Turkey Hunting with a Crossbow
There is no doubt about it, I love to hunt deer and it helps that they are overpopulated on my brother’s property and on one of my nearby friend’s property. But if I truly want a challenging and exhilarating hunt, then there is no better way to experience that than by going turkey hunting in the spring. I find that turkey hunting can be fun and challenging whether you choose to use a bow, shotgun or crossbow, but for me the crossbow is my weapon of choice. In case you’re wondering why, the answer here is pretty simple; I love the grassroots experience of hunting with a bow but I can’t shoot one worth a lick. A crossbow gets me as close as possible to the feeling of bow hunting, while at the same time actually providing me with a decent chance to bring down a nice tom.
I like to use a crossbow that it is not too wide so it does not get tangled up in the brush as I walk through the fields. My crossbow was also very light at a little over 7 pounds. I have a lot of confidence that its 175 pound draw weight and 330 FPS arrow speed can make short work of a longbeard if the shot is placed right. I also feel a scope is a necessity on your crossbow when turkey hunting – a pin sight won’t cut it. One big advantage that using a crossbow to hunt turkeys gives you is there is no draw for the turkey to detect before you shoot. My broadhead of choice is a three bladed mechanical style one that has around a 1 3/4 inch spread. I found that broad heads in the 100 grain range work well and 125 grain ones are OK too. Most crossbows on the market today will be more than enough to take down turkey, but a good place to start in case you’re interested is Best Crossbow Source; pay particular attention to the “Length / Weight” column in their charts, since you want a crossbow that’s wide enough to fit in your hunting spot.
THE BEST WAYS TO HUNT TURKEY
There are three different ways that I have hunted turkey in the past:
Sitting in a blind is not my ideal way of going about hunting turkey. Quite frankly I just don’t find it exhilarating enough. If you are a patient person, however, it is a great way to get in close to the birds. The trick is getting into the blinds at a very early hour before the turkeys become active during the day.
To be perfectly honest, I have never had much luck hunting turkey with decoys but that does not mean they don’t work. I have friends that hunt turkey religiously this way with great success. They tell me it works best to use decoys of young tom turkeys because turkeys coexist as part of a flock and are not territorial against members of the same ‘gender’. Decoys of older long beards are thought to bring back memories of losing encounters for tom turkeys when they were young and may intimidate them into staying away. For some recommendations on the best turkey decoys of different kinds, see this rankings page – there are suggestions for both inflatable and soft-sided decoys.
This is definitely my choice when it comes to turkey hunting. Turkey calls these days are so advanced it’s incredible. Modern turkey calls or so good that other hens will try to outdo you and lure the tom turkeys away by out gobbling your turkey call. These are most effective when you get out in the fields early and call the longbeards down from their roosts.
WHAT MAKES TURKEY HUNTING IN SPRING SO CHALLENGING AND EXCITING?
The area that I predominantly hunt turkey in is made up of many active and inactive farm fields that are surrounded by woods. This makes for perfect roosting spots for tom turkeys. These types of fields provide both an excellent food source for toms in the spring and make for perfect breeding ground.
Here are some of the challenges that turkey hunting presents to those that choose to partake in it:
Turkeys have excellent hearing – Even the most cunning cat would have trouble sneaking up on a turkey, let alone a fully dressed human traipsing through the woods hauling a crossbow and gear. The slightest sound will spook them into a dramatic and rapid short flight in the opposite direction.
Turkeys have excellent eyesight – Not only that, but they can see color very well, too, so you will be well advised to hunt them wearing camo (lighter tones seem to work best).
Turkeys are extremely smart and paranoid – they may not look like it, but turkeys are a very smart and instinctive bird. They tend to learn from close encounters with predators and get very paranoid over just about anything that remotely resembles past experiences.
You have to get in close – Ideally if you want to bag a tom turkey you will have to be in very close proximity. We are talking to within 30 – 35 yards with a crossbow.
GIVE TURKEY HUNTING A TRY – YOU WON’T REGRET IT
If you live in an area where there is turkey and hunting with a crossbow is allowed, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It is truly an exciting and challenging way to hunt turkey and you will be very happy that you did it.