3 Things to Look for in Your Next Archery Target

Whether you shoot a traditional or compound bow, these tips will help you pick the right target for honing your skills

The most important factor in bowhunting success isn’t scouting, bow tuning, or even having a great place to hunt. It’s practicing with your weapon. Whether you shoot a lightning-fast compound bow or a simple stick and string, you can’t make meat if you can’t make the shot. Stump shooting and field roving are great practice, especially for traditional archers. But when it comes to honing the mechanics of good form, there is no substitute for having a dedicated target. Here are a few factors to consider when setting up your home range.

Be Realistic

GlenDel Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Insert Core
GlenDel Buck 3D Archery Target with Replaceable Insert CoreField Logic

Archery targets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main choice is between block- or bag-style targets—which usually have a bullseye or some image of game vitals—and 3D versions of the whole animal. If you plan to purchase only one type (and assuming you can set up an adequate backstop), consider a 3D target as it gives the truest representation of shooting at live game from various angles, especially from an elevated position.

Match Tips to the Target

Morrell Yellow Jacket Stinger Field Point Bag Archery Target
Morrell Yellow Jacket Stinger Field Point Bag Archery TargetMorrell

Archery targets are designed to stop field tips only, broadheads only, or both. A field-tip target will soon get shredded by broadheads, while targets capable of stopping broadheads and crossbow bolts often hold a field-tip arrow like the sword in the stone. Be sure the target you choose not only has stopping power adequate for your bow's poundage, but also that it is purpose-built for the type of tip—or tips—with which you plan to practice.

Have Fun with Foam

Black Hole 4 Sided Archery Target
Black Hole 4 Sided Archery TargetBlack Hole

Most 3D animal targets come with solid, replaceable cores that greatly extend their useable life. Layered-foam block targets, on the other hand, are generally less durable, particularly for broadhead use as they tend to shred over time. But if you are shooting mostly field tips, or shoot broadheads from slower traditional bows, they are a lightweight and portable option that, in a pinch, can be refurbished with some expandable construction foam injected between failing layers. Use the whole can, give it overnight to dry, and get back to shooting!