Practice is only as good as you make it. Spend the off-season shooting your bow at known distances in the familiar range of your yard, and you’ll be quite adept at drilling dots on a block target. But unless you intend to spend the fall drilling dots on targets, that practice can only take you so far. When it comes to the activity you are practicing to perfect—placing arrows on deer, elk, and other animals that tend to show up at unpredictable distances and angles—your training sessions should mimic the real world as much as possible. This is where 3‑D targets shine.
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a commercial course with a full array of 3-D targets, take full advantage of it. But what if there are no clubs or ranges nearby? Make your own. Creating your own backyard (or woodlot) 3‑D course doesn’t have to take up a ton of room or cost a fortune. Here’s how to do it with a minimum of money and space.
Targets aren’t cheap. And good targets are downright pricey. But, as with most things, you get what you pay for. Bargain-price 3‑D targets come up short in quality and longevity. Spend a bit more and you’ll get a target that not only looks better, but also lasts much longer.
Partnering with some buddies can make the task of outfitting a course with targets affordable; each participant commits to buying one or two targets and adding them to the collection. Start with four big-game and two small-game targets.
You’ll find there is no shortage of deer targets available. Rinehart and Delta McKenzie are two of biggest players in the 3‑D target game and they make excellent targets. Both companies offer models at two different quality and price levels. Entry-level deer cost about $150 while pro-series targets are $300 and up. You can mix in other species like hyenas, antelope, and axis deer in the same price range if you want variety. Small-game targets—like turkeys, raccoons, and coyotes—cost about half of a deer-size target.
Add up the total cost of the targets and divide it by the number of buddies who want in….