3m line - valid arrows

Judges' Guide Book

4.6 The 3 Metre Line – Valid Arrows

The line 3 metres in front of the shooting line to create greater fairness to athletes in a situation where an arrow drops down from the bow or is miss-shot for some reason. The rule refers to a part of the arrow shaft needing to be within the 3 metre- zone to be considered as having been not shot. This is to indicate that a nock or vane that might have fallen off is not enough to be allowed to shoot another arrow. But even if only the nock of the arrow is within the 3m zone, as long as it is still attached to the shaft, it will be enough to allow another arrow to be shot. Remember that the 3m metre line is three dimensional and is projected vertically above the line.

The smoothest way of dealing with a drop-down arrow is that the athlete, seeing that the arrow is within the 3m line, shoots another arrow within the time limit. However, knowing that such drop-down is often the result of an equipment failure (e.g. broken nock), it might be dealt with as such, if the athlete stops shooting and calls a Judge. Then the Judge can go to the 3m line to check the position of the arrow when the end is finished, and take care of possible remaining arrows to be shot.

Occasionally it may be difficult to immediately determine if the arrow is within the 3m line or not. If an athlete has determined the arrow to be within the zone, e.g. in a match play when the shooting cannot be stopped, and upon checking the Judge shall see the situation from the shooting line (athlete’s position) and give the athlete the benefit of the doubt. If the Judge from that position believes the arrow is shot, he will double check at the 3m line to avoid any mistake.

This situation is one of two possible situations, in which the athlete may be allowed to re-shoot an arrow.


World Archery Rule Book

12.5.1. An arrow may be considered not to have been shot if:

  • The arrow falls from the bow or is mis-shot and a part of the arrow shaft lies within the zone between the shooting line and the 3m line, and provided the arrow has not rebounded;
12.2.4. In the event (during the qualification round) of an equipment failure, verified by a Judge, or a medical issue, verified by medical personnel, extra time may be given to make the necessary repairs, change the damaged equipment or for medical personnel to determine the problem and decide whether or not the athlete is fit to continue competing unassisted. However the maximum time for make up arrows to be shot is 15 minutes (following regular order of shooting and timing). The athlete shall make up the appropriate number of arrows at the earliest opportunity under the supervision of a Judge.


  • 12.2.4.1. In the event of an equipment failure the athlete shall call a Judge while stepping back from the shooting line.


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