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The Turkey Roost

Where to aim on a Turkey?

Uploaded on January 16, 2009

I've always seen people shoot Turkeys in the head and thought that was the way to do it. I am going on my first turkey hunt tomorrow and I am planning on shooting for the head, but I recently read that some hunters aim for the base of the neck. I want to hear from the "neck shooters" side of the argument, and why you guys shoot for the neck. What advantages does shooting for the neck offer?

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from herbie57_57 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

It really depends on the range the bird is at how high up I aim. If its a little further out I'll shoot at the head. At 10-15 yards though I shoot at the neck just to try and put the head and neck both in my pattern. As long as you're using a shotgun there will be pellets in the head and neck, you might consider getting some turkey head targets and seeing how many pellets you have in this zone aiming at different points.

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from hunt_fish_sleep wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I am using a Remington 870 Super Mag with 3.5 inch Nitro Turkey's with 2 ounces of number 5. Going to be shooting them through a Remington factory Extra Full turkey choke.

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from herbie57_57 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

Every gun is a little different even 1 870 to the next. It doesn't take 2 min to pattern your gun though.

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from usmcturkey wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I always aim for the middle of the neck, that way you get the most pellets in the neck or head. If you aim to high at the head you may miss completely.

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from teebox25 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I have always aimed for the neck in hopes of getting the neck and head with the pattern, I see I am not alone on this. I would def get out and pattern your 870 with the choke, if you haven't already

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

Shoot for the base of the neck. This is what I call the "Wattle Hold." This hold allows you to concentrate the effective part of the shot pattern for the most hits in the head and neck. I've used this hold for over 20 years and I have never had a gobbler complain!

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I aim at the feather line on the neck -- about the same as Beekeeper's wattle hold. If I miss a little high, which is the most common aiming error, I'll still hit the head. If I'm on target, I get the head and the neck. Also, if you're using a shotgun with a plain bead, holding on the head completely obstructs your view of the bird.

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from Laura Bell wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Base of the neck is my aim also. I did, however, find out that if you hit a little low you might be in for a short chase. :(

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

Phil's advice is right on I aim for the featherline also. Many guns naturally tend to shoot a little high. If you raise your head on the stock and aim at the head you will miss high. Aim at the neck and you will still hit the head. Here's another tip Just before you shoot give a cluck with a diaphram call. The gobbler will raise his head extending the neck and giving you a better target to shoot at.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from CRAWLIFE wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

Sounds like Del knows what he's talking about. I like to do the same because it gives you the upper hand knowing that he'll probably raise his head looking for you.If you don't like a diaphragm but you know you got him and can't get his head up, sometimes just a quick whistle will get his attention.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from NYhunter wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Aim for the center of the neck and then if you shoot to high you will hit the head. But if shoot to low you will hit the base of the neck.

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from shane wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Learn exactly where your gun shoots and how it patterns, and get deadly good with it. Aim right at his eyeball. If you ever miss, you aren't calling them in close enough.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I agree w/ most of you. It does depend on your sight/gun combo. My gun has fiber optic sights, and I line up the 3 dots w/ the head and a bit of the neck above them. I use a loud PUT PUT right before I shoot, or my kid's shoot because I can do it easily w/ or w/out a call n my mouth.

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from huntingbabe wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I always shoot at where the neck meets the body because when shoot the turkey and kill it the shot hits the spine and makes a dead kill. If you shoot a turkey target and you aim where the neck touches the body you will see where one or more shots hit the spine and if you hit the spine it kills the turkey clean!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Reid Jones wrote 5 years 1 week ago

shoot for the base of the neck. if you're aiming for the head, the turkey might move right before you shoot, and you'll miss. the base of the neck won't move unless the turkey's legs move.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Taylor3535 wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I have a fantastic website that I was just given today that shows turkey anatomy and where to shoot on the turkey. It's a great site!

http://www.elitearchery.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12531
Must scroll down

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from Taylor3535 wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I forgot to say the above site is for Bow hunting turkey only!! :-)

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from squirrelhunter wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

i shoot for the neck because of two reasons
if u shoot low u will get the vitals of the neck and the chest wich will kill a turkey cleanly
if u shoot high u will hit all head
and if u aim top of head and shoot high you will miss
hope this helps

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Skeeb wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

It depends on how close the bird is to me. If it is within 20 yds, base of the neck, right where the feathers start. Beyond 20 is the head for me.

