Tackling Americas toughest gamebird with stick and string has got to be one of the true measures of a bow hunter. Take an already wary bird and combine it with the sparse cover of the early season, the sharpest eyes in the woods and the need to be close, really close, and you’ve got yourself the ultimate bow hunting challenge.
Hunting these birds with a shotgun requires you getting within 35yds., bring a bow and arrow into the equation, and you need to cut that distance in half, and then some. The vital area on a turkey is really not much bigger than a baseball, and being able to consistently hit an area that small requires practice, practice, practice.
As far as equipment goes, any bow with enough energy to drive an arrow through a deer will work, and is probably a bit much. Razor sharp broadheads are a must, and some of the new expandable heads on the market are custom tailored to turkey hunting. One of the advantages to an expandable, as opposed to a fixed blade broadhead, is the amount of shock delivered at impact. Some of these are designed to stay in the bird, making it difficult for the bird to run or fly after the shot. Turkeys are notorious for not leaving much of a blood trail, so anchoring them at the shot is paramount.
Head shots are a hit or miss proposition, which is a good thing. The last thing you want to do is wound an animal and have it escape and not be recovered. A miss on a head shot will hurt nothing but your ego, a direct hit to the head/neck area of a turkey will result in a sure recovery.
Getting close is important, and being able to draw the bow undetected is the key to getting your shot off. A decoy, placed no more than 15 yds. from you can be a real advantage. It helps keep the Toms attention away from you and can be placed to put the bird in position for your preferred shot. A hen decoy placed facing or quartering towards you, will put the bird between you and the decoy, hopefully providing you with a slam dunk shot opportunity.
The use of a pop-up blind can greatly increase your chances of drawing the bow undetected, but it can be done without one. When using a blind, it’s a good idea to practice shooting from it before the season, especially if you plan on shooting through a mesh window. It’s good to know how your arrow will fly through the mesh, especially with an expandable head. If you choose to go at it without a blind, head to toe camoflauge is a must. Being able to use the terrain and available cover to get close, will greatly improve your chances.
Scouting before and during the season, will improve your chances of getting into the birds. Knowing where the birds are likely to be during different parts of the day, will help you to set up in the right spots. Stay aware of strut zones and dusting bowls as well as preferred roosting areas, to help keep you in the game.
Bow hunting turkeys is one of the sports toughest challenges. Practice until you can hit a 3″ circle consistently, know the anatomy of a turkey, so you can place your arrow into the vitals. Use razor sharp broadheads or expandables and include a decoy or two into your set up to help keep attention away from you, and remember, ” You’ll kill more turkeys with patience, than you will with the best calling in the woods” ……. Good Huntin’