As the snow melts away, my mind starts to turn towards turkey hunting with traditional archery equipment. Now is the best time to make sure you have all your gear ready for hunting turkeys. When the first day of turkey hunting arrives you need to have confidence that your gear performs when you get within bow distance of a strutting tom turkey.
The number one thing I hear bowhunters talking about is finding the right broadhead for turkey hunting. The wing of a wild turkey is difficult to penetrate and does a good job protecting the vitals, which is why I like a cut-on contact type broadhead. I want the broadhead to penetrate, but not pass through. Dirt Nap has a turkey broadhead called the Shred Head which does just that, it penetrates well, but the separated edges limits how far the broadhead actually goes inside the bird.
If you are happy with the way your current broadheads perform and just looking for a way to slow the arrow down, you might want to consider using Zwickey Scorpios Broadhead Stoppers. These are placed directly behind the broadhead. After the broadhead hits the target, they slide back to the end of the shaft, slowing penetration down. They work really well and are a great option to consider.
I have found decoys to be very effective for getting toms within bow shooting range. Although I hate carrying the big bulky decoys around with me while I’m turkey hunting. Montana Decoys offer a couple of great solutions.
I generally set up a blind and wait for the turkeys to come in on their own and this is where I prefer the Montana Decoy Purr-Fect Pair Turkey Decoys. These decoys fold up small enough to fit into a pack, are easy to setup, and have a very realistic look about them. Setting up the jake and hen pair really drives a boss tom crazy and almost always seems to bring him in. The other great thing about this setup is the fact that the tom is focusing on the decoys, not you. It makes it much easier to draw a bow back and avoid detection with this system.
When the hunting is slow and you want to be more active searching out the toms, the Fanatic XL Turkey Reaping Decoy is the decoy to have. This large decoy helps conceal the hunter while allowing freedom of movement to shorten the range when you start stalking turkeys that are out of range. The mesh window keeps the hunter behind the decoy, yet still be able to see in front. It also has both the front and rear image of an actual wild turkey to further enhance toms.
Another thing about turkeys is that they typically don’t leave much of a blood trail. A string tracker can make a short job out of what would be a long trail. The Leather String Tracker works by attaching a small spool of string to the riser of your bow. The string is then tied to the front of the arrow. After the release of an arrow, the string starts unwinding from the spool. From there, it’s just a matter of following the string to your turkey.
Wild turkeys can be surprisingly difficult to bring down. Many bowhunters misjudge the small vital locations on turkeys and learning proper shot placement is important. One of the best ways to learn is shooting targets. I prefer the Animal Vitals Master Turkey Targets as the vital sections add a nice feature to their life-like targets.
Other Turkey Necessities:
For turkey hunting, you’ll find a wide variety of needs that can help you become more successful. A wild turkey has great eyesight that can easily spot movement. So it’s crucial to remain still while hunting out of a blind. For me, that means I have to be comfortable to keep from fidgeting. I almost always carry a chair with me when I’m turkey hunting. The Redneck Portable Hunting Blind Chair does a good job and works well on uneven ground as the legs are adjustable. It’s easy to carry and the seat swivels allowing you to turn without a lot of movement.
One thing that is an absolute must for me when turkey hunting is to use some type of tick repellant. While mosquitos are bad enough, ticks can carry Lyme disease that can cause serious health issues. Ben’s 100 Deet is what I like to use and have found that it works well on keeping these insects away.
A facemask is another item I always keep in my pack. QuietWear makes a 3D Grassy Camo Facemask that does an awesome job. It’s made like in a ghillie-like style that really blends in and well worth the price.
I also like to carry a set of ratchet shears with me. I use them for numerous situations, but mostly for clearing out places where I’m going to make a ground blind and shooting lanes. They don’t weigh a lot and come in handy so often that it’s another item I always carry with me.
One last thing I keep in my pack is some camo rope. Obviously, it comes in handy for so many numerous things. I find myself using it not only for tying down blinds, but also to help haul my turkey out of the woods. I tie a loop with a slip knot and slide the turkey’s legs through it beneath the spurs, and then I tie a stick around the other end for a handle. This makes it easy to sling the turkey around my shoulder using the stick as a handle.
Now that the weather is starting to break, it’s time to start getting ready for turkey hunting. Getting a turkey with a traditional bow can be difficult, but a very rewarding experience for those that put in the time and effort to be successful.
By R. Strong