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Best Bets For Bowhunting Targets

November 4th, 2010 0

To be the best archer you can be, take aim at the best new targets on the market.

To be the best archer you can be, take aim at the best new targets on the market. Targets serve many obvious purposes. They stop our arrows from sailing into the great beyond. They enable us to sight-in our bows. And they help us perfect our shooting form and accuracy so we can be more proficient, and successful, bowhunters and tournament shooters. In essence, targets make the archer. Year after year they keep getting better, and I’ve had opportunity to field-test most of the best. Following are my observations, based on personal experience launching arrows into the “Top Stoppers” of 2010.




American Whitetail
The folks at American Whitetail were kind enough to send me their new Hyper 420 ($200) target to play around with, and I must say that it performed as advertised. Its light weight and 18″ x 18″ x 18″ size make it a good choice for your backyard, your friend’s yard, the local range, or camp. The 420 in this target’s name indicates it will stop arrows traveling in excess of 400 fps, whether tipped with fieldpoints or broadheads. And, while the bow I used in field-testing chronographs nowhere near that number, I can attest that the company’s claim regarding stopping ability is probably pretty accurate.

Even though this target offers only one-sided shooting, its construction ensures it will last as long as similar style “camp” targets with four-sided shooting. If you were to cut this target in half, you would find a layer of elastofoam (the target face), backed by three layers of medium-density foam. Sandwiched between each of these layers is a 1″-thick layer (three in all) of the company’s ArrowArmour, which is basically a cross between rubber and foam. These bonded layers of foam and ArrowArmour work together to absorb an arrow’s energy in stages. Since most bows aren’t fast enough to send an arrow through every layer of the target, it lasts longer, arrows are easier to remove, and there’s no slivering — even with broadheads. Other available Hyper targets (number is relative to arrow speed) are the 350 ($160), 350 Camp ($100), and 300 ($80).

CONTACT: American Whitetail, Inc., 1-888-233-1976, www.archerytargets.com

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Field Logic
When it comes to stopping fieldpoint-tipped arrows, you can’t beat a bag target for durability and longevity. With this in mind, Field Logic has thrown its hat into the ring this year with the new Hurricane Bag Target, available in 23″W x 25″H x 12″D ($50) and 28″W x 28″H x 12″D ($70) sizes. The durable, lime-green cover helps you aim, especially at longer distances. The woven-polyester stuffing will stop the fastest arrows and, as is typical of bag targets, arrow removal is a breeze. One side of the bag has nine white and black aiming points shaped like the hurricane symbol you see on weather maps. On the other side is a deer silhouette with outlined vitals that are offset from the hurricane dots on the other side to increase target life — a smart idea considering most of us shoot the center dots most often, no matter how many aiming points target makers give us.

Field Logic’s other new offering is a scaled-down — in price and size — GlenDel Buck ($160). It’s 30% smaller than the GlenDel Full Rut with a polyfusion core that’s 11″ versus the 14″ core found in the Full Rut. This replaceable core stopped every type of fieldpoint, fixed-blade, and mechanical head I could find to shoot at it. The heart, lung, and liver are easy to see at just about any distance, and the four shootable sides not only present different shot scenarios but also increase target life.

CONTACT: Field Logic, (715) 395-9955, www.fieldlogic.com

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Hips
Designed for portability and maximum stopping power, the X2 Stalker ($113) is one of four cube-style targets in Hips’ X2 Series. The first thing I noticed about this target was its light weight. How light, you ask? Light enough that I could shoot it at 20 yards, pull my arrows, and then throw it to my 30-yard stake for sighting-in my next pin. The seemingly endless number of aiming points Hips managed to fit onto the six shootable sides of this 18″W x 16″H x 18″D target translate into a target that will last you a long time — an appealing quality to anyone on a tight budget. I shot both fieldpoints and fixed-blade broadheads into the Stalker, and not only did it stop both equally well, it did so with little slivering. As promised, Hips’ Master Target material, used to cover the layers of heat-welded Endurance Foam, is waterproof and resistant to tearing. Lastly, the target has vertical and horizontal lines on one side. By shooting three arrows into these lines, you can quickly determine if your arrows are in tune with your arrow rest and you’re getting proper flight. It works!

