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Cheshire Oak Bowmen

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Field Archery

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Most people associate archery with shooting arrows from fixed distances at roundels. The sport of Field Archery is virtually unknown to the layman but has an active and dedicated core of several thousand archers. The society has an annual membership of approx. six thousand persons in England Scotland and Wales.

This form of archery is thought to have originated as simulated hunting, probably in the USA as out of season practice. It is now practiced worldwide as a sport in its own right. In reality it consists of shooting on rough, usually wooded ground as opposed to the better known target archery, which most people will be familiar with.

The distances shot varies from about 5M up to about 80M but the average would be 30 to 40 metres. The target distances are unmarked so archers first use their skills to estimate the range.

Targets are predominate realistic pictures of animals or life size 3D foam replicas. These are placed around the woodland making use of the natural features of the land to form an interesting and taxing ‘course’. The number of targets is flexible but for “open” competitions it is most often 36 or 40.

During the course of a competitive ‘shoot’ groups of archers, usually four to a group, progress round the course shooting a limited amount of arrows, never more than three, at each target, keeping the scores as they go. Courses vary greatly depending on the type of ground a club is able to obtain for use on a regular basis. Woodland is normally preferred but some clubs use more open undulating ground.

Field archery clubs that are able obtain large enough areas of woodland often put on ‘open’ shoots in which members from other registered NFAS clubs may compete. How often a club holds these is largely dependent on the interest within the club and the availability of willing labour. Putting on a shoot is hard work and requires a large degree of dedication from able bodied members, as carrying heavy target bosses around woodland and possibly through undergrowth for a day becomes very testing. However any club that puts on well organised shoots over a good, interesting ground can be sure of attracting a large active membership.