Types of Tournaments

Historically archery was a hunting necessity to feed families or villages or as part of armies for combat advantage however, it is now primary a leisure activity used for fun, hunting and competition. Arguably considered one of the oldest known sports, there are many types of archery tournaments including Clout, Ski Archery, Flight archery and others however there are three main types of tournaments including Target, Field and 3D.


Governed by the International Archery Federation (FITA), target archery is commonly referred to as a 10-ring competition since there are 10 evenly spaced rings. A FITA tournament round consists of 30 arrows and are typically made up of a single, double or multiple double rounds. Each round is divided into either groups of 3 or 6 arrows ends depending on the distance and archers have a time limit of either 2 or 4 minutes to shoot each end respectively. Score is calculated by distance from the centre of the target, 10 points for the centre ring with one point deducted for each ring further from the middle. Within the centre “10” ring is additional X-ring commonly known as the bull’s eye and serves as a tiebreaker method.

Tournaments are held both indoors,  typically in the winter, or outdoors, typically during the summer.  Indoor distances are usually 18 meters or 25 meters and outdoor distance can range from 30 to 90 meters with very young archers shooting even shorter distances.

Target is the only type of archery competition that is part of the modern day Olympics. Although part of the Olympics since the second Olympiad, it has been a main stay since 1972 and only 10 countries have captured a gold medal in this event since then.


Field Archery consists of three types including Field, Hunter and Animal and distances vary from 5m to 70m over all types of landscape including up cliffs, over bogs, down hills and sometimes trekking over very rough terrain.

Field archery tries to improve bow-hunting practice experience and removes the “guess-work” of distances with a realistic outdoor setting. Either the International Field Archery Association (IFAA) worldwide or the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) in the United States of America usually governs Field archery.

Field and Hunter use similar sized target faces to that of target archery however,  the target only has five concentric rings. Score is calculated by distance from the middle of the target, with five points for the middle and  one point deducted for each ring further from the middle. Just like target archery, within the centre of the five ring is additional X-ring that serves as a tiebreaker. An animal round uses life-size 2D animal targets with uneven rings that represent kill zones of the animal. Scoring depends on the tournament and the governing body. Usually all field archery rounds consists of 28 targets.

Field archery also can be held indoors using Field or Hunter five rings targets and is usually shot at 18 meters with very young archers shooting even short distances.


3D Archery is an expansion of field archery’s animal round that creates a more realistic experience by using life-size three dimensional animal targets made of foam. The goal is to re-create a very realistic hunting experience and therefore the distances are usually unmarked forcing the hunter to guess the distance before shooting. Each archer also usually gets only one shot for each target, similar to what one would experience in a real hunting experience.

Similar to field animal targets there are rings marking the kill zones and scoring depends on the tournament and the governing body. Since 3D is relatively new it has several governing bodies such as the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO).

3D tournaments are also held indoors using the same foam targets. 3D is very popular for compound bow hunters and tournaments organizers are starting to experiment with exotic animals including replica dinosaurs and moving targets indoors.

4 thoughts on “Types of Tournaments

  1. Pingback: Tournaments everywhere « Jordan Sequillion

  2. Wonderful information for beginners. I am a parent of an archer and looking for information where I can support my child. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s