To start, let’s cover the main governing bodies for competitions. They fall into three categories – national, state, and local/individual archery shops.
• National Organizations
The major national organizations are National Field Archery Association (NFAA); World Archery, also known as USA Archery (USAA); International Bowhunter Organization (IBO); and Archery Shooter’s Association (ASA).
Special note: World Archery was previously known as Fédération Internationale de Tir à l'Arc (FITA). The state level chapter was Ohio FITA which is now known as Ohio Target Archers.
These four organizations they can be split into two groups. NFAA and USAA is mostly involved in indoor and outdoor target archery. IBO and ASA focus on 3D archery. However, there is some crossover from all the organizations. For example, NFAA has several Marked 3D tournaments.
What is 3D archery? The typical archery range is flat, with targets set at exact distances. In contrast, a 3D archery range is in the woods, it introduces unique angles/distances, and creates new ways to have fun with a bow. 3D archery gets its name from the three-dimensional animal targets used in the shoot. The target sizes range from small chipmunks to massive elk and are set along a course that resembles a hiking trail. Each target helps create a different hunting/shooting scenario. You might shoot downhill at a deer target, and then walk a short distance to shoot at an alligator in a swamp. The shots try to mimic the countless scenarios bowhunters could face in the field. This creates realistic bowhunting practice. 3D archery isn’t just for hunters – it creates difficult shoots that can challenge any archer’s skills.
It is important to note that all these organizations have very specific rules for equipment classifications with a lot of very subtle differences among them. You must read their individual rules/bylaws to see what qualifies and what does not. Also, all these organizations shoot a class system which match archers with similar age, sex, and equipment against other archers for most events. There are exceptions like when a tournament groups all male compound shooters regardless of age shoot against each other. But those type of tournaments are very rare.
Below is a list of the organizations and a brief history of each one.
The NFAA (nfaausa.com) was officially founded in 1939 with 49 chartered state originations and over 1,000 member shops. The NFAA has affiliations with the International Field Archery Association and USA Archery. On the national level, the NFAA runs nearly 100 national and regional tournaments around the United States. About half of these tournaments are outdoor. Their home office is in Yankton, SD.
USAA (usarchery.org) is in Colorado Springs, CO. It was originally known as National Archery Association. USAA is involved in all disciplines of archery including target, field, and 3-D. USAA sanctions more than 200 events annually and conducts indoor, outdoor, and collegiate National Championships as well as the USA World Archery and Olympic team. USAA also has youth (JOAD) and adult archery programs and clubs throughout the United States, and certifies archery instructors, coaches, and judges.
The IBO (iboarchery.com) was created in 1984 by a dedicated group of bowhunters who shared the desire to ensure that bowhunting and the ideals of wildlife conservation survive. This organization is about shooting 3D archery with unknown distances. One of the skills required to shoot IBO successfully is the ability to judge yardages and to have your archery equipment setup so that helps with misreads. They run a Winter National, Indoor National, Spring National and World Championship which is comprised of seven national events. Several of these national events are held indoors. IBO shoots Rinehart targets exclusively.
The ASA (asaarchery.com) was created in 1993 in Kennesaw, Georgia. Like the IBO, they are about shooting 3D archery outdoors. However, in contrast to the IBO, the ASA supports classes that include known yardages which is more desirable to target archers. The scoring between the IBO and ASA organizations is different as well. The ASA has six Pro/Am shoots each year between February and July. The ASA shoots McKenzie targets exclusively.
The Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA, s3da.org) is a youth-oriented program that focuses on developing archery skills in the areas of indoor target, 3-D and outdoor target archery as well as safe, ethical bowhunting practices. The goal of the S3DA program is to provide archery and bowhunting opportunities for young people in after-school settings as well as with archery-affiliated clubs and businesses in the community. This organization is a little smaller and has a bigger impact in the mid-Atlantic states. Because it is a after school program it is entirely built around youth shooters. They have four national shoots a year on the east coast and four national shoots on the west coast.
The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP, naspschools.org) is an in-school program aimed at improving educational performance among students in grades 4th – 12th. The students are taught self-control, focus, discipline, patience, and the life lessons required to be successful in the classroom and in life. They run a variety of shoots within their specific local areas. Typically, their events concentrate more on character building and focus less on competition. They run four national events, two indoor and two outdoor. Membership is not required. Membership is dependent on the student attending a school that is running a NASP program.
The Senior Olympics (National Senior Games Association, NSGA, sga.com) was first held in 1985 in St. Louis, MO. The NSGA exists today as a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating active adults to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games’ movement. The Games, a 20-sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors.
