How to Build a 3D Arc Course in Your Backyard

The total archery challenge has spent the last few summers like the “it” thing of archery. It is easy to understand why. It takes off-season practice to an insane level with great locations and dozens of challenging archery shots. Imagine if you could recreate that experience right in your backyard? Well, okay, maybe not. If you happen to own a ton of surface area, a few dozen high-level 3D objectives, and have the time and equipment to build and maintain a course, this is unrealistic. But you can take the concept and customize it to fit almost any yard size, and you can do it for much less money and effort than you might expect.

Make sure you have a good Backstop

Your first consideration should always be safety. It starts by making sure the area where you live allows you to shoot. Some areas have local ordinances that prevent gunfire, but not bows. Others bow with arms. So check the rules where you live.

My backyard course is set in a way that I am never shooting towards a neighboring house, and I shoot from a raised position most of the time, which adds another level of security because the arrows are going towards the ground.

That said, while my neighbors are quite close, I do not live in a subdivision. If this is your situation, you should make every effort to ensure that your darts are contained. Backstops can be useful, and Amazon has a number of specific archery backstops that are not too expensive.

Man and woman throwing complex bows next to each other.
Shooting the course from different positions gives you a variety of angles and ranges. Ben Hasty / MediaNews Group / Reading Eagle via Getty Images

How much space and what targets for archery will you need

To get started, you will need to list the necessary items for your backyard course. The goal is to build a 12-stroke course that uses four targets, designed in a way that fits into your available space. There is a minimum size requirement in terms of space required. For reference, my personal course occupies half of my 60 yard by 25 yard.

You will need goals, of course. You can certainly add more than four if you wish, and you can leave with less. But four seems to be a sweet spot. Objectives can be costly. For my course, I have two life-size Rinehart deer targets and two block style targets. I’m a white-tailed deer, so I chose targets that match, but you can certainly choose any species and can swap the two block targets with other 3D creatures.

You will also need a way to support the goals. Block style targets can be placed on the ground, but 3D targets will need something to keep them standing. I use steel rods. You can get these at any home improvement store with large boxes at a cheap price. Simply hit them on the ground with a hammer and slide the targets over them (most targets have metal channel cast on the foot for this).

Of course, you will need your bow and arrow, but I would also suggest practicing at a distance. Knowing the exact distance from a target leads to a more accurate shooting placement, and this is what practice is all about in the first place.

Plan your archery course in the backyard

Align your course in the rough outline of the letter “V” with your shooting position at the point (this will change as you move through the course) and your targets along the legs of V. Take two targets – a block target and a 3D target — and place it up on the left foot of V. Then repeat with the right foot of V.

A man archery four targets in his backyard.
Set your targets in a V shape with your shooting position on the point. Toni Hansen

Open targets in whatever radius you want to shoot (and space allows). Typically, I set 3D targets at the farthest distances and block targets about halfway. My personal limit is about 35 yards. I just do not want to shoot at an animal that is farther than that. On the left leg of the V, I have a deer target set at about 38 yards and a block at 15. On the right leg, a deer target is at 27 yards and a block at 10 yards. And when I set targets on each leg of the V, I offset them slightly so that I can see both when shooting from a position.

Read on: 7 amazing 3D shots that belong to your bucket list

How to Shoot 3D Arc Course in Your Backyard |

Using the four targets in the V formation, I can easily take 12 different shots without having to move much or adjust the targets. Starting from point V, I make four shots – one at each target. I then make four more shots while walking through the center of the V, turning and shooting from the opposite side. After that, I will move left or right for four more shots at different angles and distances.

I am lucky to have a lot of trees in my yard. If you do too, try placing a tree hanger or saddle for shots raised in the same field with four targets. If you are more of a land-hunter, spot and stalk hunter, you can still use the V group range. Work on obstacles like backyard chairs, rose bushes or rocking bands, and practice from the kneeling positions, reaching the peak. about the cover available.

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