Montana 4-H Archery Rules
R14 Adopted May 11, 2019 by the Montana 4-H Shooting Sports Advisory Committee
History and Purpose
The 4-H Archery Project and competitive events exist to provide an opportunity for youth development
through the pursuit of excellence. The intent of this document is to help ensure fair and equal and safe
opportunity for all Members. Each competitor will have the same predetermined rules and will
compete with others of similar age and comparable equipment. Archers, Leaders, or Parents
exhibiting unsportsmanlike conduct at tournaments will be expelled from the entire event without
refund. These rules are updated from time to time. It is the responsibility of the 4-H Archer and
Archery Project Leader to know and abide by the rules at all times. Failure to do so is grounds for
Archery Safety Rules
All Archery Safety Rules are to be adhered to at ALL times including Practice, Tournaments, etc. and read as follows:
1. Give full attention to the RangeMaster.
2. Know and obey Range Commands and Rules of Etiquette and Safety at all times.
The Whistle Commands are: 5+ =Emergency! 3=Score & Pull. 2=Archers to the line. 1=Shoot
3. Be Silent on the Shooting Line & Waiting Line.
4. Always wear an arm guard while shooting to protect you from String Slap, Clothing Interference, a
5. Make sure arrows are long enough! Do not trade. If you change Draw Length, Check your Arrow
6. Use a bow with Proper Draw Weight. Being Over Bowed leads to Bad Form & Shoulder Injuries.
7. Keep all arrows in the quiver until the "begin shooting" signal is given by the Range Master. The
Range Master may require the use of floor quivers if in his/her opinion the conditions warrant it.
8. Let dropped arrows lie. Wait for specific permission from the Range Master before picking
up dropped arrows.
9. The high setup is encouraged, but arrows must be pointed toward the targets during the entire
draw cycle, not the floor, or ceiling.
10. When a mechanical release is used, the archer shall draw with finger placed firmly behind the
trigger until the anchor point is established.
11. Never Dry Fire a Bow – (Includes Broken Nocks, Lost Inserts, De-nocked arrow, too Light arrows –
Arrows must weigh a minimum of 5 grains per pound of bow draw weight.).
12. Always walk at the archery range. No horseplay.
13. Pull and carry arrows safely. Look Behind you!
14. Safely carry arrows in your hands controlling both ends of the arrow or in a quiver.
15. Inspect Arrows (Nock, Fletch, Point, & Shaft) each time you shoot before putting them back in
your quiver. A damaged arrow must immediately have the nock removed so that it cannot be shot!
16. Always use a stringer to string a bow.
17. Be sure there is adequate clearance for bow limbs and that nothing is attached to the limbs
when shooting (e.g. bowstand, etc) that is not specifically manufactured as part of the bow.
(Bow Quivers are OK, but not allowed at some ranges.)
18. Leave equipment or friend blocking target when searching for lost arrows.
19. Be sure of your target and beyond. If in doubt, don’t shoot!
20. Never draw or shoot an arrow pointed straight up!
21. Only travel forward on a 3-D or Field Course. Never backtrack.
22. Make sure archers ahead of you are clear before nocking an arrow on the 3-D range. Call Out.
23. Do not back out limb bolts beyond mfg’s recommendation. Don’t Know? Don’t do it!
24. The Range Master may set other safety procedures he/she deems necessary.
Archers must be 4-H Members in good standing and currently enrolled in the 4-H Archery
supervised by a Certified Archery Project Leader to participate in 4-H Practice or Tournaments.
(Note: Non-4H youth and adults may be invited to shoot at fundraisers.)
Equipment check in will include checking in bows, arrows, accessories for bow and armguards.
The maximum peak draw weight of any bow shall not exceed 60 pounds.
Arrows must be no lighter than 5 grains arrow weight per pound of bow peak draw weight. No arrows larger than 27/64 in. (10.716 mm) in diameter are permitted.
Stabilizer length is measured from the back of the bow at the point of attachment and includes any coupling device.
Sight length shall be measured from the mounting screws to the sight pin or aperture.
