11 Tips for Archery Range Etiquette

If you are thinking about taking up archery, there are a few things you should know before you start. Like any sport, archery has rules and regulations which can affect equipment, scoring, and conduct in club and competition environments.

However, as a ‘gentleman’s sport’, archery also has a code of etiquette which applies to archers everywhere. As a new archer, knowing these general rules will give you a head start in earning the respect and acceptance of other archers. Anyone who plans to try archery needs to be aware of archery range etiquette.

Why is Archery Etiquette Important?


When you are handling potentially lethal weapons, it should not come as a surprise that you have a certain responsibility to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Therefore it is really important that you follow the rules of the range that you are shooting at.

Most archery etiquette is a matter of common sense and should be obvious to experienced archers who understand the function and limitations of their equipment. 

However, the dangers of archery may not be so obvious to beginners, especially when they first handle a bow. Consistent rules, applied to everyone, make safe practice a matter of habit and ensure that everybody knows what to expect.


Archery is a sport and taking part should be fun. Acting with consideration for others is a big part of archery range etiquette and the rules are in place to ensure that the environment at the range is suitable for everyone.

Different archers might have different preferences: some might not mind the general hubbub of a crowded area but others will need silence to concentrate while they shoot. A beginner might need space and time to work on their draw, while a more experienced athlete might shoot faster. The rules of the range ensure that everyone gets the chance to shoot in a way that suits them. 

What are the Rules of Archery Etiquette?

Every club or range will have their own rules about acceptable conduct and all archers should familiarize themselves with these. To give you a head start, here are 11 tips for archery range etiquette which are likely to apply at every archery range.

11 Tips for Archery Range Etiquette


1. Distract Other Archers

Be careful not to distract other archers by talking to them while they are shooting. Many archers prefer to be silent while they are aiming and chatting on or near the shooting line can be off-putting. Avoid any loud noises, shouts or exclamations, or sudden movements such as high fives while shooting is in progress. You can celebrate your amazing achievements later!

2. Offer Unsolicited Advice

Unasked for advice is rarely welcome; there is nothing more irritating than a know-it-all trying to correct everyone around them. Even if your advice is correct it might not be appreciated so always wait until you are asked.

A beginner or less experienced archer might be doing many things wrong and you might genuinely be able to help them. But unless they are posing a danger to others, only give advice if it is asked for. Too much well-meaning advice can be overwhelming when you are just starting something new; there is a lot to learn and different advice from different people can sometimes confuse. By all means offer to help, but do not be offended if your offer is rebuffed.         

3. Walk Along the Shooting Line

Stay in or near your position while shooting is in progress; walking up and down the line to compare scores or chat to friends is frowned upon and can be very distracting to other archers.

4. Approach or Leave the Shooting Line While a Neighboring Archer is Drawing or at Full Draw

If someone near you is drawing, wait quietly until they finish before doing anything which may disturb them. Do not approach the shooting line and do not move away from the shooting area, until they have completed their shot.

5. Touch the Target Before the Score Is Recorded

Always, always wait for the target scorer to confirm that they have finished before going near the targets. No archer should begin to collect any arrows from in or behind the targets until all scores have been recorded.

6. Gloat or Sulk

No matter how well (or how badly) you have shot today, do not spoil the enjoyment of other archers with your reaction. You can dissect the day and express your joy (or misery) later, over a drink. Remember that you are all there to enjoy yourselves, and that your positions could be reversed next time!


7. Respect Equipment

Watch where you walk at all times; take care not to step on or damage anyone’s equipment and make sure that yours is not left out where it could cause a trip hazard. Take care when removing your bow from the bow rack and retrieving your arrows from the target.

If you need to handle the equipment of another archer, make sure you get their express permission before doing so. Do not retrieve other archer’s arrows without their approval, and take the same care with them as you would with your own.

If the worst happens and you accidentally damage an item belonging to someone else, offer to pay for or replace it immediately.

8. Switch off or Silence Mobile Phones

If you are carrying any electronics which may cause a disturbance then it is good practice to make sure they are switched off or silenced before you enter the shooting area. This keeps distractions to a minimum, both for you and the other archers. 

9. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Always make sure the range is clear before you begin to shoot. Never, ever nock, draw or release any arrows if someone is downrange, even if you are confident of your aim.

Check the area around and behind you before you draw; there may be other archers standing close to you so be aware of who is in your immediate area and avoid inadvertently nudging or knocking them when they are aiming. 

10. Shoot Within Your Capability

Remember, everyone was a beginner once and there is no shame in being truthful about your abilities; you will gain far more respect for being honest than for trying to show off.

If you are unable to hit the target, you might be trying to shoot at the wrong distance. Do not be embarrassed to work with a close target until you have improved your skills; far better to learn at your own pace than hold up others while you search for arrows which miss the target every time.

11. Clear up After Yourself

All equipment should be put away once you have finished shooting, and not litter should be left on the course. If you have been using equipment that belongs to a club, offer to help them put it away before you leave.

In Conclusion

As you can see, most of these rules are simply common sense and easy to follow. Shoot safely, be aware of others, and act with consideration and you will find that archery is an enjoyable and inclusive sport.

Other Rules

In addition to following the basic guidelines outlined, you must be aware of the specific rules which apply to the range of club you plan to shoot at; these might be displayed on their website of at the range. Competitions may have different rules so always check the details and read them thoroughly.