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Field Archery

Field archery and overview

By May 3, 2019February 13th, 2020No Comments

Field archery

Field archery is a sport or pastime that has thousands of participants throughout the UK and the world.

It normally takes place on a shooting range or course that is outdoor in woodland or forest.

This allows the participants to get back to nature whilst enjoying the sport of archery.

Archers are aiming to hit a target, which can be any distance from 5 yards too, in some cases 100 yards.

The target can be a 3D animal, an animal target face or round target faces, and come in a variation of sizes, normally matched to the distance you are shooting.

Smaller targets for short distance, larger targets for long distance.

The course will normally try to use all of the terrains on offer, so archers will be expected to shoot up slopes, down slopes or across slopes.

Target may also be set at angles to trick archers and in some cases, trees and other foliage may be used to obscure certain parts of the target.

The place you stand to shoot may also be tricky, with rocks, branches, uneven ground and slopes to deal with.

In some cases, you may be expected to kneel or lean your body to shoot at the target, because of the terrain or obstacles between you and the target.

The sport

UK field has three main governing bodies for the sport.

The first is Archery GB. They are not a dedicated field archery governing body as their main focus is target archery and they are responsible for running the GB Olympic archery team.

Next, and the governing body with the most participants in the sport is NFAS (National Field Archery Society)

Thirdly you have EFAA (English Field Archery Association) and their regional counterparts WFAA (Welsh) and SFAA (Scottish)

There are also two international governing bodies, these are World Archery Federation (WA) and The International Field Archery Association (IFAA)

Plus other countries may have their own national governing body such as NFAA in the United States of America

WA and IFAA are recognised in every country.


The target style can vary, depending on the field archery governing body you are shooting under.


AGB Field, for the most part, uses black and yellow round target faces of four different sizes.

In each case, the scoring is the same. Each archer shoots three arrows at the target and tallies the score from all three arrows.

The rings score, from outside to inside 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, with the maximum score from three arrows being 18 points.

A normal AGB competition would be a two day shoot at the black and yellow target faces, with their being 24 targets to shoot at each day.


An AGB two day shoot

On the first day, the archers would be shooting on a course where they don’t know the distances from the peg (the peg is the place where the archers stand to shoot) and the target face.

On day two, the distance from the pegs to the target is marked, so archers know how far away the target is.

The pegs are red, for archers using sights on their bows, blue for archers not using sights and white for juniors.

AGB can also use 3D animal targets, but don’t mix the two types of targets.

You can find Archery GB courses and competitions that are all 3D targets. In this case, each archer shoots two arrows at each target.

There must be 24 targets to complete a round and test have to be in four distinct sizes – group 1 to group 4


NFAS use two types of target, these are 3D animals and printed animal targets.

The idea behind NFAS is to simulate bow hunting (Bow hunting is illegal in the UK), hence the exclusive use of animal targets.

This also means that archers, unlike in AGB, don’t know any of the distances they are shooting at all times.

The scoring and amount of arrows you shoot also differs.


NFAS scoring

With NFAS you have pegs set out in a colour order, red, white, blue, yellow and orange.

Each peg gets gradually closer to the target.

The archer initially shoots one arrow from the red peg and if they hit the target in a scoring zone, they don’t shoot another arrow at that target.

If they miss with their first arrow, they move to the white peg to shoot their second arrow. If they score with this arrow, they don’t shoot again at this target.

The same rules apply if they miss from white they move to the blue peg for their third and final arrow.

Basically, only one arrow is allowed to score on each target and each archer has three arrows to attempt to get a scoring arrow.

The yellow and orange pegs are the children’s pegs, but the same rules apply.


NFAS field archery targets

Each animal target (3D or printed target) has three scoring zones. They are wound, kill and inner kill.

Depending on which arrows hits which part of the target, the scores differ.

First arrow wound = 16 points. A first arrow kill = 20 points. And a first arrow inner kill = 24 points

Second arrow wound = 10 points

Second arrow kill = 14points

Third arrow wound = 4 points

Third arrow kill = 8 points

Note: the inner kill only counts as a scoring zone with the first arrow


All of these governing bodies use round target faces and animal targets and animal 3Ds.

More importantly, the round target faces are different from those used in AGB field.

Although the animal targets and 3D animal targets are the same as used in AGB and NFAS, the scoring will differ.

3D field

3D field targets come in four sizes group 1, group 2, group 3 and group 4.

Group 4 targets are the smallest, with group 1 being the largest.

The targets should be a close to life size as possible and each target is marked with a kill zones.

These attempt to be as anatomically correct as possible

The kill and wound zones on 3D animal targets will score different amounts depending on the governing body you are shooting under.


By it’s nature, the sport has to take place outdoor.

Courses are normally set in woodland or forest, but this isn’t always the case.

In fact there are no rules to say what type of terrain or location is required to set up a field archery shooting range or course.

There is a AGB competition that is based in Fort Purbrook and the European 3D Championship in 2018 had some shots in the grounds of a Swedish Castle.







Shooting range

UK field

NFAA field

Ken Davies

Ken Davies

Ken shoots Traditional Bowhunter in NFAS and Traditional Recurve in AGB. He's the Secretary at Blaidd Field Archers and our coach.