Home-made animal targets


New member
Apr 2, 2001
If you think shooting at a elk target poster the size of a dog isn't doing much for your range estimation skills, you're probably right. If true-to-life size targets are what you'd rather practice on but the Delta's and Mackenzie's are too pricey.........

You can make life-size animal silhouetts out of cardboard. No Duh, you say.
Its not that difficult really. Try this you may enjoy it. You need a target butt or backstop for this.

1. Take a magazine photo of the animal you want to make a target out of.
2. Using a ruler and a pen, draw a grid over the photo so that the entire outline of the animal is gridded. Make sure your grid lines are evenly spaced. 1/2 inch usually works fine.
3. Number and letter the grid so you have a number/letter coordinate for each grid square.
4. Find out what the real world dimensions of your animal are to establish your baseline. Lets say you are making a broadside black bear and you want your target bear to be in the 6 foot range(don't we all). A 6 foot bear in normal walking posture is about 5 feet from tip-to-tip. OK thats your baseline. Say you have a photo and the image is 5 inches long tip-to-tip. With a half inch grid lines, 1/2" on the photo equals 6" on the cardboard
5. Lay out a piece of cardboard big enough for your life sized target.
6. Transfer your up-scaled grid to the card board. Total number of squares should match exactly. If your 1/2" grid on the photo is 6 squares by 10 squares, so should your 6" grid on the card board.

**I hope I didn't confuse anybody so far, I have a way of making really simple things sound complicated**

7. Use the grid lines to help you draw the bear onto the cardboard. Don't try to draw the whole bear! Draw one 6" line at a time. the grid lets you break the big outline into many smaller ones. Just try to match where the animal's outline intersects the grid lines on the photo to your target.
8. Paint your new target to look like the animal and go shoot.

I like making my own stuff, you might too. I made it sound much more difficult than it is. The whole process takes less than an hour.


Dec 11, 2000
pretty cool idea, ive always liked shooting at life size or more proportional targets for field judging reasons! thanks!


Jan 21, 2001
Wyoming MI, USA
Good tip, and no, I didn't get too confused :D

Here's another target idea. Take those burlap potato sacks or mesh style bags and fill them tight with shrink wrap (the kind every one of us has balled up from wrapping skids at work) and fill the bags. Simple as that. I use this and it works great. I use a marker to make spots on all sides, give the bag a good toss, judge distance, aim at a dot and start shooting! Good way to judge distances and a cheap way to shoot.

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