Before I begin, I want to thank all of you who reached out to me with your condolences at the passing of my Dad. He got me started in shooting over five decades ago. I’ve never met anyone that had as much experience shooting as he did.

This month I want to do a backstop that’s hanging in the air. Once again, we take five sheets of cardboard and zip tie them together.


Next, add a thin piece of Coroplast, because the cardboard will rip without it.

cardboard with coroplast

Now, attach D-rings or carabiners so you can easily clip the target to a rope going from tree to tree. This also allows the backstop to go easily on and off the rope.

Target suspended from rope

I’ve discovered over the years that no matter how hard you pull on the rope, after a while the rope stretches and there is slack, so on the far end of the rope, hang a counterweight to keep it tight. In the picture, that’s roughly 40 lbs. of concrete blocks.

Rope counterweight

As you can see here, two of the backstops come up out of the ground. The third one hangs in the air. Now it’s a triple-layered backstop.

full target suspended

Next, I have two videos that show how well-layering backstops work. You can see how they absorb the kinetic energy as they catch the arrow and rock back-and-forth.

Finally, another thing you can do for safety in your backyard is use flu-flu arrows. The extra large fletching causes drag that slows the arrow down.

flu flu arrow fletching

I’ve also been asked about shooting without tips. If you shoot without a tip, it will not penetrate the cardboard, and could throw the balance of the arrow off and break the shaft, which would be very unsafe in your backyard.

Arrow no point

This month’s safety tip: marshals and shooters, beware of distractions on the line. In these photos*, the shooter is it at full draw when something behind her gets her attention. As she turns to look, she swings the loaded bow around and has it pointed in the wrong direction. Remember, where the eyes go, the body goes, and the body will bring the bow with it. Never hesitate to call a Hold.

*Thanks to our model, Lady Thalia Papillon, who graciously staged these photos.

In Service,

THL Deryk Archer