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from Centralpenn wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

Most of the birds Ive taken, I aim at the base of the neck. The other couple were flying and I aimed at the head.

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from Taylor Kash wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

It really depends on the distance and angle and all that, i would rather just just below the head because I have shot low before and paid for it, I shot the beard off, only about 2 inches were left

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from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I suggest aiming for the middle above the legs (with a bow; at the wings.) This will pin his wings down so he can't fly. With a shotgun, aim for the middle of the neck. And this will blow his head "clean off."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Millerman58 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I have two Winchester 1300 in 12 guage. A 26 inch barreled in full choke for fall and one in 18 inch barrel in extra full for spring. Either way I put the bead about the "chin" or base of head on neck. This usually puts the pattern on all of the head and neck, not hitting the breast at all and usually not requiring a second shot unless the birds 35 -40 plus yards away.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

I'm with beekeeper/Del(MASTERS of turkey)
If youaim at the "feather line/lower neck" you'll be fine.
That's the way I was taught by Grand-dad, who DID'NT hunt deer, because "anybody can kill a deer".

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sandman4182 wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

Well it all depends on how far you are. If you are close letas say 15 yrd your pattern dosent have time to fully deploy so I would aim at more at the base of the neck and try to not hit the meat. If im 25 to 45 yrds I tryi to aim for the middle of the neck or even the head if its more on the 25 yrd range.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from metsfan6734@yah... wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

With a red dot scope if you know your on then I aim at the head, but with sights or rail i go for the neck just behind the beak.

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from metsfan6734@yah... wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

the only problem with shooting at the base of the kneck is that your probably going to ruin some meat in the breast, which is usually the best part.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Biting down on a copper plated pellet is exactly why I've adopted the "aim high" philosophy. I figure you have a pattern, not a single projectile. You'll send some of the pattern over him, but it will still hit on and below the head. Haven't missed yet, no runners either. Just as dead as when I used the proper waddle hold, but now with no dentists involved.

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from crosbychief wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

It is to late to weigh on this, but that has never stopped me before- I take a different approach than most do- I use a REmington 11-87 with a low-power scope, loaded with 3" shells, one and seven-eights of # 4 lead. When I have a stationary tom, which has been all 7 of my birds to date, I hold the crosshairs on the tom's head and then, as I began to squeeze the trigger, raise it up a tiny bit higher. Part of my success with this tactic has been luck, admittedly...but I have never missed a bird, nor have I ever had to chase a bird...and 6 of those, when plucked for the table, lacked a single BB hole in the breast.

OK, OK, some day I will probably miss one...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shermanator wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

it all depends aiming for the neck or the head are both good placement on the bird because if you aim at the neck i have found that even it i flinch i will probably hit the head so its all good but also when i am a bit further away when i aim for the neck i have had better success rate were at bigger distances aiming at the head i have missed more often so for me it all depends on the range if the bird is closer i will aim for the head if its a bit further off i am aiming for the neck

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rlowe357 wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

I have to go with the low to middle of the neck like most everybody else. Your pretty much guaranteed a dead bird!

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from tennesseedeerhunter wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

with a scope i aim for the head with iron sights i aim about 3 in below the head

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jetdriver wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Deer Fever!! What ever!! Hearing a turkey fly down and gobble with-in 50 yds. Priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Know your gun. Know your pattern.
I missed a shot 2 yrs ago because I had to wait for the three toms to spread out. Missed from 15 ft because the load did not spread. Took a tom at 50 yrds that ran the wrong way.(the other 2 ran to the woods).
Good Luck!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jetdriver wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Forget to say, aim between the top of the body and the top of the head.

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from totaloutdoorsman94 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Base of the neck is the way to go for any pattern - you're pattern with a full choke will encircle the neck and head, but if you focus on the head half or more of you're pattern (depending on how close of course) will pass clean over the birds head. Quick kill shot with base of the neck.

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from James McKay wrote 20 weeks 2 days ago

so then whrers the best place to shoot a turkey

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from BowieKnifeBob wrote 10 weeks 3 days ago

Base of the neck is the way to go. The shot will always hit that central nervous/spine system and drop the bird. If you aim for the head you will probably shoot over the bird or miss it if he moves.

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from TimM wrote 2 weeks 3 days ago

Pattern your shotgun. Different guns have different aim points. Get you some big peaces of cardboard. Put you a aim point in the middle and then aim for the dot. That will show you were the load your shooting is hitting. Then youll know where you need to aim. You can also put a red dot or a scope on your gun to. Sight it in and your ready. Good hunting and good luck on your first tom.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from a_handley wrote 18 hours 56 min ago

As long as your beads or red dot is somewhere on the head you should be fine shooting anywhere on it. The bird shot will cover the head if properly sited in.

