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?
When shooting a turkey with a bow, aim for the neck or head area to ensure a quick death. Make sure you are at the proper angle when taking your shot to prevent wounding or missing entirely. Remember that you must be able to penetrate turkey vitals in order for a successful kill, so make sure your aim is accurate!
Now that you know that, let’s dive into some more detail.
Where to Shoot a Turkey with a Bow from Different Angles
With wild turkey 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.
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.
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.
For most turkey hunters, the rear angle is often considered to be one of the easiest since it gives you a 270-degree vision, and they cannot see you.
When turkeys are turned away from you and standing upright, this is an ideal shot, and aiming for its spine here will yield more accurate results in terms of penetration into vital organs like arteries or a complete paralyzation of the bird.
The spinal column is where most turkeys are hit in order to provide them with quick and effective death as soon as possible so they do not suffer needlessly. However, if your turkey isn’t standing upright, you should aim for the anus instead for a more accurate and often deadlier shot.
Shooting from the front angle is much tougher than shooting from behind but still possible. Here, you should aim four inches below the neck to penetrate important internal organs and further paralyze or even break the spine if your shot is powerful enough.
This area of a turkey’s chest has several vital arteries that can be dammed from this location and quicken its demise quickly so it does not have to suffer. If they are crouching low instead of standing up tall, you can aim just under the beard for a more accurate shot that will bring quicker end results than if you were shooting closer toward its head area or neck region.
The sideways angle is the most common angle turkey hunters use when using archery equipment. This requires precise aim, and you should avoid aiming for most of their breast area since this takes up a large portion of target space and can make it difficult to land an accurate hit.
Instead, focus on shooting in between their top feathery parts towards what is known as “wing crease,” which has very minimal meat but several arteries that are important enough to provide a quick death for the turkey.
Additionally, if you’re not too confident with hitting this small area from your sideways angle, aim down at their heads or necks since these are easy-to-hit shots but require more expertise in aiming while still providing humane yet effective kills when necessary.
Where Not to Shoot
There are a few areas you should not hit when aiming to kill a turkey. One of those areas is the breast area, which takes up most of the 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.
When aiming a bow and arrow at the turkey, the turkey hunter (you) should never aim toward any of these areas. Even though there can be some thick fat in this area, most shots should steer away from trying to shoot the breast as it may often lead to wounding but no kill due to its hard-to-penetrate texture.
Furthermore, one should avoid shooting their legs because their relatively small size makes it highly hard to hit the vital area. Finally, aiming for feathers on top of the turkey can be a hazard due to its ability to ricochet arrows in unpredictable directions.
When bow hunting turkeys with bows and arrows, a more precise aim is required to avoid unnecessary wounding or injury risks that could put them down easily but not kill them effectively. The primary target should be around the neck as this region provides a much bigger, softer target area. Aiming for the head and backbone will also provide good results in killing turkeys with arrows due to their lethality upon direct impact when hitting certain vital areas around this spot.
In addition to avoiding shooting feathers on top of the turkey’s body due to the risk of possible ricochets during an arrow shot. Ensure that one does not try targeting other slopes or parts near the neck, as it may prove difficult to keep a steady aim. Generally, it is recommended to shoot only at vital areas on turkeys as that will eventually lead them down either instantly or by bleeding out.
Over time, if the shot was into this primarily, other locations may likely wound rather than kill the turkey efficiently and ethically during bow hunting sessions.
What to Do After Your Shot
Before moving from your spot, be sure to sit for at least 20 minutes. Depending on how close you were to the bird when it was hit, there is a good chance that if tracking becomes necessary, it will come in handy because by then, blood may have dried, and some of its footsteps faded away.
When you are ready to move towards where the bird had been shot, approach with caution – it is not unheard of for turkeys to stay alive even after being injured by an arrow or projectile such as a shotgun slug.
If tracking becomes necessary, then, by all means, do so – however, the best timing for searching will be during low light phases such as dusk and dawn.
