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Special Gear

Copyright © 1998 - 2008  Roger W. Raisch * Nadine Adele, all rights reserved

  
         

Bow hunters need special archery gear to be consistently successful with turkeys.  Many of these items are different from your normal deer hunting gear.

 

Bow Selection

 

Although the selection of a bow is a very personal decision, a few points about the various bows are in order.  A longbow or recurve is an advantage for the hunter who is not going to utilize a ground blind. 

 

A hunter who is going to stalk a turkey, still hunt or take a position behind or against a tree without the aid of a blind needs a bow that can be shot quickly.  Most recurves and longbows do not have sights or other aiming aids such as peep sights, all of which require additional time to operate.  A hunter using a blind will have ample time to operate any type of bow.

 

Compound bows offer the most advantages for the turkey bowbender.  The vital area on a turkey is a small target, requiring precise aiming and flat shooting bows.  In theory, a bow that shoots fast and flat will be the most forgiving if the distance to the target is misjudged.  Over-draw compounds, which shoot arrows several inches shorter than normal, further improve the flat-shooting capabilities of compound bows.

 

The best advice on bow selection is to use the bow you are most comfortable with and can shoot accurately.   If you are selecting your first bow for turkey hunting, and will be using a blind, get a compound.  If you will be hunting without the aid of a ground blind, try a bow you can shoot VERY QUICKLY.

 

Arrows

 

All bow hunters, except those hunting from inside a portable cloth blind, should be using camouflage-colored arrows.

 

Aluminum and carbon arrows will fly better and faster than those made from other materials.  Don't use bright fletchings, although you can get away with one feather or vane per arrow in a bright green color.  If you use feathers, treat them with water-proof silicone spray or the commercially available waterproof fletching treatments.  

 


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Broadhead selection is a hotly debated topic among turkey bow hunters. 
Based on my 25 years of experience and dozens of gobblers bagged with bow and arrow, I recommend using wide-cutting broadheads, either normal heads or the mechanical, expanding types.  All of these will cause maximum damage and have the best chance of hitting a vital area.  Be careful not to shoot too large a head for your bow's weight. 

 

If you like normal replaceable-blade heads, a Thunderhead or Rocky Mountain Ultra are both excellent gobbler stoppers. 

 

If you prefer to sharpen your own blades, a three-blade Snuffer is awesome on turkeys.  The new specialized expandable heads for turkey hunting, like a Gobbler Getter, , or any of the other expandable heads like a Spitfire or Gator  will put the hurt on a turkey.   Plus, they shoot in a closed position, fly like field points and then open on impact.

 

Don't use dull blades or judo points as some people recommend.  And, don't try for the head either.   While a direct hit in the neck or head with a broadhead will instantly drop a turkey, it's too difficult to hit consistently and a glancing hit in these areas will result in a wounded bird.  Aim for the Big Part!  

 

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Despite the broadhead I am testing or using, I always use a
  String Tracking Unit.  

  

Why?  Because turkeys are tough, even young fall birds.  They can take a lickin and keep on tickin.  They don't often leave much of a blood trail, they'll fly or run away without a trace, especially with a non-vital hit, even with one of these wide-cutting broadheads.  You'll lose turkeys without a complete recovery system in place....namely a good broadhead, backed up with a string tracking device, backed up with an electronic arrow recovery system.

 

Confused?  Well, you never know if the string will break, the arrow will go through the bird and make the electronic system useless or what.  Use all of these methods together and you normally can recover any bird you hit.  Of course, a bird hit in its vital area won't go far no matter what broadhead you use.  But, you're never sure where the hit will be, even if you're the best archer in America.

  

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A bow hunter will need to utilize a ground blind to be most effective.  The SECRET is to use the type most compatible with your hunting style and desires. 

                    

Some hunters prefer a Small Blind that attaches to a tree, while others prefer a Full Coverage Blind that permits them to shoot from a stool or from their knees.  Others, like me, prefer a Tall Full Coverage Blind that permits the hunter to shoot while standing up. 

 

Regardless of the type you choose, you'll need a high quality pair of Pruning Shears to make the job of cutting brush and shooting lanes quick, easy, and quiet.  A good quality Seat Cushion or Seat is also required no matter what type of blind you choose. 

 

Decoys

 

Finally, decoys are mandatory for the bow hunter.  They tend to attract a turkey into close range and hold his attention while you adjust yourself for the shot.  

 

Make certain you study up on Decoy Tricks before hunting with them.  Most serious bow hunters use Hen Decoys, a Jake Decoy.
 
 

With the special gear described in this article, you should be ready to bag gobblers or fall turkeys every season!
       

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Subjects in the Secrets Library
About Turkeys
Spring Hunting Tactics
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