Homemade Crossbow Target
Homemade archery targets are not difficult to construct and the materials are readily available. The key to a good target is a backstop for safety and the ability to remove and recover arrows after they strike the target. Well constructed targets are also durable and will last for a very long time.
Carpet and Cardboard Stacks
Stack similar sized pieces of scrap carpet and cardboard until you have reached a desired size. The amount you use of either material is not important. They both work equally well. Wrap two heavy-duty ratchet straps around the stack and apply torque to the ratchet until the stack is tightly compressed. Arrange the target so that the layers are visible to the shooter. The compressed material will stop arrows without grabbing them. The arrows will wedge between layers and easily pull free after impact.
Hay and Straw Bales
Stack hay or straw bales three high and two deep to make a quick and easy target. Leave the banding on the bales for stability and to prevent them from falling into pieces. Print or draw paper targets and attach them to the bales with a thin nail on each corner. Place the bales in a dry area to preserve them for a very long time.
Fill a cardboard box with old clothing, towels and rags. Fold and compress the clothing into the box as tightly as possible. Completely wrap and cover the box with duct tape. Use at least two layers of tape to hold the compression and maintain rigidity in the box. The target is ideal as a low budget and easy to make option.
Backstops for Safety
Always add a backstop behind your target for safety. Natural backstops like rock formations, high earth berms, hillsides and brick walls are effective. Stack cinder blocks if no backstop is available. The backstop prevents stray arrows from creating a safety hazard. Also place the target in a safe area where shooting a crossbow or traditional bow is legal and approved by your neighbors and those who live close.
Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.