Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.
Whether you’re new to archery or just looking for tips in general, one abundantly clear thing is that getting arrows out of the targets is incredibly tricky. Of course, you can’t leave the arrow in the target for the apparent reason of saving the arrow and the target and leaving the awful and hard tasks of getting the arrow out of the target.
How do you get your arrow out of the target?
The best way to get your arrow out of the target is to use arrow lube. It is a protective layer around the arrow that prevents it from sticking to the target, and by using it and by combining pulling with a twisting motion, you can get the arrow out much more successfully than other methods.
Though this is considered one of the best ways to get an arrow out of the target, it is far from the only thing you need to consider while getting an arrow out, and while shooting at the targets.
What Are Other Good Ways to Get Arrows Out of a Target?
Aside from using arrow lube, some other methods and techniques could help you get the arrows out of targets.
The Use of Arrow Lube
Going over the use of arrow lube again, there are a few tips you should be aware of before you use this technique. It is one of the best ways to prevent the arrows from getting stuck, and it won’t cause the arrow to go deeper into the target.
Instead, it will just reduce the friction a bit between the target and the arrow. Additionally, be careful not to put the lube too high up the arrow, it should only go up the first 3 to 4 inches of the arrow, or it could cause the arrow to lose grip.
Slightly Twist While You Pull
Trying to pull the arrow straight out of the target doesn’t give you as much grip as a slight twist would. One of the best ways to ensure that you have a good grip is to place some padding between your hand and the arrow, to protect from blisters, before slightly twisting as you pull the arrow from the target.
Be careful not only to twist enough to break the connection/latch between the arrowhead and the butt of the target, and not to bend the arrow accidentally.
The Use of Ivory Soap
Akin to using a specified arrow lube, some active archers will use ivory soap instead. They will rub the soap around the end of the arrow, the same as with the arrow lube, before shooting the arrow. For ivory soap, you only need to cover the first 2 to 3 inches of the arrow with the soap. You should also reapply the soap every few shots.
Use An Arrow Puller
This option works great with the combination of an arrow lube of some kind. This option is great for getting the arrow from the target while providing a solid grip to pull with. It also offers protection from the friction for your hand while it still gives you an excellent grip to get the arrow from the target.
Safety Tips For Pulling Arrows
Before you start using arrow pullers or trying to get lodged arrows out of targets, there are a few essential safety tips you should consider before you start.
Make Sure No One Is Behind You
- Before pulling on the arrow with the arrow puller, make sure no one behind you could be potentially impaled by tugging on the arrow.
- Additionally, make sure you are not pulling into your body; instead, pull past your body to avoid getting yourself with the arrow.
Remove Unstuck Arrows First
- Before pulling on the ones you realize are stuck in the target, take out all of the ones you can get out easier. This will help prevent you from breaking other arrows shafts, and the arrow you’re trying to get out.
Pull the arrow straight out
- Don’t tug down, or up, or sideways when taking the arrow out. Preferably with one hand, pull the arrow straight from the target with a slight twist. If you use two hands, you may be more prone to falling over if it dislodges unexpectedly.
Try Not To Leave Arrow Heads in Targets
- Leaving the arrowheads could result in damage to other arrows that hit them when fired at the target. However, in the removal process, it’s essential to try and avoid damaging the target.
Unsafely pulling arrows can cause harm to you, someone behind you, or accidentally damage the arrow itself. You never want to leave an arrowhead in the target, and the best way to avoid making the mistakes of improperly pulling the arrow from the target is if you don’t follow these tips and equip yourself for safely getting the arrow from the target.
Tips For Different Types of Arrowheads
Learning how to get an arrowhead out of a target is far from the only thing you need to consider when you are firing arrows and removing them from targets. The type of arrowhead you use will also impact the difficulty of getting your arrow out of the target.
Field Points Arrowheads
These arrow points are considered typical and a “go-to” type of arrowhead for many archers. However, a common mistake for these types of arrowheads is that they’re not perfectly lined up with the shaft like they need to be.
If they’re not perfectly matched, they can become incredibly stuck in the target butt. These arrowheads should only be used for targets, and they only make smaller entrance holes, making it among the easier ones to get out of the target if used properly.
Many types of target butts don’t take broadheads, so it’s essential to consider that before deciding to use one of these. These types of arrowheads should not be used with foam or bag target butts.
Screw-In Points and Getting Them From Targets
Screw-in arrowheads are incredibly tricky to get out when they’re stuck. Sometimes, it may be better just to unscrew the arrow and leave the arrowhead in the target if it’s not coming out with an arrow puller or the lube didn’t help. There are a few tools you can try, like an arrow point puller, that may be able to get the tip out if nothing else is working.
Though considering how you can get the arrow out of the target and types of arrowheads, is not the only way to make your life easier when it comes to removing the arrow. Another thing you can consider is the different types of target butts you can fire into that could be easier or harder to get the arrow from depending on which you choose.
What Type of Target Butt is Easier to Get Arrows from?
There are many different types of target butts you can use, with each having varying benefits and drawbacks depending on the model you have.
Grass Bale Target Butts
This option is the best for beginners and is among the cheapest options for target butts. They’re unfortunately not very long-lasting as they are a bit weaker and less durable than others, but they are easy to lodge an arrow into and to get one out in turn.
- They are cheaper than other options and are easier to move on your own
- However, when you have a high draw weight, the arrow can be lodged incredibly deep into the haybale, and they have shorter lifespans than some of the other options.
Foam Block Targets
These target blocks are among the most popular options. This does not mean they are the perfect solution, as it is possible to get arrowheads lodged in them and stuck if you use a heavy draw weight that sends the arrow incredibly deep into the foam target.
