Bowhunting turkeys can be tough. They have eyes like an eagle, a small vital area and can disappear after the shot, never to be seen again. To kill one with a bow, it is best if you are super close to them when taking a shot so you can aim and execute the shot perfectly and take out their head or chest cavity, depending on which one you are aiming at. The easiest way to get up close and personal with a long beard is by using a turkey decoy. Below are a couple tactics that work well for bringing Tommy boy in close. 

Many bowhunters make the mistake of setting up their Jake or Tom decoy so it is facing away from the hunter or the blind, which can be a mistake. Instead, place the tom decoy so it is facing the blind or the hunter. This forces the incoming tom to circle around and face off with the decoy. The real tom will want the decoy to know he is challenging him. When he circles around to face the decoy, the hunter will have a close broadside shot at the turkey. If the decoy is facing away from the hunter, the tom will often stand just out of shooting distance from the decoy, strutting back and forth, because the real bird is convinced the decoy can see him. Always force the real bird to come in close.

Last year, my son shot a longbeard at ten steps. It was the last day of turkey season but the tom was still lovesick over the ladies. By the late season, many toms are call shy and this one was too. I only called to him twice in an hour. What brought him in close was the lay down hen decoy I had out in front of us. The lay down hen looks like a hen that is ready to breed. Even a call shy gobbler will come running when he sees a hen is ready for business. You don’t have a breeding hen decoy? Get one. Toms are obviously distracted when they get on top of the decoy which gives you plenty of time to draw your bow and make a good shot. 

Most bowhunters only bring one or two decoys with them when they hunt. How often in the spring do you just see one hen by herself? When I turkey hunt, I often bring three or four lightweight, packable decoys with me. A bigger flock often eases the fear of the real birds and brings them in close. Packing extra decoys can be a pain, but it is worth the effort.

When bowhunting turkeys, keeping your bow positioned for the shot can be difficult. Consider using a Pine Ridge Archery Kwik Stand. The Kwik Stand keeps your bow out of the dirt and in a vertical position while you wait. When the time comes, you can simply lift your bow and shoot.

Good luck this spring!

About the author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, consultant and game dinner speaker who often discusses how he overcomes cerebral palsy. Learn more about him at www.tracybreen.com

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