While most people are familiar with the general sport of archery, most only know it as a target practice game. Target archery is often the event with which people are familiar, most likely because the sport is featured in the Summer Olympics. However, upon hearing of field archery, it is important that people understand that this sport is not just archery done on a grassy field but rather quite a different sport altogether!
The most apparent difference between the two types of archery is the environment in which each takes place.
Target archery is solely a game of perfecting accuracy. Because of this, all targets are placed on flat and leveled ground, with these locations often being indoors.
Field archery is as much a hunting simulation as it is a game of archery. Due to this, competitors must hike around a massive outdoor course that utilizes forests and other terrains alike, with many targets placed on hillsides.
Target archery competitions often only allow recurve or compound bows.
Similarly to target archery, recurve and compound bows are frequently used in field archery; however, most competitions allow the usage of barebows and other variants.
Additionally, due to the outdoor hiking aspect of this event, proper hiking attire is often recommended for competitors.
Both field archery and target archery feature the objective of using a bow to fire arrows at stationary targets. However, despite this extreme similarity, each archery discipline has rules and gameplay specifics that differentiate the two sports.
EVENTS AND SCORING
Both of these archery sports can be played as an individual or team events.
The format of target archery events often depends on the bows that the competitors are using.
Recurve: Players competing with and against recurve bow users must play with a set-based system somewhat similar to that of tennis. A set consists of each competitor firing three arrows (four in team events), with the highest-scoring team receiving two set points. In the case of a tie, both teams receive one set point. Six set wins are required to win an individual recurve event, although this number drops down to five for team recurve competitions.
Compound: Individuals competing with compound bows compete with a simple cumulative score system. Archers are given 15 total arrows to fire as individual competitors or 24 total arrows as a team. The winner of the match is the individual or team with the highest total score after all arrows are fired. In the case of a tie, both individuals or teams shoot one more arrow, with the victor being the individual or team whose arrow landed closest to the center of the target.
As for how each arrow is scored, it depends on the ring in which it lands on the target. Each ring is worth a different value between 1 and 10 points:
- Bullseye is worth 10 points.
- The yellow ring around the bullseye is worth 9 points.
- The two red rings around the yellow are worth 8 and 7 points.
- The two blue rings around the red rings are worth 6 and 5 points.
- The two black rings around the blue rings are worth 4 and 3 points.
- The two white rings around the black rings are worth 2 and 1 points.
Field archery uniquely features three distinct rounds: field, hunter, and animal. While each round features the same fundamental gameplay of firing an arrow at a target and attempting to be as accurate as possible, each target’s distance, appearance, and scoring change.
Field Round: Targets feature a black bullseye (worth five points), two surrounding white rings (worth four points), and then two more black surrounding rings (worth 3 points). All 24-48 of these targets are between 20 and 65 centimeters in diameter and are all placed at “equal” distances (20 yds, 30 yds, etc.). Competitors can shoot four total arrows at each target, for a maximum point total of 20 per target.
Hunter Round: Targets feature a singular white bullseye (worth five points) with two surrounding black rings (worth four and three points). All 24-28 of these targets are between 20 and 65 centimeters in diameter and are placed at “odd” distances (53 yds, 27 yds, etc.). Similarly to the field round, competitors shoot four arrows for a maximum potential score of 20 points per target.
Animal Round: Targets resemble a 2D animal, with the heart worth 21 points, a “vital”’ zone around the heart worth 20 points, and the rest of the animal worth 18 points. Competitors are only allowed to fire a single arrow to be scored, with each additional attempt (maximum three) lowering the value of each scoring zone in the case of a miss. All 24-28 of these targets are often sized to reflect the actual size of the represented animal.
Unlike target archery, all targets in field archery are placed on unleveled ground. This means many targets, despite being labeled as 50 yards away, may be at the top of a small hill while another is at the bottom of a sharp decline. Accounting for these elevation calculations and adjustments can significantly alter an archer’s aim.