Bowhunting Turkeys for Beginners

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Bowhunting any species has it's challenges, but few offer much more of a challenge than pursuing a mature, wild turkey with bow and arrow.

With impeccable eyesight capabilities and an incredibly small kill zone, you can imagine the difficulty one might have when bagging themselves a bow bird, especially hunting from the ground.

Here are some questions that many people have when they start planning a spring bow hunt for a trophy long beard!

What Broadheads Should I Use For Turkey's?

When it comes to broadhead selection and turkey hunting, you have 2 main options. The first being your normal bowhunting setup that would typically be used in the fall, being a fixed or mechanical blade and a cutting diameter used for deer hunting.

When using these broadheads, any shot selection can be taken whether its head, neck, or body, but a body shot will be of the highest percentage. Fixed blade is preferred here because mechanical style heads may not open properly on head or neck shots, our choice is a Magnus Stinger but any head here will do the trick.

Your second option is going to be a large diameter fixed blade broadhead specifically designed for head and neck shots.

Because of their large diameter, these broadheads, such as the Solid D-Cap, increase your odds of success on the small head and neck area of a moving turkey. Send one of these bad boys on target in the direction of a strutting long beard and he will likely lose his head!

It's important to note that these style broadheads may require extra time for tuning and sight adjustment so it's probably not the best last minute option if time is of the essence. At the end of the day, either one of these options will get the job done so it's dealer's choice as to which you will prefer.

Where Should I Aim When Bowhunting Turkey?

Once you have a type of broadhead selected, you'll next want to figure out where you need to aim as this can be tricky! When turkey hunting with a bow, you have 3 options for shot selection: Head, neck, and body.

Head and neck shots are self explanatory, especially when using a large diameter broadhead previously discussed to lop off their head. Body shots, however, can be much trickier.

When a turkey is either facing directly towards you or away from you, your aiming point is simply going to be center mass. For head on shots, aim right between the top of the beard and below where the neck meets the body and aim right up main street when the bird is faced directly away from you.

For broadside or quartering shots, simply aim vertically between the top of the beard and base of the neck, and aim

horizontally just in front of where the wing meets the body. Where these two points meet is where the vitals are situated whether the bird is in full strut, half strut, or relaxed.

Shown here is a picture with common shot opportunities you could be presented with and the aiming point conveniently identified for reference. For further information or clarity on where to aim, check out our full article, Where To Aim When Bowhunting Turkey!

What Turkey Calls Should I Use?

As proven over time, any type of turkey call, at any given time, will elicit positive results. If you're bowhunting with other people and they're doing the calling for you, then the type of call being used shouldn't concern you too much.

If however you're going solo, it is going to be hard to beat the hands free convenience of a good mouth call. Friction calls such as a box or slate call work great but require the use of at least one and often both hands to work effectively.

Using a mouth keeps both hands free to be on the bow and minimizes movement when trying to seal the deal. This becomes less important when using any type of hunting blind or natural blind designed and made to conceal movement as a turkey has a very little chance of spotting your hands moving inside the confines of such a structure.

Should I Use Decoys?

Some love them, some hate them. I always prefer to use decoys when I have bow in hand for the simple fact it gives the Tom something to focus on besides me and my movement.

Paying attention to how you position the decoys, you can even direct his movement to offer you an ideal shot. Remember that when using a Jake or Tom decoy, an approaching gobbler is likely to circle and face the decoy in preparation for a fight whereas he will approach a receptive hen from behind. Face your decoys accordingly so the Tom will either be facing

away from you or broadside side to you at some point to offer the best shot. If you can have the Tom face away from you, you will also have the opportunity to draw your bow back undetected as long as he is in full strut and his fan is full display.

Another unique option is a technique called "fanning". What you do is use a specially designed turkey fan such as the Jake Fan by Killer Gear and stalk a strutting bird while hiding behind the fan. The gobbler thinks you're a rival bird looking for a fight and has no clue that you are behind it.

This technique is not legal in all states so be sure to check the regulations of where you're hunting to be sure you're good to go.

Should I Use A Blind When Turkey Hunting With A Bow?

Using a blind, such as the Primos Double Bull Evader will certainly make things easier if you have the right setup, but they have their drawbacks as well. Blinds will conceal most if not all movement, making things considerably easier when trying to tag out with a bow when you think about the amount of movement required to pull off a shot on the ground.

On public land however, it will be difficult to preset a blind in advance so the turkeys can adjust to it and if someone happens to set up near you, the spot could be dead altogether.

Blinds will make your life much easier if you can find a good ambush site, just keep in mind that mobility will be limited. An alternative to a hunting blind made of synthetic materials is a man made one using logs or brush.

While less concealing, these types of blinds can provide just enough cover to hide movements and gives you a little more mobility as they can be made quickly on the fly. They can be made by stacking up random logs, alive and dead brush, or even by hiding in downed tree tops.

How Should I Sit and Position Myself?

If you decide to use a blind, you will be sitting in a chair of some sort or kneeling inside most of the time. When not using a blind, most of your shots will be taken from a seated position on the ground or kneeling.

Kneeling is probably a more comfortable position to maintain good form, but will be much more uncomfortable if forced to stay that way for the length of a hunt. Sitting on the ground does take some practice, but will be much more comfortable than kneeling.

Regardless of the way you choose to sit, practicing that position regularly will give you the confidence needed to get the job done.

When setting up on a gobbling tom and you have someone doing the calling for you, you'll ideally want to set up so the bird struts past you en-route to the hen he thinks he's after.

When done this way, you can use brush or trees to conceal your drawing cycle while also having the bird be broadside to you at some point as he struts past. If you're solo and have no blind, you'll want to use decoys but can set them up in front of you rather than making the gobbler walk past you.

As discussed before, the way the decoys are facing will dictate how and when you are given a shot opportunity, not how he approaches from afar.

Hopefully these tips get you going in the right direction and provide you with some things to think about when planning a bowhunting trip this spring. Still have more questions?? Feel free to contact us and we will help you as best we can!! Good luck and send us those public land successes when you have them!

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