Contributors to this thread:
Shotgun or bow for turkey
As much as I enjoy bow hunting for deer, I prefer my 870 for spring turkey.
Either setting up over a field, woods, and especially run and gun, I would rather use my shotgun.
Recurve bow for me.
I was never a die hard turkey hunter but I'd sure love to kill one with my recurve. This will be my third year of trying and hopefully I can seal the deal. I'll just be happy to be out in the Spring time woods hunting. I'll likely set up and call for my son who will be using a shotgun on our opener.
Best of luck to all no matter what weapon you choose and stay safe!
My wife loves her 870 20ga. in pink camo, but it’s a bow or nothing for me. Haven’t used a shotgun on turks since 1985.
I've done both, usually grab the shotgun though.
I’m with you air leak. Birds are the only thing I use a gun on. Sitting in a blind bores me to tears...I love runnin’ and gunnin’ for turkeys with my S/G.
Yep...... shotgun. I also handload my own turkey shells which is enjoyable and satisfying when I kill one.
Air Leak - I'm with you. For deer, while I walk around the woods with a ML and sometimes the SG during gun seasons here, I never really feel like I'm hunting. Gun season just feels to different for me. It's basically scouting for next bow season and maybe Ill see/shoot a deer.
Turkey's for me the shotgun just feels like the right tool. I much prefer the gun for turkey hunting. I hunt public land and it's all roving around looking for a hot bird away from others, maybe that's why I like the gun. It's just better for that (In my eyes at least).
I also take the shot gun for turkeys. I have taken several with my bow in the fall both when whitetail hunting and sometimes set up specifically for turkeys. Run and gun is fun
Oh man. I love hunting turkeys and it takes forever to draw a tag here in Alberta. Luckily, the U S of A makes it easy to slip down there and hunt birds. Covid has killed that...I prefer a bow. But love the idea of run and gunning them with a shotgun.
Shotgun for me. I cover ground. Lots of it until I find one that wants to play. Some days that is a lot of miles. I’m not carrying a blind. And, I’m not likely to set in one if I can be walking around looking for a turkey.
Bows are great. Just not my style of hunting for spring gobblers.
You guys are missing out if you aren't "going and bowing" for turkeys. A shotgun is just a crutch :) Carrying that blind around is also great training for elk season!
If I have gobblers located and patterned I will set a blind and use my bow. If I have to cover ground and search for them, I carry the shotgun.
Something about hammering your shoulder with a 3.5” mag turkey shell.... haven’t figured out “what about it” keeps me coming back for me tho. Maybe I’ve shot to many and the brain cells arnt operating properly?
This year tho I’m determined to shoot one with my bow!
I keep saying that one year I’ll take my bow to the spring Turkey woods - just hasn’t happened yet.
Shotgun for me as well.
I use both. Depends on where I hunt. One farm is much more conducive to bowhunting turkeys as it is very open. I do not like sitting in a blind but getting that Tom ultra close for a bow shot is really cool and I've enjoyed that a lot over the last few years but "real" turkey hunting for me is easing through the woods and killing turkeys by calling them in many different scenarios depending on what that turkey wants.
I usually prefer a shotgun. I do enjoy the running and gunning aspect. Last year I made a goal to get one with a bow and did so and really enjoyed it.
I bought a new 20 gauge double this winter and really wanted to slay a gobbler with it. But last night I was looking at my bow. . . . and I got a sudden urge to thorn another gobbler. :) So who knows what I'll hunt with this year. I'll take it day by day
I used a recurve last year and was going to this year but I think some tendonitis has squelched that for me. Might use my daughters .410
I hunt pressured public ground so usually use the shotgun since I love runnin and gunnin. If I know where they are roosted and it is less than a mile hike in I'll take my blind and recurve and give it a shot.
I did it backwards. I only bowhunted them for a couple decades and then went with a shotgun one day. It was a fun day but I haven't carried one again. Shotguns really are a good fit for running and gunning.
I use both, but the last few years it's been my boys choice. I have harvested several nice toms with my bow. My boys like the boom of the boomstick so that is my choice to keep them interested. My now 10 yr. old got a dandy last year and my 8 yr. old is shooting first this year. Since my wife's recent passing I moved up a spot in the rotation, I'm 3rd in the rotation for this season. The little guy will be shooting a 28 ga. and my 10yr. old a 20. Dad is seriously thinking about trying a .410.
I've done both...but turkeys are meant to get shot in the face with a bunch of BB's.