NSGA Member Organizations hold annual games with qualifying competitions in the year preceding The Games. Athletes that meet specific criteria while participating in the State Senior Games qualify to participate in the National Senior Olympics. To date, the NSGA has held 17 summer national championships. The local state organization for Ohio is Ohio Senior Olympics (ohio.nsga.com). Archery is one of the events included the Senior Olympics. For archery they shoot a 900 Round and membership is not required.
All these national organizations require membership except NASP and the Senior Olympics. Most of them provide lower cost membership for young archers and discounts for families. To participate in any of their events and to have your scores count you must be a member of that organization. Only NFAA and USAA have a cooperative agreement between them where membership in one is good for tournaments of the other except for shooter-of-the-year awards.
• State Organizations
Several of the national organizations are built by or support state chapters of their organizations. As previously mentioned, the NFAA is made up 49 state chapters. These state chapters run their own local statewide shoots that are independent of the national organization. Typically, state chapters must run several statewide shoots each year to maintain their chapter status.
In Ohio, the state chapter of the NFAA is Ohio Archery Association (OAA, ohioarchers.com). The OAA was founded in 1889, it is a state chapter of NAA and is one of the oldest continuous archery organizations in the United States. The OAA has been a state chapter of the NFAA since the formation of the NFAA in 1939. OAA runs one of the more robust programs nationwide and has seven statewide tournaments each year with four of these events indoors and three of them outdoors. They also run a shooter-of-the-year program. Membership in OAA is done through the NFAA membership process and is accomplished when you select your state membership.
Ohio Target Archers (OTA, ohiotargetarchers.com) has had several names over the last 30 years. As the state association of USA Archery, OTA promotes “World Archery style” events. OTA has 6 tournaments each year that include a JOAD tournament series and an adult tournament series. OTA uses these tournaments to build camaraderie among their archers and help prepare them for regional, national, and international tournaments. OTA does not have separate membership. It is managed through USAA national membership.
Ohio ASA Federation (facebook.com/OhioAsaFederation/) is affiliated with Archery Shooters Association Federation and is focused on organizing quality archery tournaments in Ohio that will allow archers to compete in a State Championship and qualify them for the ASA Classic. They run northern and southern Ohio qualifiers for a state championship each year and have a shooter-of-the-year award. There are four qualifiers in the north and four in the south with a state championship in July. Membership is contingent upon membership in ASA.
Ohio 3D Group (ohio3dgroup.com) was established in 2014. Ohio 3D Group was created to promote the sport of 3D archery for Ohio. They believe this is a great opportunity for all, from target shooters to the average hunter that enjoys a little challenge in the off season. They run several shoots throughout the summer ending with a championship in July. Membership is required to participate in their shoots, but the cost is minimal.
• Local Organizations
The 4H runs the 4-H Shooting Sports clubs (4-hshootingsports.org) which are open to all youth ages 8 to 18. This program covers archery, crossbows, pistols, and rifles. The program is designed to develop a supportive environment in which young people can learn in a hands-on learning environment. The youth learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more. The program is designed to develop foundational character rather than skills.
The Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts both run small archery programs for completion of merit and achievement badges. Their courses are designed to stress safety in shooting archery. They typically run these programs at their individual camps.
Some church organizations have archery programs. It depends on the church as to what kind of program they offer. Membership may or may not be required to participate in their program. There is no membership requirements.
Most local archery shops run indoor leagues. Some outdoor local archery organizations such as Geauga Bowmen (geaugabowmen.com) also run outdoor leagues during the summer. Leagues can be in many different formats but are usually based on either a 5-Spot or Vegas round. Geauga Bowmen requires membership to shoot their leagues. Their other events are open to the public. Most archery shops don’t require any form of membership.
Tournament can be divided into two broad formats…indoor events and outdoor events. These events are based on the general weather in the USA. Indoor events usually occur during the late fall through early spring when the weather outside is cold and wet. Outdoor events occur from late spring to early fall. There are a few exceptions to this schedule such as the Arizona Cup (held in Arizona) and Gator Cup (held in Florida), both USA Archery events, that take place in states that are warm throughout the winter.
• Indoor Events
Indoor 300 Rounds (5-Spot) – Leagues, State Shoots, National Shoots. The 5-Spot round is one of the most popular rounds shot indoors. The 5-Spot is shot at leagues, state sanctioned shoots and national shoots by the NFAA. It typically takes about 1.5–2 hours to shoot with a top score of being 300 points and 60 X’s on the blue/white targets. Most compound shooters shoot a target that has 5 target faces on a single target with scoring rings of 4 and 5 only. Most recurve archers shoot a single target face on the target that includes scoring rings of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. A 5-Spot round consists of 12 ends of 5 arrows for a total of 60 arrows at 20-yards.
