The 3 types of non paper archery targets

[Updated on 1 January 2024] If you are a fan of the Hunger Games movies, you know that the main character, Katniss Everdeen, used her great skills in archery to fight for her life, defeating 22 other tributes from different districts. Perhaps you want to be as good an archer as Katniss and are thinking about trying archery. Well, the good thing is that you actually can!

Today, there are lots of places where you can try archery, either for leisure or to pursue as a sport. Whatever your reason, one part that you will need to understand is the different types of archery targets.

There’s more to archery targets than just a big circle with a dot in the center. Nowadays, different targets are designed to match certain bows, arrows, and different tip or broadhead styles.

There are three main types of non paper archery targets. These are explained below.

Types of Non Paper Archery Targets

Bag Target

This is the most basic archery target type that every archer or bowhunter has practiced on or even bought for themselves. A bag target is generally filled with synthetic fiber which is responsible for easily stopping your arrow and at the same time still making it possible to easily remove the arrow.

For beginners in basic practice sessions, this archery target works well for repetition as it holds together so well and has a big surface to serve as space for mishaps or missed arrows.

One thing to remember though is that this type of archery target is most often meant for field points. Also, broadheads are not a good match because they can remain buried in the target and damage the outer covering that keeps the filling contained within the target.

Keep it out of elements too, as being soaked in the rain can make it deteriorate faster. However, there are now weather-resistant bag targets to address this.

It is suggested to use a bag target in an indoor range where it can be left hanging in place. This is convenient as you do not have to haul it out every single time you practice. A compound bow setup is also an ideal type for this target. Just remember to use field points.

Foam Layer Block Target

This target is considered the next level after the bag target. A foam layer block target is known to be lightweight and moveable. In addition, it allows for the easy removal of arrows for light bows and is economical as well.

Generally, you have to pinch the arrow between foam layers to make this archery target type work, using friction instead of force to stop its momentum. You can use broadheads on this one, but field points will significantly lengthen the target’s life.

One limitation with this target is that it can be very difficult to remove arrows. If they get buried deeply before friction stops them because of heavy draw weight.

Mind your shooting angle too, since you do not want to shoot across or through the layers given that a foam layer block target works by pinching the arrow between the layers. However, there is a way to stop this: turn the block so that the layers are arranged vertically rather than in a horizontal position. This way, the arrow is will slide between layers despite the vertical shot angle.

It is also suggested to use this target for outdoor practice sessions where you can set it up quickly and begin shooting at ground level or from a tree stand. Be careful when using heavy bows as this may make it harder to remove arrows.

3D Practice Targets

Perhaps this is the best archery target type as it prepares you for real-life hunting scenarios. 3D practice targets are replicas of animals, whether alive or extinct, providing a very fun archery experience.

Many of these targets contain different overlay options, such as exposing the vitals on the outside so you have an idea of exactly where your arrow would hit. Others have point values intended for competitive shooting.

One limitation though is the tendency of the foam core to wear out due to repetitive use. But the good thing is that most 3D archery targets contain replaceable midsections, prolonging their life overall. Field points also match this target well. Broadheads may get lost inside the foam core.

Moreover, this target type is ideal for lifelike hunting simulations. When practicing from a tree stand you can set this target up in a realistic setting. Also, it will help you shoot at the shadow of your real target game animal. This target type is light to carry and set up for a few shots down the range or in the woods.

Types of Archery targets


  1. Frieda Virgie Reply

    Bag targets are the most basic style of the archery target, and nearly every bowhunter has practiced on one of these. It contains a synthetic fiber fill that easily stops your arrow, and yet still offers easy arrow removal. They are great for repetition so you can get a lot out of them in your practice sessions.

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