A Brief History of the National Field Archery Association


The NFAA was started in 1939 in Redlands, California by archers who wanted more than the organized target archery of the time, which was run by the NAA or the National Archery Association.  A new record book would be needed fora new style of archery that involved the hunter and roving archer, a group that was growing rapidly in America. The NFAA developed three rounds on a 14 or 28 target butt roving/meandering marked yardage target range; these rounds are Hunter, Field and Animal. They also helped set up a state archery organization in every state. Our state organization is the Southern California Archery Association/California Bow Hunters, (SCAA/CBH).

  Through committee they created and maintain the standards that decide the styles (BB, BH, FS, etc.) and class (A, B, C) of shooting for competition on a field range. Today this system has grown to include three National Tournaments (Indoor, Outdoor and Marked 3-D), Eight Sectional Indoor Championships (group of 6+ states in a geographical area such as South East or Mid-West) and Eight Sectional Outdoor Championships. They sanction more than 100 Indoor/Outdoor State Championships and 1,000¹s of club shoots including our own CVA Monthly Club Shoot tournament.

   The NFAA is a member of the International Field Archery Association (IFAA) and a national allied organization of the Unites States Archery Association (USAA; formerly the National Archery Association or NAA), which makes our JOAD program work within a field archery club.

   NFAA also provide two other major functions; first they create the rules for designing a safe marked yardage field archery range and  provide certification of that range, through safety inspections and  provide the insurance needed to protect the club. This allows us to build ranges that cities and states find acceptable and safe.

   Second, they created programs for archery advancements to be recorded and careers recognized, and standards by which to gauge your personal shooting progress. It is called the A-B-C class system. Not all shoots are sanctioned by the NFAA and unsanctioned shoots do not provide a path to a recorded or recognized career as an archer.

   CVA has not promoted many NFAA sanctioned shoots these last few years (exception ­our monthly club shoot), preferring to focus on a category known as “novelty shoots” for the purpose of fund raising and opportunity to promote the sport. Novelty shoots (i.e., Fun in the Sun or Traditional Challenge) are easier to put on, require less oversight and are excellent fund raisers, but winning one does not advance ones archery career.  The standards for these shoots are loose and limited and do not qualify for record keeping.

   On the other hand participating in or winning our monthly Club Shoot is useful for establishing style, class and club recognition. Once your style and class (A, B or C) is established during the club shoots - you can then advance by competing in the State Target (Indoor/Outdoor), Field or Marked 3-D Championship Tournaments.  These tournaments are put on by our state archery association (SCAA/CBH) but hosted by individual archery clubs such as the Conejo Valley Archers and the Oranco Bowmen. Clubs lobby to host these tournaments at the annual State Archery Association meeting in mid-January of each spring, much like host countries bid to be Olympic host countries. Winning one of these tournaments finally begins you on your way to an archery career that is documented in a record book.

   Once you are in the book as a State Champion you then move onto the Sectional and National Tournaments. You do not need to be a state champion to participate at the Sectional or National level but your competition is going to include champions from many states.  Win a sectional and people begin to take notice, win a national and you are now in conversations with sponsors like Easton, Mathews, and Hoyt. So as you can see, it all starts at the club level with a Inspected and Certified archery field range, a Style and Class designation gained at the monthly club shoots and participation at the State, Sectional and National level, it all happens because a few bow hunters decided to create the NFAA.