Springtime Means Turkey Time

Mark Campagnola with turkey.If turkey season opened tomorrow, would you be ready? Have you been out shooting your bow or making sure your shotgun is patterned? How about your turkey calls, camo clothes, boots, decoys and possibly some warm clothing? 

Well, if you said “no” to any of the above, I wouldn’t get too excited about it yet (other than shooting your bow), since the earliest turkey season doesn’t open ‘til mid-March and others mid-April. But if you don’t start now, opening day will be here before you know it and then you will be scrambling to get everything done and hoping that you didn’t forget something. 

If you’re not sure when opening day is for your spring turkey hunt(s), go to Hunter’s Specialties’ website to view Spring Turkey season map. The site has a map with every opening and closing day for every state that has a spring turkey season. Go to the home page and click on “Hunter’s Network” at the top. A drop-down box comes down; click “Hunting Season Maps.” On this page, there will be some 2012 seasons but at the bottom of that list is 2013 turkey season -- click it, and there it is.

Now I wrote above in parentheses “other than shooting your bow.” It’s what I call the three P’s -- practice, practice, and more practice. Do so year-round to maintain your skills and keep proficiency very high no matter what type of bow you shoot. A turkey’s broadside kill zone is about the size of a grapefruit, and the size of a tennis ball for a head-on or rear shot. If you’re going for the hardest shot of all, a head neck shot, you’re looking at a target the size of a golf ball that’s moving 95 percent of the time. 

One question I’m asked a lot in my seminars is, “What type of broadhead do you use?” My answer is I shoot the same broadhead I use on big game, and that is the G5 T3 all-steel replaceable razor-sharp 3-blade expandable, with a 1 ½ inch cutting diameter. The T3 puts a devastating entrance and exit hole and flies like a dart out of my Quest Torrent bow. Myself, I prefer body shots with a bow instead of a head neck shot. A head neck shot is an awesome quick kill shot, but I feel more comfortable taking a body shot. 

If I couldn’t shoot an expandable broadhead, my second choice would be the G5 Striker fixed blade. The Striker also is all steel, has three replaceable fixed razor-sharp blades with a 1 1/8 inch cutting diameter. Go to g5outdoors.com for more information about all G5 Outdoor products. For a head neck shot you would want a broadhead with four long razor sharp fixed blades like the Guillotine that would slice a turkey’s head off for a quick, clean kill.

There’s also a lot of debate about what poundage you should set your bow at for turkey. Some bowhunters take the same bow they use for big game and drop their poundage down around 40 to 50 pounds. The idea behind this is with lower poundage, your arrow won’t blow through and your arrow stays in the bird, hoping to pin one or both wings so it won’t fly away and that makes recovery of your turkey easier. Now the flip side of the coin is not to drop your poundage and not worry about a complete pass-through. 

Unless you have two bows and you can dedicate one just for turkey or small game, there’s a few problems with dropping your poundage. Most compound bows are designed to perform best at their upper poundage range. If a compound bow has a range of 50 to 60 pounds, it will perform best at 60 then at 50. So if you drop you poundage to 50, your bow’s performance is also going to drop. This is where long bows and recurve have a huge advantage over compounds.

Another big problem will be arrow size! If you were shooting 60 pounds, your current arrows may be too heavy or over spinned. This won’t hurt your bow mechanically like shooting too light of an arrow or under spinned arrows will. Shooting too light of an arrow is really hard on your riser and limbs, so find an arrow chart online like Easton Arrow or Carbon Express so you will know 100 percent whether the arrows you have will work or not. Plus factoring in your broadhead weight, you are going to have problems with arrow flight. If you shoot with sights, they are going to be off, so you will have to re-sight your bow in all over again. And then do it all over again when you change your bow back for fall big game season. I leave my Torrent at 65 pounds so I don’t have to go through all this, and it works just fine.

Well, we have only scratched the surface on preparing for your turkey hunt(s) this spring. There’s still more I want to cover on patterning your shotgun, turkey calls and a lot of the other stuff that goes with chasing those thunder chickens. 

Also March 23 and 24 are the dates for Turkey Weekend at the Denver Bass Pro Shops. It will be two full days of nothing but turkey hunting and everything that goes with it. Bass Pro will have some of the best turkey hunters around doing seminars all day, both days. So if you’re new to the sport or have been hunting turkeys for 30 years, come on down, make some friends and sit in on a few seminars. You never know what little secret you may come out with.

Hunt Hard and Shoot Straight,

Mark Campagnola

by Mark Campagnola