Late Season Turkeys with a Bow
Some people, probably those who have never hunted them, claim that turkeys aren’t real bright. Calling turkeys and taking them with a shotgun is a challenge but when you hunt with a bow the challenge becomes even more difficult. There are a few tips on how to hunt turkey in the fall with a bow either from the ground or from a tree stand (where legal).
Commercial Blind For Hunting Turkeys In The Fall
The commercial blinds are great for setting up for late season turkeys with a bow. Set it in a place where you know the turkeys are feeding or a known travel route of the flock. There are so many blinds on the market today
and even some made specifically for turkey hunting. I prefer a simple and small blind when setting up for turkeys with my bow but any blind will do as long as it allows a shot with a bow and of course you can use your deer blinds like the Guide Gear Series or Ameristep blinds to hunt turkeys as well.
The key to successfully hunting turkeys from a blind is concealment. It seems that turkeys don’t notice a change in their environment like a deer. However, I still brush in the blind with natural foliage. I pay close attention to the openings in the blind and try to extend some of the foliage part of all the openings leaving small shooting lanes. This will help to conceal the movement necessary to position and draw your bow. You always want to leave the shooting windows closed behind you to keep a dark background. This helps conceal any movement inside the blind.
Using A Treestand For Fall Turkey
People seem to believe that hunting from a treestand makes it easier to kill a turkey. In my experience that’s a myth. I’ve found that it’s very difficult to get a turkey into bow range while in a tree. Here’s why. A turkey has very keen eyesight. It can detect the slightest movement. Anyone who has hunted turkeys very long have probably been picked off and by the slightest movement. The challenge of hunting turkeys from a treestand is that you not only must be still to get the turkey in range but then you must draw and shoot. This all sounds obvious but keep in mind that the turkeys predators come from above. The hawk, eagle and the bobcat perched on a limb waiting to pounce. It seems to me that these predators from above have given the turkey an instinctive upward peripheral vision that helps them survive.
A treestand is not going to be my first choice for hunting turkeys with my bow but where legal there are times when this is the best option. Sometimes while deer hunting I might continuously see a flock of turkeys walking a certain ridge line and decide that I want to try to get one with my bow. The surrounded terrain might not allow for a good blind set. Using a treestand in this situation allows you to hunt deer while you wait for the turkeys to move through.
When hunting from a treestand you must be still as the turkeys approach. Then the next challenge is all those turkey eyes around you. If possible wait until the last turkey is moving through. Fortunately the more mature turkeys usually bring up the rear and with the flock moving away it will be much more difficult for them to see when you draw.
When the turkey you have chosen is just ten yards away the real challenge begins. You must wait for a time to draw your bow. Never draw when the turkey is facing or you will be seen. It is amazing what little movement it takes. Now wait until the turkey is behind a tree or brush before drawing just like with a deer or it will see you.
Hog Blind For Hunting Turkeys In The Fall
When I first started hunting I learned to build what we called a hog blind to hunt from. A hog blind is a crudely constructed blind with whatever brush and dead limbs nearby. These hog blinds can be a great set up when you know where the turkeys are traveling in the fall. By stacking some limbs and a few cedar boughs will hide you well and allow you a shot at a fall turkey.
I used hog blinds to bow hunt when I shot a recurve and before I got my first treestand, a Baker treestand. Remember those? One of the most memorable hunts in my life was from a hog blind when a doe strolled right by me and I woke up just in time to see her just 3 or 4 feet from my position. I missed the deer sticking my cedar arrow broadhead deep into a cedar tree. I can still see her face so close.
Hunting turkeys with a bow is a great way to extend your hunting season. Whether you have tagged out with deer or you just want to hunt some late season turkeys be prepared for a challenging yet rewarding hunt. Especially when you connect. There are many states that allow late season turkey hunting so get out there and give it a try. Good Hunting.