Bows in divisions without sights shall have no markings or blemishes or bow quiver or arrow rest parts in the sight window or face of the bow or string that could be used for sighting.
Camo bows shall have tape over Archer’s side of the sight window.
No electric or electronic devices are allowed on the shooting line including sight lights, lasers, cell phones, communication devices, and headphones.
Crossbows are not allowed.
Armguards shall be properly worn by all archers when shooting.
An Arm-guard should be principally comprised of rigid material of substantial width
(approximately over 2 inches) and length (at least 5 inches). Keep in mind that the
idea is to safely protect the shooter from string slap and/or
**Examples of Arm-guards not accepted include, but not limited to -- Cotton sleeve (Sock style), Nylon sleeves or Nylon Sleeves with the single rubber strip.
Dress code will be enforced. Alcohol, cannabis, or tobacco logos or text, inappropriate
unsportsmanlike slogans, sleeveless sweatshirts, bare midriffs, torn jeans etc. will not be tolerated.
Participants are required to wear shoes that completely cover the foot. Examples of
acceptable include, but are not limited to: open-toe shoes, sandals, clogs, crocks, flip-flops, sox only, and bare
Archers with Physical Disabilities: An Archer with a physical disability or injury,
temporary or permanent,
who cannot participate from one or more prescribed shooting positions as outlined in the Rules or who
must use special equipment when shooting may petition to the Range Master for permission to assume a
special position or to use specialized equipment or both. For example those with lower body injuries may
shoot from a wheel chair, chair, or stool as deemed medically or adaptively necessary or someone with an
injured arm might use a chew strap. Those instances require a written petition supported by a physician’s
written statement detailing the problem, the physical issues preventing the use of standard position or
positions, or modifications in equipment required to enable participation.
Archery Disciplines include Indoor Target Archery, Outdoor Target Archery (FITA),
Field Archery, 3D
Archery, Clout Archery, Flight Archery, Run Archery, and Ski Archery.
Archers shall compete in the Bow Division that allows all of the components of the
bow, sight, and release
method being used, although all components are not required to be present. For example, a Bare Bow is not
required to have a 12” stabilizer even though it is allowed, and a compound bow with no sights using a
mechanical release would shoot in Bowhunter or Unlimited class because of the release.
Primitive Bow (PB):
Longbow or Recurve with finger release and no sights or blemishes/marks on the riser
or string that could be used for sighting. No stabilizers are permitted. String Walking is not allowed. The
archer shall touch the arrow with the index finger against the nock throughout the shot cycle. In the case of
physical disability of the arms or hands, a chew strap located at the nock may be used in place of fingers.”
Bare Bow (BB):
Any bow with finger release and no sights or blemishes/marks on the riser or string
could be used for sighting. A single straight 12” maximum stabilizer is allowed.”
String Walking is allowed provided that two nock locators are present adjacent to the arrow nock. A fixed crawl locator is not permitted. In the case of physical disability of the arms or hands, a chew strap may be used in place of fifingers.
Limited Bow (LB):
Any bow with finger release and fixed sights with a length of 5" or less. Peeps with clarifiers or verifiers are allowed. A single straight 12" maximum stabilizer is allowed. Sights that are adjustable without the use of tools or sights with a lens are not allowed. No sight may be adjusted once the scoring has begun.
Bow Hunter (BH):
Any bow with mechanical release aid, and fixed sights with a length of 5" or less. Peeps with clarifiers or verifiers are allowed. A single straight 12" maximum stabilizer is allowed. Sights that are adjustable without the use of tools or sights with a lens are not allowed. No sight may be adjusted once the scoring has begun.
Unlimited Bow (UB):
Any bow with mechanical release aid, stabilizers of any length, V-bar, any sight including movable sights or sights with a lens, and written information. Sight may be adjusted any time during the round, but only by the Archer. (Not the coach.)
Olympic Recurve (OR):
Recurve bow with finger release, clicker, kisser buttons, V-bar, stabilizers of any length and any length single movable sight with written information or multiple pin fixed sight. Sight may not incorporate a prism, lens, or leveling device. String peeps or marks on the string in front of the eye are not allowed. Sight may be adjusted anytime during the round but only by the Archer. (Not the coach.)
