What is field archery?

You may have seen archery on television at some time. All the archers will be shooting arrows at a target at a known distance against archers of similar ability using similar equipment. This is fine but there many archers who would prefer to get back to nature and indulge their passion by taking part in a spot of "Field Archery" instead.

In Field Archery you shoot on a course in small groups which may be made up of archers of any age and ability using a variety of shooting equipment and styles. There are 10 classes of equipment recognised by the National Field Archery Society [NFAS] with various degrees of sophistication. At one end are the modern compound and freestyle bows with all their "bells and whistles" and at the other are the primitive and longbow classes - the closest you'll get to "a bent stick and a piece of string"!

Each target will be unique - the distances will vary and need to be judged by the archer - and will comprise either printed or painted "faces" attached to a boss or 3-D models made of a rubber-like compound. You could be faced with a rabbit at 10m or an elephant at 60m. Don't be surprised to come across a velociraptor hiding behind the ferns or a cartoon character pinned to a target boss. There are several ways of scoring - the most common being the "Big Game" method by which a maximum of 3 arrows are shot from a series of pegs in the ground with scores allocated according to which arrow hits the target. 

Field Archery clubs are found the length and breadth of the UK and many hold competitions where all-comers are welcome although for most, full NFAS membership is a requirement. Competitors are divided into groups but compete only within their style, age (Cub, Junior and Adult) and sex. You may therefore shoot a longbow and be in a group with recurve or compound archers but your score will only be measured against other longbow archers in the same age and sex group.

Open competitions, including the national championships organised by the NFAS, can be very competitive but the emphasis is always on enjoyment. As with any sport, everyone likes to do their best but if not ....... there's always another day!

If you would like to know more about Field Archery, please contact any of the club officials listed in the "Contacts" page of this web site who can to introduce you to the club. Newcomers to the sport are welcome but, from the safety aspect, will need to be trained and assessed before allowed to take up full membership. This can be arranged as the club has a number of NFAS qualified archery coaches. Experienced archers who are already full members of the NFAS will usually be admitted to full membership without further assessment.