A Guide To Field Archery

With the Australian Field Open coming up on 23-25 April at Armidale Archers, we thought it timely to clarify the difference between marked and unmarked field archery.

There is truly little difference between the two events and the name really says it all. In marked field, the distances for each target is known and in unmarked it’s not.

About the Armidale Archers Festival of Field Archery

Armidale Archers is hosting a whole week of field archery leading up the Australian Field Open. Across the week, there will be over $15,000 worth of cash and prizes handed out. The female and male compound winners of the Australian Field Open will also win a Mathews bow.

See the program outlined below:


  • 16 April : Archery NSW State Field Championships Day 1 – Marked
  • 17 April: ANSW State Field Championships Day 2 – Marked
  • 19 April: Armidale Archers IFAA Field
  • 21 April: 24 Target Unmarked Field Tamworth
  • 22 April: Australian Open Field Championships Practice & Registration
  • 23 April: Australian Open Day 1 Unmarked
  • 24 April: Australian Open Day 2 Marked
  • 25 April: Australian Open Finals

Register here. The event is open to Recurve, Compound and Barebow Recurve participants.

Please note you do not have to shoot every event during the week.

About Field Archery

Field archery is shot over 24 targets in a bushland/forest type setting. Each of the targets are set at various distances, angels along with different sized target faces.

Across a field course you can expect to shoot flat but also at an upward and downward angle. This is where the skill of learning how much to aim off is really important for a high score.

Target Faces

In field archery you can expect to shoot 4 different sized target faces through the course. The size of these target faces are 80cm, 60cm, 40cm and 20cm, all of which have corresponding target distances for both Marked and Unmarked (explained more below).

In Marked field across 12 targets (half the course) each face must be shot 3 times. Therefore, across the 24-target course each size target must be shot a total of 6 times.

In Unmarked field across 12 targets (half the course) each face can be shot between 2 to 4 times. Therefore, across the 24-target course each size target can be shot between 4 to 8 times depending on how tournament organisers choose to arrange the course.

Target Distances

In Marked Field the target distance is displayed near the peg. At the Australian Field Open this will be the red peg and distances will be set between 10m – 60m for marked. Archers will need to take care of the target angle in relation to the peg and make the appropriate sight/aiming adjustment for the slope.

Accurate sight settings will generally allow for a good result in these circumstances, provided you execute the shot well.

In Unmarked Field the target distance is not shown at the peg. However, certain deductions can be marked based on the size of the target. There are set distances lengths in which the peg must be set that relates to the target face size, so once an archer has gauged the size of the target face they are halfway to working out their distance to the target

Below we have outlined the target diameter along with the corresponding target distance for both marked and unmarked for the red peg.

Red Peg Marked and Unmarked Field Distances
20cm 10, 15 or 20m 10 – 15m
40cm 20, 25 or 30m 15 – 25m
60cm 35, 40 or 45m 20 – 35m
80cm 50, 55 or 60m 35 – 55m

Barebow archers in general shoot 5m less than the above and from a different coloured peg.

Note: this chart shows the distances for Open (red peg) Recurve and Compound archers. In Unmarked field the minimum and maximum distances are shortened by 5m compared to the Marked field distances.

Can Someone Practice on an Unmarked Field?

World Archery, and therefore Archery Australia Rules, state unmarked fields MUST be an un-walked course by anyone participating in the tournament. There is no “home advantage” to those shooting an unmarked course at the Australian Open Field.

Archers Usually Score Better at Unmarked

At National and International field tournaments, archers shooting an unmarked field often record a higher score for the unmarked course than the marked course.

This could because of a number of reasons:

  • distance to the targets is shorter
  • archers take more time in preparation for the shot

It just goes to show you don’t need to be afraid of unmarked field at all!

Preparing for the Australian Field Open

We highly recommend all archers have their sight settings for all the distances they need. That means between 10m to 60m at 5m increments.

We also recommend, if possible, archers practice at a field course to understand the feeling of aiming up or down at a target and learn how to aim off.