By Patrick Meitin
Targets engineered to stop arrows and bolts and stand up to the punishment from today’s fastest compounds and crossbows.
When I started college in 1987 I was shooting a PSE Vector compound. I pulled 75 pounds to 31 inches with that bow, and shot a 30 ½-inch 2117 aluminum arrow. At full draw, the blades of a 125-grain broadhead pulled against the FlipperRest II spring arm, a draw check of sorts. Down at the local archery pro shop they’d just received a brand new chronograph. Curious, I sent one of my 2117s through, which spun out 215 fps. These numbers elicited oohs and awes from a handful of onlookers interested in the new gadget. At the time the bow was a barn burner, and with it I arrowed a couple dozen big game animals, but not before sending thousands of practice arrows into the straw bales stacked in the corner of the backyard.
By the time I graduated college in 1993 straw bales and compound bows would prove a bad combination. So began my introduction to commercial targets designed to stop arrows from the hottest numbers of the day. Since then things have changed dramatically, from closed-cell foam, to layered foam, fused/layered foam, tougher bag targets and self-healing 3-D foams absorbing thousands of shots before showing signs of wear. And while modern targets do stop arrows from arrow/bolt velocities of 400-plus fps, they also allow much easier arrow extraction. By comparison, early solid-foam targets provided as much of a workout from pulling arrows as pulling bowstrings!
The target market has soared. This is understandable. Every archer, no matter equipment capabilities, point style (field point or broadhead) or shooting goals, needs a safe means of capturing arrows during regular practice. Arrows aren’t 22 Long Rife shells, after all, and safety is paramount any time you release a bowstring. This makes archery targets steady sellers. They’re a prerequisite to shooting practice, and though tougher than ever, include a limited life, especially for serious bowhunters engaging in preseason broadhead practice. This makes targets an important part of your inventory. To follow are some fine examples of cutting-edge designs made to keep modern archery/bowhunting customers coming back for more.
Field-Point Only Targets
The CompCube from American Whitetail combines the best attributes of a foam block with a bag target. This hybrid field-point target includes a tough foam shell with a ballistic inner “Compression Core” that actually repairs itself as it is shot from different angles, easily handling arrows or bolts with velocities up to 420 fps. These targets are extremely lightweight for easy toting. This self-standing target requires no stand. Reinforced Tough Target Wraps hold high-definition graphics, including a formula that is weatherproof and resists fading after prolonged exposure to UV rays. There are four shootable sides, each with unique target faces. They’re offered in four versions, including 19x19x14-inch $59.99-MSRP Arrowmaster with nine-spot aiming points and deer vitals on opposing sides; 19-inch Bowhunter CompCube with whitetail deer, turkey, deer-vital area and nine-spot shooting surfaces; identical-size The Blackjack with elk, whitetail black-spots and Blackjack faces; The School Practice Cube with four Archery in the Schools 80cm surfaces; and The Olympic Practice Cube with four FITA faces. The latter all $79.99 MSRP. For more information, visit archerytargets.com.
The Iron Man 24 from BIGShot Targets is tough enough to stop bolts or arrows form the fastest crossbows/compounds while allowing buttery-smooth arrow extraction. The hardened outer case allows improved compression, better shape retention and self-standing stability after hits from the most powerful rigs. Triple-compressed military-fiber fill stops bolts from crossbows rated to 450 fps. The 24x24x10-inch target is big enough for long-range shooting (or use in indoor ranges) but portable enough to take to a hunting camp. The Iron Man 24 holds five aiming spots on the front and deer vitals on the back. It’s also protected from weather and premature wear by an Ever-Last nylon target face. The 60-pound target includes a nylon carry handle. For more information, visit bigshottargets.com.
Hurricane Targets by Field Logic
Hurricane Bag Targets by Field Logic include Tri-Core Technology to provide excellent durability and arrow-stopping performance. These bags offer high-contrast, high-visibility designs at a surprisingly low price. On one side of the target you’ll find deer-vital graphics, the opposite side—offset from the sweet spots of the deer-vital side for longer target life—nine aiming spots for easy sighting or precision practice. There are two full-size targets featured in the line, including 23x25x12- and 28x28x12-inch models. Each holds a heavy-duty handle for portability and a bright background with high-contrast Hurricane aiming points that are easy to see at any range. Better yet, at less than $50 MSRP for the smaller target and less than $70 MSRP for the larger, Hurricane targets represent a huge bargain for any archer. For more information, visit hurricanebagtargets.com.
