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Archery is a great skill for anybody to have.
It teaches hand-eye coordination, helps keep you in shape1, and it’s oh so satisfying to thunk an arrow into the bullseye.
Archery is also a great skill for survivalists, too!
However, releasing arrow after arrow into the same circular target can become a bit stale. It’s not a good test of your skill.
And if your skills aren’t tested, they won’t improve.
Let’s improve your archery skills.
The Best Archery Games
Here are some of my favorite archery games.
They either make getting that bullseye more exciting or they push your new archery ability to the limit, testing not only accuracy but your range prediction skills and ability to use bows in less-than-ideal conditions!
Some of these games require more than one archer.
Also, you may have to find a more permissive archery field than you normally go to!
This is a simple game that can get difficult in a hurry.
You can play Robin Hood alone or as a competition with your friends.
Start by standing 10 yards from your target, whether commercial or homemade. Everyone releases an arrow.
Everyone who landed an arrow in the target, anywhere on the target butt, moves back 5 yards.
Repeat until nobody lands an arrow in the target!
If more than one person hits at the longest range then you can move up to a comfortable distance for a shoot-off. One arrow each.
The closest arrow to the center wins!
Related: What Arrow Spine Do I Need?
Causing physical damage to your target is exciting and balloons are an economical way to blow stuff up.
Fill the balloons with water. Add glitter for even more excitement.
You can hit other targets that “explode” on impact as well. Fruit is another good choice!
Targets on a String
A common archery game practiced by my friends is to get a foam ball and hang it from a broken arrow.
The smaller the ball, such as a ping-pong ball, the harder it is to hit.
But once you do hit your target, the ball will bounce!
This gives someone else the perfect opportunity to try to hit a moving target.
It’s tough, but I’ve seen someone nail a swinging ping-pong ball!
Even tougher than a target on a string is a target flying through the air.
You need someone standing safely to the side as well as a large barrier because we don’t want to send arrows flying into the unknown!
Foam Frisbees, thrown from an underhand position so the disc flies with the top facing the archer, work well.
There’s nothing like hitting a flying target to make you confident in your archery skills!
Tic Tac Toe
You can also play board games with arrows.
Paint a tic-tac-toe board on a burlap sack and hang it. Then, take turns putting arrows into the squares.
Miss and hit the wrong square? Too bad, that’s your move!
Miss and hit no squares? You just skipped your move, bub!
Stick an array of playing cards on the target, backs facing the archers.
Each player aims at a card and releases an arrow. Then the next archer takes their turn.
Once everyone has hit five cards then gather the cards.
Whoever has the best hand wins!
Follow the Leader
One of our favorite games was to play Follow the Leader.
Each archer takes turns being the leader. As the leader, you establish not only where you are aiming, but where you are shooting from and even how you are aiming.
People being tricky has lead to me practicing archery with my string hand upside down, using a right-handed bow left-handed, and even shooting while laying down!
Please do not do anything dangerous, though.
Blindfold Shooting and Spotting
Here’s not only a test of skill but also a test of trust.
Split into teams of two.
One person has the bow and is blindfolded. The other person is their spotter.
The spotter tells the archer when to draw and how to shift their stance to be on target.
This is surprisingly tough as a spotter. It’ll test your observation and prediction skills from an outside perspective!
Leave the archery field and enter the woods for this one.
Gather some targets and install them in the woods. Also, mark some positions for the archers to stand.
Going through an entire archery shooting course will test your range estimation skills and will put you into the mindset of hunting under real-world conditions.
It’s more of a test if you go into the course blind, so you may want to split into two teams. One team sets up the course, the other goes through it, then swap.
Up your game by using 3D deer targets!
If you don’t have a location in the woods where you can set up an entire course then you can go stumping.
Stump shooting, also called roving is perhaps my favorite archery game. However, you will need arrows just for this purpose.
Also, make peace with the possibility of losing an arrow!
You practice stump shooting by entering into the wilderness and finding random pieces of scenery to shoot.
Stumps make for excellent targets, which is why this is called stumping!
You can also hit dirt piles and other, non-living targets that strike your fancy.
Stumping tests your hunting skills in a more practical manner than any other archery game. Every aspect of archery is pushed to the extreme.
You can also use this opportunity to practice other hunting skills, such as observation, navigation, and the art of stalking.
Plus, if you have a hunting license, this may be a good time for small-game hunting as well!
Archery is a satisfying and practical skill. However, it requires a lot of practice in order to become a good archer.
These games will help you become a better marksman with your bow. Pop those balloons and follow that leader!
You’ll place arrows in the bullseye in no time.
Stumping is my favorite of these games. Which game is your favorite? And do you have any games to add to this list?
Let me know in the comments below!
- S3 Archery, “Tip Options for Stumping/Roaming,” YouTube Video, 5:13, August 11, 2013, https://youtu.be/gdYRT54r6RE