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

Shoot for the base of the neck. This is what I call the "Wattle Hold." This hold allows you to concentrate the effective part of the shot pattern for the most hits in the head and neck. I've used this hold for over 20 years and I have never had a gobbler complain!

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from herbie57_57 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

It really depends on the range the bird is at how high up I aim. If its a little further out I'll shoot at the head. At 10-15 yards though I shoot at the neck just to try and put the head and neck both in my pattern. As long as you're using a shotgun there will be pellets in the head and neck, you might consider getting some turkey head targets and seeing how many pellets you have in this zone aiming at different points.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from usmcturkey wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I always aim for the middle of the neck, that way you get the most pellets in the neck or head. If you aim to high at the head you may miss completely.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from hunt_fish_sleep wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I am using a Remington 870 Super Mag with 3.5 inch Nitro Turkey's with 2 ounces of number 5. Going to be shooting them through a Remington factory Extra Full turkey choke.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from herbie57_57 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

Every gun is a little different even 1 870 to the next. It doesn't take 2 min to pattern your gun though.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Laura Bell wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Base of the neck is my aim also. I did, however, find out that if you hit a little low you might be in for a short chase. :(

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

Phil's advice is right on I aim for the featherline also. Many guns naturally tend to shoot a little high. If you raise your head on the stock and aim at the head you will miss high. Aim at the neck and you will still hit the head. Here's another tip Just before you shoot give a cluck with a diaphram call. The gobbler will raise his head extending the neck and giving you a better target to shoot at.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from CRAWLIFE wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

Sounds like Del knows what he's talking about. I like to do the same because it gives you the upper hand knowing that he'll probably raise his head looking for you.If you don't like a diaphragm but you know you got him and can't get his head up, sometimes just a quick whistle will get his attention.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntingbabe wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I always shoot at where the neck meets the body because when shoot the turkey and kill it the shot hits the spine and makes a dead kill. If you shoot a turkey target and you aim where the neck touches the body you will see where one or more shots hit the spine and if you hit the spine it kills the turkey clean!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Reid Jones wrote 5 years 1 week ago

shoot for the base of the neck. if you're aiming for the head, the turkey might move right before you shoot, and you'll miss. the base of the neck won't move unless the turkey's legs move.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I suggest aiming for the middle above the legs (with a bow; at the wings.) This will pin his wings down so he can't fly. With a shotgun, aim for the middle of the neck. And this will blow his head "clean off."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Millerman58 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I have two Winchester 1300 in 12 guage. A 26 inch barreled in full choke for fall and one in 18 inch barrel in extra full for spring. Either way I put the bead about the "chin" or base of head on neck. This usually puts the pattern on all of the head and neck, not hitting the breast at all and usually not requiring a second shot unless the birds 35 -40 plus yards away.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

I'm with beekeeper/Del(MASTERS of turkey)
If youaim at the "feather line/lower neck" you'll be fine.
That's the way I was taught by Grand-dad, who DID'NT hunt deer, because "anybody can kill a deer".

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sandman4182 wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

Well it all depends on how far you are. If you are close letas say 15 yrd your pattern dosent have time to fully deploy so I would aim at more at the base of the neck and try to not hit the meat. If im 25 to 45 yrds I tryi to aim for the middle of the neck or even the head if its more on the 25 yrd range.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from metsfan6734@yah... wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

the only problem with shooting at the base of the kneck is that your probably going to ruin some meat in the breast, which is usually the best part.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from crosbychief wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

It is to late to weigh on this, but that has never stopped me before- I take a different approach than most do- I use a REmington 11-87 with a low-power scope, loaded with 3" shells, one and seven-eights of # 4 lead. When I have a stationary tom, which has been all 7 of my birds to date, I hold the crosshairs on the tom's head and then, as I began to squeeze the trigger, raise it up a tiny bit higher. Part of my success with this tactic has been luck, admittedly...but I have never missed a bird, nor have I ever had to chase a bird...and 6 of those, when plucked for the table, lacked a single BB hole in the breast.

