How Long Do Archery Targets Last?

How long do archery targets last

Archery targets are a primary tool that you will be using to sharpen your archery skills. Without them, improving your archery skills is nigh impossible. Also, while you are prepared to dish out some money to buy them, one question does arise: how long do archer targets last? 

The life of an archery target depends on a variety of factors, including the quality and use of the target. Higher-quality targets can last a long time, whereas those of a lower quality can’t last for much longer. 

The only thing left to think about is exactly why some targets can last longer than others, which will be elaborated in the next sections.

Different Types of Archery Targets 

First, there are different types of archery targets, and not all of them can be made from quality materials. The reason for this is because these targets are made from low-quality materials so they can be affordable and easy to transport.

The usual target of that type is the hay bale target or a hanging target. Hay bales can’t be high-quality targets because they are made from hay and sand. Hay and sand won’t last, though they are more affordable and widely available resources compared to other materials. These targets are also still great for beginners. May a hay bale target into a scored experience by pinning a target like this to it.

Other types of targets exist that are much more expensive, but will be much more durable. Those in this category include 3D targets and layered targets like these. These are made to be more durable and interactive than hay bales.

One main difference between the targets in the more expensive category compared to the cheaper one is that the former will be bigger, have more color, look more lifelike, and serve other purposes. That’s exactly why they are more expensive—they create a far better experience than the usual target.

Still, that doesn’t mean that anyone should get and practice on these types of targets. They are much better for either competitive archers or hunters. If you are a part of either of these groups, it would make much more sense for you to look into using those types of targets. 

Common Problems With Archery Targets 

Common Problems With Archery Targets

Common problems with archery targets include how these targets tend to wear down. Depending on the type of material they are made from, archery targets will wear down easier than if they were made of solid materials. 

When you look at an archery target, you will want to make sure they are the kind that will last. If you use hay bales constantly, for example, you will likely meet with a durability problem when using your practice target. 

On top of that, better archery targets come with other, more practical perks that you can use. For example, a layered foam archery target is more resistant to heat and water exposure. Although hay bales may withstand transport easier, they’ll suffer more when exposed to greater heat. 

Therefore, it is important to remember that there is no clear-cut rule on how long an archery target will last. Such all depends on how you use and maintain it. That’s why not all archery targets will last the same, even if they are archery targets of the same type. 

Yet, there are some things you can always expect, regardless of how much money you paid for the target initially.

One way you can decrease the amount of problems you have with your archery targets is to make them yourself. You can increase the durability by understanding exactly how they are put together. Watch this video to see how:

Usual Durability

The usual durability of an archery target depends on the material of which it’s made and how often you use it. Let’s say you are using a hay bale target—it’s logical that it will be less durable than a foam-layered target. 

The reason for this consideration is simple; one is basically just hay, whereas the other is made of a combination of wood and foam. Since you have just hay on one side and a more complex product on the other, it’s logical to assume that the second one will last longer. 

However, there is still a catch. For example, you can still buy a cheap foam-layered archery target that won’t last. Remember that higher quality products will use higher quality materials, which will also make it more durable. 

Therefore, the durability is connected directly to the quality of materials the product is made of. That also stands for the type of archery target you’re considering; regardless of its type, its durability is always determined by the quality of the materials. 

So, when you are buying an archery target, you will want to make sure that it’s made of good materials. Such will also determine its resistance to exposure

Archery Targets and Exposure 

The reason why most archery targets deteriorate is because of exposure. The exposure is a general term by which you would label different conditions that may hinder the archery targets. There are also two basic types of exposure you will want to watch out for, which are heat and water exposure. 

As a general rule, you will want to keep your targets away from unreasonable heat exposure because most archery targets are made of wood, cotton, or hay. These materials are highly flammable, since they are dry. 

If you leave it next to a fire source, there is a high chance it could catch fire and be a potential hazard to everyone nearby, be that at the archery club or at home. Thus, it’s safe to say that heat exposure is much more dangerous for archery targets. It can both destroy the targets and also lead to life-threatening situations. 

The other common type of exposure is exposure to water. This type of exposure is less dangerous simply because it isn’t really life-threatening. However, it is still important to factor in because this type of exposure can still damage and make archery targets completely unusable. 

For example, when you have a hay bale target and let the rain fall on it, it will become unusable. When the hay waters down, you will be unable to pierce it effectively with the arrow, and a hanging target filled with sand will become much heavier and harder to pierce. 

Therefore, keeping the targets in a mint condition is something you must do at all times. If you don’t, not only will you destroy the targets themselves, but you could also endanger the lives of everyone nearby, including yourself.

You can learn more about environmental damage to archery targets and why they should be taken indoors in this post.

Maintaining Archery Targets For Longer Use 

Now that you know all about what can make the archery targets deteriorate faster, you can then move on to how you can keep them efficient and usable for longer. The trick is to maintain them properly. 

To maintain your archery targets properly, you will want to keep them out of exposure and make sure you are moving them securely. Let’s first talk about the latter. When it comes to the hanging targets with sand, you’ll have to watch how you move them. 

In another example, a hay bale may come apart if you aren’t transporting it safely. That goes for foam-layered targets and 3-D targets too. If you transport them carelessly, then you risk damaging or breaking them, effectively rendering them unusable. 

Then, you should also keep them out of harm’s way by keeping them out of exposure. When you let them get exposure to certain elements, you risk damaging them much easier. In the end, it all comes down to how you make the actual purchase. 

It all comes down to what you plan to choose, be that a lower price or a greater quality. 

Price and Quality 

Price and Quality of Archery Targets

If you want to have an archery target that lasts longer, you will have to make a choice between price and quality. The higher the price, the higher the quality will be. 

You can certainly find cheaper alternatives that will also do the work; however, the usual rule of life applies, which is that the more you invest in something, the more it’ll return to you. So, if you are looking to buy something cheap and expect a high-quality product, you are in for some disappointment because that doesn’t really exist.

Instead, look to invest in what you can and buy archery targets one at the time. When you do that, it may take more time to build up your archery target set, but you will eventually end up with the high-quality target set you want. 

Finally, it’s a matter of what you need and what you can settle with. If you are fine with buying those pieces more often and using them with less efficiency, then you should sacrifice quality for the price. However, that is probably the most ill-advised thing you can do. 

Quality Comes First

Never sacrifice quality for the price. It’s simply not worth it. When you do that, you’ll come to regret that decision as soon as your targets break or deteriorate. Once that happens, you’ll wish that you invested more money and bought an archery target of a higher quality. 

Therefore, always, always purchase quality. It’s the glue that makes things stick in the long run—without it, you will only create a setback for yourself, so don’t do it.


My name is Roland, and I have over a decade of experience in archery, both with bow and crossbow. I want to share the best tips and tricks about archery and help you reach the next level. So, browse through the blog and find relevant information about archery and stick around.

Recent Posts