For state matches “age” is based on the Member’s age on October 1st preceding the
event Archers must
compete in their own Age Class as follows:
CLASS 1 = 9 to10 years old. (15-yard maximum for 3-D)
CLASS 2 = 11 to 12 years old. (25-yard maximum for 3-D)
CLASS 3 = 13 to 14 years old. (35-yard maximum for 3-D)
CLASS 4 = 15 to 19 years old. (45-yard maximum for 3-D)
For the National Team Qualifying Event and the National Invitational “Participants must have past their 14th
birthday by January 1 of the current year and may not have passed their 19th birthday before January 1 of the
current year.” (Age 13 may participate for practice.) See “Montana 4-H Archery Qualifier Rules and
A Competitive Category is a combination of a Bow Division and an Age Class. For example,
(BB), Ages 9 & 10.
Each time an archer shoots a group of arrows, scores, & pulls it is called an End. Several Ends make a
Range Layout and Protocol
Indoor Target Archery ranges shall have a Waiting Line at a minimum distance of 3
yards behind a
Shooting Line, and a target Line 2 yards from the targets. Lines shall be clearly marked with tape, paint of
other means that is not a tripping hazard.
The range shall be under the exclusive control of the Range Master and the Range Master’s appointees. Whistle commands should be used by the Range Master.
Whistle commands shall be:
5 or more Blasts = “Emergency! Cease fire and quiver arrows.”
3 Blasts =“Cease fire and Retrieve Arrows.”
2 Blasts = “Shooters to the line.”
1 Blast = “Begin shooting.”
Archers should be trained accordingly.
Anyone may call a “Cease Fire!” in case of emergency.
In case of mechanical failure, the Archer shall get the attention of the Range Master and obtain permission
before repairing equipment. The Range Master may set a time limit for repairs. Dropped arrows that are
within reach of the Shooting Line may be picked up and shot only upon specific direction of the Range
Master. The Archer may continue the Round and may be allowed to shoot make-up arrows or Ends at the
Range Master’s discretion, but the archer’s score must continue from where he/she left off, and the archer
may not start over regardless of the reason for the make-up arrows or ends.
No flash photography is allowed during Rounds.
Timing will be provided by an Official Timer appointed by the Range Master. The start
and end of
each time limit will be signaled by a whistle or other audible device. An arrow shot before or after the
specified time will be considered as being part of that End and will cause the athlete to lose the highest
scoring arrow of that End, which will be scored as a miss. The Range Master or Timer may give a 30
Competitors must use targets that have not been previously used, marked, or modified
way. No aiming points or marks may be placed on the target or range. An archer may request a new target
during the Round if the target has become damaged enough to make scoring difficult.
However the target must be the same type as the original. i.e. If you start with a 3-Spot, you must finish
with a 3-Spot.
Archers and Scorers shall not touch arrows or targets until after arrows are scored
upon. Scores will be called out by the athlete and checked by the scorekeeper. An arrow will be scored
according to the position of the shaft in the target face, not the hole. If an arrow touches two colors or a line,
score the higher value. A “Robin Hood”, an arrow prevented from hitting the target due to being stuck in any
part of a previously shot arrow, shall be given the score of the arrow in which it is stuck. If a target is
deformed or partly missing, score will be based on an imaginary circular line in the original position. On a 3-
Spot target there can only be one arrow scored per spot. If more thanone arrow is in a spot, only the lowest
score is counted. The others are scored as a miss-M. The Range Master or appointed Judge shall make the
final determination of score if the Archer and Scorer cannot agree on an arrow’s score. In Indoor Target
Archery the Range Master will give Archers an opportunity to re-shoot arrows that pass through or bounce
out of the target. Arrows that miss the target are not bouncers and may not be re-shot. Score as miss. (Note:
use “M” for misses, not “0”.) (See scoring for different archery disciplines below.)
