Turkey hunting is a challenging season for crossbow hunters. All too often, archers will hit the target, but not kill the bird. This is cruel and hunters need to learn how to take out the target to be a humane hunter. Fortunately, turkey hunters have collected their tips so other crossbow hunters can effectively take out their targets.
Here are several crossbow hunting tips to help you accurately and effectively shoot a turkey:
Hit the Spine
The best shot to take is the one that will break the turkey’s spine. Once the bird is hit, it isn’t long before it dies. It can be difficult to shoot a turkey in this spot because they rarely stand still. The best time to shoot a turkey and get a spine shot, is to wait for the bird to walk away from you. It needs to be standing tall with its head up, not down toward the ground. It can be helpful to use a turkey call to get the turkey to look up, but the issue with the direction of a call can turn the turkey toward you, making the shot impossible to get. When you take this shot, it is also helpful to use a broadhead that cuts offers a wide cut so if you miss, you still get close enough to do deadly damage.
It is also helpful to know where the vitals are on the turkey. Turkey’s organs are located near the back and up by the wings. If you can hit a turkey here, you will get a quick kill that is humane. With a powerful, sharp broadhead, you will not only get the wings to break (which keeps the bird on the ground) and you will puncture either the heart or the lungs. Even though they cost more than other types of broadheads, the expandable broadhead will do the most damage in the quickest time. This hit is easiest to get when the turkey is upright with its back to you.
Hit the Front
Turkey hunters know that it is not always possible to get the perfect shot at a turkey’s backside. They are living creatures that move frequently. Thankfully, there is another good spot to take out a turkey. If the bird is facing you, then you can shoot the bird a few inches below bottom of the neck. This shot will break the spine and take out some vitals, too. So you can imagine the size and shape of the vitals, think of a softball located near the wings. This is a good-size target to imagine because it is similar to a tight group that you might achieve during practice on a range. If you are shooting the front side of the turkey, be sure the head of the bird is upright with its head raised.
Aim Low at the Backside
When the turkey is moving, you also have a good shot, especially if the bird is walking away from you. Wait for the turkey to completely turn away from you with his fan in the air. All you need to do is aim for the bird’s anus and fire. Some hunters find more success when they use a decoy to get the bird to walk away. Turkeys walk directly to the decoy, so position yourself appropriately so you can get the rear-end shot that will work. To ensure that the bird dies quickly, use a sharp broadhead that will pierce the target humanely.
When the Turkey Walks Toward You
On the flip side, when the bird is walking toward you, you also have a powerful shot. It is more likely that a turkey will be walking, so position yourself so the bird will not see you as it struts toward the decoy. Aim at the beard, right where it comes out from the feathers. This shot will get you a direct hit to the top of the vitals. Mechanical broadheads will puncture the bird and damage the internal organs when they open so you can guarantee the bird will die quickly rather than suffer.
Careful Aiming at the Side
The sides of the turkey can also be an effective place to shoot and kill. The side shot is not an easy one to take, especially if the bird is moving and the feathers are ruffled. If this is the case, let the bird finish strutting because you might not be able to get the aim on the vitals that you need. The wings and bristled feathers could deflect your shot and the turkey could get away with your bolt. If you do want to take the shot, think about the vitals that are located up near the wings. Wait until the bird stops moving and then fire. Or better yet, wait until the bird turns to you get a full frontal or backside shot that can be even more effective.