John's Journal...

Get Your Gobbler with a Bow with Phillip Vanderpool

When to Draw and Why to Practice

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Phillip Vanderpool has been hunting turkeys with a bow for the last 15 years. So far in the 2009 season he’s taken one gobbler with his bow and took four gobblers with his bow during the 2008 season. This week he’ll tell us his secrets for taking turkeys with a bow.

One of the biggest mistakes that most bowhunters make when they decide to hunt turkeys is they don’t wait on their shots. Oftentimes a turkey will see the hunter Click to enlargedraw the bow and spook. This reason is why I believe having hunted turkeys for a long time with a shotgun before you start hunting them with a bow is important. If you’ve hunted turkeys for a while, you know you don’t have to shoot the turkeys as soon as you see him. Most of the time a turkey will come-in, mill-around and strut, looking for a hen or attempting to impress the decoys. Many times, you’ll have more than one opportunity to draw the bow, while the turkey isn’t looking at you.

The second mistake a beginner bowhunter makes is that he will draw too early. Because he’s trying to shoot a heavy-poundage bow, he has to stay at full draw for an extended period of time. That gives the turkey time to spot him. This reason is why I always recommend shooting a bow with 80% let-off when you turkey hunt. With this bow, you usually can hold the bow at full draw as long as you need to,Click to enlarge so that you get the shot. When you draw the bow, you’ll want to pull that bow straight back. You don’t want to push the bow out and up to draw. You’ll want to be able to pull that string back Click to enlargeslow and steady until you’re at full draw, and you can aim properly.

To prepare to bowhunt turkeys, buy a target that has a turkey body painted on it, and practice shooting long before the season opens. When you practice, practice in every position you possibly can think of that you may get caught in when a turkey comes-in for the shot. I practice kneeling, sitting flat on my fanny and sitting on a stool. Also practice drawing and then turning all the way around behind yourself and taking the shot. Often a turkey will come-in and start to walk off before you can take a shot. However, if you’re able to turn around when the gobbler’s not looking, you may get that quartering-away shot, like we discussed earlier this week. Also, when you’re shooting at the target, make a small spot and shoot at the small spot on the target. The turkey’s vitals are very small, so you want to know that when you release the arrow, you’ll be able to hit where you’re aiming.

Check back each day this week for more about "Get Your Gobbler with a Bow with Phillip Vanderpool"

Day 1: Why I Bowhunt Turkeys
Day 2: Blinds and Calls
Day 3: Hiding and Shooting
Day 4: Broadheads and Recovering the Bird
Day 5: When to Draw and Why to Practice


Entry 506, Day 5