Turkey season is in full swing and, like most traditional bowhunters, I've long since settled on a broadhead. This was the result of trying out different approaches, talking to successful bowhunters and thinking about past experiences.
The first thing I determined was what shot I'd take.
When trying to arrow a turkey, there are two strategies. The first entails taking them in the neck and essentially severing it. The second requires putting a broadhead in the bird's body, through the bird's softball-sized vital section. Each requires good accuracy and the right broadhead.
Let's discuss the neck option first.
A turkey's neck is a relatively difficult target and that is why a specialized head like the Magnus Bullhead is preferred by many bowhunters. Its broad blades allows the arrow to be off by a little, either due to aim or movement of the bird, and still connect with lethal force.
My only issue with these broadheads is that they do not hold up to extended practice sessions, in my experience. Essentially, you set them up with a minimum amount of shooting and the next shot is at the bird. They're not hard to tune, but I prefer to practice a lot with my broadheads so I'm totally familiar with its characteristics. The neck shot also means that you are going to be shooting at bird whose eyes are in plain view. This is best done from a ground blind — and since I can't use my longbow in one so that pretty well rules them out.
Having said that, those who like these broadheads like them a lot. When they hit, they produce devastating results. And when they miss, you rarely wound a bird. These are positives to be sure.
Regardless, I am more comfortable hitting vitals in the bird's body. But keep in mind that ideally with a turkey you don't want a complete pass through.
With this in mind, I chose to use the broadhead that I use for deer because I am comfortable with it.
Besides, the two blade 150-grain Magnus Stinger with bleeder blades, shot out of my 50-pound longbow, produces big holes and leave the bow at a slow enough speed that a complete pass through is not always the case at 15 to 20 yards, especially since I fletch my turkey arrows with 5.5-inch shield fletchings for stability. If you can't slow down your arrow enough you might consider placing grabber points behind the broadhead if it's legal in your jurisdiction.
I chose that head because I have confidence in it and because I practice with it a lot and know how it shoots and what to expect.
One thing I also learned was to stay away from mechanical broadheads when using my set up. I haven't tried a lot of them, but I have tried enough to know that they don't always open reliably at the arrow speeds I can attain with my rig.
To summarize, when choosing a broadhead for turkey for your traditional gear, remember that you need to have a broadhead that shoots accurately out of your set up and cuts a wide swath through the neck or vitals of the bird. Hopefully, you can slow it enough so it doesn't provide complete pass-throughs on body shots too.
Please understand, I'm not saying that my choices should be yours. Maybe a broadhead like the Bullhead or a mechanical blade broadhead is just the ticket for your bow and the way you hunt. I am saying that every bowhunter should go through the process to find what works with their set up long before the season starts, as I did. That way you'll have confidence once that magic moment comes and you'll leave the field with a cleanly killed bird.