Arrowed a Gobbler? Stay Put!

Patience is the key to recovering a bow-shot gobbler. Here's why.

Arrowed a Gobbler? Stay Put!

Chasing turkeys after they are arrowed is a mistake because they can sometimes run or fly long distances after being hit. 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," said 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. Bowhunters who take a straight line and look carefully in potential hiding spots can usually find fatally hit turkeys.

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

Patience is key when a turkey doesn't die within sight. These two South Dakota gobblers disappeared after being hit (one ran, one flew), but both were recovered within 150 yards of a ground blind because the hunters didn't run after the birds.
Patience is key when a turkey doesn't die within sight. These two South Dakota gobblers disappeared after being hit (one ran, one flew), but both were recovered within 150 yards of a ground blind because the hunters didn't run after the birds.
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