Hunter Field Target
Similar to Field Target, Hunter Field Target (HFT) is a discipline of shooting targets outdoors in woodland or open fields with a sub 12ft-lb air rifle, as opposed to the popular indoor 10 and 25 metre disciplines, and hence the reason it carries the term Field Target as part of its name. The Hunter part came as the sport developed in its early years to be a less rigid sport than Field Target had become, and more suitable to those more used to hunting than target shooting.
It’s typically shot in the “prone” position which distinguishes it from its sister discipline of Field Target. Additional standing and kneeling positions are used on some lanes.
The targets are of a metal “knock-over” variety, originally shaped in the silhouette of animals and now also available in basic geometric shapes (e.g., circle, diamond etc). Within the silhouette is a disc, referred to as the “hit zone”. These hit zones vary in size depending on the distances they are set to which can be anything from 8 to 45 yards. A strike on the hit zone results in the target falling over and a “2” is scored. If the target does not fall the target but the plate is hit, a “1” is scored. If the shot fails to strike anywhere on the target a a “0” is scored (aka doughnut).
A course normally consists of 30 targets normally consisting of one target to a lane. There are variations on the rules, CSFTA and UKAHFT are the main rules shot within the region.
HFT courses use knock-over targets with a hit zone between 15mm and 45mm.
Targets are shot from a firing point normally denoted by a post (or disc in UKAHFT). One part of the body must touch this post/disc at all times when taking the shot. 1 target is normally shot per “lane”. Some HFT competitions have two posts/discs per target, so you shoot the same target from two different positions.
The range of the target is not known to the shooter, and shooters use techniques to determine the range, but unlike FT they are not allowed to adjust the scope in anyway, including dialling turrets in, so in addition to windage the shooter must use the correct amount of elevation adjustment known as holdover. Like FT you only get one shot per target.
Targets may not be be obscured by foliage, branches etc. 2 targets are normally shot per ‘lane’. Both targets in a lane must be shot within 2-3 minutes (most national competitions have a 3-minute ruling some local shoots can be 2-minute ruling) of the shooters eye first going to his/her telescopic sight.
There are many clubs located all over the UK and these clubs organise regional competitions and leagues. With each club hosting a round of a league or a single competition there is the opportunity to travel to new clubs and grounds to compete. Over the summer a number of national events take place. The top shooters from these go on to a final elimination shoot. England as a country is represented at on the international level by the World Hunter Field Target Association which has a rich history of success.
HFT competitions are graded depending on the shooters experience and ability. New shooters will automatically go into U grade for their first 3 rounds, and then put into the either grade C, B, or A depending on the average score over the 3 rounds.
HFT Stick Discipline and Rules
In order to facilitate greater participation in Club HFT shoots, and in recognition that for various reasons
members may be unable or unwilling to use the standard prone, kneeling and standing positions to
shoot. For 2023 shooting sticks may be used with the following guidance.
The BFTO guidelines:
HFT Range Finding – Bracketing
The difficulties with bracketing are that it’s easy to miscount the number of increments especially when you’re in the middle of a competition when the pressure is on.
It’s also not always easy to keep the rifle perfectly still while taking a measurement and a difference of even 0.2 of a mildot is enough to put you way off on range.