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Shot Placement for Turkeys

When using Archery gear, aim at the circles for a good clean kill

When using Archery gear, aim at the circles for a good clean kill

When hunting with a shotgun there is but one place to aim when shooting turkeys. That is the base of the neck/head. A lot of thoughts have gone into the discussions on where to aim when killing turkeys. The impact of a disturbance to the central nervous system by a heavy load of shot to the neck and head will end the turkey’s day very quickly. As hunters, we want a quick clean and efficient kill.

There are however moments when a shot to the body have been used and need to be used to efficiently take a gobbler. Granted shooting the turkey in the body will kill the turkey under the right circumstances, but it will mess up a lot of meat.

The only times I have had to shoot a turkey in the chest was when they slipped in very close and a shot at the head was just too difficult to accomplish at that close range. Or when a turkey was starting to run away and could not get a clear shot at the head.

For archery hunters a recent trend has been to use these extra-large broadheads designed to decapitate turkeys when shot in the head. I guess it is a matter of opinion but personally I do not believe these are the most ethical shots on turkeys with archery equipment. A better shot placement with archery equipment is in the chest cavity centering on the heart. For a turkey that is broadside, the best aiming point is the wing joint. A facing towards you turkey is the base of the beard and when strutting away is to aim at the anal vent. Shots in these locals will penetrate deep enough to cause severe trauma and cleanly kill the turkey. Shots at the head for archers, again, in my opinion offer too much room for error and opportunities for misses or wounded shots. These extra-large broadheads offer no chance at a body shot if a head shot never presents itself. The blades are far too large to allow for any penetration into the body of a full grown turkey. Instead opt for a standard mechanical or fixed blade broadhead.

Shot placement is critical when all of the effort to call in a mature bird has happened. Don’t lose your opportunity by aiming at the wrong location. It is effective and necessary as hunters to take these animals as cleanly as possible.