The Axe Throwing Target

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Axe throwing venues have been popping up all over the country! And when you throw an axe, you need something to throw it at. We at Heber Hatchets get lots of questions about the axe throwing target:

  • What kind of wood do you use?
  • How often do you switch out targets?
  • How does the target scoring work?
  • What can I use for an axe throwing target at home?

We’ve put together some answers to these most common questions about the targets used for axe throwing games. Every axe throwing company probably does it a little differently, but we believe these are the most common ways of building and managing the targets.

What kind of wood is best for axe throwing targets?

Well, the answer to this question depends a lot on personal preference as well as how the target is going to be used. At our Heber Hatchets venues, we know that our targets are going to receive a lot of wear and tear from throwers of varying strength, accuracy, and experience levels. Most axe throwing entertainment companies like to use a wood type that will last as long as possible without being too hard to stick consistently.

Pine usually works well and is one of the easiest wood types to come by, whether you find a stump in the forest or buy some cheap lumber from Home Depot. In general, it’s best to stay on the softer end of the scale when it comes to wood type. You’d rather be replacing the target a little more often than having an axe throwing target that’s too hard for the axe to stick, right?

One thing we made sure to keep in mind when designing our targets at Heber Hatchets: the grain of the wood. Even a good throw can have a hard time sticking into the target if the axe blade is hitting at an angle that doesn’t align with the natural direction of the wood grain.

At Heber Hatchets, we use large, thick boards displayed with a vertical grain. This allows the axe blade to stick tightly in the boards after a well-timed throw. We’ve seen other companies use stumps, with the grain going in a circular pattern. It’s not our style, but I guess it works for them!

How often do you switch out targets?

The short answer: as often as we need to!

Obviously it would be a big headache if we were constantly running back and forth taking down old targets and installing new ones, so we try to make them last as long as they can.

Fun fact: Targets that have the wood slightly beat up and worn actually are better that brand new targets! It just helps that used wood isn’t quite so firm, and the nicks and cracks already present help the axe head find a better entry into the wood.

But of course, axe throwing targets are no good once they’ve become too worn out. When there are holes to the back of the target, pieces missing, or the axe can no longer find a hold in the splintered mess, it’s time to switch the target out for a new one. At Heber Hatchets, this happens more often during our busiest times, nights and weekends. We keep track of which targets are getting close to needing a replacement so we can take care of it in between groups or before someone arrives for their session.

One trick that we use regularly is to spray our targets regularly with water. Sometimes we get some funny looks from guests, who ask, “What are you doing that for?”

Regularly misting the face of the target with water over tome helps to keep the wood soft, but not weak, which makes it easier for the axe to stick. But this also helps preserve the target longer, since the soft wood doesn’t splinter out and shred as much as dry wood does.

We also have one other little Heber Hatchets secret that helps makes our targets the best you’ll find anywhere! But that secret is one we keep guarded closely… You’ll just have to come try some Heber Hatchets axe throwing to see if you can figure it out for yourself!

How does the target scoring work?

Axe throwing targets usually have 4 rings, 1 bullseye and 2 special zones called “the clutch”.

The Rings

Just like playing darts, scoring within the target rings is pretty straightforward. Whichever ring your axe sticks into, that’s the score you get for that throw: 1, 2, 3, or 4 points.Often the axe head will be buried in the wood touching two different scoring rings. When this happens, the score will be the highest-valued ring that the axe head is touching, even if it’s just a little bit!

The Bullseye

You know where it is—right in the center of the target! If you can throw your axe straight and true and stick it in the orange bullseye, you score 6 points. That’s two more points than if you land it just outside the bullseye in the center ring! If you can hone in your throwing motion can get accurate and consistent, this is the easiest way to rack up big points.

The Clutch

On the upper half of the target are two little blue dots, one on the upper-right and one on the upper-left. These dots are called the clutch, and they are the high-risk, high-reward scoring areas on the axe throwing target.

If you go for the clutch and miss, you’ll most likely score just 1 point, or maybe even 0. But if you manage to stick the clutch, it’s worth 10 points!

Many of the pro axe throwers can hit clutch shots consistently, but it’s definitely a challenge for most people. Sometimes, when it comes down to the last throw of a game where you’re down by a handful of points, you may not have a choice and need to go for the clutch in order to stay in the game. Good luck! Hitting the clutch for the win is a rare but very satisfying experience that we highly recommend…

What can I use for an axe throwing target at home?

The easiest way to enjoy axe throwing games is to come down to the nearest Heber Hatchets venue and let us take care of getting you set up with axes and a high-quality target. But when you can’t make it over for the Heber Hatchets experience, you may want to toss a few axes in your backyard or the backwoods. Here are some suggestions for setting up your own axe throwing target.

A stump

Yep, don’t over-think it! Although it can be difficult to find a large stump that’s thick enough and in good enough condition to throw at, they work pretty well if you have one. Stumps are already circular, so just spray paint some rings, the bullseye, and your clutch shots and you’re good to go. But hey, don’t cop out and make your clutch dots too big!

Pine boards

They don’t have to be pine, but those are usually the ones you’ll have laying around or that you can find for the cheapest at the store. You’ll want to make sure your boards are thick enough to sustain some repeated throwing, otherwise your axe throwing game will be over pretty quickly.

Here’s a little tip, whether you’re using a stump or some boards: flip the wood over when it’s started to get too torn up. The fresh side might give you a little extra use before the target becomes firewood.

Heber Hatchets Axe Throwing

Alright, you don’t want to just keep reading about the axe throwing target—it’s time to play!

Heber Hatchets has the best axe throwing targets you’ll find anywhere. Come check out one of our various locations in Utah, Idaho, or Washington and get your lumberjack game on. Are you a play-it-safe competitor who just tries to hit the target somewhere? Or are you a clutch-addict who can’t help but go for the big points, even you’re scoring a lot of ones? Or maybe you’re old-fashioned and throw for the bullseye every time.

Whatever your style is, Heber Hatchets is ready for you. Let’s have some fun!

Let us know if you have an axe throwing target question that we didn’t answer. We’re happy to update this page!