Often experienced hunters prefer turkey hunting with a bow. It is no doubt that bow hunting needs continuous practice for arriving at a perfect shot. Particular areas are to be focused, and some advance planning is required for those unpredictable gobblers.
Various factors such as the right type of broadhead, right type of arrow rest or good bow setup contribute to the success of hunting with a bow. While, on the other hand, it is essential not to ignore the proper use of decoys and turkey calls as their wrong use can ruin your bow setup.
Why Are Bow Hunting Turkeys Hard To Get?
Turkey hunting with a bow is challenging because they do not have much space available for a fatal shot. There are three main areas where you can shoot a turkey when hunting with a bow. Each depends upon the position of gobbler also.
- Head Shot: You can make a bird head fall, especially if you are using a guillotine style broadhead. So, it can become easy by modifying broadhead.
- Vitals Shot: Turkey’s vitals are so small that aiming them with a bow seems like impossible.
- Anal Shot: The Anal shot is used when the bird is in the position of the full strut. It is a comparatively easy shot. The fan of the bird will prevent him from seeing you and may give you a chance of a perfect shot.
Turkey’s most vulnerable spot is softball-size. Serious practice is required to get it mastered. Otherwise, you should be lucky enough to hit that.
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Next, turkey’s extraordinary vision causes hindrance in your aim. Turkeys are known for their excellent telescopic vision. You may find it crazy, but it is a fact that if they are on alert, then they can see your blinking eye even from 60 yards away. That is why the most unfavorable moment for bowhunting is drawing a bow unseen.
This is the reason bowhunters prefer to use portable ground blinds. Concealing yourself entirely can increase the chance manifold to hit the gobbler.
Shot placement adds more complexity. In bow hunting, usually short range sites are preferred. So, choosing the best bow site can be typical.
Explicitly talking of gear, then it is also not far from causing a problem. The main accessories to focus on for turkey hunting with a bow are arrow rest, stabilizer and sight. On the other hand, arrow fletching and broadheads need to be taken care of while hunting.
Turkey hunting with a bow will not remain a tough task if you follow specific approaches.
Let us note them!
Turkeys can now be found in every state except Alaska, providing bowhunters with a unique chance. So, go and grab the bowhunting opportunities and exploit your arrows and their broadhead to the most.
Believe me! It will become a fantastic game full of new and exciting experiences.
Be Patient With Calls
Turkeys are good with communication. Their calling and lack of smell make them unsafe to our substantial efforts.
A smaller range for the shooting is required in bow hunting within 10 to 20 yards. It means that you have to be patient with your calls and wait for them to show up.
Turkey calling is relatively straightforward. If you are using locator calls, they mostly elicit shock gobbles. Therefore, you need to practice soft calling because of short range.
There is no better type of call for making soft and almost inaudible clucks, purrs and yelps than learning how to use a slate turkey call. Out of a single instrument, you can get a variety of pitches and tones by just varying the stroke patterns against the sounding surface.
Probably, the most popular calls among the spring turkey hunters are diaphragm or mouth calls. You can even use them while targeting with a bow. These calls demand no use of hand movements. This is the reason they are the best diaphragm turkey calls.
You can call any turkey within range by using three primary vocalizations. These are yelp, purr, and cluck.
Yelp sound is made for spring gobblers who are looking for hens to breed. It is like ‘Here I am’.
Cluck sound shows a sort of urgency when a gobbler has approached carefully but hang up out of the range. It is like, ‘Look I am right here’ or ‘Come and get me’.
Purr is used to give temptation to a gobbler that there is more than one hen in hand. It is like, ‘Back off, my space/food’.
Fall Bow Tactics
The approach is to disperse the flock out of the cover intentionally. The call of preference in these situations can be a lost hen or a long stern yelp imitating a gobbler, jake or a hen endeavouring to reinstate contact.
Their morning fly down is also confusing like scattered flocks as these talkative birds aim at assembling quickly.
Straight or a direct ambush is also a great fall tactic. Especially during the fall months, turkeys require food frequently.
Thus, have a look at their food encounters like grain field, fruit trees, cattle feed yards, or even drier habitats.
