How to Make a Backstop for Arrows


Before you drag out your supplies to that far corner in the backyard to create a free-standing backstop for arrows, check local regulations to verify archery is legal in the region where you live. Some governmental bodies don't allow it, so you don't want to waste your time if it's illegal to shoot arrows in your backyard. Once you have the go-ahead, gather your materials to make a do-it-yourself backstop to improve your archery abilities. Anyone with the most basic of digging and nailing skills can make the backstop with a little effort and a bit of time.

Things You'll Need

  • 25-foot tape measure
  • 4 stakes
  • Marking paint
  • Post-hole digger
  • Level
  • 2 bags fence post concrete, 60 pounds each
  • 2 round fence posts, 8 feet long
  • 1 two-by-four, 8 feet long
  • 2 sheets of half-inch oriented strand board or plywood
  • 1 carpet remnant, 6 by 8 feet
  • 1 hammer
  • 2 1/2-inch nails
  • Short-shank flat-head nails
  • Look for a location in your backyard that provides the distance you need between the place you shoot from and the backstop. The distance from your shooting location to the backstop should range from 20 to 40 yards. Closer distances are best used for precision shooting. Measure the distance with a tape measure, using a stake marker to temporarily identify each 20-foot section.

  • Measure the chosen spot in the backyard for the backstop at two points across from each other 1 to 2 inches shorter than the length of the two-by-four in your materials. Mark each end on the ground with outdoor marking paint.

  • Insert the post-hole digger into the ground at the first marked location. Dig down no more than 2 feet, but not less than 1. Repeat for the other end of the marked location.

  • Insert one round fence post into the first hole. Tamp down dry fence post concrete around the base of the pole, as a helper holds it straight. Periodically check its straightness with the level. Repeat for the other side, using one small bag of fence post concrete for each post. Spray a bit of water over the fence post concrete, but don't thoroughly saturate it. The concrete also draws moisture from the ground, which causes it to harden. Let the concrete harden a day or two before continuing. Cover the concrete with a mound of dirt.

  • Set the two-by-four on its widest side perpendicular to the posts. Align it with the tops of the posts against them flat in front. Hammer the two-by-four into place with the nails after the concrete is hardened and the poles don't move.

  • Attach one oriented strand board to the bottom section of the backdrop between the two posts, aligning it with the top two-by-four. Secure the OSB board or plywood to the posts with the 2 1/2-inch nails. Measure and cut the second piece and secure it in place above the first. This serves to stop the arrows from going through the carpet.

  • Align the carpet remnant so that its longest side aligns with the top of the horizontal two-by-four. Attach it to the OSB boards by nailing it into place along the perimeter, spaced at every foot, with the short-shank flat-head nails.

  • Set your target in front of the backstop or hang it centered between the two posts.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also buy archery backstop netting and hang it on a wire suspended between the two posts in lieu of adding the two-by-four and the carpet.
  • You can also hang a store-bought bag target in front of the backstop to practice precision shots because of the many small targets on it.
  • As a temporary backstop, set up several hay bales at man height. Place four bales at the base in two rows butted against each other. Add bales of hay atop these until you reach man height. You'll need about 12 bales of hay for this backstop. This is the most inexpensive way to create a backstop, one that is also environmentally friendly. Set your target in front of the hay-bale backstop.
  • Check the local ordinances to see if there are regulations that must be followed when building an arrow backstop; some local governments may require backyard fencing as well. Rural communities usually don't have these kinds of restrictions because of the ample space between homes.

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  • Photo Credit amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images
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