5 Bow Blind Turkey Tips

Sponsored by: Atsko Products


By: Wade Nolan Bowhunting Biologist

I recently conducted a seminar of bowhunting turkeys and noticed that although everyone wants to step up to the challenge, few do. The barrier is lack of confidence and knowhow. Shooting a turkey with a shotgun can be hard enough but arrowing a big bird seems impossible…unless you know the secrets.

Wild turkeys have amazing vision qualities. They can see as well as you can, 20/20 but they can see 360-degrees around them when they turn their head only slightly. The real issue is that they can see U-V. That means they can see U-V brightener dyes that are in your camo.

If you choose to wear camo in the blind be sure to treat it with U-V-KILLER by Atsko. Turkeys see UV.

That camo can be laced with UV brighteners in two ways. Either the U-V dyes are put into your camo when they are manufactured in Asia or if you wash your camo just once in normal laundry detergent that contains brighteners you have contaminated your camo. Once U-V is in the fabric only U-V-Killer from Atsko can fix it. It must be fixed or you will be picked up by a turkeys eyes…even if you are in a hunting blind.

All turkeys respond well to decoys, but not every time. The key to arrowing a bird is to get him up close. That means setting up that decoy at 8-10 yards and not 20. The other factor is difficult to manage at first but you will be forever glad if you address it.

Have you ever seen a hen decoy made by a taxidermist? Gobblers are real suckers for hens with feathers. Invest in a taxidermy hen and take care of it. I suggest you treat it with silicone Water-Guard and keep it in a breathable cloth bag.

Hot gobblers walk right up to decoys. If you can get your hands onto a feathered decoy, they are best.

Most hunters contend that wild turkeys are smart…I think they are sometimes stupid. They are especially on remembering things. Where I’ve hunted Easterns in Kansas with Robert Hoague we have a neat set up where the birds roost in tall cedars a half mile above the river and then they fly down and work their way to the river bottom. To get to the river level pastures, where they bug, they walk along pasture fence lines. At a few pinch points, they either choose to walk through an open gate or sometimes along a cedar lined farm road.

In stark contrast to whitetails, who are spooked at a newly placed blind, a gobbler will often strut right up to a blind in the middle of a field. Placing the blind in the perfect location is more important than brushing it in.

We’ve set up blinds after they go to roost at these pinch points and intercepted them the next morning. The amazing thing is that we can set up a blind ten yards from the gate or in the side of the farm road. They totally ignore this new blocky feature along the same road they walked for the last 40 days. It’s like they don’t care. They are blind-dumb. Use this fact when scouting pinch points and set up your blind there.

Hunting from a blind will give you a great advantage if your bowhunting the big birds but they can pick up movement like no other critter. They can even pick up movement if you are in a blind. Get some black gloves and wear them. Buy or create a black facemask and wear a black top. If your bow limb face is light, darken it.

These are the best eyes in the woods. Movement is your biggest liability with a turkey eye. Don't wiggle around when he gets close.

Don’t sit up against the open window peering around like a kindergartener on a school bus. Sit at the rear of the blind and open the windows you will be shooting through and open up everything but the shoot-through netting on the rest of forward facing windows.

Killing a big bird with a broadhead is no small feat. I prefer a wide mechanical but some guys use fixed blades. Either way you must be able to put that arrow into a Styrofoam cup at 20 yards. Turkey vitals are small and passing an arrow through the breadbox is a sure way to anchor them. Another strategy is to shoot at the wing butt and break wing bones. This means your arrowed turkey is at best a compromised walker.

Mechanical broadheads are the best medicine to take down a turkey. This Swhacker mechanical is two inches wide after impact, a real showstopper for big birds.
When it comes to turkey hunters, Glenn Halter is my hero. He not only can set 'em up but he can also arrow them like a pro.

My hunting buddy Glenn Halter of SC recently shot a bow double one morning on a blind hunt at a farm he manages. The first bird was a gimmee at 25 yards but the second one was walking away at 71 yards. Glenn, who is an excellent shot, took his time and dropped the arrow down into the bird as it slid off. Two kills on wild turkeys in a few minutes is quite special. I’m not suggesting that you take 70-yard shots, but for this turkey master, they are routine.

So don’t just dream about bowhunting wild turkeys, get out there and launch some arrows…you can do this.

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