Hunting turkeys with a bow and arrow is, not only taking it back to grass roots, but also a more challenging, perhaps fairer way of hunting the elusive gobblers. A keener eye and more accurate aim is required for bow hunting, however, bows are quieter, and that in itself is a huge plus.
So, if you have been out at the shooting range, practicing your bow skills, and you feel ready to take on the paranoid birds, then let us give you a few essential tips when using a bow.
1. Broadhead Choices
The type of broadhead you choose has largely to do with the way you shoot and in that we mean whether you are a quick draw and fly or a slow pull-back action kind of shooter. The quicker the draw back, generally the quicker the speed of the arrow and hit. A slower draw would best suit a fixed-blade broadhead and for faster draws, a mechanical broadhead works well.
Having said all that, shooting turkeys doesn’t require a specific broadhead, just make sure that your hit is sure and true, in that you aim to kill. Because hits with an arrow don’t leave a good blood trail, you may find your little gobbler will manage to skedaddle off, badly injured but mobile. You, then, will have a hard time finding him. So a kill shot is necessary, in that they will fall and stay down.
In addition, the colour of your fletching may need to be adjusted. Most are brightly colored, so make sure yours is not. Turkeys see color much the same as we do and in the wild the only color they are used to is their own feathers and snood. So, camouflaging your entire weapon is a very good idea.
2. Setup Options
Whether you like to go blind or ground is, again, a matter of personal preference, however, if you have not equipped yourself with the right camo gear and outfit, using the blind setup would be best, let us elaborate a little on these two setup options in relation to bow turkey hunting.
- Blind Setup
Very simply, a blind setup is where the turkey cannot see you at all. There are a few pointers to adhere to, which will make this setup more successful when using a bow. You need to ensure the sun is behind you, allow some room for you to see the turkey and your decoys, as well as room for you to pull and release your arrow without hitting any trees or branches. And know that you will most probably need to adjust your setup as you go till you get it just right.
- Ground Setup
A ground setup allows you to be a bit more mobile, in that you will need to be 100% camouflaged. This includes your bow, your backpack, your everything, so that you can be up and in the path of an oncoming gobbler. You are essentially set up like a blind setup but in a stealth-like manner. A ground setup allows you to walk around as well,but then you need to be ready and have a sure aim for when that bird comes a visiting.
Using your turkey caller is always a good idea but to get your gobbler up real close for that sure hit with your bow, you need to learn to call softer as they come nearer. Many a bow hunter will get the turkey right up close but can’t get them any closer because the call is too loud and literally scares the bird away.
Moreover, the best type of caller you could use during a bow hunt may well be the standard mouth caller. This way, you firstly, can just use your mouth, as opposed to involving your hands, to call and secondly, you can vary the calls straight away without fiddling around with a remote or box caller.
4. Kill Shot
Its important to get the turkey with a kill shot, so perfect your aim and make sure you hit the neck or head. With bow and arrow shooting you won’t have time to reload. By the time you have let off the first arrow, missed and have started to reload, the turkeys will have disappeared. First hit is vital.
With turkey hunting, no matter the weapon, it is important to be well camouflaged. This includes your outfit as well as your bow. And if you can’t camo-up your bow, then ensure you are well hidden behind a man-made, but nature-inspired blind setup.
Camouflage doesn’t just end there though. Make up your face, hands, and any other exposed skin. Getting up close and personal with turkeys requires some super stealth, which includes blending in to the environment.
6. Patience and Silence
With bow hunting, you need to get the bird closer than with a rifle or shotgun, so patience is important as is silence. Make sure you have gear that doesn’t make a noise. Avoid material that scratches up against branches or a backpack that squeaks and rattles. Silence is important to a good setup. If you are a heavy breather or just have a problem keeping still, then perhaps bow hunting isn't for you. Turkey’s are skittish and any little, unusual noise will send them fluffing away in fear.
7. Practice Real Situations
Setting up a real turkey situation at your practice shooting ground can prove to be beneficial down the line. Setting decoys or rather turkey-shooting targets up will help you get your aim in. Practicing the way in which you may be positioned at the time of a shoot is a good idea too. Practice sitting on your butt, kneeling,standing, and seated on a stool or a rock.
If you’re a visual kind of person, take a look at this informative but quite humorous video highlighting ways to have a successful bow hunt.
As you can see, bow hunting for turkeys requires some specific skills but also some attention to detail. A little patience, a little research, and you’re all set to pull in those gobblers.
Happy Bow Hunting!