Author Topic: Target Archery vs Field Archery  (Read 8502 times)

Offline Sephiroth

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Target Archery vs Field Archery
« on: September 19, 2014, 10:51:43 AM »
Good evening folks,

I have been shooting Target Championships for about a year now. I am no Olympic level archer, but i do have already enough skills to go to Championships and not embarrass myself....

But this last Saturday i had a hole new experience. Field Archery.

I found it to be an amazingly open-minding experience ! I had never realized that target shooting and techniques got me no notion of how to use a bow in any other situation then just a Target at 70 meters away sitting still.... Shooting field targets was fun, but hard. Elevation, wind, target sizes that vary, shooting technique.... All that was new. You just cant shoot a bow in a field challenge as you do in a target challenge.

I use a 70´size Recurve Bow that pulls #40 pounds. A SF Axiom with Shibuya sights.  But at the Field challenge i shot a simple Recurve wooden bow with a size 66 and also #40 pounds of pull. There were no "adds" on the bow, such as a "Button", "Clicker", "Stabilizer" and Sights. Just plain old Archery techniques.

We all know what a bow can do for a Prepper. I wanted to ask you guys if i should look into a different type of bow and learn these "outdoor" techniques.  In a sense, the guys at Field are less accurate but a lot more faster and able to adapt. I took forever trying to figure out the "ballistics" behind Field archery while they would just point and shoot. Amazing !

Also, what makes a good "Outdoor" bow ? A Take-down bow smaller than 70 ? I think i am going to buy a different bow for Field. An Olympic bow is kind of fragile and "overkill" for this kind of practice....

Thanks !

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2014, 12:17:12 PM »
hum, just learned something new today.


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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2014, 08:35:04 PM »
For field shooting (hunting) a compound bow will shave some overall length, making it easier to move through brush.  It will can also shoot flatter and faster than a recurve.  And with the let-off (the biggest benefit that is gained), it will make it easier to pull to full draw and hold it there while waiting for the right shot.

Many will argue that a compound has many failure points, but of my 15 years of hunting and practicing with one, for 6 months out of each year, I had no issues.  A recurve should also prove to be much lighter to carry than a compound.

Offline MarkL99

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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 06:45:37 AM »
In my experience you want the lightest and fastest bow you can afford but most importantly are comfortable with.  Do not choose a bow that has too high of a draw weight.  Try to get the shortest limb to limb bow for working through the brush also. 

Offline Sephiroth

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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2014, 08:28:40 AM »
A compound bow really is lighter, faster and powerful.

But it has to many moving parts. I want something close to medieval.... What i did find, is a good Take-down bow that pulls 35 pounds and has a 66´size. Looks pretty solid and reliable.

I don't like Compound bows, and the techniques are different for it. I really am looking for a kit that can fit my BOB or car, and is easy to maintain and take care of. Compound bows are amazing, but require a lot of care. A simple Take-down Recurve bow can take a lot of punishment and has no fragile parts such as a compound bow...


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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 08:51:19 AM »
Compound bows are amazing, but require a lot of care. A simple Take-down Recurve bow can take a lot of punishment and has no fragile parts such as a compound bow...

I haven't bow hunted for a very long time, but my first 15 years of elk hunting was using a bow.  Unless things have changed, the several bows I owned took little to NO care and were not fragile at all.  I'm not sure what kind of "punishment" you're thinking you want to put a bow through, but I can't imagine a compound bow not taking what any other weapon would before some kind of failure, within reason of course. . . .  I'm not sure how many hunters are bow hunters in the U.S. (I'm sure it's in the multi-millions), but keep in mind that whatever the number is, I'd bet that the weapon of choice for 90% of them is the "compound" bow.  That said, you have to go with what you like, but I think you are wrong about the negatives you mentioned.

What advice were you looking for?  It sounds like you already had your mind made up?

Offline Sephiroth

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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2014, 04:48:33 AM »
Well Nelson,

Maybe it´s just a wrong impression that comes from the guys at the club. i shot some Compound bows and i really don´t have a negative experience with them. I just tend to think that the more simple, the better.

What i am trying to figure out, is if my Olympic Bow can do something for me as a tool in a disaster situation or if i should buy a Traditional Take-Down recurve bow for that.... And also, if the shooting technique changes.

Olympic Target shooting is very nice, but i see no practical use of such kind of bow and technique in the Survival World.... Different story if we thing Traditional Archery....

Offline InquiringMind

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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2014, 09:59:18 AM »
Sephiroth - you raise some interesting points to consider.

I would break down the topic into two separate but related concepts:

(1) What are the merits of these different shooting styles?
While I only have experience target shooting, I imagine the two types are complementary.

'Olympic' style target shooting is a highly precise, almost zen-like sport. Your goal is to perfectly repeat an ideal shot. In theory, you are the only variable. As such, practicing this type of shooting hones your pure skills.

'Hunting' style field shooting has less emphasis on precision and more on adaptability. Range, target type, weather, elevation differences, etc. can all change, so practicing in a variety of conditions helps you build intuition, enabling you to hit targets in challenging situations with 'good enough' accuracy.

Olympic style is like practicing layups or free-throws; field style is like scrimmaging. Each will help with the other, and both are worth learning. Depending on what sorts of applications you have in mind, you might emphasize one or the other.

