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Bowhunting’s Ultimate Challenge – the Wild Turkey

Mark Drury’s Tips on Turkey Hunting with Your Bow

Click to enlargeMark Drury of Osceola, Iowa, founder of M.A.D. Calls and co-owner of Drury Outdoors’ award-winning videos, enjoys the challenge of hunting turkeys with his bow. Here are some of his top tips.

Shoot Short:
"Most often when you attempt to take a deer with a bow, you usually stand when you draw to shoot," Drury says.  "However, when you hunt turkeys with a bow, most of the time you'll either sit or kneel.  For this reason, a short axle-to-axle bow works much better than a long axle-to-axle bow."

Choose a Large Broadhead:
"I've found that a big, expandable broadhead with at least a 1-1/2-inch cutting diameter works much better for putting a turkey down quickly than a conventional broadhead does," Drury explains.  "When you shoot turkeys with a bow, use a large cutting-diameter type broadhead. The broadhead not only has to penetrate the vitals, it needs to have a Click to enlargetremendous amount of knockdown power to break the bird down and prevent it from flying off. Oftentimes a hunter can make a really-good shot on a turkey with his bow, but the turkey will fly off and you may not be able to recover it. Therefore, when thinking of hunting a turkey with a bow, you have to think about more than just getting a gobbler in close enough to shoot with abow, shooting accurately enough to hit the turkey in the vitals, and not letting the turkey see you draw the bow. All of these elements are important, but if you don’t break the bird down so that he can’t fly after the shot, even though you did the other things right, you still may not get your turkey. That’s the reason I prefer the expandable broadheads. They hit with a big wop, they cut a big hole, and they can break the bird down so that he can’t fly.”

Hunt In a Blind:Click to enlarge
"I like to hunt in a blind," Drury says. "Once you get inside one of these lightweight, portable, total-concealment blinds, you can draw without the turkeys seeing you." When you hunt from a blind, you'll have to patiently wait on the gobbler to come to you, rather than use the cut-and-run tactic, which has become so popular with shotgun hunters. “While hunting from a blind, I prefer to hunt the strut zones rather than the feeding areas or the roosting sites," Drury reports.  "Turkeys usually act more dependable at their strut zones, and they generally remain in their strut zones longer than around their roost trees or in their feeding areas. However, the real secret to using a blind to take a turkey is to make sure the blind doesn’t look like four walls. Brush-up around the blind with natural trees and limbs so that the blind appears to be a part of the environment. Remember, when a turkey’s coming to a strut zone, this is an area he frequents almost every day. He knows every tree and bush in that area, and unless you hide the blind by brushing-up around it, he’ll know that blind isn’t natural and it wasn’t there yesterday when he was there."

Use Decoys:
According to Drury, when bowhunting, you really need to use a decoy in states where using a decoy is legal to keep the bird's attention off the shooter.  "Most bowhunters prefer to set out two jakes and one hen in their decoy Click to enlargespread," Drury explains.  "More than one decoy will keep the gobbler's attention off you.  Set-up the decoys within 10 or 12 yards of your blind.  When you’re hunting turkeys with a bow, you have to get them much closer than when you’re hunting deer. Turkeys are smaller than deer, their vitals are not nearly as big as a deer, and the further they are away from you, the faster they can react to the sound of the bow. I rarely, if ever, hear of anyone taking a turkey at 30 yards or more, or for that matter, trying to take a turkey at these types of ranges. I’m sure someone reading this has taken a gobbler at a range more than 10 or 12 yards and there are archers who can take deer at 50 and 100 yards. But the surest shot on a gobbler is within that 10 to 12 yards. So, when the gobbler comes in close, you have a much greater chance of making an effective hit."

These five master turkey callers, hunters and bowmen have given tips this week to simplify the task of trying to take a tom with a broadhead.  However, always remember you'll miss more gobblers than you'll bag when hunting turkeys with a bow. But with each miss and every mistake, you'll inch closer to success.

Today's Video Clip

The Definition of a Touron

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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 5