After shooting my first one with a shotgun I switched to a bow as the only weapon I used for turkey. Anything else is too easy. But shooting them with a bow at 10 yards is pretty easy too so eventually I lost interest in them and quit hunting them.
I went about 8 years without shooting one with a shotgun. Shot a dozen spring birds, a couple in the fall. Last year I took the shot gun out my buddy, and we had a blast. Probably back to bow this spring.
I've shot a few with shotgun, trying to get one with my recurve now. I'm not that into hunting them anymore though, so it's kind of a half assed attempt when I go. It is fun though when you get them gobbling.
killed a couple with the recurve but hunt with gun in spring in Montana and Penna, still hunt some with the recurve in the fall
I love spring turkey hunting about as much as whitetails in the rut
Shotgun for me, but am hunting with my 15 yo son so I'm there to call and take it all in with him anyway. If I had a private field, I'd try the bow, but I don't have much for open fields where I go on state land and sometimes we need to cover miles in order to pick up a bird, so run and gun for me.
If only you could shoot a bow without a blind. If only....
Have killed many with a bow, and w/o a blind Matt, and self-filmed...just have to be still ;?)
Bow and shotgun the 20 ga (my 12 got to heavy ) when covering lots of public ground. Private land with fields I’ll use the bow with or without a blind.
Bow and shotgun the 20 ga (my 12 got to heavy ) when covering lots of public ground. Private land with fields I’ll use the bow with or without a blind.
I arrowed a Miriams and a Rio in Colorado but definitely hit several that I was unable to recover. I will probably use my recurve to take an Eastern but outside of taking one of those with an arrow I am going to stick to the shotgun for turkeys.
I've gotten a few turkeys with my bow but prefer my shotgun.
I can't tell you the last time I used a gun for turkey. Luckily I live in a very turkey rich area. Our season opens on a Saturday, this year which I believe the first Saturday in May. I'm out till noon on the opener, then till 8:30 mid week (work) and then noon on Saturday again. No Sunday turkey hunting in Pa. :( First 2 weeks you can only hunt till noon, then all day the last 2 weeks. The first 2 weeks has 12 day of hunting, I'll most likely be out ten of them. 2 Bird limit. Ed
Birds aren’t my thing but when they are I take a bow. I’ve killed my share with a shotgun and the allure with a gun is gone.
I’ve shot two with a shotgun and about 35 with bows. I’d rather clean the lint out of my sock drawer than hunt turkeys with a shotgun. But if you like hunting them with a shotgun, that’s your call. I’m headed to Nebraska next week to bow hunt them. Then the following week, I’ll hunt them in Mn, all with a bow. Haven’t gun hunted them in 30 years.
Didn't even know it was a question. Shotgun of course...
I've killed enough, so I just chase them a little with my bow. I live and hunt by some public grounds that are archery only, so if I hear one gobble while I'm outside in the yard, I'll grab my longbow and give him a chase. Don't really care if I kill him or not, but it's still fun sometimes. I also use a string tracker on my bow for turkeys. They can easily get away so I wouldn't shoot one with a bow without it.
Killed a couple with my bow, but shotgun for me.
All the turkey hunts I do are on large tracts of mountain public now so I pack the 870. I lost one with a bow that I know couldnt have survived but couldnt find it. After losing one I prefer being able to flip the off switch with a heavy load of longbeard xr or tss.
After my first bow turkey, I was all in. So much more fun with a bow. Now that I can’t hit the broad side of a barn, it’s a shotgun. Just go once a year now, not as much fun.
Turkeys would be no challenge for me with a bang stick. Killed more than my share with my compound. Now my recurve is the weapon of choice.
Try hunting them from a tree stand. I have not done it but I often have turkeys under me while deer hunting with the bow.
I’m not saying I’ll never hunt one with a gun again but I haven’t hunted them with anything but a recurve or longbow for over a decade now. That’s my favorite way to hunt them. If they commit to the decoys the shots will be right in your lap.
Prefer compound bow, but I have a Rem SP 10 gauge that has killed several! It is all about the calling for me.
Jeff I’m thinking about getting up in the saddle for em. Get use to the saddle and set up and maybe kill a bird.
Bow only for me. I rarely sit in a blind anymore either, run and bow them! I must say i enjoy the blind once in a while tho, much more of a slam dunk when you can pull them in to under 20 yards.
Since I have yet to kill my first gobbler, I will be shotgunning. Or a stick or a sling shot, or.....lol.