As turkeys are scared of humans, they typically hide in brushy coverages until darkness returns to help them feel safe again. When moving down towards where you believe your turkey might have been located, make sure you are taking your steps slowly and deliberately – if the turkey is injured, it would want to shy away from anything moving quickly.
If done correctly, there should come a time when your prey can no longer flee due to its diminished energy reserves as well as pain and suffering caused by blood loss and injury shock.
Finally, once at close range, any movement towards them will likely serve only in flushing out what remains of their energies which could lead to further distances between yourself & the recovery task ahead.
Resist the urge for quick movements or loud noises – instead, take deep breaths which will help ease into an acceptable distance; then gently walk amongst brushy coverages holding onto hope that with some sweet luck finding him will become plausible.
Now, here are a few common mistakes most beginners make when turkey hunting.
Poor gear can make a significant difference when it comes to turkey hunting.
Firstly, not having quality camouflage that efficiently helps you blend in with the environment is essential. Since turkeys have excellent eyesight, they will spot any suspicious movement from several hundred yards away and quickly fly away.
This means you must have versatile camouflage that can keep up with any shifts or changes in the environment, such as weather, foliage, etc., so operators can stay hidden while hunting for hours if needed.
Additionally, a sharp broadhead is key for a successful hunt, given the rate at which turkeys can move when confronted with danger or startled – they are fast and always keep an eye out on their surroundings, so you have to be quick to act.
Otherwise, your target may fly away before getting hit. Besides the arrow, needing a good quality bow or crossbow is also necessary depending on what type of turkey you plan to take down – bows/crossbows can differ in draw weight, so making sure it’s suitable for your needs and build will help make a difference in having an accurate shot instead of missing shooting entirely. This helps guarantee to achieve success whether hunting with friends or alone.
Finally, certain accessories should also be considered when making your gear as efficient as possible. This includes items such as calls or a turkey decoy which may help attract turkeys by imitating the sounds they’d naturally hear out in nature.
Having this way of luring them in provides an easier chance to get within close range before releasing your arrow. It increases the chances of hitting a successful shot without alarming others nearby.
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Losing Your Patience
Patience in turkey hunting is key. As hunters, we are all guilty of suffering from “buck fever” – that feeling when you find an animal and get too excited or anxious to make a successful shot at it before moving on to another spot. However, this reaction will not work against many treks since turkeys are skittish and can easily get spooked by sudden movements or loud noises.
Therefore, patience must be utilized to give yourself the best chance of success when bowhunting turkey: you should wait until they come close enough for a fairly easy shot before raising your gun.
Do not move out from behind any obstructions while doing so, as this could alert them to your presence sooner than expected. Additionally, incorporating callers into your arsenal can make capturing one easier: turkeys will often respond with their own gobble when a hen sounds out, which adds an additional chance of bringing them by.
Another key tip that helps ensure success is to resist the urge to chase after spooked birds. Turkeys have very quick reflexes and can easily run or fly away at a moment’s notice if alerted to a threat, making it difficult for most hunters to pursue them on foot.
Instead of running after scared turkeys and further spooking the birds in their area into leaving as well, just wait patiently until they come back out again or move onto another spot within the range that gives you ample time for an opportune shot.
Gold-standard patience is essential when bow hunting turkeys; give yourself more opportunities over impulsive reactions, which would lead to wasting ammo and potentially ruining your day without resulting catch whatsoever!
You must remain patient while hunting for turkeys. Unfortunately, beginners often lack the patience needed to succeed in turkey hunting. Typically when hunters are impatient, they rush their shots or are unwilling to spend hours simply sitting and waiting for a flock of birds.
Turkey hunting is all about timing, and having enough patience will ensure your success as a hunter, which can be an especially difficult skill if one lacks experience with wildlife management practice.
Patience should not just apply before taking the shot but, most importantly, after take-off has been initiated because breathing deeply takes time, calibrating gun drop requires precision aiming standards, focus on targeting techniques needs concentration, and then maintaining proper balance so only visual contact remains visible until lead follow through till release triggers final action ending each episode safely towards completion.
Try to get within 30-40 yards of the turkey for the optimal distance.
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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