Bowhunting turkey strategies

February 15, 2014

Arrowing a turkey isn't as difficult as many would have you believe. Challenging, yes, but impossible — far from it. Adopt a few key strategies for regular success.

Blinds Hide Draw

The biggest challenge is drawing your bow undetected. The pop-up blind makes this easy, setting up in minutes, allowing you to draw at your leisure. If toting a pop-up prove impractical in remote or rugged settings, use leafy-cut 3-D camo to fool a gobbler's keen eyesight.

Mechanicals Make Kill Shots

Turkeys are a small, shifty target with a vital area no bigger than a baseball. Wide-reaching mechanical broadheads, with cutting diameters of 1.5 to 2 inches, make killing shots more likely, even on marginal hits. Mechanicals also deliver shock on impact, making it more likely your arrow will stay in the bird and hinder an escape.

Decoys Lure & Distract

Turkey decoys both lure and distract. Hen decoys are standard, but adding a jake to the mix can illicit jealousy that brings gobblers running. How you set up depends on your concealment program. From blinds, set decoys right against the blind's front wall, no more than five yards away. Gobblers typically stop short to strut their stuff, expecting hens to come the last 20 yards. Putting the decoy close simply results in closer shooting. From the ground while dressed in 3-D camo, place decoys so gobblers will pass while focusing their attention forward where he's less likely to see you drawing your bow.

Calls Incite Interest

With calling, coming on too strong can cause gobblers to hang up out of range. Gobblers expect hens to come to them. By insisting that they do the reverse you're bucking the natural scheme of things. Keep him guessing, make him hunt you. It also pays to read the individual. Some gobblers charge into aggressive calls. Normally younger toms want to beat dominate gobblers to the action. Older birds more likely to hang back. Confronted by a stalled gobbler, quit calling, quietly yelping only enough to hold his interest. He may just sneak in silently (especially true of more mature gobblers), so be patient and stay alert.

Aim & Stay Calm

Then you must hit them. Centering a turkey vital area means long practice and staying calm under pressure. It especially means staying well within your capabilities. If you can't maintain a baseball-sized group at a particular range, don't shoot farther.

On broadside turkeys, aim just beneath the wing butt to find vitals. Should he be facing you and strutting, aim for the base of his neck, at the beard root if he's standing. Without a blind shot timing is critical. Allow him to pass behind a tree trunk or rock before coming to full draw, holding until he reemerges. A spread fan turned toward you, the gobbler facing away, also gives you a chance, using his fan bull's-eye as the aiming spot.