CONTACT: Hips Targets, (210) 492-8774, www.hipstargets.com

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McKenzie
Billed as McKenzie’s most durable layered-foam target, the new Team Realtree ShotBlocker ($100) took shot after shot in my backyard with minimal visible damage, even when I pulled wide-cutting broadheads from it. Speaking of arrow removal, pulling arrows from this one was so easy my girlfriend’s four-year-old son was able to do it with no help from me. The four shootable sides of this 18″W x 18″H x 18″D target sport four black bull’s-eyes, three small dots, plus an eighth point of aim in the form of the Team Realtree logo. The bright yellow foam makes picking out each individual aiming point easy, even at distances of 50 and 60 yards.

CONTACT: McKenzie Targets, 1-800-708-0
673, www.mckenzie3d.com

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Morrell
This company has been making bag targets longer than this bowhunter can remember, and for 2010 Morrell has added another model to its line with the Bone Collector MLT-Super Duper ($70). Like all bag targets, this one is meant to stop fieldpoints only, which it does very well. As expected, arrow removal is also easy. This weatherproof target has three features I especially like: First, its huge 25″W x 27″H x 15″D size gives you plenty of area to shoot at. Second, even though it has specific aiming points — dots on one side, vitals on the other — it has an internal frame that allows you to shoot every square inch of the target. Lastly, the bright-green target really helps you pick out the smallest black dots at virtually any distance.

CONTACT: Morrell Mfg., Inc., 1-800-582-7438, www.morrelltargets.com

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Rinehart
Building on the popularity of its 18-1 target, Rinehart unveiled two new block-style targets for 2010. The 16″ x 16″ x 13″ RhinoBlock ($150) looks unlike anything else currently on the market. You can shoot all six sides with fieldpoints, fixed-blade, and mechanical heads. Two of the sides have a textured, 3-D deer target zone — one with outlined vitals and the other with a detailed display of the deer’s organs. The other four sides sport the company’s signature high-vis yellow dots — two with 12 small dots for precision sighting and two with a large zone surrounded by four smaller dots. The self-healing, virtually indestructible foam used to construct this target promotes easy arrow removal. A replaceable core further lengthens the life of this fun-to-shoot target.

The RhinoBrute ($180), like the RhinoBlock, is a very portable cube target with six shootable sides. Four sides of this 16″ x 16″ x 16″ target have a large target zone with four smaller zones surrounding it. The other two sides have 12 golf ball-sized dots to hone your shooting skills. Like all Rinehart targets, the RhinoBrute is made of self-healing foam that takes a pounding from all head types and won’t give you an aneurysm as you’re pulling arrows.

CONTACT: Rinehart Targets, (608) 757-8153, www.rinehart3-d.com

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Spyderweb Targets
It’s hard to believe someone could come up with a way to make a bag target that lasts even longer than they normally do, but that’s exactly what SpyderWeb Targets’ president Kelly Branch did when he created his line of tough-as-nails targets that he almost guarantees will never get completely shot out. I say “almost,” because since starting the company in 2007, Kelly has seen only one of his targets rendered unshootable.

New this year from Mr. Branch comes the S 2.5 ($239), which I’ve been fortunate enough to field-test. Like most bags, this one is filled with polyester fibers — 7 lbs. per cubic foot, to be exact. Keeping this stuffing inside is a special cover made of Spylar (mesh) strands that separate when an arrow penetrates them and close back up when you rub your finger over the hole. The cover and stuffing work together to create a target that stops arrows in excess of 400 fps almost as fast as a concrete wall might — minus the damage. On one side of this 30″W x 30″H x 14″D target you’ll find 11 spiders to shoot at and, on the other, four deer vitals. At 58 lbs., it’s rather heavy, but the benefits outweigh (pardon the pun) this target’s only real downside. An optional Anti-Kick Plate ($80) for anyone concerned with scoring, and Target Stand ($60) are sold separately.

CONTACT: SpyderWeb Targets, (269) 982-8003, www.spyderwebtargets.com



The Bowhunter staff would like to thank Jason Weaver and the rest of the gang at Baker’s Archery Supply in Halifax, Pennsylvania, for putting up with us while we tested the targets (and their patience) in this article. To learn more about this great Central Pennsylvania pro shop, call (717) 896-8090 or visit them at www.bakersarchery.com.

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