Just about every article on turkey bowhunting starts with the same stale intros: Turkey hunting with a bow is an extremely difficult endeavor, A turkey’s eyesight is so good, etc. Hardcore bowhunters don’t need to be told how difficult it is. They know. It is why they choose to use a bow instead of a shotgun. It is hard work, but more rewarding, and when you approach it from a common sense attitude it does not seem all that intimidating.
The work begins in the offseason, and below are some tips you can do right now to make a spring bowhunt for turkey easier:
Bowhunting turkeys is similar to bowhunting deer. You do not have the luxury of using run-and-gun tactics like the shotgun hunter does. You must know the land, how the gobblers are using the land and how to ambush the turkeys from natural cover or a ground blind. Learn where the birds will be, figure out how you can setup in the area without being detected. You may be surprised how easy it becomes to kill a bird with a bow the first or second sit of the year when you’re armed with this information.
2. Use a Decoy
Once you have pinpointing a place to set up your blind or a place that offers natural cover to shoot from, think about buying a decoy or two. Again, this is just common sense. A decoy attracts the birds to your location and takes their eyes off of you. Place the decoys close (5-10 yards) and out of the line of sight of your location. From your scouting, you should know where the birds are likely to approach from.
3. Learn to use a Mouth Call
You can’t shoot a bow holding a call, so the hands free diaphragm calls are a necessity. Pick one up and learn to make the basic yelp, purr and cutt. But calling is not a substitute for scouting. No matter how good of a turkey caller you are, you can’t call a bird where he does not want to go. Use calls to get the attention of turkeys and trigger them to search or pursue your decoys.
4. Tune Your Bow and Choose your Broadhead with Turkeys in Mind
Turkeys are a much different target than big game animals, and you should adjust accordingly. Think close shots and large cutting diameter broadheads to assure hitting the small vitals. Check these other Wasp Blogs on how to tune your bow and choose the best broadhead for turkey hunting. You want to get the turkeys close and combining decoys with good woodmanship and calling will present a shot closer than you thought was possible.
5. Practice Your Turkey Shots Under Hunting Conditions
Get a life-sized turkey target and make sure you know the best shot placement for turkeys. Practice from a hunting stool, standing, kneeling and sitting positions until you are sure your form is solid and you can hit the target with the broadhead consistently(see more on turkey shot placement here).
With a little preparation and the right archery, decoying and calling gear, getting a close shot on a bowhunting turkeys can be easier than you think. Don’t let all the talk about how hard it is cloud your judgment of common sense. Just put down the gun, stay focused on knowing where the birds will be and make your shot count.