Types of Archery

The two most common forms of archery in the UK are target and field.

Target: What most people think of by ‘archery’: shooting a fixed number of arrows at a target. Arrows are shot in ’rounds’ – for example, a York round consists of 6 dozen arrows at 100 yards, 4 dozen at 80 yards and 2 dozen at 60 yards, all shot at a 4 foot-diameter target. This type of archery evolved from warfare: in battle an archer would continue shooting as the enemy advanced. This is recreated in the round. There are many different types of round, over different distances with different numbers of arrows. There are separate categories in competition for recurve, compound and longbows.

Field: This is archery cross-country. 12, 14 or 28 targets are set up in fields, woodland and even quarries. This type of archery evolved from bow-hunting and it is possible to get animal-shaped target faces as well as other target types. The range of the targets is normally between 5 and 60 yards. A certain proficiency with the bow is required for field archery unless you have an endless supply of arrows! In competition there are additional ‘barebow’ classes – no sights or stabilisers allowed.

Clout: This is a form of distance shooting. A cloth (or ‘clout’) is placed on a short pole or the ground and the aim is to hit it or get closest to it. Any type of bow can be used.

Popinjay: Vertical archery. Fairly rare in the UK but popular on the continent, the aim is to shoot at bird-shaped targets at the top of a tall tower.

Bow-hunting: While the shooting of animals with a bow is illegal in the UK, there are a number of clubs in the USA. During the close season when hunting was restricted, bow-hunters developed courses using animal-shaped targets – this later developed into field archery.