It’s beyond that doubt that if you go to your local archery club (or some other commercial shooting range), you’re going to be able to find everything you need for practicing your skills with bow and arrow. However, you don’t always have the time to drive to the club nor have the spare time to just chill and relax for a couple of hours down there. Simply going in your backyard for some 20 minutes’ practice sounds a lot more appealing and, needless to say, easier to don.
Keep in mind that you need to check to see if it’s legal in your area. Once it’s all clear, you’re all good to go. Even if it’s only a 10ft that you can do, it’s still better than not do anything. The only thing left to do for you now is to go shopping for some targets so that you may be able to improve your skills.
Choosing the Right Targets for Archery Made Easy
If you’re also planning to go out in the field, with nothing behind the target for as far as you may see, you’re still going to need to use some sort of backstop in order to corral errant arrows. Even if you’re confident with your archery skills, chances are you’re still going to miss every now and then. A deflected arrow may sail quite a long way (even farther than you’d think) so you should go the extra mile and keep it safe for everyone.
You should at least install your target in front of a wood pile or a fence or at the base of a hill. It has to be a place where you know that the arrow is going to be stopped in any way, without hurting anyone. The safest way to do it is to create a backstop. You may stack up a couple of hay bales or build a strong wooden wall/earthen mound right behind your target. You may also hang a backstop netting and the market gives you plenty of options, especially made for the archery practice.
If you want to go with a backstop made of rocks, bricks, wood, cinderblock or any other hard material, keep in mind that you’re probably going to destroy your arrow if you hit it. Take the matter of the flying shrapnel from your broken arrow under consideration as well.
No matter the final choice for your target, staying safe at all time is mandatory when shooting a bow and arrow. In addition, you’re going to shoot a lot better if you have nothing to worry about.
What counts when choosing your target?
Targets are made of various materials, so you should choose according to the type of bows and arrows that you’re going to use. Here are some things to consider when selecting:
- Target density
The variety of bows is important when you’re selecting your targets. Some targets are made especially for bows with low draw weights (30 pounds or less). If you’re going to shoot a 70-pound compound into a target of this type, chances are your arrow is going to blow right through it. The rule of thumb is that you should always get the target that is designed to take the bow you’re shooting
- Target size
There’s no easier way to say this: always go with the biggest target that you’re able to pay for. This is one area where bigger is always better, as it’s fundamental that you have plenty of room for error.
What types of archery targets should you buy?
If you’re a bow hunter, you may have been in the situation of having to choose an archery target at some point. Truth be told, the variety of types and styles may be overwhelming, especially if you’re an entry-level bow hunter. Using the hay bales isn’t something that we do nowadays and you have the possibility to choose the best target for your style of bow, arrow and even broad head or tip.
Let’s see which are the main types of archery targets. Knowing some basics is going to help you decide a lot easier:
- Bag targets
They are the most common style of archery target and most bow hunters out there used or practice on one bag targets at some point. Typically filled with some synthetic fiber that stops the arrow easy, the bag targets stand out as it’s also easy to remover the arrow. They’re a great choice for repetition in the early summer practice situations. They typically offer a large surface for mishaps and take the intense use rather well.
However, keep in mind that bag targets are good only for field points. Broad heads aren’t just going to remain buried in a bag target, but they’re also going to shred the outer covering that holds the filling together. Bag targets aren’t typically made to handle the elements, so you may want to keep them away from the elements. Otherwise, they’re just going to soak up the rain and become useless sooner than expected. On the bright side, the market gives us nowadays bag targets that are made to be weather-resistant, so look carefully.
You should use bag targets on an indoor range so that you may leave them hung-in place. It’s going to be a lot easier for you and less weird to haul around the bag target every single time you want to practice. Use any kind of compound bow setup, but don’t forget to always use field points.
- Foam layer block targets
The foam layer targets are portable and lightweight, providing easy arrow removal for the light bows. They’re also quite economical.
The foam layer archery targets are going to pinch the arrow between the foam layers and it’s the friction that stops the momentum and not the force. You may use broad head on this type of targets, but field points are going to expand the lifespan of the target.
The main pet peeve for this type of targets is that a heavy draw weight is going to bury arrows really deep, so the removal process is going to be more difficult. You should also take the shooting angle under consideration. As they’re efficient because they pinch the arrow between the layers, it’s best that you don’t shoot through or across the layers. You may reduce the risk for that by turning the block so that the layers are going to be placed vertically and not horizontally. When doing so, the arrow is going to slide between the layers, no matter the vertical shot angle.
Typically, you should use the foam layer targets for practice session outside so that you may set it up fast, shooting from a tree stand or at ground level. In order to help them last longer, you should use field points. Take the heavy bows and the possible arrow removal challenges under consideration as well.
- 3D practice targets
The 3D practice targets are probably the best type of target to prepare for the real life hunting experience. You can find them in every animal species (alive or extinct), in order to make the practice a lot more fun.
Most of the models come with different overlay options, from showing the vitals on the outside (so that you know precisely where your arrow is going to hit) to point values used in the shooting contests.
The foam cores of this type of targets is the main downside as it’s going to wear out under intense use. However, many of the 3D archery targets out there do come with replaceable mid-sections which are only going to expand their life span. You should always use field points as you’re going to lose broad head inside the foam core.
3D targets are great for practicing life-like hunting exercises. You should set it up on a realistic setting, practicing from a tree stand in order to prepare for the season to come. This kind of practice helps you get used to shooting at the silhouette of your target game later on.
These targets are typically lightweight and easy to set up, so you shouldn’t sit on the fence when buying one.
One last tip for the road
No matter your final choice, you should always go with the archery target specific for your archery shooting. Each of the archery target types is made for a specific purpose so use that for your own advantage in order to become a better archer.