Vegas Round – Leagues, State Shoots, National Shoots. This is the second most popular indoor round. This is shot on a target that has three 40cm target faces that are white, blue, red, and yellow. This is the round that is shot at the Vegas shoot. It usually takes about 1.5–2 hours depending on the shooting field. There are variations on the scoring of this type of target based on whether you are shooting a normal Vegas round (x-ring is 10 points, 3 target faces in a triangle), Lancaster round (x-ring is 11 points, 3 target faces alignment vertically) or a USA Archery round (baby 10’s for compound bows, 3 targets per face aligned vertically). Also, the overall length of this round can vary because it can be shot as either a 150 Vegas Round (15 arrows total), 300 Vegas Round (30 arrows total), 450 Vegas Round (45 arrows total), or 600 Vegas Round (60 arrows total). With so many variations on this round it is important to ask what the specifics are for that event/venue. Scoring rings are 1 (white), 2 (white), 3 (black), 4 (black), 5 (blue), 6 (blue, 7 (red), 8 (red), 9 (yellow), and 10 (yellow).
Bowhunter Round – NFAA State Shoots. The Bowhunter round is shot by the NFAA only. It is shot as single arrow on each of four different, low contrast, black/white animal targets with scoring rings from 1-10 at 20-yards. The total shoot is 32 arrows. The difficultly of this round is that you only shoot one arrow, then score it and then shoot another arrow. The 20-yard distance is reduced for very young shooters.
Flint Round – NFAA State Shoots. The Flint Round is one of the oldest indoor target rounds in existence. It has been shot since early in the 20th century. You shoot four arrows at one of five different target faces that are at different distances each end. Because you’re constantly changing your distance to the target, it can be quite challenging and is different than the typical shooting at 20-yards. Shooting distances range from 20-feet to 20-yards. The distances are reduced for very young shooters.
Indoor 3D Rounds – IBO and Local Organizations. Local organizations and IBO have indoor 3D shoots. Some of the shoots are simple range setups with 3D animals. Others, such as IBO’s Winter Nationals, have extensive and elaborate indoor courses. Typical 3D archery scoring is usually used and, depending on how the range or course is setup, it can be very difficult. As with most 3D archery, each animal is shot with only one arrow. Most of these rounds are shot at an unknown distance so judging yardage is essential to shooting successfully.
Indoor National/State Championship – USA Archery/Ohio Target Archers. This is very similar to a Vegas round except it is shot over a period of two days. On Day One you shoot at 25 meters on a 60cm target and on Day Two you shoot at 18 meters on a 40cm target. The target sheet can be either a triangular or vertical 3-target face depending on whether you are shooting the state or national event.
• Outdoor Events
Field Round – NFAA National Shoots, State Shoots. The Field Round is a multi-day event. Most state shoots are two-day events while the national shoot is a three-day event. In either case, you shoot a “field” round, a “hunter” round, and an “animal” round. The “field” and “hunter” rounds consist of 28 targets (4 arrows per target) and the “animal” round is 28 targets (1 arrow per target). The targets are at known distances with different distances and target faces for the “field” and “hunter” rounds. The “animal” round is all paper target faces. Distances for this shoot can range from 20-feet to 80-yards. The courses are setup on a trail through woods and fields with varying angles from flat to 30° up or down to the target. The Field Round is designed to test all your archery skills. It is shot rain or shine. The only time they will stop the shoot is for inadequate lighting. Shooting distances are shorter for the younger shooters.
Field Round – USA Archery, Ohio Target Archers. The USA Archery field round is very similar to the NFAA “field” portion of the NFAA Field Round. It is a two-day event with 30 targets. Day One is unknown yardage and Day Two is known yardage. This is shot rain or shine and the only time they will stop the shoot is for inadequate lighting.
900 Rounds – NFAA, USA Archery, Local State Organizations. The 900 Round is probably the most common round for outdoor target shooting. There are many variations to this round but generally it is always shot on 144cm target with scoring rings that are 1 (white), 2 (white), 3 (black), 4 (black), 5 (blue), 6 (blue, 7 (red), 8 (red), 9 (yellow), and 10 (yellow). Usually the NFAA shoots 60-yards, 50-yards and 40-yards. USA Archery events shoot the round in reverse order starting at 40-meters and ending at 60-meters. This is the same round that is shot at the Senior Olympics as well.
There are many variations on this round so you need to check with the organizer of the event for the specific rules. Some of the variations are the Double 900 Round shot over two days, World Archery shoots the complete round from 70-meters, qualifier rounds could possibly be 30 arrows only, elimination rounds are often only 15 arrows. Also recurve archers shooting a USA Archery sanctioned event might use the set system of scoring versus the cumulative score. Like the Vegas Round, this event is highly adaptive to various shooting tournaments. Younger shooters are shooting at shooter distances. A typical 900 Round can take 3-5 hours to complete depending on the shooting field and weather. Again, this is a rain or shine event that stops only for lightning or heavy rain.