Some of your mistakes go unnoticed due to big fall flocks, which would likely to get noticed during the spring season.
To draw your bow unseen behind a solid ground, you can make use of creek beds or ditches, broken terrain or steeply falling edges. Stalking turkeys require a consistent approach because some stalk does not result in a hit, but when all comes collectively with a patient calling experience, then it may result in a Thanksgiving bird.
Right Shot Placement
Unfortunately, turkeys do not stand still for us to hit at a deadly spot. Bow hunting is a way more than simply launching an arrow.
Land two shots whenever possible. One of the shot should be at the wing because of the bird, not able to fly, will be easier to get. At the same time, a puff of feathers doesn’t always mean a perfect shot.
Whether a turkey is facing you or facing away from you, there is always a spot to hit. Accurate shot placement means correct placement of arrows with the right choice of broadheads for turkeys.
One thing you can do is to practice all angles of a shooted gobbler. The difference that a gobbler shows are fanning away, fanning towards you, side fan or normal position.
Hitting a shot is extremely rewarding in case of turkey hunting with a bow.
And, the best part is the resultant tasty turkey meal on the table.
Right Turkey Broadheads
The wrong broadhead may allow your turkey to either fly away uninjured or injured enough to get away and die elsewhere.
A best turkey hunting broadhead delivers a maximum shock at the first instance itself. No matter, whether you are using mechanical or fixed blade broadheads, a large cutting diameter (preferably over 1 inch) can alter marginal shots into deadly birds. Wide cutting broadhead discourages both flight or even progress of the bird. The heads with 13/4 to 2-inch are yet better. They have a good combination with low poundage bows.
Guillotine style broadheads can also be considered. Designed explicitly for headshots, they can take the bird’s head right off.
The turkey heads that are shocker type and broadhead devised with hefty hooks or incorporated notches into the blades are of no use at all. They may break wings but do not result in infiltration into the body cavity.
Turkey Hunting Bow Setup
Win the big game with proper bowhunting setup. You should not stay at one setup, instead modify it as the situation demands. It will surely increase your chances of success.
Bow Length And Draw Weight
A bow with shorter bow length works in favour of you. Although the market is lured with compound bows that are compact if you are not choosing them, then a short bow can be an excellent option for you. Whether you are using a ground blind or not, a longbow could limit your ability to draw. This is because a longbow has a more draw weight.
On the other hand, a lower draw weight allows you to draw smoother and affects the kinetic energy. For a turkey hunting, kinetic energy in the 25 to 40 ft. Lbs. is more ideal.
Choosing An Arrow Rest
A full capture arrow rest keeps your arrows secure and also keeps you concealed at the same time. A disabled arrow rest will keep you in trouble while repositioning. So, kindly consider an arrow rest that holds up.
Reduce Bow Stabilizer
Shortening bow stabilizer is as important as reducing your draw weight. Along stabilizer can ruin your hunt by getting tangled in a blind or brush on the ground. So, opt for a more compact stabilizer.
Simple Bow Sight
Set up a bow sight within 20-30 yards. It may look too close at first instance, but to kill small zones, short bow setup is needed. It will let you keep focused at the same time.
A simple tip is to use bright colored fletchings or fletchings that are in camo themselves. The bird will not pick you out by this tip even in the blind or ground as you draw.
Concealment In Bowhunting
Concealment is even more predominant while pursuing turkeys with a bow. If you are using an enclosed blind with a dark interior, then it will allow the bow hunter to check mail, flip book pages and finally draw at every time unseen. Windows should be opened where you can make a clean shot keeping the other closed. Blinds also come in soundless window systems or quiet clips rather than noisy zippers.
Along with woodland camouflage, one item that should be in your turkey vest is some sort of face concealment.
Another feasible option is using ghillie-type 3-D leafy suits. These unorganized outfits are covered with naturals and can easily break human presence. They are superior to any flat camouflaged ones.
There are decoys that don’t work at all because they are not realistic. So, before buying a decoy for turkey hunting, remember to consider their realism, ease of use as well as weight.
