Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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How to salvage an old 3-D archery target

In setting up my own backyard archery range, I came upon an old relic of yesteryear – an ancient full-strut turkey target that spent its prime outside weathering sun, rain, sleet and snow at my parents’ place during all four years of college. (To put that in perspective, my 10-year reunion is being held this fall).

When it wasn’t being shot from all angles, it resided in my barn, collecting dust from the chicken pen and being nibbled on by the field mice that frequently find their way in to steal grain feed from the laying hens.

To put it lightly, Old Tom has seen better days.

But it seemed to me a waste to toss the aged target out with the trash. After all, as long as it still caught and held arrows, that was good enough for a place on my back lawn. So I took it down range and staked it into the ground with the others.

I soon discovered a slight problem, however, as the first two shots I slung at the target blew right through it – even at a distance of 30-yards. It seems the years of dry rot, temperature fluctuations, humidity, freezing, thawing and hundreds – if not thousands – of shots had finally caught up with it. Yet I was still reluctant to part with my dear old friend.

In short order, I was in the garage, rummaging through odds and ends to find a solution to the problem. I found just what the doctor ordered in a small can of spray foam insulation. Making it even better, I also had a can of camouflage brown spray paint to finish the job. In less than an hour, the target was revived and catching arrows as well as the day I bought it.

For a couple dollars worth of materials that I already owned, I completely salvaged an otherwise worthless 3-D archery target and gave myself one more shooting option on the backyard range. Here’s how you can do the same:

  1. Obtain a can of “Great Stuff” or similar gap-and-crack insulating foam sealant. The spray-in kind is cheap, it’s easy to use with its thread-on straw applicator, and it expands and hardens as it dries.
  2. Insert the straw in broken-down sections of the target and fill as much as needed. To avoid a mess, spray in short bursts and pause a few seconds in between to allow the foam to expand before adding more or moving to a new area.
  3. When all damaged sections are filled, wait a half hour or more to allow the foam to fully expand and dry. Then take a knife and carefully cut the excess foam flush with the external body of the target.
  4. As a finishing touch, use a cheap can of spray paint to blend the color of the foam insulation with the color of the target. It doesn’t have to look pretty, but it will help reduce otherwise distracting contrast when aiming at the target.
  5. Enjoy shooting your newly restored target with the simple satisfaction of knowing you saved a few bucks, extended the life of your target and kept some unnecessary waste out of the local landfill. It really is as simple as that.

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