How to Bowhunt Spring Turkeys without a Blind

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do You Have What It Takes to Do This?

Prepare Your Equipment

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1 | Prepare Your Equipment

It’s very important to properly prepare your equipment — especially when hunting turkeys out in the open. You need to be able to shoot it efficiently and effectively from a sitting position in order to score on turkeys.

“Have a properly tuned bow that you’re able to shoot sitting down and also be able to draw smooth in the same position you will be hunting in,” Virga said. “Practice shooting frequently. Practice all ranges you’re comfortable with (I personally recommend under 30). Also, practice drawing slow when that gobbler is in range. Practice like you play. Have the same gear with you when you’re target shooting, so when the time comes, you have no technicalities afield. Visualize a gobbler at your decoy with each arrow.”

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Photo credit: Heartland Bowhunter

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Camo Your Bow

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2 | Camo Your Bow

Blending in with your environment is vital. Understanding what it takes to do so is equally important. For starters, wear Realtree camo to break up the human form and also to blend into your surroundings. Then, choose a bow that has camo on it, then add some natural vegetation to provide further cover.

“You always hear the term ‘be one with the woods,’” Virga said. “Try to blend in the best you can. Both you and your bow. Wear Realtree EDGE head-to-toe to try and fool that gobbler. I like to wear a leafy camo-top in Realtree to break up my appearance. Visit your local craft store and purchase artificial leaves and ferns and dress your bow to help add to the process. The closer he is with the bow in hand the better you’ll make a good, ethical shot.”

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Photo credit: Anthony Virga

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Know Where to Setup

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3 | Know Where to Setup

Your setup location is always important when turkey hunting. That said, it’s even more so when bowhunting them without a ground blind. Understanding what a quality setup looks like is crucial.

“Try to find a comfortable spot,” Virga said. “Whether you’re sitting on your turkey vest pad, small seat, or stool, make sure you can see and blend in at the same time. Blowdowns in the hardwoods work well. Just inside field edges are popular with multiple bushes to break you up. Fallen trees with roots exposed can also be a good location. Be creative. But make sure you’re prepared to draw and shoot at a gobbler. He could come from where you least expect him. Remember, you don’t have that ol' 12 gauge with you. Always keep that in mind. It’s also a good idea to carry a pair of hand pruners in your vest.”

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Photo credit: Anthony Virga

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Strategically Set Up the Decoys

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4 | Strategically Set Up the Decoys

Place the decoys so they help set you up for the shot. Turkeys often do the same things when they come into a decoy set. Make them look realistic. And position them so that gobbler presents a good shot opportunity.

“Try to set the decoy in a position to where it won’t compromise your hunt, as a gobbler looking past the decoy and directly at you,” Virga said. “Decoy placement is key when you’re hunting gobblers off the ground with no blind. I recommend 10 to 15 yards for me because l limit myself to 30 yards. I know that decoy set is half the distance from my boundary of where I like them to be. A gobbler may not always come from where you think; but trying to get a gobbler to commit to the decoy on an angle will improve the odds of him picking you out.”

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Photo credit: Anthony Virga

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Understand Shot Placement

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5 | Understand Shot Placement

Shot placement is key. First, you owe it to the animal to know how to make a clean shot. It deserves that much. Educate yourself so that you know can recognize an ethical shot opportunity when you see it. It’s that simple.

“When they’re in strut, I like to draw two lines,” Virga said. “One from the beard, and one from the legs. Where they come together is where I settle my pin. Out of strut I place my pin on the wing butt. Take your time, you got him inside 20. Now make it count. Find the right time to draw. If you get it, take it. You might not get it again. Hit your mark. A marginal shot on a gobbler can be lethal; but if he’s able to fly, it’s going be a tough time finding him (depending on the terrain and vegetation). Really focus on that perfect shot placement. A wide-cut, two-blade expandable works well to ensure a perfect lethal shot.”

Don’t Miss: Turkey Anatomy and Proper Arrow Placement

Photo credit: Anthony Virga

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Spring turkey hunting is enjoyed by many hunters across the country. And while most choose to go afield with shotgun in hand, a few choose to hunt with a bow. And even fewer choose to hunt with a bow without a ground blind. If you’re looking to try this approach, there are a few things you need to know beforehand. Try these five tips from professional turkey caller and Realtree pro staffer Anthony Virga.

Pro Staffer Profile: Anthony Virga