One of the most common types of archer is target archery, but even hunters will use targets to fine tune their skills and increase accuracy. Target archery involves shooting stationary targets from varying distances. The most popular and common target that people will readily recognize is the circular rings on a paper with several colors like blue, yellow, black and red. Any type of bow can be used when you are shooting targets. When an archer takes their targets outside and sets them up in the woods this is termed “field archery”, a popular past time in America and Europe.
Choosing the correct type of target may be a daunting task. There is a wide variety of options available and sometimes it can be confusing to select the one that will best fit your unique requirements while staying on budget. Let's examine some common targets;
Basic Target Types
There are three basic types of targets; bag, block and 3D;
- Bag Targets: This is probably the most basic archery target next to the classic piece of paper with rings. Nearly every archer and bow hunter will own or practice with one of these targets at some point. Bag targets often contain synthetic fibre filling that will easily stop your arrow and allow for easy removal. These targets can be used repeatedly as they hold together very well. It is important to only use field points for this type of target. Broadheads will more than likely embed themselves into the target and shred the outer lining that keeps the fill contained.
It is also important to keep your target out of the elements. The bag can absorb rain water and this will cause the target to deteriorate at an expedited pace. That being said, if you ensure that you are purchasing a more weather-resistant bag target, it should last longer than earlier versions. More often than not, bag targets will be used in indoor ranges. Here you can leave them hung in place. This way they will not have to be carried around every time you would like to practice.
- Foam Block Targets: This type is a step up from your average bag target. These are portable and lightweight. They are economical and arrows can easily be removed from the target when lighter bows are used. Foam Block Targets pinch the arrow between layers of foam. They use friction to stop the arrow rather than force. Even though you could use broadheads for these targets, field points will increase the life of your block target.
There is one limitation to these targets and that comes with a bow that has a heavier draw weight. This can bury an arrow quite deep into the foam making it hard to remove the arrow. It is also important to focus on shooting straight. When you shoot at an angle you risk shooting through the foam layers rather than between them. Some archers choose to turn the foam block so that the foam is arranged in vertical layers rather than horizontal. These blocks are best used for outdoor practice.
- 3D Targets: This is one of the best targets to prepare yourself for bow hunting. This is a 3D foam target that comes in a large quantity of animal species (both living and extinct). This provides a fun practice experience. Added to that, many 3D targets have a variety of overlays. Some will show vital organs in order to teach you how to take down your target with one shot. Some targets have point values that can be used in competitive shooting. The limitation to these targets is that the foam cores will wear out with repetitive practice.
Manufacturers will often offer replacement mid-sections in order to prolong the life of the target. As with the other targets, it is best to use field points. Broadheads can get lost inside the foam core. 3D targets are best used outdoors, set up in life-like hunting situations. It is advisable to set up your target in a realistic setting where you can practice on land or from a tree stand. Practicing with this type of target will prepare you for the accuracy necessary to quickly and humanely take down your prey.
Best Archery Target
This target boasts an impressive 4.8 star rating on Amazon. The block has 18 sides to shoot at and has a manufacturer's guarantee that this target will take multiple arrows and last over one year. The cube is designed with self healing foam making wear and tear an issue of the past. The only criticism that customers can muster are that it is difficult for some to pull their arrows out and that some of the units came with aesthetic defects in the printing. Customers are incredibly impressed with the self healing foam, lightweight and durability of the target. This is certainly a high quality target that will last through multiple practices.
This is a high quality target bag with a very affordable price tag. This bag is affordable and has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon. Its multi-layered design and internal frame maintains its shape and integrity. The bag measures 23”x25”x12” and is easily transported with a tote carry handle. The majority of customers are very happy with the longevity of this bag, some mentioned that they have used it for over 2 years with it still stopping every arrow. Customers used a multitude of bow types and arrows, all being stopped with great success.
The Black Hole Archery Target has a 4.1 star rating on Amazon and is affordable. This target is quite portable, measuring 18”x16”x11”. This is a perfect target for outdoor pre-hunting practice. The target offers 4-sided shooting and the company says that it will stop all field tips and broadheads with easy arrow removal. There were a few negative customer reviews stating that “black hole” is quite accurate for this target's name as their arrows shot right through it. These customers were unimpressed by the quality and the target's inability to stop their arrows. The majority of customers did not encounter these issues even with stronger pull force.
The field logic Model 71600 3D archery target has a replaceable closed-cell compression insert. The target is designed to be weather-resistant and offers easy one-handed arrow removal. The legs are removable for easy transportation. The antlers measure 125 inches while the shoulder height is 31 inches. The manufacturer offers a warranty on defective units. The field logic 3D target is moderately priced and is maintaining an average rating of 3.8 stars on Amazon. Customers who left negative reviews indicate that this target is best for no more than 70 pounds of pull. They made indications that the unit chips and breaks every time an arrow hits it. While these remarks are few and far between, it is important to note that this unit is probably not suitable for stronger bows.
The Field Logic Youth Block is specifically designed for younger archers. This target block is only intended for a 40 lbs draw weight or less and is designed for durability and a long target lifespan. Its high contrast design, legendary layered technology and affordable price on Amazon has earned this target a 4.6 star review from happy customers. The small amount of reviewers who would not recommend this product seemed to have gotten a defective target that did not last very long. The majority of customers have had this target last a long time as they boast about quality and durability.
Final Thoughts on the Best Archery Targets
Much like many other accessories, an archery target is a must have if you want to hunt effectively. Consider packaging your archery target with other great accessories such as a single pin bow sight or one of the best bow hunting scopes on the market. You'll be an expert bow hunter in no time.