Ideal Archery Target Height Guide

[Updated 1 February 2023] You might have seen archery on television but not know all the rules. Archery is a sport, skill and practice that uses a bow to propel arrows. It was originally used for combat and hunting, but today it is mainly practiced as a sport and for recreation. You are called an archer or bowman once you participate in archery.

Just like any other sport, archery has its own set of rules, regulations, standards and procedures. This ensures fair judging and also means archers know what they are aiming for. One aspect of this is the archery target height. How high or low should a target be? Find out below to improve your archery experience.

Professional guidelines: Ideal Archery Target Height Guide

Even though archery has already existed since thousands of years ago, there are no universal rules about the correct target placements. There are however professional archery organizations that recommend that each professional archery event makes its own set of guidelines and regulations. Also, it depends on the place where the event is happening—if it is indoors or outdoors.

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Casual archery events

There is no existing widely accepted guideline for the target height in casual archery. However, it is recommended that casual archers’ targets are placed at around a 15-degree angle with the center of the target placed at 48 inches off the ground. This makes a height of 48 inches the most commonly used target height in archery.

In reality, it really depends on why you are shooting. If you are at a professional event, 48 inches is most likely the height to be applied. If it is just for practice, you can adjust the height according to your preference.

The ideal archery target height

A book called The Archer’s Register says that archery targets are generally pitched at an inclination angle to the ground of about 70 degrees. However, there are three other degrees that are also used. Take a look at the table below:

Inclination of targetHeight of the lowest point of the target above the groundHorizontal distance between the lowest and highest points of target
60 degrees2 ft. and 3 ¼ inches2 ft.
65 degrees2 ft. and 2 ¼ inches1 ft. and 8 ¼ inches
70 degrees2 ft. and 1 ½ inches1 ft. and 4 ½ inches
75 degrees2 inches and ¾ inches1 ft. and ½ inches

Ideal Archery Target Height - IdealArcheryTargetHeightGuide 450x450pxAnother book called Guide to the Longbow: Tips, Advice, and History for Target Shooting and Hunting states that different manufacturers will recommend various brace heights for bowstrings that usually cover about ½ inch.

For a Fox Archery longbow, the recommended brace height is from 6¾ inches to 7¼ inches. On the other hand, the TimberHawl Falcon longbow’s recommended brace height is from 7 to 7½ inches. The “sweet spot” or height where a bow shoots best and is most efficient falls somewhere between the two measurements.

If you prefer a lower brace height, the arrow will tend to stay on the string longer, which can sometimes amplify any error upon your release. This also allows the arrow to absorb more of the energy of the bow because it stays longer on the string.

Meanwhile, a higher brace height enables the faster release of the arrow, which can help contradict problems if you did a bad release. The arrow tends to absorb a little of the limb’s stored energy, but this small amount is not something to be worried about.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How high should the archery target be?

The center of the target face approx 130cm above ground level.

Is it necessary to be tall to play archery?

The answer is almost no. Your height does not matter in archery. But the length of your arm determines how far you can draw a bow. A person with short arms will have a shorter draw length than someone tall.

What are the rules of archery in the Olympics?

Each archer has 20 seconds to shoot one arrow. If an athlete’s score is higher than that of other athletes’, they win two points for that set. And if the set is a draw, players are awarded one point each. The first athlete who wins six points wins the match. In the gold medal final match, two athletes remain.

What is the ideal height for an archery target?

The ideal height for an archery target depends on the type of archery you are practicing. For target archery, the center of the target should be at shoulder height, typically around 5 feet from the ground. For field archery, the target should be set at varying heights and distances depending on the course.

How do I determine the ideal target height for my bow?

The ideal target height for your bow depends on your draw length and arrow length. As a general guide, you should aim to set the target’s bullseye at shoulder level for an optimum shot. This will ensure that you are shooting at a comfortable height and can shoot accurately.

Should the target be angled?

Yes, the target should be angled slightly downward to help prevent arrow bounce-back and make retrieving arrows easier.

What is the best material for an archery target?

The best material for an archery target depends on the type of archery you are practicing. A foam block target is ideal for target archery as it provides a good stopping point for arrows and is easy to retrieve arrows from. A layered foam or straw target is often used for field archery as it is more durable and can handle rough terrain.

Can I use a homemade target?

You can use a homemade target if it is safe and can effectively stop arrows. However, it is recommended that you use a professionally-made target for safety and accuracy reasons.

What should I do if I cannot find a suitable location for my target?

If you cannot find a suitable location for your target, consider using an archery range or club where you can practice safely and under the supervision of trained professionals. Alternatively, you could look into local laws and regulations to see if setting up a target in a public park or other outdoor space is legal.


The 48-inch target can be treated as the Ideal Archery Target Height for today. But again, as mentioned earlier, there are a lot of factors that can affect this rule.

One thing that affects the rule is whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors. When you’re indoors the height of the target might be lower, while an outdoor venue can welcome either a low or high target.

The participants are also considered as important factors. Are they kids? If so, they will need a lower target height. If the participants are adults, perhaps a higher target height will be better.

The kind of archery target can also influence how high or low a target should be. Bag and block targets tend to be smaller than 3D targets. However, 3D targets are normally used for practice, so smaller targets will most likely be used.


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