OK, OK, some day I will probably miss one...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shermanator wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

it all depends aiming for the neck or the head are both good placement on the bird because if you aim at the neck i have found that even it i flinch i will probably hit the head so its all good but also when i am a bit further away when i aim for the neck i have had better success rate were at bigger distances aiming at the head i have missed more often so for me it all depends on the range if the bird is closer i will aim for the head if its a bit further off i am aiming for the neck

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jetdriver wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Deer Fever!! What ever!! Hearing a turkey fly down and gobble with-in 50 yds. Priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Know your gun. Know your pattern.
I missed a shot 2 yrs ago because I had to wait for the three toms to spread out. Missed from 15 ft because the load did not spread. Took a tom at 50 yrds that ran the wrong way.(the other 2 ran to the woods).
Good Luck!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TimM wrote 2 weeks 3 days ago

Pattern your shotgun. Different guns have different aim points. Get you some big peaces of cardboard. Put you a aim point in the middle and then aim for the dot. That will show you were the load your shooting is hitting. Then youll know where you need to aim. You can also put a red dot or a scope on your gun to. Sight it in and your ready. Good hunting and good luck on your first tom.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from teebox25 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I have always aimed for the neck in hopes of getting the neck and head with the pattern, I see I am not alone on this. I would def get out and pattern your 870 with the choke, if you haven't already

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I aim at the feather line on the neck -- about the same as Beekeeper's wattle hold. If I miss a little high, which is the most common aiming error, I'll still hit the head. If I'm on target, I get the head and the neck. Also, if you're using a shotgun with a plain bead, holding on the head completely obstructs your view of the bird.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NYhunter wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Aim for the center of the neck and then if you shoot to high you will hit the head. But if shoot to low you will hit the base of the neck.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I agree w/ most of you. It does depend on your sight/gun combo. My gun has fiber optic sights, and I line up the 3 dots w/ the head and a bit of the neck above them. I use a loud PUT PUT right before I shoot, or my kid's shoot because I can do it easily w/ or w/out a call n my mouth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Taylor3535 wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I have a fantastic website that I was just given today that shows turkey anatomy and where to shoot on the turkey. It's a great site!

http://www.elitearchery.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12531
Must scroll down

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Taylor3535 wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I forgot to say the above site is for Bow hunting turkey only!! :-)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from squirrelhunter wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

i shoot for the neck because of two reasons
if u shoot low u will get the vitals of the neck and the chest wich will kill a turkey cleanly
if u shoot high u will hit all head
and if u aim top of head and shoot high you will miss
hope this helps

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Skeeb wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

It depends on how close the bird is to me. If it is within 20 yds, base of the neck, right where the feathers start. Beyond 20 is the head for me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Centralpenn wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

Most of the birds Ive taken, I aim at the base of the neck. The other couple were flying and I aimed at the head.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Taylor Kash wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

It really depends on the distance and angle and all that, i would rather just just below the head because I have shot low before and paid for it, I shot the beard off, only about 2 inches were left

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from metsfan6734@yah... wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

With a red dot scope if you know your on then I aim at the head, but with sights or rail i go for the neck just behind the beak.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Biting down on a copper plated pellet is exactly why I've adopted the "aim high" philosophy. I figure you have a pattern, not a single projectile. You'll send some of the pattern over him, but it will still hit on and below the head. Haven't missed yet, no runners either. Just as dead as when I used the proper waddle hold, but now with no dentists involved.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rlowe357 wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

I have to go with the low to middle of the neck like most everybody else. Your pretty much guaranteed a dead bird!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jetdriver wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Forget to say, aim between the top of the body and the top of the head.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from totaloutdoorsman94 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Base of the neck is the way to go for any pattern - you're pattern with a full choke will encircle the neck and head, but if you focus on the head half or more of you're pattern (depending on how close of course) will pass clean over the birds head. Quick kill shot with base of the neck.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from James McKay wrote 20 weeks 2 days ago

so then whrers the best place to shoot a turkey

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BowieKnifeBob wrote 10 weeks 3 days ago

Base of the neck is the way to go. The shot will always hit that central nervous/spine system and drop the bird. If you aim for the head you will probably shoot over the bird or miss it if he moves.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from a_handley wrote 18 hours 56 min ago

As long as your beads or red dot is somewhere on the head you should be fine shooting anywhere on it. The bird shot will cover the head if properly sited in.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Learn exactly where your gun shoots and how it patterns, and get deadly good with it. Aim right at his eyeball. If you ever miss, you aren't calling them in close enough.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tennesseedeerhunter wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

with a scope i aim for the head with iron sights i aim about 3 in below the head

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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