Field Archery 101 – The Field Target Round

NFAA USA

Field Archery is one of the most technical competitions for competitive archers with its roots based in the National Field Archery Association. This year marks the 74th annual NFAA Outdoor National Field Championships and will be held in Yankton, SD July 26-28. For those of you who are new to Field Archery, this article will help you navigate the nuances of the round and we hope that it inspires you to join us this summer at NFAA Headquarters in Yankton!

Field Archery has three different formats within itself: Field, Hunter, and Animal. Each has its own distances, target faces, scoring, and rules to follow. Let’s start with the Field Round….

Field Rounds feature either two 14 target courses or a 28 target course with distances from 20 feet to 80 yards.  Target sizes for this round are 65cm, 50cm, 35cm, and 20cm, which refer to the outer most scoring ring size. The black center spot sizes for those targets are 13cm, 10cm, 7cm, and 4cm.  The black center spot is valued at 5 points with an X in the middle of the spot that is used to break ties. The next two white rings are worth 4 points, and the outer black rings are worth 3 points.  At each target, an archer will shoot 4 arrows for a maximum of 20 points per target.

The target sizes are confined to specific distances and are the same for every range.  Below is the distances you will be shooting and the target sizes for those distances.

  • For distances from 20 to 35 ft., the target size will be 20cm with a 4cm center dot size.
  • For distances from 15 yards to 30 yards, the target size will be 35cm with a 7cm center dot size.
  • For distances from 35 yards to 50 yards, the target size will be 50cm with a 10cm center dot size.
  • For distances from 55 yards to 80 yards, the target size will be 65cm with a 13 cm center dot size.

Within each round is also specific shooter position requirements.  This is where it gets tricky. At the nationals this year in Yankton, there will be signs at every target that will guide you through which distances you will shoot and markers in the ground will indicate shooting positions.  

When you see different distances listed on the sign, that indicates that the target is what we call a Walk-Up target.  You will shoot one arrow at each distance starting at the farthest stake, working your way up to the target. When you see 4 of the same distances listed on the sign, that indicates the target is a Fan target.  On a Fan target, you will shoot one arrow from each stake, rotating positions with the other shooters in your group from left to right. If there is a single distance listed, all of your arrows will be shot from the same distance, but not necessarily from the same stake.  When shooting at a target with multiple faces and two stakes, the first two shooters will shoot the bottom targets and the second two shooters will shoot the top two targets. All 4 of your arrows must be in the same target.

The Birdie target is the closest target on the course at distances of 35ft, 30ft, 25ft, and 20ft..  This target is shot as a Walk Up target and the two archers who have been shooting at the bottom targets will shoot at the first and third vertical row from left to right.  Each archer must also shoot their vertical row either from top to bottom or from bottom to top with one arrow in each of the targets in their vertical row.

After 14 targets, archers switch shooting positions and the archers that were shooting on the left will shoot on the right, and the archers that were shooting on the right will then shoot on the left for the second half of competition.  If you shot the bottom targets during the first half, you will shoot the top targets and if you shot the top targets you will shoot the bottom targets in the second half.

The youth and cub distances are different on some targets and are also posted at each stake.  The cub division will shoot from the black markers, the youth will shoot from the blue markers, and the young adults will shoot from the white markers with the adults.  Cubs will shoot a maximum distance of 30 yds, Youth shooters will have a maximum distance of 50 yards.

Below is the summary the distances you will shoot throughout the 14 target rounds and include the target face size for each distance.  At the following distances four arrows will be shot from the same stake.

  • 15, 20, 25, 30 yards at a 35 cm. target
  • 40, 45, 50 yards at a 50 cm. target
  • 55, 60, 65 yards at a 65 cm. target

The following are four position shots, each arrow to be shot from a different position or at a different target.

  • 35 yards at a 50 cm target, all from the same distance, but from different positions.
  • 45, 40, 35, 30 yards at a 50 cm. target
  • 80, 70, 60, 50 yards at a 65 cm. target
  • 35, 30, 25, 20 feet at a 20 cm. target

Below is a summary video of the NFAA Field round.  For the complete and detailed rules, click the following link…NFAA rules E-book.