John's Journal...

Bowhunting’s Ultimate Challenge – the Wild Turkey

Bowhunter Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland and John Demp Grace on Whether to Blind or Not When Hunting Turkeys

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: You need nerves of steel, the shooting confidence of the legendary Robin Hood, the woodsmanship of Daniel Boone and the positive attitude of Dale Carnegie to bag a gobbler with a bow. Most bowhunters agree that going after gobblers with their bows usually means they’ll each have 10-to-one odds against themselves. For every 10 times you encounter a tom within bow range, you only may take that bird home on one of those attempts. Some of the best turkey hunters and bowmen in the nation will tell us why this week.Click to enlarge

I’ve hunted turkeys from blinds and without the aid of a blind. Both methods work. Where and how you hunt and your knowledge of the turkeys often dictate whether or not you should use a blind for turkey hunting with a bow. In many areas, having the ability to move quickly and efficiently to get into a better position to take a shot at a turkey will help you bag a bird. Some bowhunters feel they can move quicker and set-up faster without a blind. However, without a blind, you don't have a place to hide your movement from turkeys when you hunt them with a bow. "Often when bowhunters set up to take turkeys with their bows, they don't think about back cover," Ronnie Strickland observes. "If you're silhouetted without back cover, the gobbler is more likely to see you when you draw. I also prefer to have plenty of cover on either side of me.  Then the tom can't watch me draw, and I can wait on the bird to step in front of me. Side cover often is just as critical as back cover when you're hunting without a blind." When hunting in many areas of the East, you can find this much cover without much Click to enlargedifficulty. But you may have trouble locating enough turkeys to increase your odds for taking a turkey with a bow. However, in the West when you hunt Rio Grandes, you may have plenty of birds to call to in a day but not discover sufficient cover to hide your movements when you draw your bow. According to Strickland, "Having a blind is more critical to your success in the West than in the East."Click to enlarge

John Demp Grace of York, Alabama, both a master archer and a fine turkey hunter, has wrestled with the problem of bagging eastern birds with a bow for many years. Grace has developed a blind that totally covers the hunter but has several shooting ports on all sides. This blind allows the hunter to quickly and easily assemble it, get inside and wait for the right shot.  This blind provides front, back and side cover, as well as cover from above. The bowman can move around in this blind without detection, draw when he needs to and have several different holes in the blind through which he can shoot. For some years now, Grace has harvested his limit of six turkeys per season with a bow using this type of blind. "I've used this blind in the West,"  Grace reports. "In places with very little cover, the blind's an absolute must." Because blinds have a distinctive shape, and the wind can blow the blind's material around, most hunters prefer to hang or lean brush against the blind. This brush helps to break-up the silhouette of a blind, keeps the material from moving in the wind and makes that site less conspicuous to shoot from than a blind that doesn't have brush around it. Several outdoor companies today make blinds for bowhunting turkeys

Tomorrow: Secrets of a Master Gobbler-Getter with Brad Harris of Neosho, Missouri

Today's Video Clip

Fishing in April with Captain Johnny Greene

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Check back each day this week for more about "Bowhunting’s Ultimate Challenge – the Wild Turkey"

Day 1: Mossy Oak’s Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland’s Sound Secrets for Bowhunting Turkeys
Day 2: Dale Faust on Where to Place the Shot and Why to Use Decoys When Bowhunting Turkeys
Day 3: Bowhunter Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland and John Demp Grace on Whether to Blind or Not When Hunting Turkeys
Day 4: Secrets of a Master Gobbler-Getter with Brad Harris of Neosho, Missouri
Day 5: Mark Drury’s Tips on Turkey Hunting with Your Bow


Entry 557, Day 3