Bow hunting for Turkey

Hunting turkey with a bow may be over the top for some people but it is a great way to hunt turkeys.  This is not for the faint of heart and if you are not willing to let a turkey go because he will not come the last five or ten yards, this is not for you.  To kill a turkey with a bow the bird must be 20 yards away or less.  The shot placement is not in the head like a gun but in the wings or legs.  Hunting turkey with a bow may only cost a couple of more bucks over your bow tags that you will buy for deer hunting.  This hunt will be in the state of Connecticut where the price of  a turkey tag is only $15 bucks more than bow tags.

We are hunting a small piece of public land that is bow hunting only.  Don’t tell anyone, but the law says that turkey hunters can use a shot gun to hunt turkey in the spring on bow hunting only land.  Hunting public land has some drawbacks not the least of which is that there might be other hunters out there.  On public land there might be other people hiking, biking, or people walking dogs so we must be willing to do a lot of walking off  any kind of trail.

The first day of the hunt at 3:30 in the AM, the weather station said what the weather is going to be dry in the morning and rain in the afternoon.  This is good news because it has rained the last week. As I drove to the hunting spot rain drops hit the windshield making me think that the rain would keep the birds from gobbling.  The headlights on my truck light up the parking lot, I was happy to see no other trucks. I put on my hunting vest and put  my blind on my back and picked up the bow and off to the hunt.

As I walk to where the fly down area is I felt that even if I don’t kill a turkey this was going to be a good day.  I walked to the edge of the oak flat and let go with a few fast cut and a gobbler came back.  My heart was beating like it was about to come out of my chest.   I setup the decoys about 7 yards in front of where  I thought the blind would go real nice.  The blind looked a lot smaller in the back yard then in the woods.  After some fast footwork I was able to setup the blind and a chair.  This took about five minutes. all that practice setting up the blind paid off.  Sliding the stricker across the slate call, the tom gobble back.

As I sat in the blind I didn’t make a sound waiting for the bird to fly down.  The predawn light was coming through the trees and at that moment the tom gobbled as he flew down. He was not the only gobbler that was flying down. There were at least 6 to 10 toms just out side of this oak flat.   This was the best turkey hunt I have ever been on. With a couple of cuts the woods was alive with gobbles. The birds knew where I was and they should make their way to my setup.

Sitting in the blind I could only see what was  in front of the blind.  The blind has windows in the back but they were closed so nothing in the blind would be silhouetted.  I was not able to setup where I was hoping to.  The decoys are 15 yards away and I  have only three good shooting lanes in front of me. The turkeys are gobbling all around me.  This is one of those cases where the birds might go to each other instead of coming to the hens.  Letting go with a couple more cuts on the slate call the boss tom came back.  None of the other birds made a sound.  He was close.  I cut one more time and he was on the move.  at about 50 yards he let go with a gobble.  He saw the decoys and moved toward them.  He moved to about 25 yards and stopped.  There was no clean shot at him so I have to wait for him to move.  He stood there and just fanned himself up like he didn’t want to come the last couple yards.

In the blind, bow in hand, what to do?  Moving was out of the question, no way to shot so I waited.  Looking at the time it was 6.48, two minutes after sunrise.  The bird stood there fanning himself up but would not coming to the decoys.  He was strutting and asking himself why are these hens not coming to me?  He stood  there looking around.

I had to do something.  Looking at the decoys there was a Jake in the bunch. The decoy reminded me of a turkey hunting class I went to. Well it was not a real class, but a salesman trying to sell his calls, which I bought.  He said that when the boss tom is around using a Jake gobble can get him to take those last couple steps.  The call was in the turkey vest with the handle of the call sticking out.  I have never done this before.  After loosening the rubber band on the call I was ready.  I was thinking that this is the wrong call at the wrong time. The bird looked like it was also thinking about moving on.  Holding the call  like the salesman said, I let go.  Before the call was over he was on the move to the decoys.  I picked up the bow, I drew back and put the pin on his wing.  The next think I know the arrow is in the air.  The turkey tries to fly but fell to the ground. I ran and picked up the bird. I look at the time. It was 7.15. The bird was 21 pounds and this was the best hunt I have ever been on.

Turkey hunting uses the same setup as for deer. As a matter of fact, the bow setup was the exact same one that I have used for deer in the last season.  If you are unsure if you want to do all your turkey hunting with a bow I would pick up a cheap blind at Cabela’s or at Wal-Mart.  See if you like it.  I’m telling you that you will have a hard time going back to the gun.

Good hunting.