3D Shoots – IBO, ASA, Local State Organizations, Local Clubs. Outdoor 3D shooting typically falls into one of two scoring formats … ASA or IBO. Each has different way of scoring and have different inserts in the animal targets. IBO is strictly unknown yardage while ASA has classes for both known and unknown yardage. They each have separate rules for equipment qualifications. For both organizations, a round is usually made up of 30 targets with one arrow per target. Most times targets range from a full-size elk down to a raccoon. Normally the longest shot you will take will be under 45-yards with the shortest being around 10-yards. There are also a lot of minute differences between the two organizations, many of which aren’t mentioned here.
Local organizations and leagues follow one of the two general formats, and as with most outdoor events, it is shot rain or shine. National events can have up to 2,500 competitors so a day on the course can take over five-hours with long waits at each target for the groups ahead of you to finish.
Marked 3D Trail Shoot – NFAA, Local State Organizations. The Marked 3D Trail Shoot is a 30 target shoot of 3D animals with known yardage. The difference between this event and regular 3D shoots is an orange dot is on the targets. Two arrows are shot at each target for a total of 60 arrows. Also, the scoring is different than regular 3D shoots. Targets can be partially obscured and range in distances from 10-yards to 100-yards with shots both uphill and downhill. Recently, this has become a very popular shoot especially among the target archers and bowhunters. It is structured so that it focuses on shooting skills rather than guessing yardage. It takes about 2.5-3.5 hours to complete this event depending on the number of participants. The event is shot rain or shine and will only stop for lighting. The organization of Professional Archers (OPA, oproarchery.com) also shoots a variation of this round.
Total Archery Challenge (totalarcherychallenge.com) is a unique 3D shoot that requires a separate listing as type of event. Total Archery Challenge events are held in some of the most scenic venues across the United States, including the top of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, The Black Hills of South Dakota, the northern woods of Michigan, Seven Springs Ski Resort in Pennsylvania, and many other locations. The archery courses are designed to test the marksmanship of all skill levels. Each event includes over 100 3D targets which challenge shooters to adjust for distances, angles, and natural obstacles on five different courses. In addition to the main courses, they have a Future Champions course for beginner youth and other novelty shots to win major prizes. This is a fun shoot where 50-yard shots are the short shots and 100+ yard shots are more the norm.
Here is a general overall matrix of the types of events or tournaments that each organization runs throughout the year. It is a general framework with no specific dates for these events and it only covers the bigger National and Ohio shoots. In adjacent states, such as Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, there are many more state level shoots that are accessible by car.
|Archery Shooter’s Association (ASA)||National||Hoyt/Easton Pro/Am||Outdoor|
|Elite Archery Pro/Am||Outdoor|
|TRU Ball/Black Eagle Pro/Am||Outdoor|
|Mathews Archery Pro/Am||Outdoor|
|Delta McKenzie ASA Classic||Outdoor|
|International Bowhunter Organization (IBO)||National||Indoor World Championship||Indoor|
|1st Leg National Championship Triple Crown||Outdoor|
|2nd Leg National Championship Triple Crown||Outdoor|
|3rd Leg National Championship Triple Crown||Outdoor|
|IBO World Championship||Outdoor|
|National Field Archery Association (NFAA)||National||NFAA National Field League||Outdoor|
|World Archery Championships||Indoor|
|The Vegas Shoot||Indoor|
|Indoor National Championships||Indoor|
|Marked 3D National Championship||Outdoor|
|Outdoor Field National Championships||Outdoor|
|Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA)||National||S3DA Vegas Shoot||Indoor|
|S3DA Indoor National Championship||Indoor|
|S3DA 3-D National Championship||Outdoor|
|S3DA Outdoor Target National Championship||Outdoor|
|USA Archery (USAA)||National||Indoor Nationals||Indoor|
|USAT Qualifier Series Events||Outdoor|
|USA Archery Target Nationals and U.S. Open||Outdoor|
|USA Archery Collegiate Target Nationals||Outdoor|
|U.S. Archery Team Trials||Outdoor|
|USA Archery Collegiate 3D Nationals||Outdoor|
|JOAD Target Nationals||Outdoor|
|Easton Foundations Gator Cup||Outdoor|
|Ohio Archers (OAA)||State||Bowhunter Mail-in||Indoor|
|Indoor 300 Championship||Indoor|
|Flint Round Mail-In||Indoor|