(2) What are the merits of these different types of bows?
Bows are specialized tools, so the key is to define your intended uses. "...can X do something for me as a tool in a disaster situation" is a good start, but it's very broad. What is the 'something'? Most people would probably say hunting and/or defense. What is 'a disaster situation'? A short term, localized (even just personal financial) disaster? A long term, TEOTWAWKI scenario? Weighing different options could lead to different choice of bows.

For instance, consider a short term, localized disaster. You are unlikely to be so hard-pressed for food that you will be relying on hunting. You could potentially have security needs, but those would almost certainly be far better met with a firearm. In this case, a bow wouldn't factor into your emergency needs, so get whatever you'd like to shoot in 'peace time'. If you don't own or want to own a firearm, you want a bow that is easy to effectively use, and that will pack as big a punch as possible. This would lead to selecting a compound bow.

As another example, consider a truly long-term, civilization ending, TEOTWAWKI scenario. Here, you are likely to have persistent food and security needs. Once again, a firearm would almost certainly better serve these needs except for noise and limited ammunition, and bow could be an effective way around those limitations. In any critical situation, ease of use/effectiveness is essential, but the long-term nature of this scenario also requires extreme reliability and repairability. A compound bow is easier to shoot, more powerful, and as nelson96 pointed out, highly reliable. However, if anything were to break or wear out (e.g. the string), you'd be SOL. In contrast, a recurve is not as easy to shoot, still powerful, even more reliable, and easy to repair. If you wanted, you could cheaply and easily stock extra strings and even limbs. This one is more nuanced, but I would likely choose a take down recurve. Keep in mind, though, this scenario is extremely unlikely.

In the end, I think it's somewhat of a false dilemma. I would say practice shooting both styles, especially if you enjoy it. And if you're worried that your Olympic style bow is impractical for a disaster, however you define that, you probably can't go wrong picking up a cheap take down recurve, a bunch of arrows, and some spare parts for $100-150.

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2014, 01:02:10 PM »
Very well stated Inquiring Mind.

I started shooting archery back in 1951. (Six years old... Yep I'm a Geezer)
While technical improvements enhance the target hit probability, the romance of a straight bow or recurve holds sway over my choice.
Cross bows, Compound Bows, Arrows shot out of a rifle using blank cartridges, (Yes I have one), Magnum rifles with Telescope sights... Where is the romance of just pulling a string and shooting an arrow?
My 300 Weatherby Magnum shoots much flatter than my 65# Bear Takedown, but I just can't visualize Robin Hood with either a rifle or compound arrow flinger.

Compound bows are too complicated for me to maintain compared to a standard bow.
In a long term survival situation like Inquiring Mind spoke of, I too would choose reliability over the long term above slightly better efficiency.

I also believe that Olympic and field archery enhance each other.

However, shooting a field course is like a golf course for archers. 
I get better exercise and enjoy it more than just shooting at one target at the same range.
Please don't take that as a put down of Olympic Archery.  It takes more skill to be that accurate at 70 yards than killing a bale of straw at 20 yards.
I wouldn't give up one for the other.
Like I said, they compliment each other.

Back in the 1970s, the Cedar River Bowmen, (one of the archery clubs in the Seattle area) had several members who worked for a large taxidermy company there.
They arranged to buy several of the Styrofoam bodies that the company used to cover with skins of trophy animals.

These they covered with different fabrics and painted up like real animals.
Horns and antlers were made of fiberglass.

Thus the Bonanza animal shoot was started.
Targets ranged from Beaver at 15 yards to a 13 foot tall polar bear on the 80 yard walk up.
It was like shooting in Disney Land.

I shot in several of these shoots and managed a first place in Barebow, Bow Hunter class.

Here is one of the original targets... Looks real enough to try to pet.

Of course there were several side shoots.
They had a running dear target on a wire that they whipped un and down to simulate the bounding of a running buck.  (Lost several arrows on that one)

My favorite was that galloping horse target.
They mounted a saddle on an oil drum and suspended it on ropes.
You got 3 shots at a slowly moving target while the ropes were being pulled to simulate a running horse...

(Lost a couple of arrows there too)

Another shoot my friends and I used to do was to modify plastic Frisbees (or make our own out of cardboard) and shoot them with Flu-Flu arrows.
We had six targets and would rotate throwing them for the other archers (usually three of four), so you got to shoot more than be just the trap boy.
There are lots of ways to enjoy field archery.

Best to you,


Offline Tactical Badger

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Re: Target Archery vs Field Archery
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2015, 07:26:25 PM »
I still say traditional gear only for preparedness purposes.  I prefer take-down recurves or longbows for their portability.  I would go with something closer to the 58" range.  You can get them as short as 42" though.  Those are pretty extreme though.  58" is a pretty common hunting bow length.  Draw weight is as much as you are comfortable with.  Most of mine are in the 45-55lb range.  I prefer bare bow, instinctive.  No sights or aids. No gap shooting or string walking.  It's a very different shooting style from Target.  A lot of the form carries over to instinctive though.  But, I think you've probably got a really good basis to build from.

I think you'll love it.  There's nothing like roving.  Have fun with it.