Big-game hunters who choose to use a bow instead of a shotgun may have to fight instincts when it comes to turkey shot placement. We’re hardwired to wait for a broadside shot. A broadside shot is the gateway to the vitals on bigger game, but when turkey hunting, a broadside shot is not the only effective shot. The vent at the base of the tail/anus (when a turkey is facing away from you) or the about an inch above where the beard grows out of the body (when a turkey is facing towards you) are great shot opportunities, too.
To increase the likelihood of getting these shot opportunities, stake a turkey decoy 10-15 yards from your blind. Most of the time, a turkey will approach a decoy head on. Make sure the decoy is directly in front of your shooting position and facing you. No matter where the bird comes from, he will likely be facing away from you once he confronts the decoy. As soon as you get a shot, take it. The gobbler may make a move on your decoy quickly, and once he figures out it’s fake, the jig is up. To determine what setups will work best, check out this Turkey Decoy Setup Guide.
A blind that is impenetrable by a turkey’s sight is a huge advantage with this setup. If the longbeard comes in from your 12 o’ clock position, you can shoot him right where the beard grows out of his chest. If you are not confident you can draw without being seen, wait until he turns. If he is strutting, his fan will block his ability to see you. Either way, his focus will be on the decoy and not on you.
When placed correctly, a broadside shot will result in a kill, but there are two big advantages to a chest or tail shot. First, you have a point of reference – the beard or the tail-vent. Also, an arrow running from tail to chest, and vice versa, is sure to pass through the vitals. Using a wide-cutting mechanical broadhead also increases the liklihood of hitting the vitals.
We hope this tip brings you more success this spring. You don’t have to wait for a broadside shot. In fact, a direct shot to the beard or rear-end may be more lethal. What is your thought on the best place to shoot a turkey with a bow?