Placement is by highest score in each Competitive Category. Tied scores shall be resolved
first by the most number of X’s. If still tied, use most 10’s, then most 9’s etc. until tie is resolved. (National
Qualifier Rules vary. See “Montana 4-H Archery Qualifier Rules and Procedures”)
At tournaments Coaches and parents are not allowed in front of the Waiting Line, on
Shooting Line, or on the Range at any time except by special permission of the Range Master. (For example
to help set up targets, help score, or for photographs.) Coaches may assist all archers and adjust sights
during warm-up ends only. No further adjustments to any part of the bow or sight are allowed after the first
Scoring Round has begun, except as stated in the Unlimited Bow and Olympic Recurve Divisions above.
Coaching during a Round will be permitted only for members under the age of 14. All permitted coaching will
take place behind the Waiting Line and between Ends and in a manner that does not disturb other archers.
National Governing Body (NGB) Rules
If more specifics are required, the following rules shall apply: NFAA “Traditional
Bow” rules for the
Primitive Bow (PB) division.
NFAA “Competitive Bowhunter” rules for the Bare Bow (BB) division.
NFAA “Freestyle Limited Bowhunter” rules for the Limited Bow (LB) division.
NFAA “Freestyle Bowhunter” for the Bow Hunter (BH) division.
FITA “Compound Division” rules for the Unlimited Bow (UB) division.
FITA “Recurve Division” rules for the Olympic Recurve (OR) division.
These rules and divisions shall apply to both Target Archery and 3-D Archery events.
In case of discrepancy the 4-H rules shall prevail.
Here are some examples of archery events. The outdoor examples are typical of the 4-H National Invitational.
Montana 4-H Indoor Target Archery
Indoor Target: 40 cm FITA or Vegas 3 Spot (Archer’s choice) at 1 m. above floor.
Distance: 10 meters.
Course of Fire: 10 ends of 3 arrows each. Time
Limit: 2.5 minutes per 3 arrow end.
Scoring: 10x,10 to 1, M from the center outward, or 10x-10-6,M on 3-Spot.
Archers shoot standing, straddling the Shooting Line.
Outdoor Target Archery
NGB = USA ARCHERY – FITA BOOK 2 FITA
ROUND (1/2 FITA)
Target: FITA 122cm and 80 cm faces, 5-color face Distance:
Rounds are shot in the following order:
- Ages 9-10 = 30m, 25m, 25m, 20m
- Ages 11-13 = 50m, 40m, 30m, 20m
Archers shoot standing, straddling the Shooting Line.
Ages 14-19 = 60m, 50m, 40m, 30m
4-H National Invitational Ages 14-19 = “60, 50, 40, and 30 meters in that order”
Course of Fire: 18 arrows at each of 4 distances. (72 arrows total.)
3 ends of 6 arrows each from the two longer distances using 122cm targets. 6
ends of 3 arrows each from the two shorter distances using 80cm targets.
Time Limit: 4 minutes per 6 arrow end and 2.5 minutes per 3 arrow end.
Scoring: 10x,10 to 1, M from the center outward.
NGB = NATIONAL FIELD ARCHERY ASSOCIATION
FIELD ROUND (1/2 Field Round)
Target: NFAA targets of sizes selected by the management and appropriate to the course.
Marked distances within the range of 5 to 60 yards.
Course of Fire:14 targets with at least one fan and one walk-up target, 4 arrows per target.
Time Limit: Shooters will move through the course expeditiously and avoid delays.
Scoring: 5x, 5, 4, 3, M from the center outward.
Archers shoot standing, with toe nearest the target behind the Shooting Line.
NGB = FITA 3D BOOK 5 CHAPTER 11.10
Targets: 3-D targets as selected and placed by the management.
Distances: Unmarked distances from 5 to 50 yards.
Course of Fire: 30 arrows, one arrow per target in order by the management.
Time Limit: Shooters will move through the course expeditiously and avoid delays.
Lost arrow search is
limited to 2 minutes.
Scoring: Determined by management. Typically 11, 10, 8, 5.
Archers shoot in any position but some body part must be touching the shooting stake. e.g. foot or knee.
Montana 4-H Archery Qualifier
See “Montana 4-H Archery Qualifier Rules and Procedures which are incorporated herein.”