Bow only for me. Have not used a shotgun since my college days. That said, a shotgun is likely your weapon choice if you really want some wild turkey for the table. I think an enclosed blind is almost mandatory for bow. Drawing and shooting requires too much motion if you are are out in the open.
I'd say that in all other areas I'm a die hard bowhunter...but I love shotgun hunting turkeys.. don't now why but I do...
I would respectfully disagree with blinds being almost mandatory. They certainly make things exponentially easier to kill a bird out of one, but lots of guys (myself included) have killed birds without one. Oftentimes the tom will lock in on the decoys and seem to zone out everything else around him, allowing you to get drawn. Sometimes terrain features (or tail feathers) block their vision long enough to get the bow back, if timed right, as well. Lots of other scenarios as well.
I think the blind thing can be said about any animal. I’ve been caught drawing or raising rifle on ground by a deer and also gotten away with it and shot them. Same thing in blind. Sometimes they look right in knowing that your there. I’ve had turkeys come right to me looking in blind during deer. Once you move, busted.
LOL, I once worked a bird for 1/2 hour and finally got him across a road and 50 yards. I was sitting on a root that finally got really uncomfortable on my ass. The bird went behind some bushes, I slightly shifted, and there he was gone. Then, I had another one maybe 25 yards away looking all around my direction. I was able to move my gun that was pointing left all the way up and around to the right and shot him. You just never know what will happen.
After getting my draw busted every time when I first started hunting Turkeys...I switched to the 12 gauge (I always hunted highly pressured public land).
Finding some "patternable" birds on some unpressured public ground, changed the game for me (as did the popup blind). I use my elk pack to haul the blind around, it's a very tall, but comfortable load, and it's good training for September.
Nothing more satisfying, than whacking a gobbler with a well-placed arrow !
I know they can be killed with a bow, without using a blind. The only gobbler I’ve ever shot with a bow, I shot with a recurve at 25 yards or so. Without a blind. MA3’d his rear end good. He didn’t go anywhere hardly. It was fun. But, not nearly as fun to me as when I pole Jack one with a shotgun. I love a good shooting turkey gun. I like being able to cleanly kill coyotes at 45-50 yards too. :-)
I don’t know. I think it’d be fun to hunt with a lot of guys here out of a blind with a bow. I don’t know if we’d kill much because we’d spend too much time laughing. And, I’m a bow guy at heart for most things. But, I like my guns too.
As far as killing one from a tree, good luck. Turkeys around these parts pick me out every time I’m in a tree stand in the fall. The slightest movement does not go undetected.
It’s all fun I’m sure. But, hearing that 870 boom is addicting.
Looking at a lot of the comments here, I see most of you that are bow only are not from the east (especially Appalachia) where turkeys are as weary as anything I have hunted. If they could smell we would never get em. Yes they can be taken with a bow but a lot harder than the midwest birds.
I have to agree with Troy, I’ve killed a few, (very few), turkeys without a blind but where I hunted was brushy and during the spring, windy. When the wind is moving the brush you can get away with more movement. Lots of the turkeys I killed were hens in the fall and they would be in large groups of twenty or more, I only ever killed one without a blind in about 15 years of bowhunting them on that place. I killed one gobbler from a tripod when five others were present but it took me ten minutes or more to be able to draw. Even then, two of them saw me and started walking away but my target bird just froze long enough. So yeah, it can be done, but I was much more successful with the blind. One thing I didn’t like about a blind was low visibility. More than once I’ve had a gobbler come in silently and gobble 15’ from me. Scares the hell out of me ! :-)
Nothing better than getting woke up from a nap in the blind by the sound of a drumming long beard!
I’m wondering if being so wary, is what is making those birds in the east, weary??
Agreed Nick. Nothing better than a mid morning nap, then getting woke up by drumming. A big, thunderous gobble from about 5 yards away is something different altogether!
Exploding fisher, bobcat, coyote, and bear populations. Only coyotes can be shot or trapped. Add in fox and birds of prey.
Plus, private land is a premium and hard to get, state land areas are very small compared to most states.
This is my opinion.
Having said that, as much as I love to bow hunt, I love to use my 870 for turkeys.
When my sons and I separate 100-200 yards apart, love hearing a shot knowing one of them has scored.
So agree with that. And on the right Spring day when the sun warms the blind up to that perfect napping temperature it doesn’t get much better.
I use a bow mainly because I hate cleaning the shotgun for one round. Call me lazy, LOL.
Remington 870 12gauge 3" mag #4 shot for me.
As much as I see hunting through the prism of bowhunting, the thought of killing a turkey never even interested me. Run and gun rhymes with fun.
I'm Shooting mine this year with my Great Grandfathers double barrel L.C. Smith he bought at the factory in 1912. Probably be wearing a brown flannel shirt. Shot My last one with my other Great Grandfather's model 12 from the 30's. Won;t be anywhere near a blind and won't have any decoys. Turkeys are made for chasing, It's fun.
Good luck, Wayne! Very cool to have that personal connection to the weapon you are using! I still use my grandfather’s Model 12 for pheasants.
Bow for everything duh. All about the challenge. Turkey with a bow is a great challenge. At this point in my life I can’t bring my self to shoot things with Guns. Just not that fun.
I have used both. The first one with a gun was memorable. The first one with a bow (my biggest) was even more memorable.
My son wants one with his recurve so bad, using a natural blind as he uses a longer recurve couldn't find a blind that was big enough for him. He has taken 4 with gun so knows how, just needs a chance to not get busted when he draws, Made that decision after the last one he shot, a tom came by while we were taking down talking, takin pics and we pretended to draw several times in the open. Haven't had one do that since.
Thank T-Roy. I love Model 12's and have several of them. I love all old guns and it just suits my style of hunting. I have a 16 gauge that I call my meat axe. I've killed everything imaginable with it. I have four old guns that are both grandfathers and both great grandfathers that I rotate every year. Kind of a way to pay respect.
First archery longbeard was actually from a treestand. Benefit of having a fall turkey tag in your pocket while deer hunting. Chased spring birds with a shotgun until 2003. All but three birds since have got the shaft. Been twelve years since I last used the shotgun...but it could happen again. Definitely prefer the up close and personal encounters one gets bowhunting turkeys from a blind.
Ive shot almost all my N England turkeys with the bow over the yrs until recently as injuries i have wont allow me to carry all the gear i need as i also film. If im hunting with a partner no problem!
Dang, Wayne, you may have inspired me to try and take a bird with my g'pa's old model 12. I've never killed anything with it. Just sits in the gun cabinet.
The bird is going to have to be pretty much archery close since it's a mod choke. What do you use for turkey loads?
Bowhunting turkeys is something I have always loved. Shot a few with a shotgun when I was very young but not the same as arrowing one.
I got one with my grandfathers old Winchester 97 a couple years ago. It was cool. And it was only a 23/4 chamber. I take women and kids hunting all the time so you definitely don't need a 31/2" cannon. They make plenty of good shells these days. #4's or 5's and you'll be fine. Try it. it's fun.
"They make plenty of good shells these days."
I don't know if they make plenty of ANY shells these days! Kinda hard to find. lol
Midwest Tom's with a bow are one of my favorite things to do. I have several farms now and have some permanent blinds out, run several Xenek blinds also.
Love calling and decoying a big bird into 10 yds and whopping him with a mechanical. Can't get enough of it!
Mod choke= TSS 8s or 9s. Makes old guns great again
Good point Midwest. Been a while since I had to buy anything,
Bow only. I hope to shoot one with my dad's recurve this month! After that, I hope to run and gun with my bow and shoot one in the head without a blind. Going to be a fun spring!
thedude x2. The TSS shells shoot much better out of modified chokes then they do constricted full chokes. The shot doesn’t deform like lead. So, it’s gotta be a more open choke.
Yeah, probably not going to find any. Looks like the shotgun bird will have to wait until another year.
Sent a PM Nick.
TSS definitely needs less choke than lead or hevi-shot. I haven't tested the turkey shells in TSS much, but I was pattern testing some TSS for upland and ducks. Best choke for upland patterns I found was a skeet choke. And could probably use a cylinder for it as well.
What, they let you shoot turkeys with shotguns?!?!
Still trying to decide which weapon. If I choose the archery license, it is good for the entire turkey season. If I choose the gun, I have a week.
One cool thing about Iowa is you can get an archery tag that's good for all 4 of our seasons and a fourth season gun/bow tag.
Iowa's turkey seasons are very well structured to spread out the pressure.
I only turkey hunt with a bow.
Mostly shotgun 99% of the time..
In NM I will start out with my Springfield .12 gauge. After I kill my first bird, I’ll switch to my bow. Bought some HS diaphragms yesterday to go with my slate call. I will do it with a bow in CO. This hunt will be more of a scouting trip if I get lucky and draw a deer tag and the turkey will be a target of opportunity.