If you love bowhunting deer, you’re going to love bowhunting turkeys.
Wild turkeys are a challenge and exciting quarry. Wild turkeys see in full color, they have telescopic vision, they eagerly respond to calling, and their meat is far more delicious than a domestic turkey’s meat. Plus, you can use the same bow, arrows, and broadheads you use for deer.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for spring turkey season:
While a gun hunter can go into an area, pick any tree to set up on, and shoot a turkey entering the general vicinity. A bowhunter must find a bird’s exact travel route.
A tactic called “roosting” is a good way to find turkeys. To roost a turkey, visit the site you plan to hunt the next morning, arriving before sunset. Walk to a high point like a hilltop to watch and listen. Turkeys will “shock gobble” at loud noises, but most hunters prefer to incite gobbles with less alarming sounds, like a crow or owl. Make a loud, short burst of crow or owl calls, and then listen for that unmistakable gobble. If you don’t get a response, walk 100 yards and repeat until you hear a gobble and pinpoint where they’re roosted.
When returning before dawn the next morning, set up within 200 yards of the turkey’s roosting tree. Set up your ground blind or conceal yourself in natural cover.
A ground blind conceals the draw and other movements when turkeys get close. Portable ground blinds solve many turkey-hunting challenges by fully concealing the bowhunter. The most critical moment in turkey hunting is drawing a bow unseen, which is why bowhunters prefer ground blinds.
The turkey’s color vision and 180-degree peripheral vision help it see the woods in vivid detail. To fool that keen eyesight, hunters also need full camo that blends with their surroundings. That requires a facemask or face paint, and a camo hat, gloves, pants, and long sleeves.
There are four basic types of turkey calls you can choose from: push-button calls, box calls, slate calls, and diaphragm (mouth) calls.
Push-button models are user-friendly and require little practice to make realistic sounds. Box calls are great for calling loudly to bring in turkeys from long distances. Box calls are also easy to use, but take some practice to produce realistic sounds. Slate calls are easy to use, and can produce a range of loud to subtle calls to bring gobblers in close. Diaphragm (mouth) calls are the most versatile, but most difficult to use. Diaphragm calls sit on the roof of your mouth, and you call by forcing air over the latex reed. These calls take lots of practice to master, but they’re worth it. And because they’re hands-free, you can keep your bow ready while calling.
Identifying a Turkey’s Vitals
Turkey’s vitals are no bigger than an oversized softball, so shot placement is everything. Study up on this guide to lethal arrow placements in a variety of shot scenarios.
The margin for error is small. Turkeys don’t bleed a lot, and they’re hard to track, so it’s important to make a good shot. Know your capabilities and acknowledge your experience level. These factors dictate your shooting distance and your definition of ethical shot placement.
Practicing with Your SpyderWeb Target Seated
Bowhunters usually hunt deer from treestands, but they usually hunt turkeys while seated or kneeling, which is more difficult. Therefore, you must practice drawing and shooting while seated or kneeling. Experiment with shooting positions until you feel comfortable and can shoot your SpyderWeb Target with confidence. You should also practice while wearing your bowhunting clothes and other gear. Get used to it while ensuring it’s quiet and won’t interfere with your shot.
Spring turkey season is a great time to be in the woods. It’s also an excellent reason to pull out your SpyderWeb Target. To start your turkey hunting adventure, check your state wildlife agency’s website for laws and season dates. Also, be sure to check out some of our favorite wild turkey recipes!