The Team Realtree 20” Bag Target from Delta-McKenzie is made to take large doses of abuse and survive many seasons. The 20-inch, multi-layered bag is rated for any vertical bow now available, the bright-yellow faces include seven aiming spots to ensure shooters won’t wear out any given area. The edges are trimmed in distinctive Realtree camouflage. The Team Realtree Bag is designed for use with field points, providing effortless arrow removal from the fastest performance bows. The Team Realtree bag measures 10 inches thick and 24×24 inches on the faces, with sewn-in hanging loops on the top corners for securing to stakes or hanging. It also has a carrying handle for easy transport. The target weighs only 10 pounds, so customers can easily take it anywhere. For more information, visit dmtargets.com.
Rinehart Target’s new Rhino Bags are built to last, and the new Raptor Bags from Rinehart are designed to be the best in every way. They hold improved graphics—red/black nine-spot on one side, and florescent-green/black 12-spot on the other—for more positive shooting at any range. The spots are also offset so no single area receives the brunt of abuse. New, exclusive Smart Core with Kevlar Technology gives shooters one of the longest-lasting bags on the market, while allowing easy arrow or bolt removal. They are offered in the Raptor 22” (22 inches square) and Raptor 26” (26 inches square). For more information, visit rinehart3d.com.
The Cube HD by American Whitetail includes construction superior to standard open-layer targets, with the added feature of a high-definition shooting face applied to a 2mm layer of rugged rubber. This additional layer of rubber offers superior healing qualities that stands up to thousands of shots, plus it keeps rain and moisture at bay, which translates into longer target life. The Cube HD was designed specifically for broadhead practice, but can be shot with field points while offering the same easy arrow removal as other American Whitetail targets. The Cube HD is offered in 28x28x20-, 20x20x20- or 18x18x12-inch dimensions and covered in either high-definition whitetail deer graphics or standard black-and-white dots. For more information, visit archerytargets.com.
For customers looking for an affordable preseason practice target, BIGshot’s Slayer Broadhead Target offers broadhead-stopping power and long life for around $70. It contains tough anti-sliver foam technology that can take the punishment of thousands of arrows tipped with either fixed- or mechanical-blade broadheads without developing soft spots or allowing pass-throughs. This economical target packs a lot of shooting into an 18-inch cube holding five spots on the front side and deer vitals on the back, though the target offers four-side shooting for longer life. The weatherproof and portable Slayer includes a carry handle and weighs only 28 pounds, making it perfect to take to camp to ensure your shooting remains sharp during the big hunt. For more information, visit bigshottargets.com.
The Block by Field Logic
The Vault from Block Targets was spawned from Field Logic’s original layered-foam target design, and the latest version sets a new standard for target performance. The Vault incorporates a fused, high-density layered core for longer target life and arrow- or bolt-stopping abilities that stand up against the fastest compounds or crossbows. It does this while also allowing easy arrow removal after the shot. Each of the four available models provide four shootable sides, each face including multiple, offset aiming points to eliminate wear in any single area. The target’s fused and layered construction handles field points or broadheads, so it’s tough enough to withstand year-long practice without fear of pass-throughs from the stoutest equipment. Look for them in 16x16x12-, 18x18x16-, 20x20x16- and 22x22x16-inch configurations with MSRPs from $109.99 to $179.99. For more information, visit blocktarget.com.
Delta-McKenzie’s new Shotblocker Bowhunter target is a 18x18x14-inch, 13-pound block of blue and black layered foam including Welded Core Technology and Delta-McKenzie’s HD layered foam that reduces chunking, slivering and pass-throughs while allowing easy arrow removal. This rugged construction also allows the target to accept field points or broadheads on its two wide faces (field points only on its sides). The wide faces include 13 aiming points, the opposite side offers larger bull’s-eye graphics. The heat-welded layered core and four available shooting sides increases target longevity and is rated for today’s highest-speed bows. The target features a graphics side wrap with a sewn-in handle. For more information, visit dmtargets.com.
