Axe Throwing Target Rules

Axe Throwing Target Rules

Axe throwing has experienced a massive amount of growth in recent years. As the sport becomes more and more popular, axe throwing leagues have found the need to standardize their rules regarding a number of aspects of the sport, including the targets used at axe throwing events. Read on to learn all about the rules for targets in axe throwing.

Why Target Rules Are Important in Axe Throwing

Since its advent, axe throwing has built up quite an impressive following, cultivating both a prosperous competitive and casual scene within just a couple of years. As time goes on, more and more axe throwing businesses, leagues, and players are emerging, leading to a large and still-expanding player base.

During this period of expansion, several league organizations have been founded with the goal of regulating fair play and enforcing safety standards. These groups set out detailed and precise rules on most aspects of an axe-throwing game to maintain an atmosphere of safety and sportsmanship, as well as to ensure that all league games are being played on the same footing so that the resulting scores are fair and equal.

One of the most important aspects regulated by these groups is target construction. League organizers like the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) include comprehensive specifications on target size and build in their rulesets in order to ensure that all points scored on them are equal, fair, and standardized.

WATL Target Design Specifications

To be used at any WATL official event or affiliate business, an axe throwing target must be constructed to these specifications. These guidelines are enforced by the WATL to ensure fairness, standardization, and safety of equipment and players.

  • A target must be constructed of three wooden layers.
  • The back layer is made of a single sheet of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) and covers and protects the back wall.
  • The middle layer, called the backboards, is made of six to eight four-foot 2x10 boards and serves to mount the targets.
  • The front layer, called the target boards, is made of the same wood as the backboards and displays the target’s design. 
  • A target must also have a header and footer, which are two boards identical to those used in the backboards and target boards that are screwed into the top and bottom of the target in order to protect those areas. This space is also often used for affiliate businesses to place their logo.
  • To make the target’s markings, the WATL provides official stencils that are mounted to the target and traced with waterproof markers. All five scoring lines are 20mm thick, and the spots for the Killshot and Bullseye are both 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • In affiliate venues, targets must be mounted level to the wall and cannot be slanted. Projected targets are never permitted by the WATL.
  • For official use, a target must have “WATL” clearly marked on it in a place that does not interfere with the scoring marks.

Targets In a Game

In addition to regulating target construction, the WATL ruleset also details the actions that players and officials can take during a league match in order to ensure the target is in a playable state.

It is required that, before the start of a match, all targets be in sound condition. Boards can be swapped out at the judge’s discretion or a player’s request if they have deteriorated in a significant manner, such as loosening from the base or the wearing of score lines.

If, during the game, a player feels that the target has deteriorated to an unplayable degree, they can request an inspection from the presiding judge. If the judge makes the same call, they will attempt to move the game to another throwing lane; if one is not available, the boards in the target are replaced. Neither change allows players to take a practice throw.

Outside of the presiding judge, no individual may make any alterations to a target, such as board replacements or cutting with an axe. The presiding judge may authorize other individuals to make these changes for them.

Many venues mist their targets with water to keep the wood fresh, making it easier for axes to stick; this is not considered an alteration and can be performed before a match by anyone.