Where to Shoot Turkey With Bow in 2023 – A Complete Guide

Where to Shoot Turkey With Bow

Hunting turkeys with a bow is an enthralling sport, combining the primal thrill of the hunt with the skill of archery. It’s a pursuit that demands patience, precision, and a deep understanding of the quarry. This comprehensive guide provides essential information about where to Shoot Turkey With Bow in 2023, helping ensure a successful and ethical hunt.

Turkey hunting is a renowned pastime that involves understanding this bird’s habits and habitats and, more importantly, the precise hunting technique. The thrill of this game hunting is significantly elevated when the hunter employs a bow instead of a firearm. However, this practice requires a significant degree of skill and expertise, particularly regarding shot placement. This topic discusses the importance of choosing the right spot to shoot a turkey with a bow for a quick, ethical kill that leaves the bird’s meat in the best condition possible. Whether you’re an amateur hunter or an experienced one trying your hand at bow hunting, understanding where to aim for a successful hunt is paramount.


Where to Shoot Turkey With Bow: Broadside Shots

Where to Shoot Turkey With Bow: Broadside Shots

Hunting turkey with a bow can be challenging due to the small target area and the bird’s keen senses. If you have a broadside shot, here are the places to aim for:

  • Heart/Lungs: Similar to other games, aiming for the heart and lungs is a sure way to ensure a clean kill. In a turkey, this area is located in the lower half of the body, approximately a third way up from the bottom of the bird. You’ll want to aim for a spot behind the wing.
  • Spine/Neck: If you’re confident, you could aim for the spine or neck. A hit here would be immediately lethal. This is a smaller target, though; missing could lead to a wounded bird that could escape.
  • Head: Some bowhunters use special broadheads to remove a turkey’s head. This requires extreme precision as the target is tiny and often in motion.

Knowing your equipment and capabilities is the key to a successful and ethical hunt. If you’re unsure about making a shot, waiting for a better opportunity is often better. Always ensure you’re aware of local laws and regulations regarding hunting turkeys with a bow, as these can vary by location.

Check: Advantages of Archery Practice

Understanding Your Quarry

Understanding Your Quarry

Before delving into where to shoot a turkey with a bow, it’s imperative to understand the bird’s anatomy. Turkeys have a surprisingly small vital area for clean, ethical kills. Their vital organs – heart, lungs, and liver – are clustered in a small area roughly the size of a fist.

Further, they possess a thick layer of feathers, sturdy bones, and strong muscles that could shield these vitals, especially when the bird is in full strut. These factors make the exact shot placement extremely crucial.

Must Read: Single Cam vs Dual Cam Compound Bows

The Broadside Shot

The Broadside Shot

A turkey in a broadside position presents the ideal opportunity for an archer. This is when the turkey stands perpendicular to you, either to the left or right. Aim for the turkey’s wing butt, where the branches meet the body. This area harbors the majority of vital organs and offers a significant chance of a quick, humane kill.

The Frontal Shot

The Frontal Shot

A frontal shot is tricky but can be effective if done correctly. It involves aiming the arrow directly at the center of the turkey’s chest when facing you. The vital organs lie just behind the base of the neck and the upper chest area. However, remember that the bird’s breastbone is here, which could deflect an arrow if the shot isn’t perfectly centered.

The Strutting Shot

Shot placement becomes even more critical when a tom is in full strut. The strut posture puffs the feathers out, altering the perceived size and location of the vital area. In such cases, the best place to aim is at the base of the wing on the side facing you. This increases the chances of hitting the vitals, even if the shot goes slightly off-target.

The Rear Shot

The least recommended shot is the rear shot, mainly because it often leads to wounded but not instantly killed birds. It’s taken when a turkey is moving away from you. The shot aims to hit the spine just above the base of the tail. While some hunters succeed with this approach, it requires precision and understanding of the turkey’s anatomy.

Choosing the Right Gear

Choosing the Right Gear

Your equipment plays a significant role in the effectiveness of your shots. Broadhead selection is essential; mechanical broadheads with large cutting diameters are excellent for vital organ damage. On the other hand, fixed-blade broadheads may offer better penetration, especially for frontal shots.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

Remember, understanding where to shoot a turkey with a bow is only half the battle. The other half is mastering your bow skills. Spend time at the archery range, practicing different shot angles and distances. Train yourself to stay calm under pressure, as real-world hunting scenarios can be nerve-wracking.

A Note on Ethical Hunting

An ethical hunter aims for a quick, clean kill to minimize the animal’s suffering. Therefore, if you’re not confident about your shot placement, it’s better to wait for a clear shot rather than risk wounding the bird. Hunting is not just about the kill; it’s about respect for nature and wildlife.


In 2023, the art of turkey hunting with a bow continues to challenge and excite hunters worldwide. Precise shot placement is paramount to ensure a successful hunt and to maintain the highest level of ethics in the field. Understanding your quarry’s anatomy and practicing your skills can vastly improve your chances, whether it’s a broadside, frontal, strutting, or rear shot. Remember, patience is as essential as precision in this thrilling sport.

People Also Ask

1. What is the best shot placement for bowhunting turkeys?

The best shot placement when bow hunting turkeys is the vital organs in the turkey’s chest area. This includes the heart and lungs. Another effective spot is the neck or head, especially when using broadhead arrows designed explicitly for this. However, these shots require a great deal of precision.

2. Is hunting a turkey with a bow more complicated than a firearm?

Hunting a turkey with a bow is generally considered more challenging than using a gun. The need for closer proximity, higher precision, and the manual skill required for bow hunting makes it a more demanding method. However, many hunters appreciate this challenge and find bow hunting to be a more rewarding experience.

3. How can I increase my accuracy when bow hunting for turkeys?

Practicing regularly is the key to improving accuracy in bow hunting. This can involve target practice at varying distances and angles. Also, understanding your equipment, adjusting draw weight and length, and maintaining a consistent anchor point can all help enhance accuracy. Finally, studying the anatomy of a turkey helps in knowing where to aim for a quick, ethical kill.

4. What kind of broadhead is best for turkey hunting?

The choice of broadhead can depend on personal preference and hunting conditions. However, expandable mechanical broadheads are often recommended for turkey hunting due to their larger cutting diameter, which increases the chances of hitting vital organs or severing significant arteries.

5. Can you use a compound bow for turkey hunting?

Compound bows are a popular choice for turkey hunting. Their mechanical advantage allows for a high draw weight while at full draw, resulting in a faster and more powerful shot. They also allow for better aim due to a let-off at the end of the draw cycle.

6. What time of day is best for turkey hunting?

Turkeys are most active in the morning and late afternoon. Therefore, these are often the best times to hunt. However, the best hunting times can also depend on the specific laws and regulations in your area, as hunting hours for turkey may be restricted.

7. What is the ideal draw weight for a bow when hunting turkeys?

While the perfect draw weight can depend on the hunter’s strength and comfort, a draw weight of around 40-50 pounds is often recommended for turkey hunting. This should ensure a humane kill, given a proper shot placement.

8. What safety precautions should be followed when bowhunting for turkeys?

Safety should be the utmost priority when hunting. This includes wearing appropriate safety gear, practicing proper archery form, knowing your equipment, and following all relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, always be aware of your surroundings and never shoot unless you know your target and what’s beyond it.

Jamie Leavy

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