Field Archery 103 – The Animal Target Field Round

NFAA USA

Article by Rod White

The third and final form of the NFAA’s field target rounds is called the “Animal” round.  For most archers, of the three types of field formats, the Animal round is considered to be the most enjoyable round.  As in the other two rounds, archers will shoot a total of 28 targets for a full round. Multiple images replace the standard target style faces and the number of arrows shot are greatly reduced for this round.  At the NFAA Nationals this year in Yankton, this will likely be the last round you shoot in the three days of competition. If after reading all three of these blogs you are interested in participating this year, the dates are July 26th to 28th and you can register for the shoot by clicking on the link here…NFAA Outdoor Field Nationals RegistrationIf you’re a Junior archer, you can shoot the NFAA Outdoor Nationals in conjunction with the NFAA Junior Academy and save $50 on your Academy registration.

Scoring in this round is quite a bit different than the other two formats.  Instead of shooting 4 arrows per target, archers will only shoot a MAXIMUM of 3 arrows per target.  All of the targets are animal images with scoring zones overlaid. On all of the target faces, the scoring rings will be inside of the hide, hair, or feather line of the animal image.  In the event that an arrow touches the hide, hair, or feathers, but not the scoring ring, the arrow is counted as a miss. Arrows need only to touch the solid scoring lines to receive the higher scoring value.

Arrows must be individually numbered.  This is because for the Animal round, each archer will shoot one arrow from the farthest distance marked for their class (as referenced by the sign at each target).  If the archer misses the first arrow, they may shoot a second arrow from the next closest stake for their division where applicable. If they miss again, they may shoot a third arrow from the next closest stake to the target.  So if you hit a scoring ring on each of your first shots in the round, you will only shoot 28 arrows per round. However, if you miss the first two arrows on each target, you will shoot up to a maximum of 84 arrows in a full round.

At first, scoring each target on this round may seem complicated.  This is because your first arrow shot at the target has different scoring values than the second two arrows you may need to shoot at the target, depending on where you hit the target.  For the first arrow shot, if you hit the center dot, you will score 21 points. If your first arrow hits outside of the dot, but in the first scoring zone, you will receive 20 points. If your arrow hits the outermost scoring zone, you will receive 18 points.  If you missed all the scoring zones completely, this is where you will have to shoot a second arrow. If your arrow did land in a scoring zone, no other arrows will need to be shot. The total number of points an archer can score during this round is 588 points.

As mentioned in the above paragraph, if you missed your first arrow, you get an opportunity to score again with a second arrow on that same target.  This time, however, you will move up to the next stake (if one is present for your class) and shoot your second arrow. If the target does not have any closer stakes, you will shoot from the same stake as your first shot.  This time your scoring values will be 17 for a dot, 16 for the inner most scoring zone, and 14 for the largest scoring zone. If you miss all the scoring zones on your second attempt, you will again shoot another arrow. 

This third and final attempt to hit the target will again have different point values, depending on where your arrow hits the scoring zone.  In this attempt, the dot is worth 13 points, the inner scoring zone is worth 12 points, and the outermost scoring zone is worth 10 points. If you miss on the third arrow, no score will be awarded for that target.

Unlike the Field and Hunter rounds, the distances shot on the Animal round can vary from course to course. However, the Animal round does have specific distances that the targets must be shot from, given the target group size.  Meaning, the Animal field round has multiple animal images for target faces, but the scoring ring sizes are separated into 4 categories, or groups as follows:

The high scoring area of Group No. 1 (plus or minus 1/8”) is 8 ¾ inches wide by 14 ¼ inches long with rounded ends. Targets in this group are the black bear, grizzly bear, deer, moose, elk, and caribou. A bonus 6.5 cm dot (valued one point) is located in the middle of the high scoring area and colored white on dark targets and black on light targets. 

The high scoring area of Group No. 2 (plus or minus 1/8”) is 6 ¾ inches wide by 10 ¼ inches long with rounded ends. Targets in this group are the small black bear, antelope, small deer, wolf, and mountain lion. A bonus 5 cm dot (valued one point) is located in the middle of the high scoring area and colored white on dark targets and black on light targets. 

The high scoring area of Group No. 3 (plus or minus 1/8”) is 4 ¼ inches wide by 6 ¾ inches long with rounded ends. Targets in this group are the coyote, raccoon, javelina, turkey, fox, goose, wildcat, and pheasant. A bonus 3.5 cm dot (valued one point) is located in the middle of the high scoring area and colored white on dark targets and black on light targets. 

The high scoring area of Group No. 4 (plus or minus 1/8”) is 2 inches wide by 3 ⅜ inches long with rounded ends. Targets in this group are the turtle, duck, grouse, crow, skunk, woodchuck, jack rabbit, and rockchuck. A bonus 2 cm dot (valued one point) is located in the middle of the high scoring area and colored white on dark targets and black on light targets.

The following chart highlights the distances and target groups…

Arrows that pass through the target may be pushed back through the target to determine the value.  Glances off the ground are not counted if they hit the scoring zones. However, arrows hitting limbs or branches on the way to the target may be reshot for a score, but must be witnessed by others.  In the event of an equipment failure, archers will have 45 minutes to resolve any equipment issues. There can be only one equipment failure per archer per day.  

If you prefer to watch a video summary:

This is not a complete list of rules for this round, but rather a summary of the rules.  For complete rules, visit the NFAA website where you can download or view the NFAA Constitution and By-Laws at https://www.nfaausa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017-2018-CONSTITUTION-1-1.pdf.

About the Author:  Rod White is the NFAA Bowhunting and Event Coordinator.  In addition to providing online content and articles for the NFAA quarterly magazine, he also competes as a professional target and 3D archer.  His target archery background includes winning a gold and bronze medal in Olympic archery. He has medalled in multiple national and world competitions while holding a variety of Olympic, World, and National records.  His extensive list of bowhunting credentials including two two-hundred inch whitetails, 9 Boone and Crockett class whitetails, over 50 Pope and Young class whitetails, and several Pope and Young class elk, bear, mountain lion, mule deer and antelope.  He’s also owned his own outfitting businesses and worked several years as a bowhunting guide in Montana, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.