Can Archery Targets Get Wet?

Can Archery Targets Get Wet?

Target archery is the most popular kind of archery where individuals shoot at stationary circular targets. It is also one of the fastest-growing sports at the Olympics though you can enjoy it at the comfort of your home. It makes for a fun reaction since most of the resources lend themselves to DIY projects, especially the targets. You do not need to get expensive stuff for starters, as you can invest in them later as you progress. It is more fun to shoot outside, but you have to contend with the weather elements, and one of the worst scenarios is imagining the targets wet and clogged with water. So, can archery targets get wet?

Archery targets can get wet, and it largely depends on the target’s material and construction. Most commercial targets can withstand rain. But generally, one should use a bow case to cover the targets if left outside, to protect them from elements and increase their lifespan.

There are plenty of target materials that respond differently to water, and there are other threats to the longevity of your target. Further, there are tips you can use to protect your archery targets when you use them outside. Read on to find more information on this and tips for picking the right target.

Types of material for archery targets

As you have already learned, your target’s vulnerability depends on the material in its construction. For example, foam targets will hold well against rain and snow, unlike anything having compressed paper products. Card boxes and other similar materials will also struggle against rain and will easily get soaked if left outside or used in the rain.

Paper products, card boxes, and the likes are excellent for DIY archery targets. Another material that does DIY projects is hay. You only need a hay bale and a paper target with the hay acting as the backstop for your arrows. Hay is readily available and highly durable. However, it can easily get soggy when left outside from rain or other humid weather.

The other option is using a box full of rags. You have the choice of making one or purchasing one from a professional brand. It is an excellent choice for commercial targets on a budget. It, however, presents two challenges, if you make it from home, it will make removing the arrows difficult. Secondly, both homemade and commercial targets made using rags in a box easily soak up in wet conditions.

You can also use high-density foam to make your shooting targets. It is one of the best materials for making archery targets since it holds well against most weather conditions, especially water since it is waterproof. It is the material of most commercial archery targets. How long such a target lasts will depend on the quality of the foam used and any other additional proofing.

The best foam is polyethylene because of its high density while being lightweight. It also lasts longer, even under extreme weather. The foam also allows the arrows to stick to their mark without either bouncing off or going through. The last aspect makes it easy to remove your arrows. For someone who does plenty of frequent shooting, high-quality foam targets are a good investment, even if they are costly.

The final common material is rubber which often works as a backstop. Rubber has the advantage of durability, and even in wet conditions, it will not get wet. The only downside is that it is heavy; thus, it is mostly used in homemade targets. Keep in mind that besides rubber, even the waterproof material can get wet if left in the rain since water can seep through the chinks and pinholes left by arrows and wear and tear.

Types of archery targets for outside use

 Based on the material above, the following are the kind of archery targets you can leave outside.

Bag Targets

These targets consist of a woven polypropene bag that is filled with foam scraps. It is an inexpensive bag option which makes it a popular choice among shooters, and the fact that it has considerable durability adds to its demand.

Foam Layer and Block Target

These targets are among the best when it comes to durability and withstanding weather conditions. They use polyethylene foam and come as either layered targets or solid targets. Solid targets use inflated self-healing foam. Layered targets use foam crushed together and set up in numerous layers. Their material and construction ensure they can hold up against harsh weather, especially rain, sleet, and even snow.

3-Dimensional Targets

These are the most expensive kind of targets, and they also use self-healing foam which gives them durability and the ability to withstand wet conditions. They also come in various animals, including deer, moose, turkey, dinosaurs, and elk. Some high-quality ones also come with replaceable death zones.

Other factors affecting how long your archery target can last

Water is not the only thing that should worry you. Other factors that can affect how long your archery target lasts include:

  • Sunlight: is more damaging than water and affects even high-quality material accelerating wear and tear.
  • Fog and snow: their moisture affects your target’s metal grommets causing rusts and can also cause gouges on the target’s surface.
  • Climate: people in hotter climates will see their targets wear off quickly due to the extra heat.
  • Frequent shooting: if you shoot more than once every week, you will experience faster wear and tear of the targets as the arrows will soon pierce the top cover exposing the inner parts to the elements.

How to take care of archery targets when they are outside

If you are going to use your targets outside or any reason forces you to leave them outside, it helps to consider added protection. Even those targets designed with outside use in mind and labeled waterproof will benefit from protection against weather elements. First, if you leave them outside, cover them with other material like a tarp.

It does not hold water and will shield the target under it from the sun’s UV rays. Alternatively, you could create a simple shade or shelter for your targets with posts and a roof.

Tips for picking the right archery target

How long your target can last and how it will stand against the weather elements depends on the target’s quality. You also want a target that will protect your arrows. Qualities to look out for are;

  1. Stopping power
  2. Easy arrow removal
  3. High durability
  4. Weather resistance qualities
  5. Stable build


Archery targets can get wet, especially those made from rags, hay bale, and compacted paper. Even the weather-resistant ones with waterproofed covers should not be left in the rain for long since water could seep through holes and tears and thus affect the quality. On top of that, you should be aware that the sun causes even more harm, so all archery targets should either be kept inside or find a cover or shelter above them.