You might be have seen Archery on the Olympic Games coverage at some time. The Archer, dressed in a uniform of sorts, firing arrows at a distant round target across a beautifully manicured field, spotting their shots with a telescope. Great sport if you like that sort of thing, but there are people within the Archery fraternity who prefer getting “back to nature” and consequently indulge their passion by partaking in a spot of Field Archery instead!
In Field Archery, you will be shooting a course in small groups (normally a maximum of five people). Your group can be made up of shooters of any age, sex and ability and will also contain a variety of shooting styles. Traditional English Longbows, Olympic-style recurve bows, American Flatbows, and compound bows (with all the wheels and pulley systems) make up some of the styles contained within Field Archery. Given this, you’ll always have a good mix in the group. You might even find entire families shooting together!
Whereas the Target Archer knows exactly how far they are sending their arrows downrange, the Field Archer doesn’t have that luxury. The Archer will step up to the mark and find that they have to firstly find the target in among the trees and undergrowth (the target could anything from a picture of an animal to a life-size 3-D crocodile – we promise they are only models, honestly!). They will then need to judge the distance to the target across dead ground, up (or down) hill, across water or between trees and vegetation in order to shoot at their quarry. If you miss with your shot, no panic, you simply move forward to the next “peg” and have another go. You’ll get three chances to hit the target and score some points. In a nutshell, if you hit the target first time, your score will be higher than it would be for taking the maximum three shots (not dissimilar to golf, the lower the number of shots, the higher your score will be!)
Field Archery Clubs can be found across the length and breadth of the UK and Europe, and many hold their own “Open” competitions where all comers are welcome to book in advance and shoot to their hearts’ content. Competitors are divided into the type of groups described earlier, but compete only within their shooting style. Therefore, you might shoot a Longbow and be in a group with Recurve and Compound shooters, however your score is only measured against all of the other Longbow shooters in other groups. After all, we wouldn’t expect you to necessarily outshoot someone with magnified sights and super-fast carbon arrows with a bow designed around 1,000 years ago (although some do come close on occasions!)
If you’d like to know more about this fascinating and entertaining sport, contact the National Field Archery Society via their website and they’ll let you know if there is a club in your local area.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the National Field Archery Society via their website: www.nfas.net
Is YOUR club sport not listed here? For a free listing,