What Type of Archery Target Should I Use At Home?

by | Jul 31, 2022

Nothing beats the convenience of having your own backyard archery range. Once you’ve checked to make sure that it’s legal and safe to set up your range at home, the next step is to consider what type of archery target should you use at home.

There are several options you can choose depending on your budget, and what type of bow you’re shooting. If you’re shooting a light poundage bow, then almost anything will do. You can buy layered foam targets and bag targets from your local archery store, but if you want to construct your own there are many cheaper options. People have shot into phone books, sand piles, stacks of carpet, thickly packed cardboard, and hay bales.

It’s only when the poundage of the bow increases that you have to start thinking more about what goes into your home archery target.

I’ve listed below some of the better DIY options (you’re only limited by your imagination!), as well as the commercial ones you can get from the internet or your local archery store.

If you’re not sure if it’s safe to shoot archery at home, then you might be interested in this article

What Type Of Archery Targets Should You Use At Home

1. Hay Bale/Straw Targets

Hay Bale Archery Target

Ok, so not exactly DIY, but a bale of straw is probably one of the simplest forms of targets you can use. Make sure that if you use a square bale that the hay has been compressed.

If you’re using a high-powered bow, then make sure the hay bale stays densely packed by strapping it with plastic bands, otherwise, your arrows will punch through or bury themselves on the block.

A surefire way not to lose arrows inside hay bales is to use a round bale. Shoot into the sides and not the front. You could probably shoot up to 70lb at 20 yards and still not bury your arrows. If a soft spot develops on the hay with repeated use, then just roll the hay bale to reveal fresh hay.

The downside is that hale bales can get a little pricey, so take some time to shop around.

2. Hand-woven Straw Target

These targets are perfect for beginners and young children. They are hand-crafted from straw and nylon rope.

It comes in 3 layers, is very durable and can be hung easily to give the archer a variety of heights to choose from.

You can check out this target on Amazon right here.

3. Old Carpet Strip Target

An old DIY trick for building an archery target is to simply stack old carpet tiles or strips. You’re looking for anything that can absorb an arrow’s energy, and old carpet strips packed together work just fine.

Carpet Strip Archery Target

You can construct a small wooden frame to house the carpet strips, plus you can add a handle on top to make it more portable.

Doing the same thing with strips of cardboard works in exactly the same way. It’s probably a good idea to stack the cardboard face onto your line of fire as arrows will slip through if the pieces of cardboard aren’t tightly packed enough.

Compressing the flat pieces of cardboard with a ratcheting band should ensure that doesn’t happen.

Suitable for field points and broadheads.

4. Layered Foam Target

A layered foam target is one of the most popular types of home targets on the market. They come in a variety of sizes and are portable enough to be taken on trips.

Layered Foam Archery Target

They are free-standing targets which means you won’t need to purchase or build a separate target stand.

If you want to change the shooting angle you can place the foam target on a wheelie bin. But if you just want to keep them low to the ground for a safer shooting option, then the foam target is perfect for this.

Suitable for field tips and broadheads.

5. Bag Targets

A bag target is really simple to make yourself, but there are some store-bought options as well. Made from woven material, you can simply fill the bag with old clothes, plastic bags, or other discarded bits of material. Being very portable, you can easily bring them inside during bad weather.

Archery Bag Target

Just remember to keep adjusting the stuffing to ensure the density remains consistent.

Kind of like fluffing up a pillow.

Any kind of cloth sack will do, from coffee bags to vegetable sacks. They are usually made from nylon or hessian and are very durable, even after repeated use.

All store-bought bag targets come with a sturdy handle for hanging from archery frames.

Only suitable for use with field point arrows

6. Block/Box Targets

Box targets are another great, lightweight option if you travel a lot and want to take your shooting with you.

Archery Box Target

Made of compacted foam, they come with field targets imprinted on the sides., making them look like dice cubes.

Strong and sturdy, they can be propped up onto a raised surface for different angles or hung from an archery frame by the handle.

If you don’t want to leave the target outside in bad weather, they can easily be transported indoors.

These targets are perfect for novice compound bow archers. Suitable with field tips.

View a similar product on Amazon

7. Old Clothes Target

This is a little more unconventional DIY variety, but effective nonetheless. You take 4 pieces of wood to construct your frame, then add a plywood sheet to form the back.

Fill the frame with any old clothes (not the wife’s new dress), then cover the front with chicken wire.

You can customize this however you like, but I would recommend adding on two cross beams to improve the structure and you’re good to go.

8. 3D Targets

3D Archery Targets

3D targets are another option for your backyard range. They are created to resemble game or other animals that are typically hunted.

You can either buy or make your own 3D targets in the form of deer, rabbits, birds, or any other animal that you want to shoot.


You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to constructing homemade archery targets. You can even fill a builder’s bucket with plastic bags and cover it with hessian!

Anything that can stop the energy from the arrow is going to work well. If you’re still not sure about which target is best for your backyard archery range, then check with your local archery shop, or even down at the club. There will be plenty of people there who can give you their own take on how to help you build your own targets.