Photo By Trophyslugster
Think You Can't Arrow A Gobbler...Think Againby HVS Member Hartstruk
Archers and turkey hunters when you put your shotgun sights on a wise old gobbler and pull the trigger do you ever wonder if you could have taken him with your bow? If you have but didnít think you could I want to tell you that if I can do it you can too.
Hunting turkeys with bow and arrow obviously requires different equipment compared to hunting with shotgun but also requires some different tactics to bring a gobbler in close for a clean ethical kill. Putting an arrow through turkeyís vitals is like hitting softball inside a medicine ball, not an easy task. If you are looking for something to hone your archery skills than you have to give this a try. You will find yourself spending more time in the woods and hunting harder but when it all comes together and you have a bird on the ground you will be hooked and will not want to hunt turkeys any other way.
Two essential aspects for archery hunting turkeys are portable ground blinds and decoys. You need to bring the birds in as close as possible and i recommend setting up for an 8-10 yard shot. This may sound too close to bring in a tom but with the combination of a good blind and realistic decoy set its actually easier than it sounds. Believe it or not when you are hunting turkeys this way it is very similar to the way you want to hunt whitetails. With the added task of setting up a blind and decoys ďrunning and gunningĒ tactics that are done with shotgun become a lot harder and sometimes impossible to do. Look to harvest your bird near travel routes and preferred feeding and strutting areas. If you have a particular roosting area and you can setup your blind the day before your hunt it would be a good idea to do so. This will give you the ability to sneak in without spooking roosted birds.
Portable Ground Blinds
Wild turkeys have exceptional eye sight and hearing and can detect danger in a second but when it comes to recognizing ground blinds they are clueless. You can actually set up a blind in the middle of a field with a couple of decoys in front of it and they donít even notice it. When drawing your bow inside a portable blind virtually all of your movement is hidden from the birds. Even reaching for calls or just plain stretching your legs will not be seen. Remember you are going to bring the birds in close so you need to be able to hide all movement. One other advantage to a blind is that when it is raining you can still hunt and be dry.
When choosing a portable ground blind look for one that is called a hub style blind. Primos makes a great selection of this style blind. These type of blinds setup in just seconds are very strong and collapse into the same shape each time. This is a plus because when you need to put it back into its carrying bag it will fit. Also look for blinds that have black material on the inside.The color black makes it very hard for birds to notice your outline. Another important feature to look for is large opening windows. To be able to shoot your bow comfortably and accurately you need to have large openings in the blind. Donít forget a comfortable chair because when you are in a portable ground blind you donít have to sit on the ground.
There are many turkey decoys on the market and i know that turkey hunters have been successful with just about every combination in terms of make, type and number to use. To make things simple start out with a tom full strut and a submissive hen.The combination of this decoy set seems to drive the tomís crazy. To make your decoys more realistic replace the fan that comes with the full strut tom with a real turkey fan.These are easy to make by removing the fan from the next tom that you shoot. A good tip that i learned is to take an old fishing reel and wrap the line several times around the body of the tom decoy. Pull out enough line to reach your blind and put the reel inside. When you want to give the decoy movement just pull or wind the line with the reel and the decoy will move making it look real. Always place the decoys facing the blind. Turkeys will always come in and try to get in front of the decoys to display their dominance. This will put the bird with its back to the blind giving you a great opportunity to draw your bow. Remember always place your decoyís 8-10 yards from your blind
For body shots keep in mind that the birds feathers are thick, tough and do protect the bird to a certain point. Fixed blade broadheads work good but i think that large diameter cut mechanical heads are the way to go. When you see the anatomy diagrams of a turkey you will know what i mean.Give yourself the best chance at putting the bird down and if you are skeptical of mechanical heads for deer you can be confident that these heads are almost perfectly matched to take on a big ole tom. Trophy Ridge,NAP and Grim Reaper are good examples of great large diameter cut broadheads.
Head shots are becoming popular with the introduction of great broadheads that are made just for this purpose. A couple of good points that are making these shots common are when aiming at the head you know exactly where the kill zone is compared to body shots that take some time studying anatomy diagrams to know right where to aim. Magnus and Arrowdynamic Solutions make broadheads specifically for head shots.
Anyone that has killed turkeys with a shotgun will tell you how hard it can be to put these birds down so you can imagine what it takes to bag them with your bow. The best advise i can give other than practicing shooting before the season at close range is to study turkey anatomy diagrams which you can find online.