Choosing a Broadhead
A key factor to determining success in bowhunting turkeys is correctly choosing a broadhead. Regardless of fixed blade, expanding mechanical, or the increasingly popular “decapitating” broadhead, all can do the job of harvesting a turkey. It comes down to what you can consistently shoot accurately, and specific considerations based on your method of bowhunting.
Expanding Mechanical Broadhead
Expanding mechanical broadheads are the overwhelming favorite of turkey hunters. The wound size is often often 2 inches larger in diameter than most fixed blade broadheads. This can mean positive results despite a slightly off-target shot. The expanding blades will hopefully catch vitals in the event the shot placement is not perfect. If not, it should at least do enough damage to slow the turkey’s exit so you can get a second shot. Expanding mechanical broadheads tend to slow upon penetration which leaves the arrow lodged in the turkey instead of passing through. This can net more damage as the turkey tries to run off if the shot is not immediately fatal.
Fixed Blade Broadhead
Fixed blade broadheads are a great choice for hunters that are confident in their shot placement. The fixed blade broadhead is more likely to pass through the bird at a higher rate of speed. While this is great if you get a heart or lung shot, chances are greatly decreased of fatally wounding a turkey with an off target shot. Fixed blade broadheads are a good option if you’re an experienced archer willing to show great restraint when deciding whether to shoot. However, it may not be the best for beginners or hunters looking to do the most damage with a single shot.
Recently bowhunters have turned to decapitating broadheads for a number of reasons. These broadheads are unique to turkey hunting. They are constructed with 3 or 4 blades protruding from the center of the broadhead like a fan. The broadhead is meant to be shot at the turkey’s neck between the base of the head and where the breast begins. There are advantages and disadvantages to this method. An accurate shot will in fact decapitate the turkey and net a quick and ethical harvest. Even a partial decapitation should give the hunter an immediate opportunity to dispatch the turkey.
Also, due to the small and jittery target, errant shots are often total misses and won’t just wound the turkey. The precise nature of shot placement makes this an intimidating choice for new hunters, but potentially a more ethical choice due to the quick kill and diminished likelihood of nonfatal wounding. Experienced archers appreciate the added challenge and accomplishment with making such a challenging shot under pressure.
Choosing a Broadhead
Where you’re hunting matters. If you’re hunting from a ground blind, using a large decapitating broadhead or large blade expanding mechanical blend well with the controlled atmosphere inside the blind. If you are bowhunting turkeys outside a blind, you may opt for something more apt to versatile shot placement, as well as a broadhead with a more controlled blade system while the arrow is nocked and rested keeping in mind you’ll be hunting in more cover.