July 27, 2021
By Brian Strickland
As bowhunters, many elements are in our control that can enhance our success in the field. For example, learning to effectively scout, plan a hunt better, learn to read big game sign, and just being an overall better woodsman.
However, as important as those elements are, they cannot top the success that comes with learning to make the shot in virtually any situation. We all remember that shot we took but shouldn’t have, or even worse, the shot we didn’t take but should have, had we practiced more. Putting a little time and effort behind the bow before the season, while making a few tweaks along the way, will give you the confidence to hit the 10-ring.
Putting the shot process aside, which is the foundation of any good shot, when it comes to developing pinpoint accuracy, it is not the quantity of time spent at the range but the quality that makes the difference. Most of us aren’t competition shooters and don’t need to release thousands of arrows a year to become deadly. However, once a bowhunter develops good shooting mechanics and a consistent form, with today’s topnotch bows and accessories, spending time at the range is essential.
Personally, I have found shooting longer distances in my backyard range significantly improves my accuracy when those real-world situations arise. For whitetail hunters, this could mean spending more time shooting out to 40 to 60 yards, and for the Western hunter practicing out to 60, 70, and even 80 yards.
I also like the idea of competing in a few 3-D tournaments or creating your own backyard competition with friends in the off-season. Hitting the 10-ring while standing, sitting, or kneeling, at steep angles, and around or over obstacles not only builds confidence, but can also help you overcome both physical and mental stress when it’s time to send an arrow at a live animal.
That being said, we obviously need something to shoot at. And although bag and block-style targets are great, it’s hard to beat the advantages of a backyard 3-D range. The added realism not only enhances your focus, but they are a blast to shoot.
Topping the list when it comes to realistic 3-D targets is the latest addition to Rinehart’s popular Woodland Series — the 1/3 Scale Moose ($224.99). Not only does it feature a sculpted, lifelike look, but its shrunk-down size allows shooters to enhance their long-distance practice by simulating a 60-yard shot at 20 yards. All Woodland Series targets maintain their integrity because of Rinehart’s exclusive Signature Series FX Woodland self-healing foam. You can replace the self-healing core for continued use.
The newest member of Delta McKenzie’s 3-D line is the Daddy Buck Series ($139.99–$267.99). Offering three whitetail bucks ranging from 31" to 41" tall at the back, they feature Delta’s innovative Dovetailed Body Section system that solves the problem of target parts working loose while in use. Added to this is their new Antler Socket System, which keeps the antlers from popping off due to arrow impacts. Constructed from 100% self-healing foam from top to bottom, each is equipped with universal scoring and vital rings to get you ready for the treestand, and the tournament line.
GlenDel’s 3D Buck Series ($179.99–$279.99) is also available in three sizes, and has been a mainstay on many backyard ranges for years. Incorporating a durable open-layered PolyFusion design, arrows come out with an easy pull, and with the replaceable insert that targets the lungs and heart, shooters can zero-in on the sweet spot again and again. The Full-Rut Buck is the largest of the three and simulates those big Midwest whitetails we all love to chase. It stands 62" tall and features a 150" rack.
Another option for the bowhunter seeking the benefits of a realistic target without shelling out the Greenbacks is the Big Shooter Buck ($119.99) by Shooter 3D. It stands 48" tall, is equipped with 125" antlers, and is 25% larger than its smaller Shooter Buck ($99.99) cousin. Its slim, lightweight design stops broadheads and fieldpoints, and the insert is replaceable.
Block-style targets are the next best option when it’s time to drop the string, and the new BLOCK Infinity ($179.99) is a great one. It measures 20"x20" and has six individual shooting faces with five designs and offset aiming spots for extended target life. Still encompassing the proven stopping power of BLOCK’s open-layer PolyFusion technology, it easily stops both broadheads and fieldpoints up to 500 fps. The Infinity is also available in crossbow-specific models that have a beefier core.
Another new one this spring is the Greenline ($79.99) from Delta McKenzie. Designed to last twice as long as other block-style targets, it measures 18"x16"x11" and sports four shootable sides that can handle fieldtips and broadheads. It’s equipped with a pair of built-in handles for easy carrying. The genius behind the Greenline’s durability is Delta’s exclusive heavy-duty Mo’Foam layers, and a patented process that welds the layers together into a single block for added stopping power and durability.
Complementing their exceptional broadhead series, SEVR adds the new 21" HD Target ($169.99) to their line of quality archery products this year. At 21"x17"x13", it’s the largest poured-foam cube target in its price class, and is designed from an exclusive self-healing, high-density foam that has no problem putting the brakes on arrows from today’s compounds. Multiple bright-green target faces stand out in your sight picture, and with its molded 1" MOA sight-in grid, you’ll be shrinking your groups even more.
The Big High Roller ($199.99) from Morrell is made with the same self-healing, solid-poured foam as the original High Roller, but with more space to sink your fieldtips and broadheads into. At 16"x16"x16", its roll-of-the-dice design offers six shooting sides with 21 white-over-red bull’s-eyes to choose from. Best of all, with the ability to take whatever today’s fastest compound bows and crossbows can dish out (up to 500 fps), the Big High Roller will last for multiple seasons.
Developed from a high-density, layered polyethylene foam for easy arrow removal, the Range 19 ($99.95) from Power-Stop Archery measures 19"x16"x14" and has screen-printed target faces on two sides, with six shootable sides in all. One face has five spot targets, while the other has four battleships to zero-in on. Developed for use with any broadhead or fieldpoint, the Range 19 is lightweight and also available in a slimmed-down Range 16 ($89.95) version.
With the ability to take both broadheads and fieldpoints, the Black Hole ($59.99–$79.99) by FeraDyne Outdoors is an affordable and portable option for bowhunters. With four sides to choose from, it features an open-layer design that encompasses high-density foam that stops arrows with friction, not force. Each face provides high-contrast aiming points, and it’s available in 22" and 18" models.
Last, but certainly not least, is a bag target that won’t let you down. With the ability to take hits up to 650 fps, the new Cat 5 ($69.99) from Hurricane is tough. Its 25"x25" self-standing design features high-visibility tri-color graphics that are off-set for extended target life, plus the integrated sight-in grid helps when it’s time to dial-in your pins.
A Range Bonus
Although known for their high-end packs and other quality mountain gear, Kifaru introduces the new Field Quiver ($153) for shooters on the 3-D line this season. With a fully modular and ambidextrous design, it’s completely customizable to ensure you have everything you need, where you need it. It’s constructed from tough 1,000D fabric, and is equipped with a removable leg strap, Molle panel, water bottle and arrow pockets, and a pair of web-loops for isolating arrows.