Field Archery vs. Target Archery

Field Archery vs. Target Archery

To the inexperienced eye field and target archery might appear to be similar sports, but on further inspection glaring differences will begin to manifest. It’s true, both sports demand the same skills and techniques –a good target archer might prove to be a good field archer as well-and the same equipment is permitted. However, these two sports vary in their rules, settings, target faces and the distances applied between the targets and the archer.

Let’s run though some of their differences

  • Target archery is governed by the International Archery Federation or Fedration Internationale de T.r I’Arc (FITA), and it’s also the only form of archery featured in the Olympic and Paralympics games. Field archery, on the other hand, is governed by the International Field Archery Association (IFAA).
  • In outdoor target archery, shots are taken from marked distances only, whereas in field archery both marked and unmarked shots are taken.
  • Some of the shooting distances in target archery are sometimes longer than that of field archery.
  • The environment of target archery competitions is more stressful than field archery as shots are taken at close proximity to other competitors and before a crowd of spectators. Field archers might also have to perform under the scrutiny of spectators but this is mostly on major international competitions. Moreover, field archers shoot within their groups and away from their rivals.
  • Field archery, in more ways than one, is an emulation of hunting situations. Targets are located at varying distances from the archers and the sport is conducted in rough terrain. Challenges like weathering and adapting to variable light and wind conditions beset the archer. In addition, the archer must also practice a few shots before hand in order to determine how these factors could influence his shooting. In target archery, however, the wind and light conditions remain relatively stable thereby reliving the archer of the stress.
  • In field archery there are three forms of rounds: Hunter, Animal, and Field. In the Hunter round the distances of the targets from the archer vary and extend as far as 60m. For Animal rounds life size targets are employed and scores rely on whether the archer hits vital or non-vital zones. The Field rounds resemble outdoor target archery as targets are laid out at even distances.


  • Shooting uphill and downhill is involved in field archery; thus the archer is obliged to practice in various shooting positions. In contrast the target archer is exempt from this task as shooting levels in target archery are level and hence have similar shooting positions.
  • For a given distance, the arrow flight is the same in target archery but different in the field one; consequently, field archers must have the know-how in adding or subtracting to the designated distance because of gravity.

If there are any other differences you might have observed in these two sports, let us know about them.