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Backyard 3D Archery Targets Put to the Test

Backyard 3D Archery Targets Put to the Test

Regardless of where you call home, you can likely get creative and find a place to put up a 3D target, or five. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

If you love to bow hunt, there’s a really good chance that passion was born out of a love for archery. Perhaps it's the other way around; your passion for shooting was created after you shot (or missed) your first deer. Either way, one complements the other — it’s a good way to live.

There isn’t an archer out there who wouldn't benefit from more and consistent practice. The only way to maintain a skill like that is to shoot, and shoot often. Plus, I’ve learned that time behind my Mathews actually makes me feel good.

Fred Bear so famously quoted, “Nothing clears a troubled mind like shooting a bow.”

Having access to multiple 3D targets adds fun and practice for the entire family. By strategically setting them up, archers of all ages and skill levels can take advantage of the extra shooting time. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

Truer words have not been spoken, as far as my archery-loving mind is concerned.

Regardless of where you call home, you can likely get creative and find a place to put up a 3D target, or five. There really isn’t a better way to keep your skills as sharp as your broadheads than to shoot 3D targets on a regular basis.

If you’re a member of an archery club, or hunting club there are probably places to go shoot, but what about in between visits? Is there a better place than your backyard? In most cases, it can be accomplished, but you may have to get creative.

My young daughter has spent quite a bit of time developing her skill. We’re not ready to hunt yet, but the time spent shooting arrows at a foam 3D target has helped her identify good angles and a better understanding of where the vitals are in a deer. That’s helped her shoot four deer with her pink .243. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)
My son is nearly ready to hunt. He’s shooting enough weight, but still needs to overcome a few bad habits. The best way to beat bad habits is by spending time at the range flinging arrows. He’s getting there, but without 3D targets, I don’t think bow hunting would be in his near future. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

If you love flinging sharp sticks at deer or cardboard, the realistic 3D targets below make perfect sense for your personal talent production in your backyard, or wherever you can manage placement. And they won’t break the bank either.

The Test

I set up each of the following four targets, and put them through a detailed test to determine penetration and durability. At 20 yards, I shot each target 50 times with a Mathews Triax tuned to 70 pounds shooting Carbon Express Maxima Blu 350 grain arrows measuring 33 inches in length driven by a 100-grain field point.

Not all targets are built to take continuous shots from a crossbow, most will stop the bolt, but pulling it out can become an issue. Keep that in mind when practicing with a crossbow. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

I also shot three of the targets 20 times at the same distance with a Ravin R10 crossbow. The bolts measured 20 inches nock to point.

By measuring penetration of every single arrow and bolt, I was able to determine an average penetration measurement, which is a fine indicator of the stopping power and lifetime durability of each target.

It’s also worth mentioning that the less penetration a target may sustain, pullout power can also be an issue. I rated pullout on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being super easy and 10 being impossible.

After a deep-testing cycle, the following targets pass the test on all fronts making each a fine investment for your backyard.


Glen Del Full Rut Buck | $294.11

The Glen Del buck series of targets feature Open Layered Polyfusion Technology, and that means durability and easy arrow removal. By fusing the internal layers together, the inner target wall results in more uniform layer compression, which means longer target life and less shooter fatigue.

The series is available in three sizes: Full Rut Buck, Pre-Rut Buck and Buck.

The Full Rut Buck is the largest 3D deer target you can buy

Offers five times the insert surface shooting area

Measures 37 inches at the shoulder, 62 inches in total height

Rack size: 150-inches

Fully replaceable 14x14x14 (inches) core insert

The Glen Del Full Rut Buck is the largest 3D deer target you can buy, and it’s a pleasure to shoot! (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

Test Results

  • Mathews Triax 50-arrow average penetration: 10 1/4 inches
  • Ravin R10 20-arrow average penetration: 13 1/2 inches
  • Pullout power: 6

Watch video to learn more

BigShot Targets Pro Hunter Back Yard Buck | $229.99

BigShot offers a full line-up of 3D targets that would appeal to world-class target archers as well as bow hunters looking to add a little practice to their routine. The BigShot Back Yard Buck is very durable, with lifelike features that are quite eye appealing. New out-of-the box, this target is not ideal for crossbow shooters, after it’s been broken in, crossbow bolt removal will be much easier. BigShot offers plenty of ideal crossbow target options.

Comes standard with a replaceable second Broadhead core

Replacement core costs $54.99

There are many different styles of targets for multiple archery applications available through BigShot

The Buck target weighs 35 pounds and measures 36x12x33 (inches)

BigShot offers hardcore competition archers and bow hunters plenty of options to keep their skills sharp. The Back Yard Buck is a great option for both types of shooters. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

Test Results

  • Mathews Triax 50-arrow average penetration: 7 1/2 inches
  • Pullout power: 8

Watch video to learn more

Delta/McKenzie Wild Boar, 274.99

A part of the Backyard 3D Archery Target Series, the Wild Boar 3D Archery Target is a perfect selection for lifespan and economy. While it was designed for backyard archers, it also fits the bill for serious competition archers and archery clubs. The target is made from FlexFoam, which is light in mass, but can take a pounding from the heaviest of bows, yet allows for easy arrow extraction. The UV coating is an added benefit to help protect the target from the elements.

Four-part body configuration: Head, midsection, rear and core

Durable FlexFoam design

Extensive lifespan and economically friendly

Large, impressive body profile

Will sustain shots from fixed broadheads, expandable broadheads and field tips

Measures 33x32x10 (inches)

The Delta/McKenzie Wild Boar offers shooters of all ages and skill levels a fun and lifelike target to add to their range. The target’s durability is impressive, and arrow removal is a cinch. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

Test Results

  • Mathews Triax 50-arrow average penetration: 9 1/2 inches
  • Ravin R10 20-arrow average penetration: 10 3/4 inches
  • Pullout power: 6

Watch video to learn more

Bass Pro Shops BlackOut Deer 3D Target | $169.99

Made of new self-healing foam for superior durability, Bass Pro Shops’ lifelike BlackOut Deer Target helps keep you shooting well in-season or out. The realistic body shape and side, plus the vital core with heart and ventricles visible on the outside will help you aim true every time.

Replacement core sold separately

Self-healing foam adds tremendous life to the target

Ideal for broadheads and field tips shot from any compound or traditional bows, and even crossbows

The Bass Pro Shops BlackOut 3D Target offers archers a realistic target with added features like imprinted vitals on the core. This target is lightweight and fun to shoot. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

Test Results

  • Mathews Triax 50-arrow average penetration: 8 1/2 inches
  • Ravin R10 20-arrow average penetration: 10 1/2 inches
  • Pullout power: 7

Watch video to learn more

Get A Few

There’s no reason to put up only one 3D target in your backyard when you can set up several — or even more — to have the full 3D-range experience. Each of the companies listed above offer quite a catalog of fun targets to add to your practice time.

Time on the range should never stop once the season has begun. It’s a good idea to shoot a couple of arrows every single day, and especially right before you leave the truck and head to your treestand. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

The bottom line is simple: We wait all year for that one chance at a life-changing buck. The last thing you want is to miss it because you weren’t prepared. Put up some targets in your backyard and keep your skills sharp, and when that opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready to let the air out of him.

If you get too good, however, your talent might get expensive. Arrows are cheap to replace. (Photo by T.A. Harrison)

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