Here’s How to Bring Down Birds with a Bow This Spring
Fact: Turkey hunting is a challenge no matter the season you’re pursuing them or your weapon of choice. Another fact, however, is that archery hunting these smart and flighty birds tends to be a bit more difficult, simply due to yardage limitations (you want your targets as close as you can possibly get them) and the movement required to ready and draw your equipment. Today’s bows are far from primitive, but they do still require a bit more effort (not to mention stealth) to pull off one shot, let alone a follow up if the first one misses its mark.
But the good news is if you enjoy bowhunting and the challenges that come with it, it’s likely you’ll love bowhunting turkeys during the spring season. It’s also likely that after giving it a go, you’ll have a greater appreciation for just how good these birds’ eyesight really is.
“After playing cat and mouse all season with many gobblers, I finally cut loose an arrow from my Hoyt Carbon RX-4!! My friend Todd Pautz and I spent quite a bit of time trying to seal the deal. We hunt very small properties and it makes it tough for many reasons but we finally put everything together and got 2 to come just close enough and only one walked out. Della literally spent hours and hours with me in the blind and although she wasn’t able to be along on the final day of the season, (because I left at 3 am) she was happy that I was able to bring home a big KERKEY!! The all-new G5 M3 ripped through this guy like paper!! Since I didn’t get to travel anywhere this spring because of Covid-19, I was beginning to wonder if this would be my first season without a turkey in almost 30 years!! Thankful to get it done on the final hunt of the year.”
Secrets to a Sweet Springtime Setup
First and foremost, getting your bowhunting setup just right takes time and practice – more than shotgun hunting requires, since typically, a bird inside 45-50 yards is often a dead one. With a bow, depending on draw weight, hunters usually need birds within a minimum of 20-30 yards, making your setup incredibly important.
It’s important that the bow you choose to take afield is one you’re comfortable shooting not only from a draw weight perspective, but also from a variety of positions.
The Brotherhood’s pick: Carbon RX-4 Alpha Blackout
Why we love them: For starters, Hoyt has been building top-of-the-line high-tech archery equipment for nearly 90 years and each of their bow lines are designed to fit various needs and hunting styles – from woodland tree stand and ground blind hunters, to spot-and-stalkers on the open plains.
Hoyt bows are also built to accommodate a wide range of experience and comfort levels, from first timers to seasoned long-range hunters – meaning they’re sure to have bows that meet your needs, whatever they might be.
What ends up connecting with the bird might be one of the most important pieces of gear in your turkey hunting arsenal.
The Brotherhood’s Pick: DeadMeat or Montec M3
Why we love them: G5 Broadheads have been a Bone Collector favorite for a long time. From whitetails to elk, the cutting potential and penetration of G5 broadheads have not failed. When it comes to pinpoint accuracy and enough cutting power to get through feathers, the choice needs to be clear. Both the Montec and DeadMeat broadhead are great choices! The Montec M3 is stronger and more durable than the previous models. The DeadMeat broadhead also offers an extremely accurate option with it’s BMP head and plenty of power to get the job done right.
For bow hunters especially, the ability to set up and hunt from a blind can offer many advantages over hunting in the open, as many shotgun hunters prefer to do. Blinds help disguise the human silhouette, mask movement, and allow game-changing gear (think chairs, a coffee thermos, and the like) to be brought and concealed afield.
Why we love them: The Bone Collection R-150 and R-600 hub style ground blinds by Rhino Blinds come in two different camo patterns to suit different situations. These Rhino Blinds are simple to set up and take down, comfortably hold multiple hunters, and most feature a 180-degree window system with shoot-through mesh and zipper-less covers, ensuring hunters can move in and out silently. Plus, the camouflaged shell and blacked-out interior are ideal for bow hunters, allowing them to discretely draw and position themselves for success in the turkey woods.
We suggest setting up in brush or tree cover that provides good forward visibility, yet still hides the sides and back of the blind, helping you blend into existing scenery even more. After all, coming to full draw on a seasoned tom is difficult enough, but chances are there will be more than one set of eyes to worry about while attempting to do so. Add a few hens or challengers to the mix and that task just became loads tougher – you’ll need every concealment advantage you can get.
At Bone Collector, we believe there are a few calls every turkey hunter should master, to ensure they’re able to capture the attention of hens and toms alike, while also confidently bringing them in on a rope. As luck would have it, each of those sounds are easily made using one of a variety of Bone Collector’s signature turkey calls.
The most common mistake that bow hunters make is not being patient and learning the softer calls that are necessary to get that bird those final 10-20 yards. I will be the first to admit that I would put myself on the list of more aggressive callers. I cannot help it. I love the interaction. Something runs through my body every time I hear a bird respond to me calling. There is just something about hearing a tom gobble that keeps me coming back again and again. Now with this being stated, cuts, cackles, kee kees, excited yelps – they are all great and can really get a bird fired up in the right situation. But it is the soft clucks, purrs, and whines that will bring that bird in those last few critical yards that are needed with a bow.
The Brotherhood’s pick: Bone Collector Turkey Calls
Why we love them: The Bone Collector turkey calls are designed to make a wide range of sounds (including simple yelps, clucks, and cuts) that rile up toms and pull hens to your spread. Our hand-tuned Soggy Bottom box call, for example, complete with waterproofed paddle and striking surface, is more than just simple to use, it’s also weatherproof, making it versatile enough to take on wet and dry hunting conditions without a second thought. Meanwhile, the combined compact design and far-reaching capability of our popular Poplar Girl slate call do it all when paired with the Bone Collector Game Calls Hickory Striker – from cutts and yelps to gentle purrs.
Of course, in addition to bows, blinds, and calls, there’s plenty more gear your spring turkey bowhunting setup should include. In fact, Michael Waddell recently shared some good spring season hunting gear advice that’ll help load you down with all the essential turkey hunting gear necessary to fill the tags in your pockets.