Which Archery Target Do I Really Need?
Hopefully you’ve already been practicing and getting ready for the upcoming fall season, but if you haven’t, it’s time to start!
Let's review 3 types of targets to help guide your decision.
This is probably one of the simplest targets out there. But, depending on which one you choose, it could also be the one that serves you the best. A bag target is exactly what it sounds like - a bag that has a fabric covering and some type of dense material inside that will stop arrows at various velocities.
I’ve seen bags that are only rated up to 350 feet per second (fps), which should be able to handles a compound bow. And there are also bags rated up to 450 fps for some of the faster shooting crossbows.
One of my favorite bag targets I’ve used recently is the Bulldog Doghouse Target.
If you’re looking for easy arrow removal, I don’t think it gets any easier than this target. They advertise 2-finger arrow removal, and that is no exaggeration. I've never had any difficulty removing arrows from this target, and it it easily done with only two fingers.
Also, I’m not sure what is on the inside of these targets, but the one I have has stopped every arrow I’ve sent downrange without difficulty. Not one arrow has found its way through the target.
And what’s more, if you purchase a target in the Lifetime Warranty Series, it actually comes with a Lifetime Warranty! What other target comes with that kind of guarantee? If you should manage to shoot enough arrows into it to wear it out, they will either send you a new fabric face or fix the whole target for you!
I don’t know about you, but the main reason I’ve needed new targets in the past is because I wore the old ones out. Bulldog takes care of that problem, and they take care of you! Use this Coupon Code on their website for 10% off your purchase: BD10-REVIEWTHISTHING
Now for the downside to bag targets.
The main downside to bag targets is that most of the time they can't handle broadheads. And that’s the case with the Bulldog target. Shooting broadheads at one of these will very quickly tear down (wear out) the targets. Again, I’m not sure exactly what is in the Bulldog target, but it’s some kind of dense fabric that can sometimes get stuck around the field tips if the diameter is slightly different than that of the arrow.
I would hate to see how badly a broadhead would get stuck in it! Not to mention the damage the sharp edges would do to the fabric face.
Many of these targets are advertised as “self healing” foam block targets, because they do just that. When you remove an arrow from one of the targets, many times it looks like the hole that should be there has closed right up!
Several of them are constructed with high-density urethane foam that is meant to stop arrows, heal up when removed, and then provide another great surface at which to shoot.
These targets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I’ve seen some as simple as a four-sided square block to an eight-sided octagon and even molded in the shape of a deer’s vital kill zone.
Many block targets will even heal after being shot with a broadhead, meaning that you can practice exactly how you plan to hunt.
Once you’ve chosen the broadhead you want to use, screw it into your arrow, and start firing. Don’t skip this step in the preparation process. You will increase your chance at success by making sure your full setup works as planned (Just make sure you either sharpen the blades or use a fresh broadhead when hunting).
The only downside to this type of target is that they are typically much more difficult to remove arrows from. Well, at least quite a bit more difficult than most bag targets I’ve used. But, with a little practice and maybe even the purchase of an arrow puller, thankfully, I haven’t met a block target that kept my arrows instead of giving them back eventually.
In case you missed our review of the Delta McKenzie Big 8 Target, make sure to check it out. This target has stopped many arrows since I started shooting at it and is still going strong!
Here is where shooting can get really fun and possibly really expensive. The price can start climbing if you want to purchase several 3D targets. But, it can also make your shooting sessions more realistic and help you simulate hunting situations better.
I purchased a 3D deer target several years ago when I wanted to practice more like I would hunt, and it has been a game changer for me. I still primarily shoot a bag target all summer, simply because the arrows are easier to remove, but as deer season draws closer, the 3D target is coming out!
You don’t have to look very far to notice the rise in popularity of 3D target shooting tournaments and days such as the Total Archery Challenge. These tournaments have been around for years, and there’s no denying they will help increase your percentage of kill shots during the fall.
You can have your very own 3D target for the backyard in almost any "animal" you want.
Of course you can get one that looks like the big buck we’re all chasing this fall. But, you can also get a lot of different species, including elk, bear, wild pigs, woodchucks, turkeys, raccoons, coyotes, and even a t-rex! If you’re interested in something a little different, I also found a zombie 3D target while researching.
Most of the time, these targets are a little more expensive than a bag or block target because they are usually larger and have replaceable inserts. But don’t forget, it is possible that your target could double as a decoy come November. One of my favorite bow kills was a buck that was coming out to investigate my target, wait, I mean my decoy.
When you’re deciding which 3D target to purchase, consider getting one that you can shoot with broadheads.
If you’re trying to simulate as much of a hunting situation as possible, screw on your favorite broadhead to see how it flies. Most of you know you should practice with your broadheads but you end up skipping this step when you run out of time before the season opens. Which is really code for, I should have started shooting sooner!
If you’re in the market for a new target this year, it’s important to consider each of these types. Don’t just go out and purchase the first target you find at the cheapest price you can get. That may not be the target you actually need and likely won’t be the last one you purchase, possibly even this year.
Consider the type of shooting you plan on doing. Pay close attention to ease of arrow removal if you’re planning on shooting a lot of reps each day. And as the season gets closer, I know you will benefit from a target that will easily stop a broadhead.
Should I Buy This Thing? Yes. And unfortunately, you may need at least 2 different types! It depends on what you want, but sometimes one just isn’t enough.