You took your rifle, pistol, or shotgun to the range and got it zeroed in or patterned. You’re ready for the hunt, right? Maybe not. Putting bullets into a bullseye is solid practice. Problem is, that deer or coyote won’t have a nice florescent bullseye taped on it. Many a hunter who can drill the X-Ring at 100 yards without a hitch is suddenly unsure of where to shoot when the “target” has fur, is standing half in the shade, and isn’t perfectly broadside. One solution is to practice on various targets, some of them life-like, to understand where you truly need to place your shot before you venture afield. Plus, there are other target solutions that can prepare you for various scenarios and, in the process, give your overall shooting skillset a boost. With that in mind, here are 10 hunting prep targets that will help improve your shooting skills:
A successful shot shows a burst of color in each vital zone, each of which is marked by a different color, providing instant feedback without walking downrange.
An additional sight-in bullseye on each target is included so you can zero your rifle before getting on with practice.
Each package of 12 pack of targets comes with four targets of each animal.
MSRP: $27.49 per pack
Birchwood Casey’s Freedom Target Coyote Silhouette are prefect for predator hunters, especially those who’d like to set up targets away from a formal shooting range.
The set features target portability and freedom from staples, tape and heavy stands, which is a huge plus.
The Coyote Silhouette Target measures 12”x18” and the heavy cardboard folds flat for easy transport. The base holds the coyote silhouette backer for a sturdy, free-standing target that can withstand plenty of shooting.
Each target comes with comes with 24, three-inch Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C Bulls Eye targets, which show a bright chartreuse ring around each bullet hole, making sight adjustments quick and easy.
MSRP: $7.60 each
The PREGAME TabLock Turkey Kit, from Birchwood Casey, provides hunters a quick and easy way to pattern shotguns and to test out new hunting loads before the season.
Like the Freedom Target Coyote Silhouette, also from BC, the TabLock backer on the turkey kit eliminates the need for tape, thumbtacks, or a stapler.
The kit features a heavy 12.5″ x 24″ corrugated plastic backer board with pre-cut TabLocks to securely hold the 12″ x 18″ PREGAME Turkey Targets while shooting. It also includes a 24″ x 9.5″ wire frame that can be easily set up, and three PREGAME Turkey Targets.
If waterfowl or upland birds are on your hunting list, Champion’s new Flash Clays will be a huge pre-hunt assist.
Nothing is more satisfying than a successful shot, and these Flash Clays up that positive reinforcement with a highly-visible burst of orange powder emitted with every hit.
The coloring on the Flash Clays themselves makes them easy to spot when airborne, which means faster target acquisition.
Flash Clays are standard size and are made from naturally-occurring forestry products and limestone that will not increase soil acidity levels on the range.
MSRP: $14.95 for a box of 90 clays
Launch those Flash Clays with the new Champion WheelyBird 2.0, the company’s next generation of its original mobile trap unit.
Champion improved the WheelyBird from the ground up, starting with the inclusion of a wireless remote. It has a programmable delay up to 15 seconds, and allows you to trigger the trap from up to 100 yards away, making it easier to set up a wide variety of shooting challenges.
Solid tires and a rubber-molded handle make it even easier to transport than the previous model, while an upgraded metal clay stack holder and cycle time of 1.75 seconds allows for faster shooting.
Wild hogs don’t get enough respect—or pre-hunt practice.
Many proficient deer hunters end up wounding a wild hog and never recover it, simply because they shot too high.
On a deer, many of those shots would work, but a hog’s vitals are actually much lower and more to the front compared to a deer.
Get used to that different shot position with Wild Boar Paper Target from Delta McKenzie. Printed in full-color on heavy, 75 lb. paper, these targets reflect the life-size dimensions of hogs, plus feature scoring outlines defining the heart, liver, and lungs.
MSRP: $39.75 for a box of 25
Rimfire rifles are very popular for small game. Guess what, though? Your marksmanship might need some improvement to make a head shot on a squirrel at 50 yards. It’s not like taking a deer with a centerfire at 100 yards with a volleyball-sized vital zone.
Get in some fun and precision practice with Caldwell’s Plink N’ Swing .22 Rimfire Triple Spin Target. The swingers and frames are made of durable steel for a long like soaking up lead, while the audible and action-filled feedback makes the shooting fun for all ages. The round spinners are 1.75-, 2.5-, and 3.5-inch in diameter.
The MGM AutoPopper Squirrel provides great practice for prairie dogs and ground-dwelling other varmints.
The target plate and single-piece solid steel base/hinge features a spring-loaded automatic reset for rifle use at 100 yards or more or pistol from 10 yards. Holes in the standard base (included) allow you to stake it to the ground for stability (spikes not included).
The target plate is just under 14-inches tall. For added stability and to raise the target approximately five inches, add the MGM Targets Sniper Legs, sold separately.
MSRP: AutoPopper Squirrel $82.95, Sniper Legs Base $54.99
For the longer-range hunter, the Kill Zone Gong Set, from Blue Steel Targets, provides a five-inch round “kill-zone” set in the center of a 12-inch square gong.
When hit, the center gong rings noticeably louder than the square gong, letting you know your shot went right into the vitals area.
The gongs are made of durable 3/8” AR500 steel and the kit contains everything needed to set it up out of the box, including the necessary brackets, hooks, four four-foot-tall stand pipes, a heavy-duty chain, Grade 8 mounting hardware, and even the 2 x 4. All parts come painted as shown.
The DuraSeal Radiation Green spinning targets, from Champion, offer excellent contrast in all shooting environments. The ultra-bright color reduces eye fatigue and puts you on target fast. The targets are auto-resetting, and wobble or spin on impact to indicate positive hits.
DuraSeal’s non-metal, self-sealing construction lets bullets pass through with minimal damage—dramatically prolonging the life of the target. It can handle .22 LR on up through most of the bigger rifle and handgun calibers. The targets also weigh up to 80-percent less than comparable steel varieties.
These DuraSeal targets are available in varmint, crow, gong, hanging, and diamond spinners in 5.5-inch and 7.0-inch versions.
MSRP: singles start at $19.95, triple-rigs at $41.95.