Bowhunting for Spring Turkeys
by Samantha Lance
The winter season is winding down, and spring is just around the corner. With spring comes my second favorite hunting season, Spring Turkey. There’s nothing better than sitting in the blind and listening to the goose bump-invoking sound of thunder chickens talking the language of love. Turkey hunting with a bow presents a whole new set of challenges, and you must be prepared. A successful bowhunt is an achievement in itself, but with a turkey, the vigilance pays off with a story worth telling.
A blind will be your best bet for bow hunting spring turkeys. It takes more movement to draw and shoot a bow than to shoot a shotgun. Turkeys have impeccable eyesight, and if you’re on the ground, you’re sure to be seen making such big movements to shoot. You should have a blind that is roomy enough for you to sit comfortably with clearance to shoot. Avoid shooting through the screens and snagging your arrow on the material. If you prefer keeping the mesh, make sure your bow is tuned perfectly and the broadheads don’t snag. Position your blind so that the sun doesn’t shine in directly or behind you where your silhouette shows through the windows. Keep the blind dark on the inside, and wear dark clothing, instead of camo, to blend in.
A compound bow offers a bit of an advantage, as the let-off allows you to hold at full draw longer. I shoot a Diamond Infinite Edge with a 48-pound draw and short axle-to-axle length. The short length is perfect for closed quarters and is spot-on for close-range shots. The same broadheads used during deer season work for turkeys, too. Fixed-blade broadheads with 3- or 4-blades are just fine. Mechanical blades offer a wider diameter, but are illegal in some states. Check your state’s hunting regulations to confirm. Guillotine-type broadheads have long blades with extremely wide diameters, made for taking neck shots and completely beheading a gobbler. If you decide to go with guillotines, test shoot them a few times to ensure you’re confident shooting a bird. Reviews say they lose accuracy at distance. Turkeys can see vivid colors, so try to avoid brightly-colored arrows, fletching, and bow accessories.
Practice Makes Perfect
When shooting an arrow, you have only one projectile flying at them versus hundreds of pellets concentrated at their heads. You only get one chance, so staying on top of your shooting game is crucial. Practice taking close-range shots with as little movement as possible, or even from a blind to get used to your surroundings. An instant kill shot or immobilizing them is your best bet to keep from having to track them down. Shoot as if you were really hunting and hone in on the vital kill spots – the lower neck area above the beard, or the body where the primary feathers start on the wings around center mass.