Updated: Jun 1, 2020
If you've decided to switch things up and pursue the elusive long beard with bow and arrow this spring but have no idea where to aim, you've come to the right place! There are a few things to consider such as what broadheads you want to use, but once you learn the basics you'll be confidently heading afield in no time this season!
What Broadheads Should I Use for Turkeys?
The first thing you need to decide is if you want to use your deer hunting setup or dedicate a new modified setup to specifically go after a gobbler. Keeping your fall broadhead on for the spring will be the easiest transition as you can in theory take any shot you're given, whether its head, neck, or body.
The limitation will be that aiming at the head of a moving wild turkey becomes rather difficult when using a small diameter blade.
If head and neck shots are your primary goal, a large diameter fixed blade broadhead such as the Magnus Bullhead or Xecutioner Turkey Necker are great options as they offer a much larger cutting diameter than your standard fixed blade used for deer hunting.
Fixed blade broadheads are recommended for head and neck shots as mechanicals have the possibility to not function properly on a head or neck shot. Rage broadheads does however produce a mechanical broadhead specifically made for turkey hunting that you can check out HERE.
Not much will change in terms of arrow setup besides the broadhead itself but you may have to allow some extra time for tuning and sight adjustment if you switch to a large diameter style head.
So, Where Do I Aim On a Turkey With My Bow?
Now that you have a broadhead picked out, it's time to figure where to aim! Head and neck shots are self explanatory and if you decided to try out a large diameter broadhead in an attempt to behead a turkey, then you probably have all the information you need to be successful.
Simply wait for the turkey to be as still as possible and aim for the head or neck as if you were using a shotgun. If you are using a mechanical broadhead or your standard deer hunting broadhead, then let's keep going!
For broadside shots, you have to pay attention to whether or not the turkey is walking and relaxed, is in half strut, or is in full strut. The location of the vital anatomy does not change much overall between the two positions but how they appear to be located will change drastically.
As you can see below, when a turkey is relaxed, the lungs and heart, as well as vital blood vessels, will sit tight to the top of the back just below the spine.
However, when the gobbler goes full strut as shown below, the vitals will still be located below the spine, but they will appear to be in the center of the birds body, rather than towards the top.
As you'll notice, in both positions the vitals will roughly be located at the intersection of two easy to find body landmarks. If you draw a horizontal line evenly between the base of the neck and top of the beard, and you draw a vertical line just in front of the wing, the place where those lines cross would be your aiming point whether the turkey is relaxed, half strut, or full strut.
When the bird is facing directly towards you or away from you, your aiming points will be the same whether he is in full strut or relaxed and is roughly center mass. Head and neck shots can still be taken as well with a normal hunting broadhead but success will depend on your skill level and the associated risk of a miss you're willing to take.
The image below shows examples of several positions you could encounter in the field with the ideal aiming point conveniently identified.
Key Aiming Tips to Remember
When aiming at a deer, we have the ability to easily identify the front shoulder and aim behind it for broadside shots and aiming for the opposite shoulder for quartering away shots.
While not as easy with a turkey, you can still apply these same skills with the information you learned in the last paragraph. Just remember that your aiming spot will be halfway between the beard and neck vertically, and just in front of the wing horizontally.
For quartering to and away shots, you will still be trying to shoot through that same zone so adjust your shot accordingly as if your in the same situation while deer hunting, the difference between that quartering to shots are equally as safe as quartering away shots on turkey.
In the coming weeks, take some time to browse google for pictures of wild turkeys and ask yourself where you would aim if that position was the shot you were offered while hunting. Also be sure to save the pictures in this article for quick reference study anytime you need to double check! Good luck and have fun!!
Looking for more tips on turkey hunting with a bow? Check out our article Bowhunting Turkeys for Beginners to learn more!
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