Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Turkey Hunting Using a Compound Bow

(Guest column)
© By John Olson

Nothing can compare to taking a wild turkey with a bow. They are very cagey creatures and can be a challenge to harvest using a shotgun, but bagging a turkey with a compound bow is a challenge on a completely different level of difficulty. The first time you shoot a turkey with a bow the excitement is unparalleled as you will have achieved an accomplishment that not many hunters have ever accomplished. This article will highlight several of details that you must pay attention to if you are going to be successful bow hunting wild turkeys.

Like all forms of hunting, scouting and choosing a good site trumps all other activities if you are going to be successful hunting turkeys. Quite simply you cannot shoot a bird if none are in the area. However, when bowhunting turkeys it is a little more complex than hunting in an area where turkeys are present. You must make sure your shooting location is elevated and backs up to a fairly dense and dark set of woods. You need to be slightly elevated so that you can get a good view of the turkey breast when drawing your bow. The kill zone on turkeys is relatively small and with a bow the only true kill zone is the breast area of the bird. If you are not elevated the grass and other pieces of habitat will make it very hard to get a clean shot. The beautiful thing about taking a turkey with a bow is that a broadhead slices through the breast and will not create concussion damage to the breast. You will not have to discard any meat when preparing the bird for your dinner.

In addition, you must also have a fairly dark cover behind you since you will have more motion that when you shoot a gun. Turkeys have an unbelievable ability to see movement and color. The more your camouflage blends in the easier it will be to draw your bow without being seen. A hunter’s nightmare is to finally get a bird in close only to have them flee in panic because of excess movement. I love to find sites that are between the roost and the morning feeding grounds or watering hole.

Use a Reed Call
Mastering a reed call can greatly accelerate a bow hunter’s success rate calling in birds and still be able to get a good clean shot. When bow hunting for turkeys it is nearly impossible to use a box call or scratch call and still be able to pick up a bow, notch an arrow and get a clean kill shot. A reed call eliminates this concern. If you have not used a reed call before expect to take some time to master emulating a turkey. Since a reed call fits in your mouth it allows the hunter to make calls up until the time you release your arrow. In addition, the reed call will allow you to make wider range of calls simply by altering your vocalization through the reed. The reality is that you will need to be able to draw the turkey into a range of 15 – 20 yards to be consistently successful.

This would seem inherently obvious, but most bow hunters are deer hunters and shoot from tree stands or ground blinds at their targets. When turkey hunting you are usually sitting on the ground and making a very precise shot at a small target. I like to practice with small paper plates at 15-20 yards. You should be able to consistently hit a target at this range to be successful turkey hunting. Most hunters shoot high the first time at ground level because of the angle of attack. Make sure to adjust your peep sights for a close target so that you are not surprised when you go into the field. If you are lucky enough to get a shot make it count. Now go dust off that bowhunting equipment and get out and harvest your first turkey.


About the Author
John Olson is an avid bow hunter and outdoorsman who lives in Minnesota. His passions are deer hunting, turkey hunting and fishing for anything that bites. He currently has launched a website www.bowhunterguides.com to educate bow hunters and provide reviews of new equipment.


Anonymous said...

shot my bearded hen from a box blind with a bow. did not shoot through the breast as suggested because it is not the only kill zone. bird flew up and died 20 yrds from where it was hit using an expanding broadhead. i hit it just forewar of the leg destroying the insides and making a quick kill.

Bowninja said...

Awesome post. Most informative. Sounds like the crossbow is the Alabama rig of the archery world. Lots of hype for something that may give you a slight atvantage in some situations. Thank's for sharing.

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