Shooting Rules

A beginners’ guide to the Shooting Rules 

This section is not meant as a substitute for reading the AA and FITA Rulebooks, but should be read as a general guide on how things work on a Saturday afternoon.

Beginners please note: Never be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand what’s going on – we have all been newbies at some stage, and most archers are quite happy to explain the procedures.

The Rulebooks

  • There are two Rulebooks used in Australian competitions:
  • FITA Rules (the white rulebook) are used in State and National events.

Archery Australia Rules (the green book) usually apply where FITA rules do not, and there are some minor differences. Club shoots on a Saturday are generally conducted to AA Rules.

There are AA and FITA Rulebooks in the Clubhouse. Copies of the Rulebooks can be purchased through AA or can be downloaded from the AA and FITA websites.

If you are planning to enter a Tournament, get yourself a copy of the appropriate Rulebook and read it – and then ask questions. We have several AA Judges at the Club; and they are always happy to explain “The Rules” – all you need do is ask (see above).

“The Rules”, as used at Club level are not as formal as might be applied during official Tournaments, and there are some minor differences from the official Tournament Rules.

Shooting Control

Shooting control shall be in accordance with the FITA and/or AA rulebooks. Ends are not normally timed on Club days (but will be at tournaments).
Shooting control is normally by whistle:

  • Two blasts of the whistle indicate that you may take your place on the shooting line.
  • One blast of the whistle indicates you may begin shooting.  Do not raise your bow until this whistle is blown.
  • Three whistle blasts signify that the end is complete and you may move forward to score your arrows.
  • If there is any danger or if something needs to be rectified on the target butts, then multiple blasts of the whistle during shooting means that everyone MUST CEASE SHOOTING IMMEDIATELY. You must then step back from the line and wait for the DoS to signal that it is safe to recommence.
  • When it is safe to recommence the end, the DoS will blow one blast on the whistle.

Occasionally, we shall set up the “traffic lights” to use for shooting control.

Equipment failure:

If you have an equipment problem, hold your bow above your head.

This will alert the DoS, so that arrangements can be made for you to repair the fault and then either complete the end, or shoot “make-up” arrows later on.

Some general notes about scoring

  • Usually one person does the scoring for all the archers on that target.
  • Score sheets must be filled in correctly with all of your details EVERY time. If it is not filled in correctly, it may be rejected by the Recorder.
  • Each person shooting is responsible for calling their own arrow values or asking someone to do it for them if they can’t.
  • Arrow scores should be announced clearly so that the scorer can hear. 
  • If you have more than one arrow scoring the same eg. 3 arrows in the blue 6 zone, say ‘six, six, six’ and not ‘three sixes’ otherwise the scorer might mistake the score for a 3 and a 6. 
  • Any non-scoring arrows must be called as a ‘miss’. A miss is shown on the score sheet as an ‘M’.
  • Arrows are called from the highest scoring one to the lowest.  Eg. “ten, nine, seven, six, six, miss”.
  • Do not touch any arrows or the target face until all the scores for everyone have been recorded.
  • If there is an arrow in the very centre circle of the gold this is called as an ‘X’ and counts as a 10. The scorer records an X. X’s are used as a tie-breaker, if required
  • The scorer also totals up the number of “Golds” scored. The number of 9’s, 10s & Xs. E.g. If you have scored X, 10, 9, 7, 6, 6, this would count as 3 golds.
  • If an arrow is touching a line between two zones then the arrow is scored in the higher zone.
  • If you cannot decide whether the arrow is touching the line or not, ask your fellow archers at the target. If you are at a tournament then a judge will be called to decide the value of the arrow.
  • Once scoring is complete one or two people at the target pull all the arrows. This is done from the side of the target – don’t pull from the front – you might stab yourself! If you are not pulling arrows then stand clear of the target.
  • If an arrow is hit directly down the shaft by another arrow (known as a Robin Hood) then both arrows score whatever the arrow in the target face scores.
  • If you are shooting in a tournament you will be required to ‘mark the arrow holes’. This means you put a mark on the target face next to each arrow AFTER it has been scored but before pulling them out. This is in case a later arrow bounces out of the target. An un-marked hole will indicate where it hit the face.
  • At the end of the shoot, each archer must sign the scoresheet. Check it before you sign it! What you sign for is what you get credit for, so if it is added up incorrectly – bad luck!!!!

