If you want to bow hunt a turkey successfully, then you should first learn where to (accurately) shoot it. Otherwise, you’ll have troubles trying to track down the bird after firing shots.
I remember that I almost gave up bowhunting turkeys after witnessing birds I’ve personally shot run off to die without ever recovering them again. That’s because I didn’t know where to shoot a turkey with a bow.
I know there are many hunters out there undergoing the same experience as I did some years ago. And in this post, I’ll introduce you to 7 proven areas where you can easily shoot a turkey with your bow for a successful hunt.
Let’s get into the details:
#1. Standing Upright, Facing Away
Anytime the turkey is in your range, standing upright, and facing away from you is the opportunity to shoot it. This is mainly because this is the perfect moment to break its backbone with your archery equipment.
As you know, a spine shot will promptly immobilize your target turkey, and it will die faster.But don’t rush things if you ever find yourself in this shot moment. Always ensure that the bird is standing erect with its back facing you. If the bird is moving or walking with its head down, don’t rush into the shooting.
Apparently, the spine is moving, and it will make a poor target for you. Instead, you should consider sweet talking the gobbler into lifting his head by using some sharp (but quiet) clucks or purrs with your call.
#2. Standing Upright, Facing You
The gobbler might also be standing upright, but this time facing towards you - that means another perfect opportunity to shoot him.
However, this will be a tough situation for you given that the bird is looking into your direction. You’ll need to exercise much caution to ensure the bird’s sharp eyesight does not detect any of your movements (unless you’re in a hunting blind).
In such a position, always aim around 4 inches below the base of the bird’s neck.
If you can’t hit this region accurately, you’ve nothing to worry about. Your arrow will still be able to break the bird’s back and hit a portion of his vitals.
#3. Strutting, Facing Away
A turkey walking away in full strut translates to another great opportunity to shoot him.As such an instance, simply draw your bow and aim for his vent (anus/ base of the tail). The biggest advantage when taking on a turkey in this situation is that his fan is fully opened, so he won’t be able to see you quickly.
What’s more, the bird is exposing his entire spinal column as well as the vitals beyond to you.To make it simple to take down the bird in this scenario, I always consider setting up a Jake decoy about 15-20 yards from my stand (directly in front of me). Because the turkeys have a tendency to approach the decoys head on, I also ensure its facing me.
Though not necessary, I also add 1-2 hen decoys to enhance the realism of my setup and make the gobbler I’m after more furious.
You might also need to use a broadhead with high penetration capabilities for the best shots.
#4. Strutting, Facing You
This is the flipside of what we have just discussed above.
Whenever the bird you’re targeting grants you such an opportunity, make sure you aim slightly below the spot where his beard grows out from the feathers. This way, you’re sure to damage his vitals or break his back.
Again, using decoys in such a situation will go a long way in making things much easier for you.You’ll as well need to equip yourself with a large cutting diameter mechanical broadhead to carry out this shot successfully.
#5. Broadside Shot
Unlike what most turkey hunters believe, the turkey vitals are situated farther back and higher on the bird.
As such, the best place to aim at a broadside turkey is where the wing butt connects to the bird’s body.
Check out this video to determine the location of his vitals:
You’ll be able to send your arrow through the drumstick, wing bone, and the vitals with a single devastating impact. This will stop the bird from making any movements - running or flying - meaning you’ll recover it faster.
What if the bird is strutting broadside? At this might, it might be harder for you to see the drumsticks. Let’s discuss how to handle such an incidence next…
#6. Strutting, Broadside Turkey
Surprisingly, this is the shooting opportunity that most turkey hunters are presented with. But not all of them can seize the opportunity and hunt down the bird.
Personally, I have killed a good number of birds in this particular encounter, and you too can do it.
How do I do that? Check out this video:
Well, my secret lies in trying as hard to identify a noticeable band of feathers near the bird’s wing and then aim just on its top edge. In 99% of such encounters, I’ve been able to hit the bird right through the drumstick and into its vitals.
And if you feel that’s too much strain for you can wait for the bird to come out of strut or turn before releasing your arrow. After all, hunting is a waiting game.
#7. Head and Neck Shots
Before we call an end to our list of the best places to shoot a turkey, allow me to discuss the head and neck shots.
Of course, these are the most deadly shots - yet they’re quite challenging to execute.
When the longbeard you are targeting is extremely close, you can take on his head or neck. Hold still, make yourself confident and go for it. You’ll either clean-kill him or miss clean. That makes it a safer option.
NOTE: If you plan to shoot your turkey in the head or neck with your bow and arrow, then you’ll need to go for the broadheads specially designed for this job.
Such heads usually have a large diameter and feature the guillotine style - enabling them to execute their intended job excellently.
Did you enjoy our list of the best places to shoot a turkey?
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re a serious bow hunter, you’ll need to know where to shoot the bird. Among other things, this will help reduce the cases of unrecovered birds.
You might have identified a desirable hunting location, set up your decoys correctly, lure the gobbler into your range, and even have the right archery equipment. But if you don’t shoot the turkey correctly you’ll not be bagging that bird. At least not today!
Make sure you have the above seven crucial arrow placement tips at your fingertips, and you’ll have an easy time hunting down the birds in the woods.
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