Where to Shoot a Turkey with a Bow [What You Have to Know]

So, you’re out turkey hunting with your bow and arrow, and you want to know where to shoot a turkey with a bow. Often, when you hit a non-vital spot, they’re off running. So, where do you aim to ensure a kill?

To ensure a humane kill, it’s typically best practice to aim for the neck, head, or spine, providing the fastest possible death. Your shot may not be able to penetrate vital organs. But, you must also consider which angle you’re shooting from.

Now that you know that let’s dive into some more detail.

With turkey hunting season upon us, we need to know precisely where to shoot the turkey to ensure a clean kill. Although proper equipment is always recommended, knowing the right target spot is a lot more critical.

Depending on the angle you’re shooting your turkey, you can hit different areas to ensure a clean kill. Most of these areas are small, so you can often choose between these areas and the head and neck.

Rear Angle

You’re in luck if you have a rear angle. I often find this is the easiest, not only because they cannot see you with your 270-degree vision, but because I consider this a fairly easy shot.

If your turkey is turned away from you, I often find that aiming for its spine is the easiest and most effective.

This is because when you hit the spine, it paralyzes the bird and the turkey will probably die soon after.

But, if the turkey is not standing upright, it’s a little bit different. In this case, aiming for the anus of the turkey will be your best bet.

Forward Angle

If the turkey is facing you, you should aim for 4-inches below the neck.

When you shoot through this location, you penetrate several vital organs, and if your shot is strong enough, most likely the backbone as well.

This is a tough spot the hit, but a lot easier than a headshot.

In the case that the turkey is not standing upright, you can aim a little under its beard.


This is the most common angle for turkey hunters. 

This has a small opening area. You don’t want to aim for the breast meat, which takes up a large portion of the turkey. Instead, you want to aim for the “wing crease” of the turkey. This is just below their top feathery part and below their breast meat.

The neck and head are also good options in any scenario.

Where Not to Shoot

There are a few areas you should not hit when aiming to kill a turkey. One of those areas is their breast area, which takes up most of their body. Often, that fat there is too thick for the bow to penetrate a vital organ.

You also don’t typically want to aim for the legs. Their legs are relatively small, and you’re probably better off aiming for the head of the neck because those give you a bigger target.

Finally, this may not be super obvious, but the top of the bird has a lot of feathers – you don’t want to be aiming for feathers.

What to Do After Your Shot

After you shoot your turkey, don’t move! Don’t run after it because that will most likely worsen the situation. If you shot the bird and the bird is still up, they won’t go far – and the last thing you want to do is chase after them, giving them an adrenaline rush.

Remember to be patient when hunting turkey, like with any big animal.

Common Mistakes

Now, here are a few common mistakes most beginners make when turkey hunting.

Poor Gear

A lot of the time, it comes down to skill, but that doesn’t mean gear isn’t essential.

Having quality gear that you can rely on is a must. Things you need include camouflage that makes you blend in with the environment, sharp arrows, a solid bow or crossbow, and more.

Losing Your Patience

Losing your cool does not mean you should just run after it or shoot an unsure shot.

The right time will come; you just have to wait it out. Most of the time, a prime oppurtunity will present itself in under 30 minutes. You do not want to take off and run after them – they can run 25 mph, and last I checked, you aren’t Usain Bolt.

Incorrect Distance

Being too far or close to the turkey is not a good thing. You want to get just the right distance.

Being around 30-40 yards from your turkey is a good amount because that isn’t too close or too far.

Final Words

If you can find a lone turkey, you’re lucky because those are much easier than a pack of turkeys. Your turkey deserves a clean, humane kill, so make sure to take notes of everything you learned here today.

We hope you learned where to shoot a turkey with a bow and if you want the best crossbows under $400 or how to hunt with a slingshot, check out those articles.

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