Traditional Archery: Game Plan for Turkeys

News & Tips: Traditional Archery: Game Plan for Turkeys...

TraditionalGamePlanForTurkeysHere's a confession: I've never taken a wild turkey with my longbow. In fact, I've never even tried.

It's not the gear nor the difficulties associated with coming to full draw on a gobbler that have stopped me from trying. It's that, to me, turkey hunting has always been synonymous with shotguns; I've been bound by that tradition.

This year, however, I have decided to take up the challenge at least for one of the two birds I am permitted to take in my province. That's partially to do with the need for a new traditional archery goal, but mostly it's a practical consideration — the landowner on one of the properties I've got access to would prefer me to bow hunt.

That's why I'm tailoring my archery practice and planning with these great game birds in mind.

As always, getting my shooting up to snuff is the first priority. If you can't hit the target, there's no use hunting it.

On deer-sized targets, I know my effective range with traditional gear is about 25 yards. That's based on me consistently being able to place my arrows in a pie-plate sized target at that range — I might miss every now and again, but, for the most part, if I bear down and focus, I'll put an arrow in the ballpark at that range.

Obviously turkeys present a more difficult challenge. That's why I'm now practicing using smaller targets, like a one pound margarine container lid — that's about the size of a turkey's vital zone. My goal is to be able to hit this consistently at 20 yards. Two of the last three turkeys I've taken with a gun have been within that range and the third would have been if I let it keep coming.

Once I get that down, I'll start practicing from a kneeling and maybe even sitting position so I can achieve the same accuracy.

The next step is to determine where the birds are and then set up a ground blind in an ambush location that funnels them near enough for a shot. That might mean setting up within easy arrow range of the crest of a slope so that when my calling draws that bird over I'll have a close shot. Or it could mean setting up a blind behind some of the huge boulders that are strewn around our woods.

We've still got snow on the ground here in Canada so that stage of my planning is going to have to wait, probably until a week or two prior to the season.

The point is now is not too early to start thinking of the little details. The turkey season is almost upon us.