Bowhunters need three types of targets to maximize their chances for success.  Unfortunately, (Or fortunately) the speed of today’s faster compounds and crossbows make traditional targets obsolete.  Archers need a bag-style target designed for target points, a foam target to test broadheads, and a “life-like” 3-D target to maximize arrow placement.  Especially, if you are new to archery, your brain will be fried when that big deer steps into an opening and you need to depend on muscle memory to deliver a lethal shot.

2D and 3D

The Morrell Side-by-Side is one of my favorite targets because I can shoot field points and broadheads into it and it has life-size images of a wild turkey and the kill zone of a whitetail deer.  The crossbows I test launch at speeds usually between 400 and 500 fps.  When arrows fly that fast, the friction created inside the target is often enough to melt foam which makes arrows very difficult to removed.  With very fast bows, it’s best to lubricate the shaft with Pam or other lubricant before shooting.  Foam targets are designed for broadheads and the cutting edges of the head help prevent the melting effect.  The animal imprints on the face of the target provide extra confidence at the moment of truth.  After practicing, you will readily aim at the kill zone of the target which will transfer into a lethal hit at the moment of truth.

Bags are Best

For frequent or daily practice, a bag target is difficult to beat.  Not only do today’s premium broadhead targets stop arrows up to 500 fps, but arrows are easily removed often with just a two-finger grip.  Originally, bag targets were hung on an aluminum frame, and I still have one that has lasted for 15 years.  Newer versions are flat on the bottom and designed to absorb the impact of today’s fast arrows.  These targets are effective, yet are very heavy, the only way to absorb kinetic energies that are off the chart.  The fastest crossbows create a kinetic energy of nearly 250 ft. lbs., that’s three times the minimum required for hunting Cape buffalo with a bow in Africa.  The momentum of such fast arrows is so great that I have had arrows stop in the target, yet the 150-grain field point pulls out of the shaft and completely through the target.

Make at Least One Mobile-

A few years ago, I hunted elk in Idaho with a Barnett Hyper Ghost crossbow that shot a slender arrow that I thought would penetrate better than standard crossbows shafts.  Idaho required a non-magnifying sight, so I opted for a Burris Fast Fire red dot enabling the bow to shoot nearly point-of-aim at 40 yards.  Each evening after returning from a punishing day in the mountains, I fired a practice shot to make sure my sight was dead on and took the above photo of a 20 yards off-hand shot.  The beauty of the Morrell High Roller target is its ability to stop a very fast arrow and its portability.  It fits easily in the back of a vehicle or UTV and was light enough to move into real-life practice situations like between trees or through a brush-shrouded window.  The portability is ideal for practicing steep up-hill or down-hills shots, a frequent circumstance when hunting in the West.

Why Multiple Targets?

Buying multiple targets can get pricy, yet the more you practice, the better you will shoot and the more likely you are to score.  The elk shown above was taken at a range greater than 50 yards, yet I knew the ballistics of the arrow and had every confidence in the shot.  I had one opportunity and made the most of it.  Multiple targets allow you to practice frequently with a bag target.  You can practice angles, shooting offhand, and with a rest.  More importantly, having a good foam target allows you to make sure that your broadheads fly true.  You can experiment with differing grain weights to see how mass affects arrow drop.  A quality foam target will have little impact on broadhead sharpness with a single test and knowing that you arrow will hit exactly where you aim is a huge confidence builder.  Targets like these from Morrell are sold in nearly all hunting supply stores and can be found online at www.MorrellTargets.com

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