Two Toms stepped out from thick cover, then they began to leisurely scratch and mill in the cut corn. They were within eighty yards across the field and had no clue I was nearby. I had arrived late and had not made a single call yet. I was tucked into a fence row waiting inside an old blind I'd built of used carpet and old 2x4s.
I had just settles in when they stepped out. So, I slipped my Fox Pro diaphragm call in and let out a couple light yelps and waited for a reaction. Both of the Toms raised their heads and instantly spotted my loan hen decoy less than ten yards in front of the blind. To my delight, one postured up while the other stood staring. Moments later the other two big gobblers stepped out and commenced to strut and gobble. They quickly joined up with their other amigos and headed my way. In little time, they had crossed the field and were strutting, drumming, spitting and gobbling not even fifteen yards out. Four adult Toms ripping it up so close I could feel the vibes. It was exciting, but it has a way of “upping the odds you’re gonna miss”! Despite my age and all that comes with it, my heart was still racing, filling my veins with enriched adrenaline as I came to full draw. The lead Tom was against the decoy and seemingly locked into a trance when the nock finally touched my cheek.
Head and neck shots deliver quick clean kills with nearly a 99% recovery rate on large game.
Despite the excitement, I held where I always have, just below the base of his head and let'r eat. Slock!! The shot was a tad low, but well in the kill line and that was that. Fifteen minutes of fun and my Illinois season was over. No tracking required I might add.
Head hunters are few and far between in today’s world of bowhunting turkeys, and that’s a shame. I guess the perception of difficulty keeps a vast majority of hunters from raising their pin eight inches higher than they’re used to. Yet lopping heads definitely brings instant killing success and removes the get away bleeding card. Believe it or not, head shots can be just as easy to pull off as body shots, which is still hard to do but the head shot definitely has it’s plusses! Stick with me, and I’ll explain why I believe it’s better than body punching your next big gobbler.
I’ve shot and tracked countless birds over the years and I’m here to tell ya I’ve never lost a head shot turkey nor lost a neck shot gobbler for that matter. Although, body shots are another story for sure. The shear trauma the head hit delivers generally equates to instant death. As an added bonus the carcass is undamaged for later preparations. It’s just a matter of hitting the line.
Given, I’ve sailed a few arrows passed red heads but never hit and lost a gobbler this way. And when I do shoot, I generally score. The age thing is mostly why and the longer you hunt turkeys the more patient you’ll become. If you’re twenty years old and reading my thoughts I’d say in thirty years you’ll likely be an expert too. Ha! Until then, take some random advice from a guy who basically kills things for a living, and shoot for the head. Here's a good plan to follow.
Let em' get close, but expect them not too. Less than one in three birds finish at my decoy or should I say within bow range. So, I’ve come to grips with the fact I can’t kill em all. Once you accept that the turks generally win, you’ll have more fun and be relaxed enough to wait on the right shot for the big win. To win however, many factors come into play.
To score I need em' close. So, I hunt from a blind when self filming, which is most of the time. If I’m just out for a hunt without a camera I’ll go without a blind, but that’s rarely my case. A blind definitely ups the odds. Keep all your windows behind you closed and only open the shooting window as much as necessary to shoot. Darkness is your friend. It will hide you while you draw down on one of the keenest eyes in the forest.
Use a Jake decoy, but only if you think ya have too. They work for sure, but toms come to fight more than often. Usually a gobbler won’t hold still long enough for a simple shot. Generally, they’ll hit my decoy and run off. With a hen, they usually slow down to court the decoy, making the shot less complicated. When they finally give it to ya, pick the spot or line, I should say. The line from the center of his head to where his neck meets his feathers. Aim dead center at that line. If you’re a bit high or low, its still curtains for the tom, and a big wide broad head will lessen the odds of missing.
Tim has a 100% rate of recovery on head and neck shot gobblers. Before, he focused on the turkey's head and neck, "recovery was an embarrassing thing too."
I'm testing the new Head Hunter broadhead. I believe they will be the best ever made for head hunting. I know the guy who designed them. He's killed hundreds of turkey and tested them for years. This fall they will be released to the public. I've used Bull Heads and had success, but now I prefer Head Hunter.
Big turkey heads work best with a heavy flu flu arrow. This set up is deadly accurate to twenty yards. My heavy approach will start dropping off after that, but twenty is far enough for turkeys. A four blade, four inch, fixed cutting surface like the Head Hunter cuts off heads with ease. Likewise, you can be left or right two inches and still knock their beak in the dirt.
With this set up hitting the head and neck is actually easier than hitting the lung and heart. Believe it or not, size does matter. The head and neck is actually twice as big of a target to shoot at. You may break a wing if you miss the lungs or gut shoot the bird. If so, at best your odds of recovery are 50/50 unless you’re a track star. Yet, if we all aimed at the line the over all odds would be outstanding. Let’s face it, recovery on turkeys isn’t the best for the average bowhunter. Turkeys look big, but only a baseball size kill zone exists inside the body. Either method you choose is up to you. And to me, just choosing a bow to hunt turkeys with says a lot about the hunter. It takes a savvy hunter dedicated to his sport to consistently harvest spring gobblers. I personally find it to be a challenge that always gives me a rush, and shooting for Tom’s noggin has made me a better turkey hunter for sure.
Hitting that line gives me a rush every time. The head shot is a dead shot and yes, the challenge of archery head shots may seem tough. Even so, trust me. When he finally moves in close and sticks his head up, there’s nothing better when it all comes apart. SLOCK