There are many good shot angles that will allow a bowhunter to humanely take a wild turkey. For broadside, head-on or angling away shots, I draw an imaginary line midway between where both legs meet the body to the base of the neck. Then, I pick a spot halfway up that line. If you hit that point, you will have put an arrow in the boiler room of a turkey.
|According to the author, this is the angle he believes is the best to take down a Tom.|
Heck, you can even try to decapitate it. This is also an excellent shot because you either kill or miss cleanly and there's something to be said for that.
But, as far as I'm concerned, the ideal shot angle on a wild turkey for the traditional bowhunter is a simple one: when the bird is fanning its tail and facing directly away. That's the shot angle I will be hoping to set up this season.
The reason this, to me, is the ideal shot angle is simple.
First, when a bird is in this posture, you can raise and draw your bow without getting busted. Because the bird is facing away and tail feathers are blocking its vision, you will not get detected. Next, and almost as importantly, where all the tail feathers meet the rump forms the top half of a perfect circle, the center of which makes a good point of aim. In fact, I practice with a 5-inch cardboard circle to simulate this kill zone.
These days, when I'm readying myself for the turkey hunt, I make sure I can consistently hit that small circle — the closer to center the better.
The maximum distance I can consistently hit that circle is my effective range for turkey. As of this morning, for me with a longbow that's about 18 yards. Knowing that allows me to plan my set up so that I stand a chance of bringing in birds into that kill zone.
I know in my blogs I am constantly harping on practice, practice, practice. I also recognize that this isn't exactly glamorous stuff to read about. But the truth is when you are out in the field, there are not that many good shot opportunities, so the knowledgeable bowhunter makes sure that he or she capitalizes on the ones that do present themselves. That demands plenty of practice.
The good news is I can assure you that if you can consistently put all your arrows in a 5-inch circle at 18 to 20 yards, you stand a good chance of collecting a turkey should you get to full draw undetected.
So make this a minimum goal for your practice sessions and keep in mind that getting to full draw is that hard part too. Good luck in the turkey season.