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Archery On Today’s Archery Targets

On Today’s Archery Targets

Gone are the days of shooting at hay bales. Today archers have plenty of high-performance target options to choose from.

To be an effective archer, practice is a must. If we hope to achieve consistent accuracy, repetitious shooting is a must. Only by drawing and releasing hundreds, if not thousands, of arrows, can we as bow hunters prepare for that shot of a lifetime. If we don’t have the luxury of visiting a range, the question is – what can we shoot at? Thankfully today’s archery target options are both superior and abundant.

Thinking back over 30 years ago, indelible images of bales and paper targets come to mind. Over the past decade we’ve seen notable advancements in target technology. Companies like Big Shot, Glendel, Delta Mckenzie, Block, Big Green Targets, Morrell, Barnett, Grizz Targets, Rinehart, and more have raised the bar, making targets to meet our specialty needs. While straw bales can still stop arrows shot from kids’ bows, a lot of today’s hard-hitting high-speed compounds can bury a shaft deep into, or even clean through, this type of backstop. In response to faster bows and the evolution of carbon arrows, today’s target manufacturers understand the need for diversity, durability, affordability, and portability.

archer pulling arrows out of the Rinehart 18 in 1 portable target.
The Rinehart 18 in 1 portable target is ideal for tossing around in the back yard, at hunting camp, or anywhere else that you might need to practice on the go.

Field Tip, Broadhead, and 3D Targets

Today target configurations and materials are many and varied. Visit your local archery shop, hunting retail mega-store, or go online to sites like our very own Pyramydair.com, or others, and you’ll see the roster is long. From bags to blocks, balls, cubes, discs, and a multitude of 3D animal (in a wide range of game species configurations) and other targets, it all comes down to matching your need to the application. Some have anatomical diagrams or images imposed on the target face, while others have dots, rings, or squares marked for the shooter. Some are designed for field points only, while others are made for use with broadheads or both. With plenty of options to suit your personal preference, diversity is the name of the game with today’s archery targets.

author pulling arrows from a 3D buck target.
One of the author’s favorite 3D practice targets is the Rinehart Big 10 buck. Built to scale for northern whitetails, this target is heavier, but it can take thousands of arrows.


If you’ve shot a bow for more than 15 years, then you know that finding, or even making, targets that would last more than a season was a big challenge. Many commercial targets just weren’t built to last. Costly and labor-intensive, frequently replacing targets was an imminent hassle. Limited durability and longevity was always a problem. Many of today’s manufacturers have finally answered the call bringing some truly exceptional products to market; targets that can handle thousands of shots. I’ve had several of my targets for over four years and they continue to stop arrow after arrow.

To be clear, most of today’s bag-style targets like the Delta Speedbag Sniper Bag Target, can handle more punishment and they are less expense. As a rule, you get what you pay for with portable targets. Other more robust targets like the Block Classic Target 18, Big Shot Titan 10XL Foam Target, cube-shaped targets like the Rinehart 18-1 Target, and 3D-style targets such as the Big Shot Pro Hunter Double Duty Buck Target, are considerably more durable.

The easiest way to categorize today’s archery targets is to break them down into those that are compatible with field points (e.g. the Morell Yellow Jacket YJ-325 Fieldpoint Target), those that are made for broadheads only, and those made for both. While many are still made with ethafoam, most are now constructed of a more-dense fiber material, or alternatively with a multi-layered design. The problem with many of them is that, while their arrow-stopping ability is incredible, it can be really difficult to remove arrows.

No other archery targets provide as realistic field-practice as 3D targets. As far as 3D animal targets go, I’m a huge fan of Rinehart. Made from revolutionary self-healing foam, they outlast many other similar targets. What I like most is their versatility. They are safe for field points, fixed-blade broadheads and expandable broadheads. A lot of 3D-style targets have a removable core. When the kill zone (or core) eventually wears out, many can either removed and replaced with a new core, or in some instances re-filled with an expandable foam.

yellow jacket archery bag target
At $81.42 USD, this Morrell Yellow Jacket YJ-350 field point target is relatively inexpensive.


A huge advantage to today’s archery targets is their portability. Most of us don’t have a place to shoot at home. Options include visiting an indoor or outdoor range, or finding an open field or other safe location to launch arrows, and this means using a portable target – one that can be easily transported.

Today’s archery targets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. While fixed backstops at the range typically square around 48” or larger and have at least an 18” thickness, portable targets are entirely different. Available in different dimensions, most bigger block-style targets measure 22-24” square and again are around 18” thick to provide sufficient stopping power. Alternatively, many of the smaller and easy-to-handle cube-style targets measure 14-15” square and have a similar approximate 15” thickness. One of my favourite go-to portable targets for around home or at hunting camp is the Rinehart 18 in 1 target. As its name suggests, it has 18 high-visibility targets on one cube-block-style configuration. It is made of self-healing foam, it works for all field points and broadheads, and it has a built-in handle for easy transportation. On average, portable targets weigh anywhere from 15-30 lbs. again making them easy to move.

Even 3D targets are to a great extent portable. Those weighing in at under 100 lbs. are easily handled and they often come in two or three parts for easy transport and assembly. Those that are heavier can be a bit trickier to move around but they are still manageable. With rebar stakes driven into the ground for stability, most are readily mounted on the posts offering a solid true-to-life target.  

In the end, today’s targets give archers plenty of choice. Light, heavy, cheap, expensive, big or small, the right target is out there for you. Consider your needs and match your target of choice to your application.

author avatar
Kevin Wilson
Kevin is an award-winning outdoor writer for over 30 years, team member on Wild TV’s popular Bowzone Live show, and operates Alberta Hunting Adventures. He currently lives in Alberta, Canada where he shares a passion for the outdoors with his family. As a professional outfitter and guide, Kevin offers his perspective on what it takes to have a successful hunt and shares his outdoor adventures.

1 thought on “On Today’s Archery Targets”

  1. Been evolved with archery for 60 years and stopping the arrow and being able to retrieve it easily and undamaged was always a concern.

    I tried many materials as homemade backstops and finally settled on burlap bags stuffed tightly with recycled plastic bags, suspended, as the best solution for field points.

    The plastic bag filling stops an arrow off of a hunting weight bow without a problem and allows easy removal. The target butt is good for thousands of shots, is light weight, weather-proof and the whole thing can be stuffed into a new burlap bag when the original one starts to wear out.

    Never tried the commercial target butts, never needed to.


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