Bowhunting Turkey Tips – Part 1

By Jason Reid

AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -( What does it really take to take a gobbler with a bow? Yes, we understand it is difficult as turkeys are notorious for evading decoys and seeing everything. Sometimes it seems hard enough to kill on with a gun. Yet with the expansion of quality ground blinds it seems like more people are trying their hand at bowhunting for turkeys.

Most seasons are over or are winding down but some of the north eastern states have yet to open. One of the reasons I want to bow hunt for gobblers is because of what Gone Wild Outdoors Andrew Gue refers to as the three yard experience. We bow hunt for many reasons but the ability to have a closer experience with the wild is certainly at the top of the list. Every aspect of the hunt is much more intimate and is what I want to experience.

I reached out to Andrew after watching the compilation turkey kill video he produced and it aired on the Hoyt Archery Youtube channel figuring he knew a thing or two about bowhunting gobblers.

What do hunters need to take into consideration when setting up their pop-up blinds?

“One of the most important things is the direction of the sun,” Gue says. “Just like when using a gun, stay in the shadows of the blind and try to set up so the sun won’t shine directly into blind and illuminate your outline.” Wearing a black shirt, gloves, and balaclava will help you disappear inside the blind.

Any age can enjoy success with a bow.
Anyone at any age can enjoy success with a bow.

Should hunters purposely create a set for a tighter shot?

“Yes, forget the 20 yard rule for decoy placement. I like setting my decoys under 10 yards,” Gue commented. “The last few seasons I've been putting my decoys out only three to five yards. This is what I refer to as the “3-yard experience“. Gue also mentioned he would recommend younger bowhunters putting their decoys out around ten yards since having birds at near point blank distances requires much more finesse and nerve.

What is a good maximum shot distance?

Gue says, “I don't like shooting birds past 20 yards. I have on occasion, but I prefer close shot opportunities. I still body shoot birds if I need to but my preferred method now is head shooting. The closer that baseball size target is the better. I will add, as a bow hunter you need to be willing to let that bird walk if you only have a marginal shoot. Shot placement is so critical on a turkey. Its better to let him walk off and try another set-up then stretch your shot wounding the bird. A turkey seems to always be moving so take that into consideration when thinking about those longer shots.”

Pull birds in for tight bow shots by setting decoys closer to your blind.
Pull birds in for tight bow shots by setting decoys closer to your blind.

Is it critical to “brush in” pop-up blinds or do you usually just set up and hunt?

“Unlike deer you can pop-up the blind in the middle of a 100 acre field and the birds will still walk right to it,” Gue says. “I have seen birds shy away from a ground blind when used for gun hunting.”

Just how critical is understanding shot placement?

“It's an extremely small vital area,” Gue says. “You see this big ball of feathers and feel like you can't miss. If you take your hand and create a fist, this is the size of a turkeys vitals. A turkey's head while strutting is roughly the same size of his vitals except the vitals are covered by thousands of feather. That's why I started head shooting. The turkeys exposed head seems a lot easier to lay my pin on.”

Keeping composure can be difficult, but leads to filled tags.
Keeping composure can be difficult, but leads to filled tags.

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About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bowhunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits. Jason's work can be viewed on his website

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