 Some general notes about Target shooting

  • Most Rounds begin with two 3-arrow ends for sighting before the scoring ends begin. The DoS will warn you before he blows the whistle. E.g. “First 3 arrow practice-end”. OR “First 6 arrow scoring end”.
  • Your feet should normally straddle the shooting line. You must have at least one foot behind the line at all times while shooting.
  • An end of 6 arrows normally takes around 4 minutes. This time limit is not normally enforced on Club days unless someone is excessively slow; then ends will be timed.
  • Once you have finished shooting, step back from the shooting line. Do not stop to look through your scope at the last arrow even if you have put your bow down as this may obscure the DoS’s view of the shooting line.
  • If a problem arises at your target butt (eg. The face comes loose), alert the DoS so that the whistle can be blown to move people back from the line and the target fixed in safety.
  • Once all arrows have been scored and collected, move back behind the shooting line so that the DoS can see that the shooting area is clear and shooting can begin again. 

Some general notes about Field shooting 

  • There are no “practice” ends in Field archery. At tournaments, a warm-up range will be set up, but there is no practise on the course.
  • Shooting for field is not controlled by a whistle or central DoS, therefore it is up to individual groups to ensure that they and those around them are safe at all times.
  • Groups of (max) 4 archers proceed around the field course (usually shooting at each target in pairs). You shoot 3 arrows (FITA field) or 4 arrows (National Round) at each target in turn (It’s a bit like golf, but not nearly as frustrating!!!). The size of the targets varies from 20cm to 80cm, and the shooting pegs are set at varying distances (from 5m to 60m depending on the size of the target face). You will need good sight marks from 10m to 60m in 5m increments.
  • Your group may not necessarily start at Target #1 however they must proceed forward from whichever target they do start from. Never walk backwards around a field course for any reason, as you may walk behind targets being shot, or in front of other archers.
  • Archers shoot from different pegs, which mark the distance to the target. There are Yellow, Blue and Red pegs. Check the Rulebook in the Clubhouse for information on which age divisions shoot which pegs.
  • Archers may stand at a max distance of 1 metre away from the peg, as long as no part of their body is in front of it, this means that you do not straddle the shooting “line” as is done in target shooting – both feet must be behind the peg.
  • In field, your detail is very important – this is a letter you are assigned and in club shoots is usually decided by the group. This letter (A, B, C or D) determines what order you shoot in. You usually shoot in pairs.
  • For field, archers shoot in alternating details, that is, archers A and B will shoot the first target first, then CD second. For the next target, CD will shoot first, AB second etc.
  • Your detail determines which target(s) you shoot. This is important for the 20cm and 40cm faces, for which there are multiple targets on the one butt.
  • If you are shooting first on 40cm faces (4 Spot), you and your partner will shoot the top two faces, and the two following archers will shoot the bottom two. This will vary from target to target, as different archers will be shooting first each time
  • If you are shooting first on 20cm faces (Bugseyes) you and your partner will shoot the 1st and 3rd columns of faces from the left hand side of the target respectively. The other pair will shoot the 2nd and 4th columns of faces from the left. Again, this will vary from target to target, as different archers will be shooting first each time.
  • The Field Rules may, at first, appear complicated, however it is a challenging, and very satisfying event for most archers.
  • If ever you are unsure of what to do, do not hesitate to ask other members of your group, and make sure you all agree which face to shoot before shooting as if you shoot the wrong face, you will lose the entire score for that arrow. 

Some general notes about Clout shooting

  • Shooting Control is by whistle (the same as target).
  • When moving up to the clout to score please approach the Clout from the side and NOT through the centre of arrows.
  • Each scoring area on the rope has one person who collects all the arrows in that zone as the rope moves around. If an arrow is “on the line” then the higher score is taken.
  • There are 10 scoring zones – just like target shooting.
  • When pulling arrows out of the ground they need to be pulled straight and carefully in the opposite direction they went in.  i.e. If an arrow is lying very flat then pull it out flat. This is to prevent bending the arrow.  Bend with your knees rather than your back otherwise your back will be very tired by the end of the day.
  • Once all the arrows are collected they are laid across the rope so that the arrows are pointing in the opposite direction to the arrows in the scoring areas on either side (the odds all point one way & the evens all point the other way). This is determined by the person collecting the 10s. This will become clear the first time you see it done.
  • There is usually one scorer for six archers. Find your arrows in the different scoring zones and when your name is called call the arrows as for target scoring.
  • Do not touch, or pick up your arrows until the DoS (or Target Captain) says that scoring is complete.
  • You must not take any arrows into the Clout area (leave your spares at the shooting line).