Despite what some people may say, using a crossbow to hunt turkeys isn’t easy. The odds are stacked against you from the get-go. For starters, just like with a compound, shot distance is limited, meaning you have to be close to your quarry. As any experienced turkey hunter knows, that increases your chance of getting busted by a longbeard.
However, there are plenty of advantages to using a crossbow. There’s far less movement involved, it’s quieter than using a shotgun and you can mount a scope if it’s legal in your area. Those factors have led plenty of hunters to ditch the stick and string.
Turkey hunting with archery equipment presents us with an opportunity to really challenge ourselves. To see if all those years spent in the woods and all those days of practice have paid off. If you’re just entering the world of crossbow turkey hunting, it’s safe to say your first trip likely won’t be your last. Chasing a gobbler with a crossbow will humble you quickly, but will also leave you addicted.
Choose the Right Broadhead
The best broadhead for turkeys is typically an expandable since it has a wide-cutting diameter capable of inflicting maximum damage to the vital area. The 100-grain Deuler sports a two-plus-inch cutting diameter, which can also be scaled back to one-and-a-half inches for big game. All it takes is rotating a washer located on the head.
The Jak-X is a 100-grain, three-blade expandable broadhead with a 1 3/4-inch cutting diameter. A dual O-ring system retains the blades during flight, guaranteeing proper deployment on impact even with crossbows shooting 380 feet per second or faster. However, when hunting turkeys, it isn’t all about speed. A bow with a lower draw weight delivering less kinetic energy is ideal to harvest a turkey to prevent a pass through.
If you prefer fixed blades, you can’t go wrong with the 150-grain Sledgehammer. It features a solid steel ferrule tipped with a bone-crushing stainless steel trocar tip and a 1 1/16-inch cutting diameter. The Crossbow Boss is a short and aerodynamic 100-grain head that’ll pack a punch with a 1 1/8-inch cutting diameter.
Start now. You’ll want to be shooting consistent groups before heading afield. While it’s faster to become proficient with a crossbow than a compound, practice is still paramount to prevent unnecessarily losing wounded birds.
Practice is paramount when crossbow turkey hunting. Shooting consistent groups before your hunt will ensure you're equipped to make a well-placed shot.
Set Your Ambush
Locate roosts by listening for gobbling and yelping at fly up just before sundown. Then, the next morning set up no closer than 100 yards. Food sources, such as feedlots, food plots or a wooded ridge, are ideal hunting locations. A dusting area, which is a depression in the earth where turkey’s kick dust over themselves to keep clean, is another good ambush spot, especially for a mid-afternoon or late-morning hunt.
All that’s left is making the shot count. Even though your crossbow is capable of shooting past 40 yards accurately, it’s best to keep all your shots within that distance. That will prevent you from wounding a gobbler.