Additionally, cold targets can cause incredible friction between the arrow shaft and the target, that could melt the arrow shaft when it hits the foam.
- These are incredibly easy to move by yourself, are compatible with any kind of tip, are affordable, and some brands do offer some decent arrow removal.
- Unfortunately, cheaper foam block targets can cause severe damage to your arrow, and smaller sizes can be harder to hit from far away.
This option is one of the more basic types of target butts. This is because they are made of a synthetic fiber that is easy to get an arrow out of and efficiently stops the arrow.
- Arrow removal is more straightforward than other options, they stop the arrows quickly, and they’re surprisingly affordable.
- These have a shorter lifespan and have to be brought inside after every time they’re used. Additionally, they can only be used with field tips.
Though 3D targets can be incredibly fun to shoot at, it is easy also to get your arrow lodged in the foam target and the arrow getting stuck with no way of getting it out. As such, even though they are fun, they are not among the easiest targets to get an arrow free from.
- These can be better for real-life shot placement practice, confidence builders, and are good confidence builders, along with being fun to shoot at.
- However, they are much pricier than other options, and the cheaper ones will be unusable much quicker than newer ones. Additionally, the removal of arrows on this one is much harder than others.
Choosing which target you use will influence how hard it will be to get the arrow out of the target—mainly on the type of arrowhead you have gotten stuck in the target. Each target has different pros and cons, depending on your needs, arrowheads, and budget while practicing with the arrows.
How To Ensure Safety While Practicing Archery
It is incredibly important to practice safe caution while you are practicing archery, whether you’re at home or otherwise. Archery accidents can happen incredibly quickly and cause severe damage.
Every year there are approximately 4,300 youths that are injured while participating in archery activities. To ensure that no one is injured because of unsafe archery practices, keep the following tips in mind while practicing at home.
Dress Properly For The Sport
- Participants shouldn’t be wearing anything that could get snagged or tangled in the bow, such as sweaters with drawstrings, hoods, jewelry, scarves, or loose shirts.
- Getting necklaces or earrings caught in the bow can cause serious injury, and is incredibly dangerous.
Make Sure To Inspect The Equipment
- Many injuries caused in archery are from bows snapping and damaged bows. Before firing the first arrow, you should inspect the bow for any cracks, damage, splintering, warping, fraying, and anything else you notice that could compromise the bow’s integrity.
Firing A Bow Safely
- The best practice is to ensure that a single archer should load, aim, shoot, and retrieve their arrows all at once at the same time. More than one archer firing at any given time should be avoided, and accidentally shooting someone while they are retrieving their arrow can cause serious injury.
- Create some kind of system if you are practicing with someone else, giving each other warning before firing the next arrow. Never load an arrow when someone is in front of you, and never stand in front of a loaded bow for any reason.
Retrieving Your Arrows
- Ensure that you are retrieving your arrows right after you fire them, but not to launch or load an arrow while someone else is retrieving their arrows. Ensure that there is no one behind the target when you’re preparing to fire and keep a special eye on those whose arrows have gone long. Make sure that you keep an eye on how many archers you have, and that they’re all at a safe distance/out of harm’s way before launching an arrow.
Fire in a Secluded Area/Buffer Zone
- Ensure that wherever you choose to set up your target, there is no way that someone can walk behind the target or somehow in the range of the arrow unsuspectedly. Walkways, sidewalks, trails, and pedestrian areas should be at least 150 yards away from where the arrow could be sent.
Make Sure No One is Directly Behind You
- You could accidentally hurt someone while drawing if they’re standing directly behind you. Being aware of your immediate surroundings is essential to archery.
Grass Should be Trimmed
- Make sure that before you begin shooting, the grass is cut. This is to ensure that arrows that haven’t reached the target and have landed in the grass, for example, can be easily found before someone can step on the arrow by mistake and get hurt.
- Additionally, this can help you ensure that there are no roots or branches between you and your target to avoid trips and falls.
- It’s strongly suggested you set up a backdrop to prevent an arrow from going too far past the target. This makes it much easier to find wayward arrows and to help protect those who might be walking behind the range accidentally. If you can make it easier to find the arrows, this also means that there is less time someone could be standing in the line of fire and accidentally injured.
Never Shoot An Arrow High
- Unless trained and participating in a flight archery competition, flying arrows up makes it harder to predict where they are going to land and potentially cause injury and harm to someone, possibly in the way.
Always Use Field Point
- These are much safer than broadheads at archery ranges and cause less damage to the practice targets than the broadhead arrowheads do.
Safety should be your top priority while you are practicing archery, whether you are paused to get an arrow out of a target, and just otherwise practicing for fun. Accidents can happen incredibly quickly, but these tips can help you prevent hospital visits while practicing.
You could damage an arrow or hurt yourself if you’re not careful about getting the arrow out of a target. Depending on your arrowhead, the butt of your target, and the type of lubrication or other means of getting the arrow out, it could be easier or harder for you to get the arrow out safely.
If you are practicing proper archery safety and appropriate means to preventing your arrow from becoming stuck, you can make the problematic practice of getting the arrow from the target much easier than it otherwise would be. For example, ensuring you have appropriately used the correct lubrication, purchased the right arrow puller, and know which arrowheads suit the target’s butt better.
Before you even launch your first arrow, you should be aware of the best arrowheads, and butts as well as the correct way to set up your targets safely to avoid injury of yourself and others participating with you. There are many ways to be injured while participating in archery for sport and recreation if you’re not taking the correct precautions.
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. He has been hunting and fishing since a child, and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.
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