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BRULEDRIFTER

?'s about Bow Hunting Turkey

18 posts in this topic

Well I didn't get drawn for my zone this year and am probably going to try for a surplus in another zone. But I got to thinking about bow hunting them cause my zone of choice is available for bow hunting.

So stupid question's here, but I did some looking and can't find the answers.....

When can a guy buy a bow tag for a turkey permit?

If you buy a bow tag, i'm assuming you can't get a surplus tag for a shotgun season as well?

Also, I see that it is for the last 2 seasons. Do you pick one of those or can you hunt through both?

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Bow tags you can buy over the counter until the start of the season I believe, I don't think that they are available today but they will be coming on sale shortly. That is correct you can only get 1 spring tag. Hope this helps out!

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You are only allowed 1 spring tag. WHen the bow season came out people wanted to know if they could still buy a bow tag if they struck out with their guns. The answer was no.

The bow tag is over the counter and can be used in any permit area that offers more than 50 permits per season. You don't have to rush to buy them because there is no quota.

It is good for the entire 14days of the last 2 weeks.

If you are going to try for a surplus tag, do that first. There is no need to rush and buy the bow tag.

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I didn't get picked either and am going to hunt with my bow this year but have never thought about how to hunt a turkey with a bow. Does anyone have any tips for me?

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Typically the same except you try to make blind and decoy setups focus on the 10-15yd range or you can setup in between your birds and the decoys.

Having a second person is very helpful when bowhunting because the second person can do calling and setup up further from the bird placing you in its path.

Practice alot, making sure you can consistantly get in a 3-4" circle. Find a picture showing the target zones for bow hitting a turkey. They are somewhat unique for shot placement.

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Practice practice practice. I have my bow sighted up to 60 yards. I feel you should practice the long shots it makes 10-30 yard shots feel easy. The birds can be on the very call shy and decoy shy by this time. So scouting is everything. The last bird i took bow season was due to ambush. Just seen them in the corner of the feild every night at 3. So I hid my self in that corner at noon and shot a tom at 30 yards at 3:15. So you need to know your birds habits at miday and evening hours. They tend to have the same miday and evening schedule. If hunting from a blind make sure your bow has no white on the front of it is it's all dark so it doesn't stick out from the darkness of your blind. I could go on all day. There's a couple things hope it helped.

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I would plan on shooting a large diameter expandable head. It is a big plus if you can keep the arrow in the bird. A standard fixed blade broadhead will blow right through a turkey and he may run a long ways and you may not know you even hit him.

I would hunt from a pop up blind if you have one, otherwise build one from natural vegitation. On a pop up, do not shoot an expandable through the netting. You can take the netting out completely as turkeys don't seem to mind the "black hole" at all.

As tipup said, setting up in an ambush location is a good plan.

Good luck!

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Have confidence in your spot and be patient.

It's easy to get flustered and want to move after a few hours or after witnessing the birds go the opposite direction off the roost but hold tight. Use a blind and call periodically. Run and gun tactics with a blind, stool, bow, decoys, and backpack don't work very well...

Practice. Actually set up the blind prior to season and shoot from your knees or stool... through mesh if you choose. Learn the window flaps and how to use them quietly. It can happen fast... be ready when it does. As far as aiming, a simple rule-of-thumb that has worked well for me is to follow the legs straight up, and go for the middle of the body on broadside unstrutting birds. There's a new head out from Magnus this year that's sure to be a great turkey head... basically a new and improved guillotine that warrants body shots as well. Check it out.

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I bowhunted turkey's last year for the first time. I drew a non-resident WI tag. I found an awesome spot where a fenceline ran east/west with a planted cornfield and green field on the south side with some pasture and woods on the north side. I set up my Double Bull blind on the north side of the fenceline where there was an open gate. Talk about the perfect funnel! I thought you had to have the screen up on the blind and missed a tom 3x, once on day 2 and 2x in 5 minutes on day 4. I think the screen effected my arrow flight. YEP, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! I used a Primos push button box call and it worked awesome as it was easy to use with my release hand while I had my bow in my other hand. I'd say a blind of some sort is an absolute must. I tried to use mouth calls, but choking and gagging wouldn't bring birds in! LOL

Brian

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Yea the shoot through screens bit me in the butt also. You can crank down the poundage of your bow also. I don't but have alot of buddys that turn there bows down to fifty pounds. Less likely to get a pass through.

