shoots are normally preceded by a lot of chatting and equipment preparation, often accompanied by tea and bacon rolls. At the end of the day things are usually wrapped up with a lot of discussions of the good, and bad, shots of the day with the promise of getting an even higher score next time, and of course more tea. There are a lot of field archers about, but soon you will start recognising faces and the more shoots you attend the more you will feel part of this welcoming group of archers. There is always a lot of support and encouragement, and advice is there for the asking.
No matter what your ambitions are with archery, field archery offers a lot. If you want to shoot recreationally at the regular local shoots or if you want to become competitive and compete nationally or internationally the opportunities are there. The progression from local shoots into the regular series of national shoots is an easy one and you find a lot of people willing to tell you all about their adventures and antics travelling around the country to compete. Although the level of competition can be quite high, once you get the fundamental field archery skills under your belt then you are well equipped to have a go at these national competitions and you will be able to compete at your own level. You will find these events to be these to be great fun and you may even see, or shoot with, an Olympic archer at these competitions.
Field archery offers a great way to develop your archery skills in beautiful natural settings with a core group of friendly and encouraging archers. Whether you shoot for fun, to relax, to compete, to get exercise or to have an excuse to spend a day in a woodland, field archery offers many opportunities to become part of an interesting and fun sport and develop your skills. Give it a go; I think you will like it.
A Good Archer:
(a ) Does not talk in a loud voice whilst others are shooting.
(b ) Does not talk to another competitor who obviously prefers to remain silent.
(c ) Does not make any exclamation on the shooting line that might disconcert a neighbour in the act of shooting.
(d ) Does not go behind the target to retrieve his arrows before his score has been recorded .
(e ) Does not touch anyone else’s equipment without permission.
(f ) Does not leave litter.
(g ) When calling scores does so in groups of three, for example 5-4-3 pause “5 - 5 - 3”.
(h ) If he breaks another’s arrow through his own carelessness, pays for it in cash on the spot.
(i ) Thanks the Target Captain at the end of the shoot for work on his behalf.
Never load an arrow unless you are on the shooting peg.
Never draw a bow unless you are on the shooting peg.
Always point at the target when drawing a bow.
Always respect your equipment and keep it safe for you to use.
Always walk, NEVER run.
All members are reminded to take home all rubbish, i.e. Food wrapping, Drinks containers, cigarette ends etc. Also, if you change a target face, take the old one home with you and dispose of it. We do not have the means to keep getting rid of member’s rubbish.