Etiquette Guide to field archery in the UK

Shooting at Company of Sixty and NFAS Open Events

The following are not 'Rules' – they are offered by the Club as suggestions to help newcomers to the sport or those attending their first organized shoot to participate confidently in the knowledge that they are not doing the 'wrong thing'.

You can download a copy of this guide here.

Pre- shoot

  1. If you wish to shoot with others, make that clear on your application form. Try not to chop and change on the day. It may not always be possible to shoot with who you wish: respect the Event Officer's decision on this. If you have medical condition that requires you to shoot with a 'partner' or you need a 'short walk out' to your target, please make this clear to the organizer when booking.

  2. Check you have a whistle and mobile phone with you.  Check your phone is set to silent ring/vibrate. Save an emergency contact number under ICE in your phone, or keep the number on your archery kit. Save a copy of the Club's emergency information on your phone.

  3. Arrive in good time and no later than 30 mins before the advertised start/registration time. Park sensibly. Go straight to Registration and show your current NFAS card whether asked for it or not.  Your scorecard will show your starting target number – remember it, and listen out for instructions relating to it.

  4. When the Shoot Officer calls for the start of shoot, assemble close by and listen carefully and in silence to all instructions. They will include important information about scoring and safety, which you will need to know.

  5. Follow your marshal/lead official out to your target and await the pre-stated signal to start. This is a good time to introduce yourself to others in your group.

  6. There should be no more than six archers shooting at each target. If there are more than six of you raise this with a marshal.

During the shoot

  1. Carry a whistle at all times, and preferably a mobile phone.

  2. Assume (i) that others prefer silence when aiming and shooting: give them quiet and (ii) that people do not wish to know their scores as they go along. However, some groups prefer banter, some like to know their scores. Don't be afraid to enquire early on, or to express your own preferences to establish the 'ground rules' for your particular group.Talking to others in your group between targets will help build friendships. Mild ribbing and friendly banter can often bond a group, but bear in mind other people in the group's feelings are not all the same. Avoid bad language and don't denigrate other bow styles. Do not be afraid to ask others about their bows and equipment. Most archers are only too pleased to talk Please avoid bad language and don't denigrate other bow styles.

  3. Stand in a position to follow the arrow trajectory of the shooter and see where it falls but not forward of the peg and archer, it is unsafe and distracting.

  4. When everyone has shot, walk carefully up to the target watching out for any arrows that have fallen short. If you accidentally damage another archer's arrow, apologize and offer to pay for it.

  5. Always score the arrows before drawing them or touching them (they may be disqualified if they are deemed to be interfered with).

  6. Do not help to pull out arrows until you know how to do it correctly. Wooden arrows can be damaged by bending, twisting or rotating when pulling out, and fletchings damaged if you touch them when drawing. Using just fingers and not placing your thumb on the shaft or using a proper arrow puller will help prevent damage. Some archers prefer to pull their own arrows out: this is quite normal. If you don't want others to pull your arrows for you, make this clear. While arrows are being retrieved stand to one side of the boss; never stand directly behind an archer drawing arrows from the boss as they could accidentally strike you when the arrow eventually comes out.  

  7. Search for your own lost arrows and help others to find theirs. Do not wait to be asked. If after a reasonable time your arrow has not been found, and the next group behind you are waiting at the peg, thank the members of your group, stop the search and move on. It will probably reappear later in the 'orphan arrows' bin. On a busy shoot don't spend more than five minutes searching for lost arrows.

  8. If there are only a few of you on the target do not all go behind the boss to look for arrows.  For safety reasons always leave one person on view between the peg and boss in case another group arrives at the peg and do not realize that there are archers searching for arrows behind the boss. Be patient with new or apparently slow archers (you too were once a beginner, you too will become old - with luck).

  9. If you stop for lunch or tea, enjoy your refreshments, but please don't linger too long: this can hold up other groups and delay the whole shoot. This is especially true if you have been asked not to jump groups. If you have been waiting more than about 20 minutes while the group in front of you has refreshments, point this out to a marshal.

  10. If you see any behaviour which is dangerous, or you believe to be dangerous, report it to a club marshal/official as soon as possible. It is unfair to report any safety concerns to the NFAS without first having raised those concerns with the club officials.

  11. Don't drop litter. Pick it up if you find any and bin it at the hut area.

  12. Respect and respond politely to instructions/requests from officials/marshals, even if you disagree. They are all volunteers, and it is THEY who are responsible for the safety of the event (remember: NO marshals NO events).

After the shoot

  1. You will be told at the Opening Talk whether the club would appreciate help in carrying in 3Ds if you end your round on a 3D, please help by carrying it back to the central area.

  2. Collect your scorecard from the group scorer and hand it (or both copies if there is double scoring) immediately to the club official responsible for evaluating scores.

  3. It is polite to stay to the end of the scores and presentation process. Even if you are not a contender support your companions. (Many people love to add to their collection of medals and that's fine, but if you are only going to throw it in a drawer and never use it, it is quite alright to hand them back quietly after the awards, for the club to reissue).

  4.  At the end of the day thank the rest of the archers in your group especially the ones that have done the scoring. If you have enjoyed the event, tell the officials organizing it or post some positive feedback – it is much appreciated and helps us to put on better shoots.

  5. Have fun at the shoot and help make the NFAS an even safer, friendlier fraternity of archers.

Become an NFAS member here.