Morrell Targets introduces the Patriot Target for 2015, a huge, layered-foam design accommodating field points or broadheads. The confidence-boosting 22x23x20-inch target can be shot from all sides. The red, white and blue “United We Stand” and “We The People” sides welcome field-point arrows shot into the layered construction to be stopped through friction. Two “star and spots” ends allow broadhead shooting into the layered flats “across the grain.” No matter the side or point style, the Patriot offers easy arrow removal. The E-Z Tote Carrying Handle makes this target extremely portable, a plastic covering making it 100-percent waterproof. For more information, visit morrelltargets.com.
Rinehart’s 18-1 solid-foam target is so tough it comes with a one-year warrantee: If you shoot out all 18 sides within a single year, Rinehart will send you another target free of charge. This solid “block” includes 18 shooting surfaces, each with bright aiming points. No matter the angle, 360-degrees or from on high, shooters are presented with a flat aiming point. The target is made from Rinehart’s legendary self-healing foam to accept thousands of shots from fixed or mechanical broadheads and field points without losing its shape or integrity. The target is lightweight and includes a molded-in rope carry handle so customers can easily take it anywhere. For more information, visit rinehart3d.com.
Backyard 3-D Targets
For an affordable yet durable backyard 3-D practice target, look no further than Delta-McKenzie’s Bloodline Buck XL. This 3-D target includes realistic sculpturing and an impressive drop-tine rack. The vital core is replaceable in the event it is shot out after prolonged use, though the self-healing 3D Foam lasts through many seasons whether shooting field points or broadheads. The 26-pound target is 16 inches wide, 18 inches high and 34 inches long. Twist-lock removable legs and head make it highly portable to take on the road or to a hunting camp. For more information, visit dmtargets.com.
GlenDel by Field Logic
Field Logic also offers the GlenDel Full Rut 3-D Target. The GlenDel is a little different from your average deer target, including a 12×12-inch, four-side “mini-Block” core insert including three different shooting surfaces for longer life. This shooting insert is constructed of encapsulated, layered foam offering long life and Field Logic’s renowned easy arrow removal. The core can be rotated according to desires to expose broadside/flat-ground, quartering-away/flat ground or 20-feet-high/20-yards-broadside shooting angles for practicing bowhunting’s most popular in-field scenarios. The realistic GlenDel was sculpted by renowned wildlife artist Mike Carlson and wears a 150-inch P&Y rack. Exclusive PosiLock Compression System holds internal foam layers inside self-healing surfaces to eliminate slivering while also allowing easy arrow extraction. The target includes Full Rut Stand, avoiding the hassle of pounding stakes. The head is also removable for more convenient storage. For more information, visit fieldlogic.com.
Morrell Target’s new-for-2015 Bionic Buck Classic Field Point Target is, as the name suggests, designed specifically to use with field points. In essence, the Bionic Buck is a 3-D target with a bag-target middle. It stops any arrow, while offering effortless arrow removal. Patented Reverse Vital Technology allows the shooter to reverse the head and butt plate and front and rear legs to create a new set of vitals and score rings after thousands of shots. The life-sized target wears a 180-inch, drop-tine rack. The “bag-target” mid-section also includes port holes at each end to make it easy to repack with fill should the center become shot out. This, in combination with available replacement covers, means the Morrell Bionic Buck will last many seasons. For more information, visit morrelltargets.com.
The Woodland Buck is Rinehart’s most affordable 3-D target, but offers construction assuring years of use whether shooting field points or broadheads. The body is molded nose to tail with Rinehart’s long-lasting and durable Solid FX Foam including no fillers. The vital-area core is molded from Rinehart’s revolutionary self-healing foam to last longer, and is instantly replaceable via the company’s locking insert technology. This means the Woodland Buck will be around long after your arrows are lost or worn out. The Woodland Buck simulates a 100-pound whitetail deer wearing a trophy-sized 8-point rack. To learn more about this target or the rest of Rinehart’s extensive 3-D target line see rinehart3d.com.