Arrowed a gobbler? Stay put!

February 12, 2014

Chasing turkeys after they are arrowed is a mistake because turkeys can sometimes run or fly long distances after being arrowed. An increasing number of bowhunters are discovering, however, that turkeys usually don't run or fly far if they're not hotly pursued.

"A turkey that has been arrowed usually has no idea what happened," says Greg Abbas, president and owner of A-Way Hunting Products. "He won't go far if nothing chases him. But if you jump out of the blind and run after him, he'll run off, or sometimes even fly off, and then he can go a long way."

Accurate shooting and use of the right broadhead can help bowhunters immobilize turkeys, but when a shot doesn't anchor them to the spot, the best strategy is to sit tight and wait, just as with deer or other big game. It only makes sense to watch and listen as the turkey exits the area. Usually, a wounded turkey will find a blowdown, an undercut bank, or thicket to hide in. Hunters who take a straight line and look carefully in potential hiding spots can usually find fatally hit turkeys.

Double Bull Blinds' Brooks Johnson, one of the country's leading turkey hunting experts, cites another reason to avoid chasing arrowed birds: Often they are in the presence of other turkeys — turkeys that will be a little smarter and harder to hunt after they've seen hunters jumping out of blinds.