Bowhunting turkeys is one of the most fun – and frustrating – spring activities you can tackle each season. With an abundance of feathers, keen senses, and an incredibly cautious nature, turkeys prove to be one of the toughest targets for bowhunters across the country. Punching a tag on a turkey is no easy task, but it can be done. Here’s a look at 5 tips to get you started bowhunting turkeys this season.
How to Scout Turkeys:
Lucky for turkey hunters, turkeys often are very easy to pattern. Being creatures of habit, doing the same thing day after day until disturbed. So when your scouting efforts reveal turkey tracks, droppings, scratching in the leaves, strut marks in the sand or dirt, feathers, or obvious tell-tale turkey sign, you’ll know you’re in the right spot. Hunters often overlook the use of their trail cams during turkey season. We live by trail cams during deer season. Be sure to use them for turkeys as well!
Ground Blinds for Turkey Hunting:
Want to be sure you get a turkey this season? Hunt from a blind! One of the best ways to get the job done on a turkey with a bow than by hunting from a ground blind. You’ll be surprised how much movement you can get away with when hunting turkeys from the blind. Turkeys tend to not pay attention to the ground blind. Even when it’s set up in the wide open. Additionally, you don’t have to pop the blind up days in advance or brush it in to get past the eyes of a turkey. Same-day sets are the norm for turkey hunting from a blind. With that said, there no better way to consistently kill turkeys with a bow than using a ground blind.
Best Decoy Setup for Turkeys?:
How far do you place your decoys when setting up for turkeys? The name of the game is to keep them close. And we’re not talking 20 yards, close. We’re talking less than 10 yards, close. The vitals on a turkey are very small, and they’re obviously well hidden amidst all the feathers. They can actually make for a tough target. That’s why it’s so important to pull turkeys in nice and tight to the blind for the shot. We like to have our turkey decoys just 8-10 yards away from the blind when bowhunting turkeys. That way, if they hang up, they’ll only be standing at 15-20 yards instead of 30-40 yards.
What’s the Best Turkey Calling Tactic?:
People are always asking, “What’s the best turkey calling tip or tactic out there?” And the reality is, some of the best turkey calling advice would be to simply keep your mouth shut. That’s right! We love to call. We love to make turkeys gobble. But the fact is, too much calling often does more harm than good. Despite having a brain the size of a pea, turkeys quickly wise up to our calling efforts and will shy away from loud, obnoxious over-calling. Learn to tone your calling down. Keep it soft and subtle. Let your decoys do the work and you’ll likely have more turkey encounters in bow range.
Shot Placement for Turkeys:
Hit a turkey right and he’ll never leave the decoys. Hit him bad and you’ll think he’s the toughest creature on earth. As previously stated, the vitals on a turkey are incredibly small. We’re talking about a target the size of a softball. So the room for error is quite small. This is why shot placement when bowhunting turkeys is of the utmost priority. Shot placement can make or break you when it comes to bowhunting turkeys. You must learn when and where to shoot for when the opportunity arises. As the saying goes, “Hit ’em low, watch ’em go…hit ’em high, watch ’em die.”
Hitting a turkey low, or forward across the breast, seems to be two of the most common shooting mistakes when it comes to shot placement for turkeys. Best to study these birds and their anatomy until you’re solid on where to make the shot. And when all else fails, shoot them in the head. The head shot on turkeys is the quickest and cleanest shot you can possibly make. They’ll either drop dead in their tracks, or run off following a clean miss.
The tips mentioned above will get you well on your way when it comes to greater success when bowhunting turkeys. Find the birds, get them close and execute a well-placed shot. It’ll be the most fun you’ll have all spring, guaranteed.
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