Here are a few 3-D targets to consider purchasing if creating a backyard range is on your 2024 to-do list.
by Darron McDougal
My arms were like wet noodles when my brother and I reached the end of the course. Just imagine two young teenagers hiking between 100 different 3-D targets and then trying to place 100 accurate arrows. We’d also warmed up for a few rounds before starting the course. Targets on the course ranged from common deer and turkeys to a toilet (yes, it was a foam toilet) and even a standing polar bear. Nowhere else will you enjoy such an unsuspecting spread as you will at Rinehart’s R-100 event.
That outing was at least 20 years ago, and we had a blast. But it wasn’t my first exposure to Rinehart 3-D targets. I fell in love with them while competing at the local archery club a year or two prior, and my parents even bought a few for our backyard. I was blown away by how easily my arrows pulled out, not to mention how the arrow holes magically swelled shut upon arrow removal. Let’s just say that those attributes floored me, as I’d previously experienced difficult arrow removal and instantly noticeable wear while shooting at a few other brands of 3-D targets. Rinehart, in my opinion, was and continues to be the leading innovator in 3-D targets.
With that noted, to become a more accurate bowhunter, you must make your practice more realistic. If you have land and a little money, a great way to do that is to create a backyard 3-D range. Should you take on said project, Rinehart’s Signature Antelope, Mule Deer, and Strutting Turkey 3-D targets would make excellent additions to your spread. Here’s why.
Peruse Rinehart’s 3-D line, and you’ll find various options. The whitetail category alone has about 14 different target models. What you’ll notice is that some targets are priced higher than others. The higher-priced models make up Rinehart’s Competition Series. These targets will withstand thousands of arrows, which is expected at competition archery clubs and ranges. They’re larger and typically wider. They’ll also work great for the backyard, but they’re expensive.
That makes the Signature line more attractive to everyday consumers with tighter budgets. In particular, I tested the Signature Antelope, Mule Deer, and Strutting Turkey. Signature targets are smaller overall and narrower than the higher-priced Competition Series alternatives. This brings Signature targets down to price points that many consumers can afford. However, you still get long-lasting durability and easy arrow removal, complete with the self-healing characteristics Rinehart foam is known for.
Rinehart is also the 3-D target to beat in terms of lifelike modeling. The three Signature targets I tested have creases and contours that accurately simulate the actual species they replicate, and they’re hand-painted for stunning detail. These attributes make your practice a lot more like hunting in terms of aiming and shot placement. Rinehart does detail like no other 3-D target manufacturer, and that’s just one more way to make your practice more like bowhunting.
Rinehart targets are so real that they can fool wild animals. Case in point: I had my Rinehart Big Jim whitetail target in the woodlot behind my house. On October 29 this fall, I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t go hunting. Standing in the kitchen and looking at the backyard, I noticed my deer target was missing. I walked out back and found it lying on the ground with the head detached and flung several yards away from the body. Hoof indentations in the dirt amidst disrupted leaves indicated that a territorial buck had attacked my target! Do Rinehart 3-D targets look lifelike? A wild buck thought so!
Lightweight and Easy to Transport
As I said earlier, Competition Series targets are more prominent and thicker. That makes them heavier and more difficult to carry, thus lending themselves more toward stationary placement at clubs and ranges. If you want to set up your targets and then take them down and put them in your garage, shop, or shed when you finish practicing to keep them out of the elements and prolong their life, the task will be easy with Signature targets. The Strutting Turkey is nice and small, and the Mule Deer and Antelope have removable heads (and antlers on the Mule Deer) for even more convenient transportation and storage.
Rinehart Signature targets are perfect for all types of archery practice. This makes them ideal for families shooting different equipment. A youth archer pulling 20 pounds can shoot Signature targets, as can a hunter shooting one of today’s wildly fast crossbows. Not only are they rated for crossbows, but you can shoot them with field points and broadheads, too.
Quality That Lasts
Rinehart Signature targets are weatherproof and UV-resistant, meaning that if you leave them in the elements, they’ll still last a long time. I’ve seen the longevity of Rinehart targets firsthand. My folks have a Rinehart 30 Point Buck (Competition Series) in their backyard that was purchased probably 15 years ago. It has been outdoors around the calendar in Wisconsin. Although the coloration is now off from constant exposure to all elements, it’s still standing. All it needs is a replacement core, and it’s good to go. Had we set it inside during the winter, it would be in even better shape despite all the arrows it has stopped.
I’ve owned enough Rinehart 3-D targets over the years to confidently suggest them to anyone looking for backyard targets. They stop arrows and bolts from hard-hitting bows and crossbows. The realism, modeling, and detail are outstanding. The quality is unrivaled. Arrows pull out quickly, and the holes they leave virtually disappear. And when you eventually wear out the vitals, you can replace the core rather than buy a new target, which is more economical. If all of those points don’t get you excited about creating your own little Rinehart backyard range, what will?