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

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Field editor Bill Winke goes over steps you can take to improve the tuning on your bow.

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Designed exclusively for their crossbows, Ravin has announced three new mechanical broadheads to maximize penetration and overall performance.

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

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!

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm! How-To

Summer Scouting Spectacular

Bill Winke - July 17, 2019

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm!

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for the year! ATA Show

Best New Bows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for...

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...

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.

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

Let's be Upland

27 Turkeys: How to Hunt Turkeys

Patrick Meitin - April 08, 2004

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

I'll show you how you can leave ground blind boredom behind using a simple tail fan as a deadly deception that will have longbeards running into your lap! Upland

How to Effectively Decoy Turkeys with a Tail Fan

Christian Berg

I'll show you how you can leave ground blind boredom behind using a simple tail fan as a...

Step-By-Step Guide To Bagging Boss Gobblers With A Bow Upland

A Satisfying "Thump"

Patrick Meitin - October 28, 2010

Step-By-Step Guide To Bagging Boss Gobblers With A Bow

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.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now