When I asked Matt Jennings of The Game T.V. what he knew about bowhunting turkeys, he simply answered, "it is hard to do." The challenge is often referred to when talking to hunters who pursue spring gobblers with a bow.
Getting a wild gobbler into shooting range is a task; add trying to get them into bow range, draw the bow without being seen, and make a successful shot to the mix, and you will find that the statement is true; bowhunting turkeys is a challenge. When chatting with Jennings, who has been successfully bowhunting turkeys in recent years, he explained a few tactics that he tries to do that could help hunters get up close and personal with a mature gobbler this spring when bowhunting.
Proper Bow Set Up
Having the proper bow setup can make bowhunting turkeys a more manageable task if one looks for the right advantages. Jennings said that he shoots the Bear Archery Redemption EKO when bowhunting turkeys. "Bear's new let-off technology and lightweight bows make my bow ideal for turkey hunting," stated Jennings. When I asked Jennings what he did differently to his bow for turkey hunting compared to deer hunting, he surprisingly said nothing. "I honestly don't change anything on my bow," adding, "When I set my bow up, I set it up to kill; when my body is in twine with my bow, I am confident to make the shot." Jennings then went on to say that beating a turkey's eyesight is virtually impossible. When bowhunting turkeys, Jennings explained that he plays hard to get and has patience. "To make them jokers get into archery range and get to my decoy setup, you have to be thorough on your decision making." He also said that when a gobbler comes into the decoy, often there are a few hens or another gobbler with him. When you have multiple sets of eyes at close range, Jennings clarified you must know when that split second happens to draw your bow. "With Bear's let-off on the Redemption EKO, I can stay at full draw for an extended period until the shot opportunity presents itself," explained Matt.
Decoy Set-Ups For Bowhunting Turkeys
Decoys are critical when trying to call a gobbler into close range to shoot with a bow. Jennings often uses a bedded hen or breeding-style hen decoy and a jake decoy when drawing a gobbler to close range. "When I sit my decoys, I place them at five, ten, or fifteen yards at the max to help draw a gobbler as close as possible." He also likes to use a strutting decoy when the opportunity is right. When hunting in large open areas, where turkeys must look a long way to see your setup, using a strutting decoy can help grab a gobbler's attention. "I recently hunted in Florida and used a strutting gobbler decoy," said Jennings. "The gobbler came from two-hundred yards to twenty yards in less than a minute and a half." He added that the turkey probably would not have responded well without the more oversized strutting decoy.
Which hand you shoot your bow also can determine where to set your decoys. Jennings stated that he is a left-handed shooter and sets his decoys up slightly to the right of his setup. "Being left-handed, I set my decoys up to the right so that I can roll up all in one motion and make the shot."
Ground Blind or From The Ground
When bow hunting turkeys, Jennings stated he uses both a ground blind and hunting directly on the ground. "If I know where turkeys are regularly roosting, it gives me time to get a ground blind up the day before hunting," said Jennings, adding that getting by with movement from drawing your bow is much easier with a ground blind. However, don't count him out to hunt directly on the ground when he has the chance. "The rush of sitting directly on the ground and being face to face with a gobbler is a rush in itself," stated Jennings. Wearing camouflage from head to toe is essential when hunting spring turkeys. When hunting from a blind or hunting directly on the ground, Jennings can be found wearing his ScentLok Savanna Aero Crosshair jacket and pants in Mossy Oak Bottomland or Country DNA.
"I wear these camouflage patterns because it blends good with spring, and I wear my ScentLok because I hunt turkeys in areas with many deer; when there are deer in the same areas where I am turkey hunting, I don't want to risk one of them smelling me and busting up my turkey hunt." Wearing ScentLok with Carbon Alloy technology, the hunters have a little extra protection from other wildlife when trying to call turkeys into close range.
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