Bowhunting Shot Placement For Turkey

Bowhunting Shot Placement For Turkey

The bowhunter's ultimate goal is to disrupt a turkey's circulatory, neurological, muscular or skeletal systems so it is immobilized or disabled to the point where it cannot escape.

//

To accomplish this, you must hit one of several primary aiming spots: the head-neck-spine, the vitals or the upper legs. Where to aim depends on the turkey's orientation and posture.


The head-neck-spine area contains the turkey's primary neurological systems. It is a small, vertical target zone, but a hit will typically immobilize the bird, often killing it instantly. This shot can be taken from almost any angle but is best with the turkey facing away, as this exposes the greatest target area (except on a strutting tom). It is also preferable that the turkey's head and neck be upright, and not tucked into the body.


The vital area is about the size of a man's fist and contains the majority of a turkey's blood and life-sustaining organs (heart, lung, liver, etc.). Unless the broadhead also strikes bone, a turkey hit here may travel some distance before succumbing. Turkeys use their powerful legs both to run and launch into flight. A shot that breaks one or both upper legs will significantly impede the bird's ability to escape.

The broadside shot presents all three aiming spots. Vital organs lie inside the upper half of the folded wing, beneath the wing coverts. A low shot will still break one or both legs.


A high shot will break the spine. On a strutting tom, aim forward and up to the leading edge of the coverts.


On a quartering-away shot, consider both the entry and exit location and move your point of aim back, much as you would for a deer. Unless aiming for the head, quartering-to and head-on shots are less desirable, because the vitals are protected by dense feathers, meat and breast bone.

While a poor option for other game, straight away is a good angle for turkeys. In an upright posture, the full length of the spine is exposed. A miss just to either side will still hit vitals and may hit a leg. On a strutting tom, the fanned tail provides a perfect bull's-eye and obscures the turkey's vision, allowing the hunter to draw undetected.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Kevin Steele and the boys are bowhunting turkeys with the help of some well-placed decoys.

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

The new Ravin R29X Crossbow includes everything you need for blistering speed (450 FPS!) and deadly downrange accuracy (3-inch group at 100 yards).

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint Archery evolves in design and performance with the introduction of the new CP400 Crossbow.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Going from field tips to broadheads requires arrow tuning on a higher plane.

 Good broadhead flight How-To

4 Steps to Perfect Broadhead Flight

Bowhunting Online Staff

Going from field tips to broadheads requires arrow tuning on a higher plane. Good...

Check out our top picks for the best new mechanical broadheads to debut at the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

New Mechanical Broadheads for 2019

Brian Strickland - January 10, 2019

Check out our top picks for the best new mechanical broadheads to debut at the 2019 ATA Show!

Check out our picks for the best new bow sights from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

Best New Bow Sights for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

Check out our picks for the best new bow sights from the 2019 ATA Show!

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques. How-To

Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two

Bill Winke

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques.

See More Trending Articles

More Upland

Using a bow-mounted turkey decoy adds an element of excitement you don't want to miss out on. Upland

How to Hunt with a Bow-Mounted Turkey Decoy

Jace Bauserman

Using a bow-mounted turkey decoy adds an element of excitement you don't want to miss out on.

          New tricks for an old dog in northwest Nebraska.    By Eddie Claypool    Eddie Claypool Upland

First Merriam's

Eddie Claypool - October 28, 2010

New tricks for an old dog in northwest Nebraska. By Eddie Claypool Eddie...



A friend of mine had this photo posted on Facebook. Not sure where it's from, but that's got to Upland

Turkey vs. Windshield: Turkey Wins (Sort Of)

Christian Berg - February 03, 2012

A friend of mine had this photo posted on Facebook. Not sure where it's from, but that's got...

          With a few tricks and the right gear, you can arrow your trophy gobbler this spring    By Upland

27 Turkeys

Patrick Meitin - October 28, 2010

With a few tricks and the right gear, you can arrow your trophy gobbler this spring ...

See More Upland

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.