Bowhunting Turkey Shot Placement For Success

Bowhunting Turkey

Morel hunters aren’t the only ones in search of a delicious meal this spring. WV Spring Turkey Season marks the start of big game hunting each year. In West Virginia, turkey hunters get a chance to bag a turkey in both the spring and the fall. However, the Spring Gobbler season typically gets the most attention from hunters. Bowhunting turkey provides a unique challenge to the classic spring hunting season.

Last year, turkey hunters in West Virginia harvested 9366 turkeys according to the WVDNR. This represents a 7.6 percent decrease from 2021’s spring turkey hunting season. Additionally, the 2022 spring turkey harvest was 11.3 percent below the ten year turkey hunting average.

If you are planning on hunting turkey with a bow this year, the odds are against you. Not only have the spring turkey numbers been decreasing, but so has your effective hunting range.

For the ultimate thrill during the spring turkey season, put down the shotgun and pick up your bow. Your success rate may not be as high as previous hunting seasons, but calling in a spring gobbler to bow range is an experience you’re not likely to forget.

If you find yourself in range of a strutting turkey be sure to make it count. Let’s examine the important factors to consider when bowhunting turkey.

Shot Distance

Bowhunting Turkey

Don’t make a small target even smaller. A 25 yard shot is no big deal with your shotgun, but we are bowhunting turkey. Utilize your decoys. Bring them in a bit closer. 10 yards and in will keep the heartbreak to a minimum and success to a maximum.

In order accurately shoot a turkey with your bow, you must fully understand your hunting arrows trajectory. 20 yards is a very common setting for the top pin of your bow sight.

However, if you use your 20 yard pin on a 5 yard shot you will miss high every time. That is because at 5 yards your arrow is still rising to the necessary height in order to hit the bullseye at 20 yards.

Before the start of turkey season in West Virginia, begin to practice your close range shots. Don’t rely on using your 20 yard top pin for shots inside of 10 yards.

If you do, you’ll surely call that gobbler into 3 yards only to miss the shot completely.

Practice shots from 2 yard to 10 yards with your top pin and see where they land on the target. This will help you understand where you need to hold your pin when aiming at the turkey.

When I am hunting turkey with a bow, my 50 yard pin corresponds to the killzone at 2-5 yards.

Shot Placement

Hunting Turkey With A Bow

Lots of things can go wrong when bowhunting turkey.  Because of this, it’s important to know exactly where to shoot a turkey with a bow.

A turkeys vitals are only slightly larger than a softball, and unlike a deer you can hit them from any angle.

Their erratic movements and posture while strutting can make it difficult to determine exactly where the vitals are at any given moment.

Shooting center mass on a strutting tom may leave you with nothing but a puff of feathers in the field and an injured bird.

Enter the head shot. An absolutely devastating shot on a turkey from nearly any position, the head shot will end your hunt in a hurry.

There are several broadheads on the market designed specifically for hunting turkey with a bow. The Magnus Bullhead is one high quality option that produces devastating results.

I have used Magnus broadheads for years and they come with an unmatched Lifetime Replacement Guarantee.

Magnus Broadheads are made in the USA and Mike Sohm provides great customer service.

The 100 grain Magnus Bullhead has a 2 3/4 cutting diameter, much larger than your typical hunting broadhead.

In my experience, having a well tuned bow is an absolute must for getting a broadhead this large to fly true.

If using a Magnus Bullhead to hunt turkey with a bow, I recommend using a stiffer spine arrow than you normally would. This will lead to a quicker tuning process and better arrow flight.

When preparing for your headshot, wait for the turkey to be distracted by your decoy or turns to face away from you.

This is the best time to draw your bow. Remember your arrows trajectory and once you settle your pin on the turkey’s head – let your arrow fly.


turkey hunting from a blind

Spot and stalk turkey hunting is incredibly exciting. However, when bowhunting turkey, you may be better served hunting from a blind.

As every hunter knows, camouflage can help keep you hidden. A turkey’s eyesight, however, is their best line of defense. Their keen eye sight keeps them safe from predators every day of their lives.

Because of this, turkey hunting with a bow from a blind offers you several advantages that allow you to increase your odds of success.

Hunting from a blind will allow you to safely move your decoys closer for a more precise shot. This is important as we have already discussed the small size of our target.   

Without a hunting blind, moving the decoys closer still creates a higher percentage shot opportunity but it also put you at a disadvantage at the same time.  

The turkey you are hunting is now merely feet away. You’ve called it in from across the field into bow range. Drawing your bow without alerting a turkey inside of ten yards is a tough task. Remember, turkey avoid predators daily because of their sense of sight.

Drawing back your bow is a big sudden movement and a strutting tom right in front of you. He wasn’t aware of your presence but all that movement is sure to alert the turkey of imminent danger.   

Pulling back your bow undetected for a close range shot makes bowhunting turkey incredibly difficult. By hunting out of a blind, you will conceal the movement of drawing your bow from the turkey that is right in front of you. Doing so will make you far more likely to find success this turkey season.  You get to keep the advantages of your high percentage shot without the added drawbacks of being seen.

Final Thoughts

If you’re an archery hunter looking for a new challenge this turkey season, get out your bow and start practicing your short range shots. On opening day grab your hunting blind and decoys and try a different setup this year.

This all or nothing approach to hunting turkeys with a bow may ruffle some feathers, but there’s no better way to ruin a hunt than letting a wounded bird fly off into the woods never to be found. Bowhunting turkey has an inherently low success rate as it is. Increase your odds by decreasing your range and taking the most lethal shot available. Off with their heads.

Archery Hunting Turkey

Remember, anyone 15 or older planning to hunt turkey in WV are required to have a valid West Virginia hunting license and a valid form of identification while hunting.  Additionally, turkey hunting in West Virginia begins at sunrise and ends at 1 PM. Purchase your West Virginia hunting license online at

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