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A few general tips from my experience bowhunting turkeys:

  • Use a blind of some sort, your odds exponentially decrease in direct proportion to the distance you are from your blind \:\) I use a Double Bull and cover my upper half in black to blend into my surroundings (the inside of the blind). Learn how to set your blind up quietly, and with purpose. Have a plan for where you will set your bow, down to who will carry what. You need to be a well-oiled machine out there, no time for talking.
  • Hunt with a buddy, and be mobile (with your blind). It's not always the right move, and it's more just in-tune with the way I like to hunt. It's a different type of mobile than with a gun, on-foot, but every year we set up the Double Bull within 100 yards of roosted birds without spooking them.
  • Scouting is more important for the bow-hunter, as you need to re-position with a plan. You may only move 3 times all day, but move with purpose and trust your scouting. Work birds off of the roost, then re-evaluate the game plan for a second or third move to loafing/strutting zones, and a fourth or fifth move along a travel corridor back towards roost locations.
  • High they die, low they go. That's not my tip, but it's generally true. The worst thing you can do is hit a bird below an imaginary line drawn from the base of their tailfeathers to their beak (imagined when bird is standing profile with head forward). Even worse is to hit them forward and low. You will likely not recover these birds. Keep your shots limited in range. These birds move frequently, and unless you're leading them, a.k.a, you know their next move, anything 30 or beyond I pass on.
  • Mouthcalls are important to learn if possible. Maybe moreso for myself as I like to shoot the guillotine. You want that bird to be as still as possible, which can be rare. My ideal shot (bow or gun) comes right after I've gotten that bird to do the big dump periscope and stretch his neck out for all to see. You can also get your buddy to cut hard at a bird you're about ready to shoot, but I don't trust my friends :).
  • Bow season is long, your opportunities are often not. Don't blow an entire area by blundering, taking questionable and/or rushed shots, and lay off those birds that are reluctant to close the distance. More than likely, if you hunt the same ground for two weeks, you'll be seeing that bird again. Getting him to commit becomes progressively harder the longer that fake hen incessantly keeps yapping at him.
  • Think about going decoy-less. Especially at a pinch point or other funnel where your turkey is going to be close to you anyway. Late season hunting with dekes costs me more birds than it gets me. If you're careful not to overcall, their searching for the invisible hen will give you just as good of odds.

These are all just opinions, and lots of folks do it differently. Good luck!

Joel

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Thanks guys, great tips!

So my bow is set at 65lbs, what do ya think........Should I downsize the poundage? If so what do ya think, 50-55?

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If you're comfortable with 65 lbs after probably not shooting all winter, then go ahead. Just remember to go with the largest diameter expandable head you can find. This will keep the arrow in the bird and probably drop him right there from the shock. Good luck.

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I've shot a dozen or so birds with arrows and not one has dropped right at impact from "shock" value. I've also put enough 2" hammerheads right through birds to know that you don't need to keep the arrow in the bird to kill it. I've tracked a turkey in the snow for over a mile with an arrow in him and he didn't die any faster... They're tough birds. A lot harder to kill than a deer IMO. Placement is the biggest thing - use a sharp broadhead that your confident with and put it in the right spot. Vitals aren't very big on a turkey and they're constantly on the move.

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Sticknstring, not that I doubt your sucess, but I have shot almost 40 with my bow. Probably a third of them have dropped right there. Of the others, many have been tangled in the brush because of the arrow. Most that have traveled any distance were shot with standard fixed blade broadheads. If you are blowing through them with 2" Hamerheads, then I may have given him bad advice about not turning down his bow. I hunt at 55 lbs. and have not had that problem.

You are right about placement. Any bird hit in the small vital area will not go far no matter what they are shot with. Because of that, I can not stress enough to have patience and wait for the perfect shot at close distances.

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They're more than likely likely dropping from trauma to the spinal column, rather than shock. I shoot 65-70 lbs with 31" arrows and most likely put more KE into the birds than the average guy. Some have gone 125 yards and others a few yards but not one has dropped instantly as a spine hit would cause.

As long as we're talking about draw weight issues, let me ask a question... I've seen many arrows "bounce" off the wingbutt so-to-speak with 55-60# draw weight. I'm taking my girlfriend this spring and she'll be pulling roughly 45-48#. What experiences have you had with that low of draw weight?

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 Originally Posted By: sticknstring
They're more than likely likely dropping from trauma to the spinal column, rather than shock.

You could be right about that, but dropped is dropped.

You asked about "bouncing off a wingbut"? Haven't seen that. Maybe just passing through feathers?

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Yah, all the wing-butt hits I've seen have been fatal. Seems like it blows the wind out of them or something, run up to them and they can't move. Step on their head and it's over.

Joel

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