Best Archery Targets for Beginners

Best Archery Targets for Beginners

Archery is an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding hobby, but many people are scared away by all of the equipment they need to start. It may seem a little overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be. A bow, some arrows, and a target is the core of what you need.

This article will assume you already either have a bow or have a good idea of which one you might like. We are going to focus on what the best archery target for beginners is, some great alternatives, and finally, a few tips and tricks to identify what makes a good target and why.

The cheapest option for a complete beginner is to use some hay bales as archery targets, with a simple ring sheet over them. They are suitable for beginners, are very affordable and easy to maintain, and are safe for your arrows.

But sometimes hay bales aren’t a good option, so let’s consider the best archery targets for beginners.

What are the best archery targets for beginners?

Yes, hay offer great cost to benefit, and many people with access to space large enough to practice their archery will have access to hay bales. But they aren’t the only option. Here are a few alternatives if hay bales don’t suit you and your needs.

The best foam sheet archery target for beginners

Foam sheets work almost exactly the same way as hay bales. They offer a soft backstop to your paper or painted archery target capable of stopping your arrows dead without damaging them. For example, the Morrel Yellow Jacket (link to Amazon) is a great option for beginners – it has multiple faces, it’s very durable and easy to move around.

Foam sheets are a little more expensive, in most cases, and are unlikely to cover as much area. However, they are less messy and aren’t going to affect people with allergies (an uncommon problem but still deserves consideration).

Foam sheets can become worn over time if you are constantly hitting the same spot (though many are made of self-healing materials). But as a beginner you’re unlikely to run into that problem! They can become water damaged so avoid leaving them outdoors in rainy conditions.

The best bag archery target for beginners

Bag targets are great for beginners who have improved their accuracy enough to hit a smaller target consistently. Hurricane bags (link to Amazon) are great for increasing accuracy but offer far less margin for error.

They can be left outside year-round, though they will last longer if kept dry and are reasonably affordable given how much use you can get out of them. They have bright colors to increase visibility making this ideal for increased distances.

The biggest benefit to bag targets though is how easy they are to transport. They can fit easily in your car without making the slightest mess. You cant say that about bales of hay, that’s for sure!

The best 3D archery target

Archery is great fun. Especially for beginners who are just entering the sport for the first time. Whether or not you have any desire to bow hunt, shooting at more unique targets has a lot of benefits.

Picking fun targets is not just cool – it can genuinely help you hone your skills. Many beginner bowhunters use 3D archery targets to create realistic scenarios, so they can practice accurately shooting their target in a tough environment.

This GlenDel deer target (link to Amazon) is great for beginners and advanced archers looking to mix things up a little, and for beginner bowhunters looking to get their first 3D archery target.

What makes a good archery target?

So, you have a few ideas of which targets are good for beginners but you still may not understand why they are so good. There are a few key factors that almost all good targets will have in common that you should look out for if you plan to branch off from this list.

You must consider what a target actually is. It’s a way of identifying an area to aim for and then providing immediate feedback. If you are slightly left off-center you can use that information to adjust your shot.

That’s why all good targets have some kind of markings to identify what you are shooting and gauge how accurate you are. While you could just shoot into a bale of hay, you aren’t learning much just by hitting it. It doesn’t take a whole lot of skill to hit such a large, vague, target.

Good targets are also a good balance between tough enough that your arrows won’t travel right through and soft enough that the arrow can penetrate them without becoming damaged itself. That’s why foam, hay, and sand are good options vs wood which is not.

While not completely necessary, a good target can also be moved easily enough by one person (you) so you are able to practice on your own from various positions. Again, finding a target that is light enough to be moved easily but not so light it doesn’t provide a stable enough target is important.


Hopefully, this article has given you insights with which targets are best for beginners, and what makes them so good. Of course, there are a lot of options on the market for you to buy or make yourself.

That’s why ensuring you remember what makes a target a good one is vital to protecting your arrows, your property, other people, and yourself. Hay Bales are perfect for most beginners to absolutely abuse with inaccuracy and constant impact. They are cheap, easy to move around, big enough to save you time and arrows, and you can dispose of them easily.

 If hay bales aren’t for you, hopefully one of the other options is more up your street. No matter what you choose, remember archery gives back what you put in.

The more time you spend refining your skills the less time you will spend fishing arrows out of bushes and the more time you’ll spend plucking them right out of the bullseye!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use hay bales for archery targets?

Hay bales can be used for archery targets, and in fact make a good target for beginners trying to get to know their bow. They are affordable and easy to maintain, but require quite a lot of space and are bad on people with allergies.

What kind of archery target should I get?

The best kind of bow targets are foam targets, mainly because they’re very durable and have a long lifespan. They are more costly than the alternative, and usually sensitive to water.

Can you shoot broadheads at a target?

You can use broadheads to shoot at a target, can unless it’s a dedicated target approved for broadheads, it’s very likely to be torn to shreds. Additionally, the target is likely to dull your broadhead.