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Turkeys: head or body shot?
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
Frenchman 05-Apr-23
Bowfreak 05-Apr-23
MA-PAdeerslayer 05-Apr-23
JohnMC 05-Apr-23
Bowfreak 05-Apr-23
Beav 05-Apr-23
smarba 05-Apr-23
JTreeman 05-Apr-23
KY EyeBow 05-Apr-23
drycreek 05-Apr-23
Charlie Rehor 05-Apr-23
TonyBear 05-Apr-23
Ollie 05-Apr-23
smarba 05-Apr-23
Hawkeye 05-Apr-23
Starfire 05-Apr-23
midwest 05-Apr-23
ahunter76 05-Apr-23
HUNT MAN 05-Apr-23
Treeline 05-Apr-23
MA-PAdeerslayer 05-Apr-23
fastflight 05-Apr-23
Dale06 05-Apr-23
Pop-r 05-Apr-23
Pop-r 05-Apr-23
Teeton 05-Apr-23
Teeton 05-Apr-23
Medicinemann 06-Apr-23
Frenchman 06-Apr-23
ahunter76 06-Apr-23
pav 06-Apr-23
Paul@thefort 03-Feb-24
Dino 03-Feb-24
Jack Whitmrie jr 03-Feb-24
t-roy 03-Feb-24
Silvertip 03-Feb-24
midwest 03-Feb-24
TonyBear 03-Feb-24
elkmtngear 03-Feb-24
sheds 03-Feb-24
Groundhunter 03-Feb-24
Stubbleduck 03-Feb-24
Stubbleduck 03-Feb-24
Rock 04-Feb-24
Lewis 04-Feb-24
Scoot 04-Feb-24
t-roy 04-Feb-24
Matt 04-Feb-24
goyt 04-Feb-24
RD 05-Feb-24
Scoot 05-Feb-24
Djl 05-Feb-24
From: Frenchman
05-Apr-23

Frenchman's embedded Photo
Frenchman's embedded Photo
Curious to know what bowsiters do... Myself - have shot a few body - never tried head shots with decapitating broadheads.. (but thinking about trying that this year) Curious to know if there is a trend among bowsiters..

From: Bowfreak
05-Apr-23
I prefer body shots. When they come in and attack decoys they are going crazy bouncing all over the place. Their head and necks are moving non stop. Body shots are much easier in my opinion assuming you know where to aim. The huge advantage for head shots is that you know exactly where to aim. Even with the small vitals I believe a body shot with a big mechanical is the best option.

05-Apr-23
Body shot, big mechanical.

Head shot 7-8-9 TSS Loads

From: JohnMC
05-Apr-23
Body shots - Unless you want to different arrows (have to be long enough to had head in front of hand)and having to tune you bow for the new arrows. Body shots are deadly once you learn where to hit them. Chop their heads off would be fun if you want to go to the trouble.

From: Bowfreak
05-Apr-23
Scoot,

I agree with you on the head choppers. I should have mentioned the wounding loss specifically. I have had great luck with body shots and had lost one turkey in 15+ years. Then in 2020 I lost another one and it still bothers me as I "thought" I shot him in the perfect spot. Obviously I did not. If I could get them to stand still I would pick a head chopper over a mechanical.

From: Beav
05-Apr-23
I use my normal arrow setup that I hunt everything with. All about shot placement and knowing where to aim for every angle.

From: smarba
05-Apr-23

smarba's embedded Photo
My first Bullhead turkey
smarba's embedded Photo
My first Bullhead turkey
I can't imagine going back to body shots after using Magnus Bullhead. Yes it took me a little tweaking to get an arrow dialed in that hits the same as my standard FBBs (I didn't want to change pins in case have opportunity for other critters like lion, elk/deer in fall, etc.)

I personally don't feel their head/necks move too much when they come to decoys, even aggressively, just wait for the right time. It's very easy to pick out the aiming point for head/neck. I much prefer the 125 Magnus (I shoot 125s anyway) with substantially larger cutting diameter and the increased forgiveness for neck shots.

