Photo by Tim Christie
You can arrow a turkey from your deer stand–but it’s no gimme shot. Here’s how to do it.
Color Yourself Camo
A deer may let you get away with a shiny face or hands, but seldom a turkey. Wear camo gloves and take a few minutes to paint your face or grab a mask when you head to your stand.
You might stand up when you spot a deer out of range, but that will end the game before it ever starts if you try it on a flock of turkeys. Don’t move a muscle when you see white heads bobbing through the timber. Plan on taking the shot while sitting.
Draw Straight Back
As the birds approach, keep your bow between your knees, shifting them slowly to point toward the incoming flock, and get the release on the string. Draw straight back from your knees, so you don’t skyline the bow, and then shoot with the bow in front of you, rather than to one side. It’s a little awkward, so practice in the off-season.
Take the Middle
If you draw on the first turkey in the flock and spook it, it’ll run away and take the others with it. But if you wait for the last bird and spook it, all your other shot opportunities have gone past. Your best bet is to draw on one of the middle birds. Wait until it passes behind a tree or lowers its head to feed. Some of the turkeys will probably see you and start putting, but not all of them will spook at once. Keep your composure and get the bow back. You have nothing to lose at this point. If the bird you’re drawing on runs, shift to one that’s standing still. Be prepared to shoot fast.
Go for a Drumstick
Most unrecovered bow-hit turkeys are hit in the breast. The shot might have looked good, but it missed the vitals. On a broadside turkey, you need to aim low and break down the bird’s skeleton. Hit him through the hip, just above the drumstick, and he will die a fast death a few yards away.