Archery at the Games

We are pleased to include archery in the Woodland Games. The competitive shooting for cash prizes includes a preliminary round in the morning and finals in the afternoon. The same competitions will be held both Saturday and Sunday. Prizes are awarded in both open handbow and traditional divisions. Youth archers are invited to shoot in the Popinjay Prize Shoot in the afternoon. Youth archers who can hit a small bird target are awarded silver coins.

At midday, the archery range will be open for free shoot, and instructors will be on hand to teach new archers. This outreach program is one of the best loved activities at the range. New archers, usually children, but there are no age requirements, listen to a short safety lecture and are then assisted on the range by individual instructors to shoot an end of arrows. There is no charge. Youth archers, including novices who show some skill, are invited to sign up for the Popinjay Prize Shoot. Bows and arrows will be available to borrow.

Once again, the Society for Creative Anachronism, a Middle Ages reenactment group, has been brought in to the archery arena to help with activities and to provide medieval combat and arts demonstrations for the audience. Arts demonstrations may include some hands-on activities. Combat demonstrations include fencing and heavy armored combat. Our archery instructors are volunteers from Society for Creative Anachronism and the local Boy Scouts of America Shooting Sports Committee.


Competitive Shooting at the Games

There will be four competitive archery shoots at the games for cash prizes. Two will be held Saturday, and two on Sunday. The same format will be used each day, but the start times may vary. On each day, one competition will be in the open handbow division, and another in the traditional division. The first place finisher of the Saturday shoot is not eligible to shoot in the same division on Sunday. First place archers will receive a $75 prize. The Moorcock shoot format that follows will be used for all four competitions.


The Moorcock Shoot

The Moorcock shoot is a derivative of the popinjay shoot, held by the Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers in Scotland. It is an annual competition which has been shot continuously since 1483. In the classic meet, archers shoot a qualifying round at the butts to determine their places in the shooting order. Each then takes their turn with one arrow at a time in an attempt to knock a bird shaped target off a pole extended out from the top of the church tower. The old church tower measured 140 feet from the ground. Since we have no church tower, and shooting arrows straight up presents some safety issues, we will hold our shoot down near the ground, with a lower sort of bird.

The Moorcock, or red grouse, lives and thrives on the heath of Scotland. This will be our target in the final round. The preliminary rounds, to determine the order of shooting in the final round, will be held in the morning. The final round will be held in the afternoon. The preliminary round will consist of four ends of six arrows each. Two ends will be shot at 30 yards, and two ends at 40 yards. The target will be a 60 cm five color target. Scoring will be gold, 5 points, red, 4 points and so on. Split lines count as the greater value. For the final round, the moorcock will be placed downrange and the archers will shoot at it in turns. The archer with the highest score in the preliminary round will shoot first, and archers will follow according to their score. Shooting the bird off its perch constitutes a win. The bird will be reset twice to determine a second and third place archer. It is intended shooting at the moorcock will continue for three rotations of the ranked archers, but this may be changed at the discretion of the range marshal. If no archer shoots down the moorcock, it will be declared the bird flew and no prize will be awarded.


Shooting Division Rules

As these games are more about our history than our current technology, compound bows and crossbows will not be allowed. Also consider, our butts and safety backstops are not designed for compound bows or crossbows.

Personal archery tack is allowed in these games. It must pass inspection for safe use. You may not shoot your bow if it has frayed string, cracks or unaligned bow limbs. If you wear your quiver outside the archery arena, the arrows must be tied into the quiver with your bowstring.

There will be two shooting divisions:

  1. Open Handbow will include recurves and longbows of any material. Sights, mechanical releases, and stabilizers are not allowed. Arrows may be made from any material. Broadheads are not allowed.
  2. The Traditional division includes wooden longbows and recurves. A single layer of reinforcement is allowed on the back of the bow. This includes glass backed wood longbows. Composite bows of traditional materials are allowed (if you own a horn and sinew bow, that’s allowed). Sight windows, cut more than ¼” into the side of the grip are not allowed. Synthetic strings are allowed. Arrows must be of wood shafts and real feather fletching. Nocks of any material, as well as self nocks, are allowed. Piles (heads) may be of any type that is similar in diameter to the shaft. Broadheads are not allowed. Mechanical releases are not allowed.


The Archery Chairman for the games is the final authority for all interpretations of these rules.