Watch Realtree.com contributor Patrick Meitin's excellent video on bowhunting shot placement for turkeys. View it again if you already have, and on a regular basis. Memory, both muscle and mental, are essential for bowhunting turkeys effectively. – S.H.
When another hunter asks me if I've bowhunted much, I always reply: "Yep, for turkeys."
A second or two passes, accompanied by a puzzled look, which prompts the next question:
"Do you bowhunt deer?"
"No, I've mostly concentrated on turkeys," is my grinning reply.
As a truly hardcore turkey hunter, and I say this with just a little ego and pride, I've hunted the big birds across much of the United States, in over half the states available to us, and even down in Mexico. I've done DIY deals for much of it, but have also had plenty of help from friends in this effort.
I love hunting, watching, eating and thinking about wild turkeys. Spring, fall and winter, I've been out there, where legal, chasing birds. It's fair to call this an addiction I share with many. Heck, I even watch hens with poults all summer . . .
That said, let's get back to the bowhunting for turkeys deal. Why bother? Here are some upsides and downsides to the deal.
First off, I'm the first to say bowhunting turkeys isn't the best way to anchor a bird. A shotgun does that. Boom. Down. Dead. A good bow shot may still see the gobbler fly off, only to die a minute or two later. Woodsmanship is required to find such birds.
What's the answer?
Practice, practice, practice so you're comfortable with your archery equipment. Read posts like this. Talk to other bowhunters. Fine-tune your equipment. Be ready. The wild turkey deserves as much.
Bowhunting seasons for turkeys are often generous, offered in spring, fall and winter, state depending. Be sure to check yours, as a handful only allow spring turkey hunting.
I've truly enjoyed hunting the New Hampshire fall turkey bowhunting season over the years, which runs from Sept. 15 to Dec. 15 annually. Tough to complain about such a generous season, eh. To be honest, I've learned a great deal doing it, even from the mistakes.
The misses, and there have been many – at close range, on open ground, without a blind – are bittersweet recollections. Experience matters most in turkey hunting. Finding, calling and watching wild turkeys over such a long period of time, year after year, educates a guy.
Yep, mistakes teach plenty. I wouldn't change a thing.
This is the attitude you need to adopt. Be patient. Enjoy all of it as you gain archery skills.
Please click through this blog post to get other tips on bowhunting turkeys.
After, you'll have to find your own way as we all do. Enjoy the ride.