You measure your progress by keeping track of how well you score. The goal is to get as tight of a grouping of shots as possible and to be able to do it consistently over time. Of course if you are into archery because you are a hunter, success is measured with successful hunting. Again being able to put the arrow on target time after time, whether that target is alive or man made. With target archery, you can practice over and over until you can put the arrow on target virtually every time. If you are a hunter, practice is particularly important, because out in the field, you usually only get one or maybe two shots if you are really lucky.
For the purposes of this article, I am just going to discuss scoring with respect to target archery because even if you are a hunter, your practice will amount to pretty much the same thing.
We briefly discussed Target Shooting on another page, but let's now go into a little more detail. This will be especially useful if you are starting your own club or group.
The most common targets used for Archery have ten concentric circles as shown below. Each arrow is scored based upon where it hits the target. Arrows that do not penetrate and stick in the target count zero. The highest score, a ten, is achieved by shooting an arrow into the two inner most circles, which includes the center or bulls eye. Even though the center or bulls eye ring is only scored as a ten, it has slightly more weight, because it is usually used to break tie scores that result at the conclusion of a match. So for example, if you and your opponent end up with a tie score and one of your shots had landed in the bulls eye, and your opponent had no bulls eyes, you would win. Scores go down from nine for the next circle out to one for the outermost circle. Missing the rings on the target results in a score of zero for that arrow. Scores are tallied at the end of each round or volley of arrows. Arrows that hit on the line of any circle are generally scored at the higher numbered circle. This may vary depending on the organization that is sanctioning the tournament.
Target archery competitions may be held indoors or outdoors. Indoor distances are 18 meters and 25 meters. Outdoor distances range from 30 meters to 90 meters. Competition is divided into ends of 3 or 6 arrows. After each end, the competitors walk to the target to score and retrieve their arrows. Archers have a set time limit in which to shoot their arrows.
Targets are marked with 10 evenly spaced concentric rings, which have score values from 1 through 10 assigned to them. In addition, there is an inner 10 ring, sometimes called the X ring or the bulls eye. This becomes the 10 ring at indoor compound competitions. Outdoors, it serves as a tiebreaker with the archer scoring the most X's winning. Archers score each end by summing the scores for their arrows. Line breakers, an arrow just touching a scoring boundary line, will be awarded the higher score.
Different rounds and distances use different size target faces. These range from 40 centimeter (18 meter FITA Indoor) to 122 centimeter (70 meter and 90 meter FITA, used in Olympic competition).
The above information regarding competitions was provided courtesy of Wikipedia.
5) Field Archery
Field archery is a competition where archers shoot at targets placed at different distances in a real life type scenario where the terrain simulates actual hunting conditions. 3D Tournaments, where lifesize 3D target animals are placed at unspecified yardage and scored based upon either the IBO (11, 10, 8, 5, 0 scoring areas) or ASA (14-12-10-8-5-0 scoring areas), have gained in popularity in recent years.
There are three common types of rounds called field, hunter, and animal. A round is made up of 28 targets in two units of 14. Field rounds are set up at 'even' distances up to 80 yards (some of the shortest are measured in feet instead), using targets with a black bulls eye (5 points), a white center (4) ring, and black outer (3) ring. Hunter rounds are set up with 'uneven' distances up to 70 yards (64 m). Scoring is identical to a field round, the target has an all-black face with a white bulls eye. Children and youth positions for these two rounds are closer, no more than 30 and 50 yards (46 m), respectively. Animal rounds have life-size 2D animal targets with 'uneven' distances reminiscent of the hunter round. Some clubs prefer to use 3D targets. The rules and scoring are very different. The archer begins at the first station of the target and shoots his first arrow. If it hits, he does not have to shoot again. If it misses, he advances to station two and shoots a second arrow, then to station three for a third shot if needed. Scoring areas are vital (20, 16, or 12) and non-vital (18, 14, or 10) with points awarded depending on which arrow scored first. For example, if an archer struck a vital area on the first shot, the arrow would score 20. If however, the archer did not hit the vital area until his third shot, it would only score 12. So if an archer hit a non-vital area on his first shot that yielded a score of 18, it would make no sense to take a second shot in an attempt to hit a vital area, because a second shot into a vital area could only score 16. Again, children and youth shoot from a reduced range.
The goal of field archery is said to be to improve the technique required for bow hunting in a more realistic outdoor setting, but without the complication and guesswork of unknown distances. Fatigue can be an issue as the athlete walks the distance between targets sometimes across rough terrain.
When I turned 12, I got a 15lb Bear recurve. My arrows were cheap wood shaft target arrows. Not very consistent but I didn't know or care that much back then. It was just too much fun to draw the bow and watch the arrow take flight as it sought the target like a heat seeking missile. For a kid, imagination is half the fun...
I made up all sorts of shooting games. In the big fields up behind the house; after the corn was harvested and plowed under, I had an ideal location where I could practice long distance shooting. I later learned that this is called Flight Archery. At that time, Robin Hood was my favorite TV show. Remember how Robin and his men would communicate by tying a note to an arrow and then aiming it at an sharp angle up into the sky. Remember how it would miraculously strike a tree or whatever a few feet away from the person they intended the note for.
At other times, I would drive a stick into the ground and then see how close I could get my arrows to the stick from different locations. Sort of like horseshoes. I was to learn that this form of archery is called Clout Archery.
I found empty cardboard boxes and cut out various animal silhouettes. I positioned these home-made targets against hay bails in the rolling hills and timber area in another part of the farm and spent hours practicing something very close to Animal Rounds as described above in our discussion on Field Archery. Imagination allowed me to participate in many a successful hunt back on the farm.
6) Other Forms of Archery
There are several other forms of competitive archery, such as Clout Archery, Cross-Bow Archery, Field Cross-Bow Archery, and Flight Archery. We will not delve into those here as they are more specialized. If you wish to learn more about those forms, your best bet would be to look up the subject on one of the Internet search engines.