How to Bowhunt Turkeys

Photo: Keefer Brothers

When one hunting season closes, another one begins. Are you ready for turkey season? If you’ve never been bowhunting for turkeys before, now’s the time to start. We’ve got some basic tips on how to calculate the perfect shot placement, where to find the birds, and how to get them.

Precision

Turkeys have a significantly smaller target area than deer, so shooting turkeys requires precision. Much like deer, you want to aim at a slightly different place depending on how the turkey is facing you. There are different techniques for when the bird is broadside, facing forward, and facing away.

  • When the turkey is broadside, aim for the point where the wing meets the body.
  • When the turkey is facing forward, aim just above the beard.
  • When the turkey is facing away, aim for the middle of their back.

It may be tempting to shoot at a turkey in its roost in the trees, but this does not make for a clear shot. You want to wait until the turkey is on the ground. If you shoot prematurely into the trees, you run the risk of the turkey flying away. Turkeys have incredibly sharp vision. They can see in full color and have full peripheral vision. You cannot fool a turkey once they see you, so you have to make sure your aim is accurate.

Food Plots

The food plot you’ve planted for your deer may be just the trick for bringing turkeys to your property as well. The turkeys will appreciate the shelter the stalks/vines give them and will use them as cover from the elements. They’ll also enjoy eating the greenery of the plot itself, as well as the bugs the food will attract. Hens need a high protein diet in the spring to produce healthy eggs, so the protein they get from the insects is essential to their health.

Behavior

Different types of turkeys will have different reactions to the various types of decoys. A more timid turkey will be scared off by a decoy that has a red-toned head as that represents aggression. During mating season, turkeys will be more likely to let their curiosity lead them to two decoys simulating mating.

Male turkeys will gobble to call out their location to the hens. When you first venture out on your hunting trip, take a moment to simply listen. Don’t start out by using your calls immediately. Let your ears do some of the hunting for you and give the turkeys a chance to reveal their location. If you see a group nearby that you’d like to come closer, try using a hen call to put them on alert. The dominant hen might wander over to see who’s challenging her, and the male turkey’s interest might be piqued as well.

If you’re ready to give turkey hunting a try, check your state’s hunting rules and regulations, get your license, and check it out. A bowhunter’s education course will offer you in depth explanations on how to use your equipment and proper hunting techniques. Once you’re ready to go, the only thing that will make your hunting skills better is practice. Practice with your bow in your backyard with a life-sized turkey target, or go for a session at your local range. The most important thing is taking the first step. Put in the time and effort and you’ll see the results.

Do you have a story from a turkey bowhunt you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!

Leave a Reply

Compare
%d bloggers like this: