Turkey Bowhunting Tips
Bob McNally 05.05.15
Taking a tom with bow and arrow is one of the ultimate achievements a hunter can attain. But top equipment and hunting techniques have evolved to such a high degree in recent years that more sportsmen are trying and succeeding at this this seemingly difficult task.
Veteran bowman Mark Wenberg with Bear Archery offers these solid tips for turkey chasers trying to tag a tom with a bow.
Blinds: The movement needed to draw a bow as a tom works into archery range is the nemesis that defeats so many bowmen. But fast-to-set up, dependable, portable hunting blinds have enabled archers to succeed in taking toms like never before. Good ones, like those made by Primos, are dark and shady inside to help hide a hunter, and they have large, windproof openings that allow for easy bow use. Be sure to practice shooting from a sitting position before hunting from a blind.
Decoys: Use of turkey decoys is especially wise for bowmen since birds coming to a call spot fake birds and focus their attention on them while an archer moves to draw and shoot.
Bows: A high let-off compound bow (80 percent) is beneficial, and low poundage (50 pounds or so) makes sense because savvy turkey archers draw a bow long before a turkey steps into range. This increases the odds for success as noticeable hunter movement at ground level is reduced so detection by game is minimal. Low bow poundage allows a hunter to stay at full draw for long duration while a tom struts around offering a good shot.
Low bow draw weight also is advised when shooting from a sitting position, which is more demanding than when standing.
Broadheads: Almost any good head can work, but bigger is definitely better. Many experienced bowmen love giant expandable or scissors-blade heads, like the massive 2 3/4-inch cutting diameter 2-blade, 125-grain “Vortex” by Marden; the equally large “Buckblaster” by Rocket Aeroheads; and the “Turkey Tomahawk” by Trophy Ridge. Such heads fly like field points because their blades are encased in broadhead ferrules until impact, upon which they open huge and cause massive hemorrhaging.
Where To Aim: The base of large wings on a turkey is the often touted target for many bowmen. But other good tom targets are at the base of the tail when the fan is fully spread and the bird is facing away, and the head. Taking a turkey in the noggin is a small target, but results in instant death or a clean miss.