The archery form of popinjay dates back to at least the fifteenth century. The annual papingo (popinjay) tournament of the Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers, of Ayrshire in Scotland, takes place at Kilwinning Abbey, with the papingo target suspended from a pole projecting from the clock tower. The event is believed to have been running since 1483, though the records are only reliable from 1688 when some archers left The Irvine Archers to form kilwinning archers the year previous. In a tradition dating back to 1488, the winner is awarded the Captain's Benn, a scarlet ribbon worn over the shoulder and across the chest, and buys a round of drinks. The prize of a silver arrow was introduced in 1724, and following that became a perpetual trophy, with a medallion attached each year by the winner commemorating his name and date of victory. It is officially known as the "Papingo Arrow".

Popinjay archery is popular in Belgium, but is less common elsewhere. Many Belgian clubs have permanently erected popinjay masts. Popinjay can also be shot horizontally rather than vertically, though this form is even less common.

Rules for Popinjay Archery in Ontario

  • The racks (perches) shall consist of (1) set each of (1) High Bird, (2) Side Birds, (2) Kalles, and (33) small birds. These birds shall project 3/8” (10mm) above the pins and cannot be any larger than 5/8” in diameter. 
  • All International shooting competitions shall be set from a distance of 65 feet (19.81 meters) from the shooting line to the high bird.
  • The pile (blunt) shall not exceed 1 1/8” (29 mm) in diameter. 
  • No team shooters are allowed to use sights of any sort. This includes any type of mechanical devices. No marks on the face or the belly of the bow, the string or the arrow. The uses of any automatic releases are also restricted. 
  • It shall be the duty of the range captain to rule on the safety of all equipment used by the archers. Failure to comply with his recommendations of corrective measures is cause for disqualification.
  • Only one shooter allowed in marked area when shooting.