…is upon us. For me, in about 2 weeks as I am writing this article, I will be in the woods chasing them. Every year around the same period, I start getting excited about turkey hunting. I start to practice my calls and rounding up my gear for the upcoming season. Here are the few steps I take to make sure I am on point to try to take a turkey with my bow.
Pictured above: My 2017 turkey, taken with a shotgun
Bow and arrows.
Of course, with a website called “BowHunting Canada” I won’t be taking the shotgun to the turkeys wood this spring, but my bow and arrows. I shoot my bow year around and the next couple of week I want to work on a couple of things. Namely:
- Shooting seated
- Increase the amount of time at full draw
- Making groups with broadheads
Archery leagues are a great place to shoot year around, even here in Canada with indoor shooting being possible in many places year around. I would suggest getting into 3d shoots if you want to up your skill as a bowhunter.
Of course, shooting as often as I do will help me, but I also need to make sure that I properly fine tune all of my gear to be at the top of my game. So don’t forget to take care of your equipment, it’ll take care of you back. Be sure to properly wax your bowstring, tighten any loose screws and paper tune your rest. Winter is the perfect season to take care of it.
An important topic to consider is broadheads. My opinion is that consistency and accuracy come first. To shoot as small a target as a turkey require to make a good shot, so you should choose to shoot a broadhead that is as accurate as possible. Personally, I like mechanical as I feel they provide more forgiveness for a marginal shot, but to each their own. I also take the time required to study turkey vital zone diagram. While bowhunting turkey, you can decide to shoot for the head/neck or the “traditional” vital zone. I would advice getting comfortable knowing your effective distance and knowing the turkey vital placement as well as you can before heading on the hunt.
Pictured above: Bloodsport Archery Night Fury broadhead
We don’t have a ton of decoys, in fact, we own two; a jake and a “breeder position” hen, both by AxianX. Those decoys served us well in the last two years and I intend on continuing their usage this year also. I feel I can get most out of the situation with both of those decoys. Of course, having more options would be great to adapt to any situation, but I think that with those two decoys, I can remain mobile and still get the best bang for my bucks.
Pictured above: Avian X Breeder turkey decoy
If you can only buy one decoy, get a hen for sure. In the end, it’s still what the gobblers are interested in. The jake is only there to hopefully provoke the tom into closing the distance.
Unless we are talking about bows, what gets me the most excited about hunting is calling. I love calling. For this reason, I have a couple of turkey call and practice with them often. As a bowhunter, I require having at least one diaphragm call that you are comfortable with. This is the most important to master since you can call without movement, or even while at full draw. This is critical especially for us bowhunter since we need to be as near as possible of the bird for the shot.
Pictured above: Multiple turkey calls, by Recall Design
I also have a couple of friction calls, as well as a crow call. The crow call is used in the morning when the birds are still roosted up to locate them. I mainly use this when I couldn’t “roost” the birds the preceding evening.
Clothing and accessories
I don’t own any specialized turkey clothing or accessories. In fact, I hunt in the same clothing as my deer hunting. I don’t even own a turkey vest and I don’t feel hindered by that. Sure it would be nice to transport all of my calls, but I’m sure it would limit me when drawing my bow. What I want as a bowhunter is to be silent and agile in my movement. I try to carry everything on myself or in my backpack, each decoy has its own bags and they are already quite bulky by themselves. They only special thing I bring is a Thermarest seat. I provide me with ample comfort I need when hunting.
How I plan to hunt
This will be my first year trying turkey with a bow and arrow. Having watched and read multiple sources online, I have come with the following plan. First, find the bird in the morning, but that goes without saying. They use the same field for the last two year as their main strutting area, so this is often quite easy. The only problem is that it is a neighboring property that I don’t have permission to hunt. However, I intend on setting a ground blind near the edge of that property and setting up my decoy in view of them but on land that I have permission to hunt and try to get them to cross.
I am sure that hunting from a ground blind will be far beneficial to me as a bowhunter than trying the old sitting against a tree technique. Last year I killed my turkey at around 8 to 10 meters away from me. But I would never have been able to draw my bow since the turkey was almost to the point of busting us.
I am something that thrives on goals. I find it is highly important to fix yourself some goal when planning something. Be realistic and set yourself for success. For this year, my goal is to tag a single turkey with my bow, I don’t intend on targeting bigger tom or anything like that, any single turkey with my bow will satisfy me. We can tag two bearded turkeys every spring in the zone that I am. I would also like to get my wife involved as much as possible and try to get her to kill her first turkey as well.
Those are my goals for 2018 and I hope to be able to achieve them. I have set aside some time off from work and with the generous 3 week season, we have here I feel this is achievable.
Pictured above: Bringing the turkey back to the car, from the 2017 season