What target is best for me?

So you might have got a bow for Christmas and are wondering if you can get a target to do some practice. What works and what doesn’t? How much will they cost? How long do they last?  Well all the answers to  these questions are dependent on what you are shooting or wanting to accomplish. Archery targets come in all shapes and sizes. As with everything there are merits and flaws for all but I’m going to try and summarise my thoughts and offer some factors to consider if you are thinking of investing in one for yourself or club.
I’m going to look at 3 types of targets
  • Bag bosses
  • Layered foam bosses
  • 3D targets
Mybo bag target

Mybo bag target

Bag bosses

These comprise of a bag made from a plastic weave similar to builders rubble bags and are packed with pieces of foam, fabric and plastic wrapping. They are normally the cheapest option and come in a couple of different sizes. I’ve had a couple of different ones of these over the years.
I’ve found they are good for low to medium poundage bows. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for compound or crossbow archers as the arrows would quickly wear them out.
This brings me to the downside which is the bag material itself can get shot out as you shoot the centre. The bag material can be replaced or patched as I’ve known a few clubs to use old builders rubble sacks for coverings. I wrote a review of the Mybo bag boss a while back.
Being a boss you can pin different faces in them as required and this does help with spreading the wear and tare.
Overall they work pretty well for light usage and we’ve bought a couple for the club to use at have a go events and occasional use.

Layered foam bosses

Target Boss

Layered foam bosses are very common on most field courses and consist of layers of thin foam with a wood frames on two of  the long  sides that are then bound together. Mine have been out for a couple of years and still work well.
While more expensive than bag bosses they do work for heavier poundage bows.  Normal sizes are 90 x 90 cm or 130cm x 130cm.
The advantage of these is you can pin any target face on them, so this makes them versatile .
Things to consider are
  • The wooden frames rotting over time as the wood is not always pressure treated. We’ve used fence preserver on ours to help them last longer and disguising or camouflaging the frames so they are less obvious.
  • Try to avoid setting shots so arrows enter at an angle to the layers as this promotes the foam being torn or damaged more quickly.
  • Over time the banding can slacken so you may need to re-tighten or replace the banding.
  • The boss can get the heart shot out, with foam sheets tearing over time. A solution to this is to dismantle the target and move the torn sheets to the side and less damaged ones inward then rebind them.
  • Make sure the wood frame is on the side of the boss and not top & bottom. You don’t want an arrow to glance off the wood and fly high.
Its a common practice to repair these bosses and sometimes you’ll find you might be repairing 2 or 3 of them at a time. The end result being two usable bosses and the damaged sheets being used to stuff bag bosses.

3D targets

3D target set up for shoot off

3D target set up for shoot off

3D targets look great and can prove very useful if you are training for hunting or maybe a specific tournament. The downside is they can be expensive with a decent 3D deer costing a few hundred pounds. They are also pretty limited as unlike foam or bag bosses you can’t pin a different target face up and shoot that.
They can be repaired when they get shot out and there are some good YouTube videos covering this. Greg at 3D archery YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4HdCXofIA4jsWi1q9AdBUA) has run a series on repairing a variety of 3ds.
I feel that some of the smaller 3ds are not worth the money as they will get shot out quickly or are so hard lighter poundage bows struggle to penetrate.
A quick Google search will show there are several manufacturers of 3Ds,  Gamut (https://3dtargets.co.uk/), Rinehart (https://www.rinehart3d.com/), Delta McKenzie (https://dmtargets.com/) are just a few. All of them are now offering a variety from raccoons to grizzly bears.
Rinehart targets whilst expensive do provide the option of replacement centres which are sold separately. Not all manufacturers do this so.
Personally for my home range I have a couple of layered foam bosses which work well for practice and coaching. I’ve also got a couple of bag bosses but they need to be repaired.
Anyway I hope this has proved to be helpful. If you have any comments or feel I’ve missed something then let me know.
Thanks for reading
Sharon shooting the Eagle in the Nest

Shoot Report – Druids 2 day Solstice shoot – June 2018

Sharon shooting on our first target on Saturday

Sharon shooting on our first target on Saturday

I am going to start this shoot report with an apology directed to the course layers and members of Druids. In writing this shoot report I realise that I never published last years report of Druids 2 day shoot. Oops, sorry. It was a great two day shoot and deserved a shoot report, so I am sorry for not completing the report for last years.

