Head Hunting: Where to Shoot a Turkey with a Bow
Thinking about bagging your next bird with a bow? Here's how
As a 30-year veteran of the archery industry, I had pretty much given up on the concept of hunting turkeys with a bow. I’d seen too many fly-aways with hanging legs and birds running off to die but never be recovered. But my opinion changed when I started working with the guys from Elite Archery and Solid broadheads. They have perfected an all-or-nothing approach to hunting longbeards: You aim for the neck. That way, you’ll either miss or get a clean kill shot. No wonder their turkey broadhead is called the D-Cap. Here’s how you do it.
High-let off bows are the way to go with turkeys. Basically you’ll be shooting birds at point-blank range but you need to get the perfect shot angle. You may have to hold at full draw for a minute or two to get the shot you want. So, holding 10 pounds is a whole lot better than holding 30 pounds. Put your heavy duty tackle away or turn your poundage down. A 50-pound draw weight is plenty for head shooting.
A good broadhead is the key to head shooting turkeys. The D-Cap from Solid Broadheads www.solid-broadheads.com/ are just the ticket. The .06-inch blades are sharpened then stropped to a razor edge so they cut at the slightest contact. The blades cover a full 4 inches of diameter so you have some wiggle room as you hold mid-neck. Any contact to the head or neck generally means the head goes in one direction and the body in another.
A good blind is a must, and I don’t mean a pile of bushes. The object is to be on top of the birds without being seen. You can set a turkey blind one evening and hunt it the next morning, but make sure to place the blind where the sun will not shine into it. Also, don’t get silhouetted against an open rear window. Keep it as dark as possible — black clothing is key. Be sure to have ample broadhead clearance for those whirling blades and don’t shoot through window screens.
The trick to taking the head off a gobbler is getting him close and getting him to stand still long enough for the shot. Setting up a jake behind a submissive hen and maybe another feeding hen or two for a realistic looking spread is the way to go. The trick is to wait until the gobbler moves up on the jake and assumes a dominant position. This generally means “up periscope” as he positions himself in front of the jake. Decoys should be set only a few yards from the blind. You need to bring them in tight for a 10-yard shot or less.
For starters, you will need to set a short distance pin. At 5 yards your 20-yard pin will shoot low. Be sure to shoot from a chair or stool if you plan to use one in the blind. Stiff spined arrows with plenty of fletching fly best. Experienced headhunters aim about 5 inches below the head. You should be able to shoot 1-inch groups at this range.