Bowhunting turkeys can be a challenge in itself, however if you take your time and do things right you should have a set of spurs and a beard on your wall quicker than you think, here’s how!
Do your homework! Typically a week or so before season begins I go out and mow down about an acre of tall grass and weeds, this seems to bring the turkeys in better than anything else. When I have knowledge of turkeys in my area I’ll go and wait about an hour or so before dark outside my truck and attempt to get turkeys to gobble at the sound of my owl call using the cadence “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all”. This will let you know where to set up the turkeys the next day.
Set up on em’ When hunting turkeys with a bow my set up of choice is out of a ground blind such as a double bull Matrix 360 to give me the optimal field of view. With the rapid success of strutting jake/tom decoys on the market I told myself I will never enter the woods again without one after my first attempt to hunt with one! Set up a hen decoy only 5-10 feet out side your blind directly facing your set up followed by a strutting tom decoy (a real tail fan adds realism) only about 10-15 feet away from your set up on a 45 degree angle facing your set up.This set up will ensure you that either a tom will come in to breed with the hen, or face the strutting tom decoy face on to fight.
Calling is overused and overrated! Most guys will go out and call and call and call just to feel macho that they can get a Tom to gobble… Put your ego aside if you really want to bag a long beard. While the Tom is still oh his roost (from the previous night you should know where this is) give him just a few SOFT yelps and purrs, nothing more because you don’t want to throw your whole bag of tricks at him all at once. Just let that Tom know there is another Hen in the area. Yelp approximately 4-6 times SOFTLY depending on how vocal the gobbler is. Once the Tom pitches from his roost give him a few (2-4) more yelps this time let him know your serious with a higher pitch. If the gobbler sounds like he is without a hen there should be no need to give him anymore than 2-10 yelp sequences in order to make that gobbler commit. If your gobbler is hened up (with a hen) you might need to do a bit of cutting on your call, this will excite not only the Tom but more importantly the Hen! Wherever the Hen goes you can expect the long beard to follow. Once the Tom spots your decoy set up, be prepared with your bow in hand and your release clipped on! It would be a huge benefit if you mastered a few calls on your diaphragm (mouth) call because once that gobbler comes running in to fight you may not get a chance to reach down and pick up your favorite call without being spotted.
Tips Wear black in the ground blind, remember the closest part of your body to the turkeys will be your hands, so cover them up! Put your fancy wrapped arrows away, again try to make your arrows as dark as you can (fletching also). Lower your bow poundage if you can, its better to have your arrow stuck in the bird rather than blowing right through it. “Hit em’ high, watch em’ die, hit em’ low, watch em’ go” is the old saying when shooting at turkeys with a bow. Try a large expandable broadhead, or even a broadhead designed to hit the bird in the head/neck if your confident in your shooting.
Best of luck!