A decoy should be like that it doesn’t ruin the objectives of its presence. It should be attractive enough to cause a visual distraction to turkeys, and secondly, it should not cause a disturbance in your focal point while drawing an arrow.
Whether you prefer to use a hen or jake or a tom decoy or a combination of three, it will prove to be very productive.
Creating a scenario of unwelcome jake moving in a flock is a great tactic.
When you place a hen decoy, it is sure that a gobbler will come into the sight and fall into a strut. Now, in reality, hen should walk to the gobbler. But, if the hen does not react, then he assumes that she is not intimidated and moves on.
This is why; the decoys should be placed as close as possible to have the best possible bow range. And, placing them within feet of the blind during your hunt, offers a potential shot.
A gobbler will surely come into the scene by seeing a hen and a jake pair decoy. A mature gobbler will also respond to a mature gobbler decoy. You should be prepared for the situation as reacting gobblers will habitually circle to meet the false eye to eye. You can have a great prospect to draw and discharge a bow unnoticed as a strutting gobbler will lose sight directly behind his fan.
Overall, the distraction of the decoy is necessary for a hunter to be able to draw their bow, especially when not using blinds.
A bow enables you to have multiple aims.
Following are given some of the different spots where you can shoot a turkey with a bow.
Check also: 5 Proper Tips When Using Bow on Hunting
Different Aims For Bow Hunters
Whether a turkey is facing you or facing away from you, there is always a spot to hit.
Aiming For Rear
The best shot opportunity awaits at this point when the turkey is walking away from you. You should grab this shot by placing decoys and wait for them to begin strutting and fan their feathers. A gobbler will surely come into the scene by seeing a hen decoy hoping to get a chance. Or, a matured gobbler will also intimidate a mature gobbler to come and have the fight to make their dominance.
Now, where is the spot?
The spot is right at the point where feathers come along at the turkey’s rear end. The shot will take out the spine or any organs that are near the entrance of broadhead.
Aiming For Head
Turkeys have small heads and necks. So, they are difficult shots to take. You should use the opportunity when you get it. One benefit of a headshot is that it will leave all of the meat available for processing.
Aiming For The Front
When the bird is facing you, it may be challenging to draw an arrow. In this scenario, you can have a direct shot to their heart. And, finding their heart is somewhat tricky because the sweet spot can be quickly covered by turkey lowering its head.
However, the location of the heart is right under the neck in the middle of the spot where the wings are attached. Their long beards are also nearby. Beards are the main attraction to females. This is the reason that why do turkeys have beards.
While bow hunting, do not get confused by their beards and focus on hitting the right spot.
And, the first thing recommended is to cut off their beards if you want to know how to clean a wild turkey.
Turkey vital organs are lower than you think. It is preferred while bow hunting to look for the spot where wings are attached to the body. This is where their most vital organ, i.e. their heart is located.
Most of the hunters make mistakes by aiming too high.
So, when you go for a focus on a spot while drawing an arrow, aim low then you think.
Aiming From The Side
If you must shoot from the side, then breast of the bird should be aimed at. Most of the hunters mistaken here by aiming at the front of the chest. By doing so, you will only hit the meat and not kill the bird. Rather than aiming at the organs that are lower and closer to the back of the bird, it is best to aim for the lungs and the heart.
A moving bird is difficult to target for. But, skilled hunters will not wait for a bird to stop. In this situation, you can get a chance by hitting the crosshairs that will truly injure the bird.
Aim For Spine
One of the most deadly shot is at the spine. But, to hit that spot you should be patient enough and wait for the right chance. You cannot hit the spine while a bird is moving. If you can wait for the bird to lift its face and head away from you, then the shot will be absolutely supreme.
There is a chance that you may miss the shot, but as I said earlier, a low shot will surely take out its vital organs. No matter, you take out the spine or organs, the turkey will not get up.
Turkey hunting with a bow is not such a difficult task if carried out properly. You need to apply various bow hunters tactics to hit the right spot for such a Thanksgiving meal. The bow setup that is in use matters a lot along with the personal skill set of a hunter.