I think Druids two day shoot is probably one of my favourite shoots in the NFAS calendar. I’m not sure if it is a combination of timing, being just after the 3D championships, so bit more relaxed. Maybe it is the atmosphere which is more laid back and fun. If you have the opportunity it is a shoot I would recommend, especially if you can camp over. Druids go to a lot of effort to support the event, from organising a marquee, catering for campers from Friday night through to live music on the Saturday.
Just be careful you don’t enjoy the entertainment and drinks that affects your shooting. On that subject I can recommend the Black Rat cider, just don’t have more than a couple.
We’d taken the Friday and Monday off so we could drive down and pitch the tent early, and not have to stress about breaking camping and travelling back on the Sunday.
This year it would prove to be a windy weekend and no where near as hot as last year which saw temperatures of 33 degrees, though I am glad I took the extra tent pegs and guide ropes to secure the tent down. We were doubly grateful that the rain was mostly confined to the night. The strong winds and gusts weren’t only felt on the camp site but also on the course too. It certainly made the long shots in the field pretty challenging such as the bison and the standing elk in the lower field.

The course would comprise of 40 3Ds, with Sharon and I shooting with Jim and Gail on Sunday and Rod, Sharon and Keith on Saturday.
As I said earlier Druids organise a marque where they provide hot food on Friday and Saturday night, along with breakfast over the weekend. The same marque houses the live music on Saturday and the drinks tent.

Sharon shooting 3D Bear between trees

Sharon shooting 3D Bear between trees

I feel the Druids shoot enjoys a good atmosphere over the weekend, being relaxed and causal, which I think you benefit from more if camping.

Shooting on Saturday would prove to be a a slow day, waiting on pegs. I think this partially due to the high numbers on the day. The waiting around did provide time for us to chat with Rod and Sharon about Sagittarius bows (http://www.teamsagittarius.com/)

Rod Shooting 3D bison in field

Rod Shooting 3D bison in field

The course would prove to be challenging and enjoyable, being spread over the two woods, offering a few shots in the field. Sunday would flow better for us with less waiting round.

Day One and Keith shooting the eagles nest

Day One and Keith shooting the eagles nest

There were a couple of nicely set targets, which the course layers had set and dressed the scene. One being the nesting eagle 3D, which looked really good, as did the 3D owl in the tree. Simple little things that just make a shot memorable for attendees.

Sunday at Druids

Sunday at Druids – Jim shooting a 3D bear.

It is never easy running a two day event, especially when it includes camping, whilst keeping it fresh and sufficiently different on the second day, but I think Druids managed it , changing some but not all the targets. Well done Kevin and the team at Druids on setting a good course for both days. There are a couple of spots where you felt a bit close to the previous target, but they were safe.

Day two and Gail shooting 3D in the field

Day two and Gail shooting 3D in the field

The event is always well attended with this year being no different, seeing 181 archers on Saturday and over 170 on Sunday. I do wonder if the lower numbers on Sunday might have been due to a late Saturday night.
I had shot okay on Saturday but not so well on Sunday afternoon, I think I was just tired.
Sharon shot really well winning ladies flat bow. I have to say special congratulations to Elanor who won ladies Longbow, just remember to check your trophy as you might find some raffle tickets inside it.

We stayed over on the Sunday night and popped to the pub up the road for a meal and then back for a couple of ciders with friends on the camp site, before packing up on Monday morning to head home. Already looking forward to next years.
Thanks for reading.