May 04, 2023
By Brian K. Strickland
Although it sounds cliche, practice truly does make perfect. That said, there are elements to a good archery shot that go far beyond just slinging a few arrows, and now is the perfect time to tune up your rig and yourself.
Having a properly tuned bow is important, but accuracy when it really counts starts with developing a shooting process that is consistent in any situation. For me, that process consists of:
- Having a consistent grip.
- Visualizing the shot.
- Drawing to a consistent and solid anchor point.
- Calibrating or floating the sight pin on the kill zone.
- Focusing on the spot you want to hit, rather than on the pin.
- Developing a surprise release.
- Following through until the arrow hits the target.
Regardless of the routine you develop, spending time dropping arrows ultimately breeds success. Although I have nothing against block or bag targets, it’s hard to beat what 3-D targets bring to the table. They add realism, and whether you’re shooting from a treestand, up a ridge, or through brush, a good 3-D target will only enhance your shooting ability.
If you have elk on the brain, topping your must-have 3-D list would be GlenDel’s new Half Scaled Elk ($349.99). Its body is constructed from a self-healing foam that incorporates GlenDel’s exclusive PolyFusion 12"x12"x12" replaceable core. Because of its open-layered design, arrows pull easy while also ensuring extended target life. The insert could also be used as a standalone target at elk camp. The Half Scaled Elk stands 38" tall and carries a removable set of antlers.
Using the same weather-resistant, self-healing High Roller Foam found in their popular series, Morrell launches the new Transformer 3D Buck ($299.99). Its red eyes give it a cool look, and with its ability to stop arrows up to 500 fps, as well as pull them out as easy as they went in, it’s hard to beat this target. A 360-degree head, 8-point rack, and a unique design that allows the body to be used as a standalone target, while also offering both 3-D scoring on one side with raised vitals on the other, round out this target’s features.
Topping the realistic list would certainly have to be Rinehart’s Signature series. With over 100 target styles and species to choose from, the options are virtually limitless. The whitetail deer is their most popular in the series, and the Big Ten Buck ($749) is just one example. With a sculptured look and life-size appeal of a 250-lb. buck, it's molded with Rinehart’s self-healing foam to ensure easy arrow removal. It also offers replaceable inserts with IBO, ASA, or Universal scoring.
Delta McKenzie also offers a plethora of 3-D targets, and with turkey and bear seasons in full swing, their Backyard Strutter ($132.99) or Aim-Rite Black Bear ($238.99) would be ideal additions to your backyard range. Both stand 26" tall and are constructed from Delta’s solid FlexFoam, which can take a beating while also offering easy arrow removal. Universal scoring and vitals rings will help you get dialed in.
Another option for the budget-minded bowhunter is the Big Shooter Buck ($139.99) from Shooter 3D Archery Targets. It stands 48" tall, is equipped with 125" headgear, and is 25% larger than its smaller Shooter Buck ($114.99) cousin. It features a slim, lightweight design — I’ve often taken mine to deer camp as a result — and a replaceable insert that stops both broadheads and fieldpoints.
The Double Duty 3D Buck ($249.99) from BIGshot is a full-sized buck that comes with a replaceable vitals area with ASA universal scoring rings. It also offers a broadhead-tuning grid on the opposite side, so you can further improve accuracy with your “real” arrows. BIGshot’s UV-resistant coating and pre-painted mold prevent weather-wear and cracking, and with its solid back-wall design and no plastic legs, it can take a beating.
As much as I like 3-D, it’s hard to beat the benefits of block-style targets. Not only can they take countless hits from today’s fast compound bows, but they are also extremely portable and affordable. One that is truly a no-brainer for any backyard range is the popular Infinity Series ($199.99) from BLOCK. There are two versions — 20"x20" or 22"x22" — and both have six individual shooting faces with five designs and offset aiming spots for extended target life. Both will stop broadhead and fieldpoint-tipped arrows traveling up to 500 fps.
Another topnotch block-style target is Morrell’s Kinetic 1.0 ($149.99). Living up to its name, it’s designed to stop anything you sling at it and has a 20"x20" shooting surface with a pair of high-contrast graphics for easy aiming. Made for fieldpoints only, the Kinetic 1.0 is a heavyweight at 60 lbs., so you know it’s solid when taking hits from ammo traveling upwards of 500 fps.
Taking cubes to a new level is the Big 8 Series ($189.99–$245.99) from Delta McKenzie. With an asymmetric hexagon design, they offer a larger shooting surface than most others in this category, and with Delta’s new premium competition-grade self-healing foam, they are made to last up to 8X longer as well. Available in 16" and 20" configurations and designed to handle today’s ultra-fast bows, they offer 8-sided shooting with a blend of highly visible green-and-white aiming points with a sight-in grid. Both sport an integrated handle, and the 20" version has a replaceable core.
Developed from a high-density, layered foam, the Range 19 ($109.95) from Power-Stop Archery measures 19"x16"x14" and features screen-printed target faces on two sides. One target face has 5 spot targets, while the other offers 4 targeted battleships. Developed for use with any broadhead or fieldpoint, the Range 19 is lightweight and is also available in a slimmed-down Range 16 version ($99.95).
The latest in the growing line of block-style targets from BIGshot is their Titan 10x ($259.99). Living up to its name, it provides 10-sided shooting and BIGshot’s new HS Foam Formula to ensure maximum value and durability. Arrows and bolts pull out easily, and with over 150 aiming points, a large 17"x17" surface, and a treestand mode for those elevated shots, the Titan 10x covers all the bases.
The High Performance Trio Target System ($149.99–$369.99) from 365 Archery uses a proprietary self-healing foam with a replaceable core to guarantee easy arrow removal and extended durability. Available in 18", 24", and 36" configurations, the cubed core gives you six-sided shooting with multiple bull’s-eye patterns plus a fixed support base to keep the target upright and rock-solid for today’s hard-hitting bows.
Last but certainly not least is the Hurricane High Energy Cat 5 ($69.99) bag target. The Cat 5’s Tri-Core technology is the reason why this target can take countless hits up to 650 fps. Its 25"x25" self-standing profile features bright tri-color graphics that are offset for extended target life, plus the integrated sight-in grid helps users achieve pinpoint accuracy.