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Home-Made Hay Bale Backstop?

Question:

I’ve looked around on the web, but I haven’t located any real info on how to best make a hay bale backstop for use in the backyard.  String baling rather than wire is important, but how many bales stacked in what way isn’t clear.  One concern I have is that the places where the corners meet could allow an arrow through, or at least allow it to go in deep enough to become buried & hard to retrieve.  For this reason, it’s presumably best to stack them on edge (which may get tippy), with the target centered on a bale.  I’ll be shooting at short (<20 meters) distances, but my daugther will also be using it, so I don’t want it too small to avoid stray shots past it. This would suggest a 9 bale arrangement, which is getting big.  A 7 bale configuration (2 horizontal as a base, three vertical in the middle, 2 horizontal on top) might work OK. Any suggestions on how to set this up?  Any thing else I should know? I thought about making it last longer by putting a tarp over the top, but that might just encourage mold & rot.  I’ve also noticed some places selling some kind of netting to stop stray shots, but it’s pricey & big.  Something similar but smaller would prevent shots leaking through the cracks, but I don’t know what would hold up well without trashing the fletchings.  I’ve seen what looks like plastic burlap that might work well, but I don’t recall where I’ve seen it. Thanks for any comments & ideas. Doug White

Response:

I have no idea about hay bails but you might be interested in this link, it is called the block. I am australian and i have no idea if it is available outside but everyone here seems to use and or rave about it. http://www.alcockandpierce.com.au/block2.htm — Brian C aka Bolgar Throw back the UndersizedFish to Email me.

– Hide quoted text — Show quoted text -> I’ve looked around on the web, but I haven’t located any real info on > how to best make a hay bale backstop for use in the backyard.  String > baling rather than wire is important, but how many bales stacked in > what way isn’t clear.  One concern I have is that the places where the > corners meet could allow an arrow through, or at least allow it to go > in deep enough to become buried & hard to retrieve.  For this reason, > it’s presumably best to stack them on edge (which may get tippy), with > the target centered on a bale.  I’ll be shooting at short (<20 meters) > distances, but my daugther will also be using it, so I don’t want it > too small to avoid stray shots past it. > This would suggest a 9 bale arrangement, which is getting big.  A 7 > bale configuration (2 horizontal as a base, three vertical in the > middle, 2 horizontal on top) might work OK. > Any suggestions on how to set this up?  Any thing else I should know? > I thought about making it last longer by putting a tarp over the > top, but that might just encourage mold & rot.  I’ve also noticed some > places selling some kind of netting to stop stray shots, but it’s > pricey & big.  Something similar but smaller would prevent shots > leaking through the cracks, but I don’t know what would hold up well > without trashing the fletchings.  I’ve seen what looks like plastic > burlap that might work well, but I don’t recall where I’ve seen it. > Thanks for any comments & ideas. > Doug White

Response:

Hi Doug, Just a couple comments: 1. recognizing it’s safety issues that are of concern. You’ll really     need to be careful about warning your daughter – you didn’t say     whether she was 5 or 25. Then I would make sure the positioning     was such that there would be something (house, garage etc) that     would act as a hard stop, that is unless you have a really large     field (rather than a yard) to use. 2. If the safety angle is out of the way you might opt to use cellulose     (wood) bales. They last longer. But if you are going with the      multiple bale approach then over lap the ends by 3-4 inches with     the bales situated in a _/ (excuse the ascii picture) form. 3. Other concerns would be to make sure the bale(s) is(are) anchored     so they don’t tip forward and break your arrows. A couple of steel     fence poles run down the back and driven into the ground is one     approach. Going back to the 60’s I used to hang with an old engineer up at Wright Patt who made back stops for kids he taught archery to. These were made of corrugated cardboard and looked a lot like the "block"s another respondee was speaking of. He would buy the card board or cut it himself. Point was that card board (in strips 4-6 inches wide and 30+ inches long would be stacked on top of each other to make up the other dimension of the backstop and then the whole bound with a wooden frame of 2" x whatever dimensions you were using. The frames were of course reusable and had hingles on three corners and one corner had a latch instead of a hinge. Those were real neat backstops. Because the cardboard was cut so that you were looking down the corrugations it was really good for stopping any kind of arrow. It was a neat design and there may still be some around though I’m sure old Red has long since passed. J. – Hide quoted text — Show quoted text – > I’ve looked around on the web, but I haven’t located any real info on > how to best make a hay bale backstop for use in the backyard.  String > baling rather than wire is important, but how many bales stacked in > what way isn’t clear.  One concern I have is that the places where the > corners meet could allow an arrow through, or at least allow it to go > in deep enough to become buried & hard to retrieve.  For this reason, > it’s presumably best to stack them on edge (which may get tippy), with > the target centered on a bale.  I’ll be shooting at short (<20 meters) > distances, but my daugther will also be using it, so I don’t want it > too small to avoid stray shots past it. > This would suggest a 9 bale arrangement, which is getting big.  A 7 > bale configuration (2 horizontal as a base, three vertical in the > middle, 2 horizontal on top) might work OK. > Any suggestions on how to set this up?  Any thing else I should know? > I thought about making it last longer by putting a tarp over the > top, but that might just encourage mold & rot.  I’ve also noticed some > places selling some kind of netting to stop stray shots, but it’s > pricey & big.  Something similar but smaller would prevent shots > leaking through the cracks, but I don’t know what would hold up well > without trashing the fletchings.  I’ve seen what looks like plastic > burlap that might work well, but I don’t recall where I’ve seen it. > Thanks for any comments & ideas. > Doug White

Response:

> I have no idea about hay bails but you might be interested in this link, it > is called the block. I am australian and i have no idea if it is available > outside but everyone here seems to use and or rave about it. > http://www.alcockandpierce.com.au/block2.htm > — > Brian C > aka Bolgar

Yeah, it is, Brian. You can get two, one is "The Block," the other is "The Cube" Just a note… you don’t have to get the 36×14x12 bale, either. You could get one of the big square bales that are roughly 4 feet on a side, or you could get one of the round bales, too. I would almost think you could use a round bale, and hang a hunk of old carpet behind it to stop the really errant ones.

Response:

>Hi Doug, >Just a couple comments: >1. recognizing it’s safety issues that are of concern. You’ll really >    need to be careful about warning your daughter – you didn’t say >    whether she was 5 or 25. Then I would make sure the positioning >    was such that there would be something (house, garage etc) that >    would act as a hard stop, that is unless you have a really large >    field (rather than a yard) to use.

She’s 12, so she’s still a bit wild.  Fortunately, there’s a lot of open space behind the target area, so neighbors aren’t an issue. >2. If the safety angle is out of the way you might opt to use cellulose >    (wood) bales. They last longer. But if you are going with the >     multiple bale approach then over lap the ends by 3-4 inches with >    the bales situated in a _/ (excuse the ascii picture) form.

I’m not sure I understand the picture.  Is this a front view with one on the bottom & two on top?  Overlapping something shaped like a brick is confusing.  I was hoping to have a flat front that I can fasten paper targets to, as opposed to just something to stop arrows beyond the target. >3. Other concerns would be to make sure the bale(s) is(are) anchored >    so they don’t tip forward and break your arrows. A couple of steel >    fence poles run down the back and driven into the ground is one >    approach.

That’s a good idea.  Thanks! Doug White

Response:

Maurice Thompson in his Early 1800s book speaks of a target that is simply made of loose dirt and a burlp bag.  I use the bag that potatos come in and fill that with newspapers or plastic shopping bags.  Then make some sort of stand to hang the bag and build a hill of dirt behind it. Thanks Jeremy Bays Traditional Wooden Bows from %85.00 US made at http://www.woodlandarchery.com

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