Everyone has an opinion about the best broadheads for turkey hunting. This is especially true when the subject becomes mechanical versus fixed-blade broadheads. Some prefer wide cuts while others are loyal to deep penetration.
Obviously, you want a broadhead that will deliver a lethal blow, though no matter what you choose it comes down to shot placement. However, if there is a hunting situation where a mechanical broadhead is a better choice than a fixed-blade, it would be bowhunting turkeys.
When discussing broadhead performance, less penetration is generally a negative. With big game, the goal is for your arrow to pass completely through for maximum blood loss. For turkeys, however, a pass-through shot can mean a lost bird. When an arrow doesn’t pass through a turkey, it often pins the wings, making an escape less likely.
There are many ways to lessen penetration. For starters, you can decrease your bow’s draw weight. In the past, hunters have used lighter arrows and added washers or broadhead stoppers to them. Blunted tips is another bygone method. These days, it’s best to simply use a mechanical broadhead.
By design, a mechanical broadhead is less efficient than a fixed blade. It sheds energy when it opens, and the wide-cutting diameters common on most expandable heads reduce penetration. Switch to an aggressive cutting mechanical broadhead, like the Jak-Hammer or Z-Force. The angle of both broadheads’ blades, when fully deployed, efficiently slice through the armor of a turkey and does major damage to the vitals.
Mechanicals are the best broadheads for turkey due to a wide cutting diameter and less penetration.
While a big, hard-hitting mechanical broadhead penetrates less than a fixed-blade, it does inflict more damage. And the 1 5/8-inch cutting diameter of the Z-Force, the 1 3/4-inch cutting diameter of the Jak-Hammer are designed to do just that. The Jak-Knife and Dueler sport a 2-inch cutting diameter, with the option of scaling back the Dueler’s to 1 1/2 inches. That large cutting diameter is ideal for turkeys due to their small kill zone. Just a slight pull when you release your arrow can cause you to miss a gobbler’s vitals.
If you prefer fixed-blade heads, however, the Hammer SST is a good choice for turkeys. Its 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter is perfect for using in states with regulations that prohibit mechanical broadheads or the use of traditional bows delivering lower kinetic energy.
We know it can be hard to use a broadhead different from the one you have been using for years while big game hunting. But, as bowhunters, we owe it to the game we pursue to choose the best gear, become proficient with it and make a clean kill. And in this case, a mechanical broadhead is be the best choice for turkey hunting.