This month, we have a question and answer from Hereward of Richmond. Hereward wrote me about do-it-yourself backstops.

I use four sheets of cardboard and one sheet of Coroplast, a corrugated plastic used for signs. It’s slightly stronger than cardboard and is water resistant. The pictures below show how they go together with zip ties. Note that in this picture there are only three sheets of cardboard, but I found since making this backstop that four is much better.

Remember, glue makes the cardboard harder and less arrow friendly, so you don’t want to use it. Coroplast can be found on most street corners for free because church fish fries, gun bashes, and political signs are never removed after the event. By law, the signs should be removed 10 days after the event, so on the 11th day, if you take them, you’re performing a public service.

Carefully remove the wires from the Coroplast sign before adding it to your cardboard. Then, with a little cutting and artistry, you can have a ninja.

Ninja against garage

After completing your target, take the sign wires and push them back into the Coroplast at the bottom where the ninja’s legs are. Zip tie everything together and then push the ninja into the ground standing upright.

In the picture below, we have a dark, gloomy scene on the left and a bright, sunny day on the right, both of which are backstops for the ninja.Ninja targetIn the video below, I’m shooting a 35 pound bow at full draw at less than 10 yards into the ninja. It stops all the kinetic energy. Even if you have a blow through, the backstops behind the target stop what little energy the arrow has left.

Once again, thank you, Hereward, for the question. Next month, I’ll do even more on backyard backstops.

This month’s safety tip pertains to situations that happen at Pennsic when you have a large number of archers. If people go looking for arrows behind the nets used to stop arrows that miss the targets, they will seem to disappear, so marshals need to be alert. Here’s an example of why this is important.

Note: the arrow in this video was NOT actually fired, it was pushed through the target by hand for the purpose of demonstrating the danger to people hidden behind targets. Obviously, archers should not be firing when someone is standing behind the target.

‘Til next month.

In service,

Deryk Archer