Zero tracking. Hit them, they're down right there.

From: JTreeman
05-Apr-23
The annual thread. And worth discussion. I’m a body shot man myself. Not gonna say zero losses, but minimal.

—Jim

From: KY EyeBow
05-Apr-23
Neophyte turkey bowhunter here but body shots for me. Heavyshot to the noggin is what I have the most experience with though!! Just not crazy about waiting Gobblers out in a blind with my bow........

From: drycreek
05-Apr-23
Agree with Jim, I’ve killed lots of turkeys with body shots and only lost two that I can remember. One of them was the last turkey I shot with a bow. Crappy way to go out ! :-(

05-Apr-23
I’m lucky to get one or two shots a year so I’m shooting the body. Can’t imagine the pain of a clean miss with those head shot loppers. I do say the same thing every year.

From: TonyBear
05-Apr-23
I have lost three to body shots. One I found about a week later. Going to try the headshot with bullheads this year and possibly the scorpions behind my COC Muzzys. Supposed to keep the arrow in the bird so they can't fly or run very well.

From: Ollie
05-Apr-23
Body shot. I am not good enough to hit a constantly moving small head.

From: smarba
05-Apr-23
It's not necessarily about not losing a bird. It's about not even having to look for him. Dead without a step (although they do flop...like a chicken with its head cut off). No grid searching in a pile of brush, no walking in a straight line in the direction it flew off, etc.

And I too am lucky to get one or two shots at a bird each spring. Just not many turkeys where I hunt, or at least I haven't figured them out. I did miss one year, the bird totally ignored my arrow and I killed him with my second shot. But mostly I don't miss ;o)

From: Hawkeye
05-Apr-23

Hawkeye's embedded Photo
Hawkeye's embedded Photo
Hawkeye's embedded Photo
Hawkeye's embedded Photo
I have used both and 90% lean toward body shots. Have had a couple rodeos with my head-loppers nicking the blind window—which in my case was a T5 (which I still use and love).

There is such a thing as wounding them with loppers though and this trail cam pic captured by accident was from the bird I described above. The head-lopper clipped the blind and then broke his wing on deflection. I was able to tackle him eventually but this pic was seconds before I dove the first time—and MISSED. Didn’t walk right for a week.

They can be tough to kill but big mechanicals and knowing where to aim is key IMO. Charlie is correct in that birds you miss with head loppers are tough to swallow. Sounds like it would be a win-win but it was always tough to watch them walk away after a couple clean head misses.

Don’t ask me how I know……

Some have said they don’t like the fact they can’t take pics if their heads are chopped off but you can “re-attach” for a photo as I did here a few years ago if you do shoot their heads off.

Neither is wrong or right but no option is perfect.

From: Starfire
05-Apr-23
I prefer body shots. I think your odds of success are better. Despite what people say the head is a slightly smaller target than the heart lung area. Combine that with the head always moving, it does not give a lot of room for error. I have missed a couple of close head shot that should have been dead birds. I still think there is a place for head shots and "head lopper" broadheads. When I am hunting urban areas I use them because I don't want a bird running through someone's back yard with an arrow sticking out.

From: midwest
05-Apr-23
I like grabbing my current setup, my current arrows, put on a big mech, and go hunt.

From: ahunter76
05-Apr-23

ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
Body for me. My buddy (the Turkey Whisperer), who has arrowed more Turkeys than any dz. hunters together does both.. This yr he's doing heads & put his first down in Neb opener. Last yr his body shots took 5 in 3 states.

From: HUNT MAN
05-Apr-23
Your top photo looks like all breast to me.

I like body shots. Have done both but body shots for me these days .

From: Treeline
05-Apr-23
Prefer head shots, less wounded and lost birds.

05-Apr-23
Hawkeye love that action shot lol! Too bad that camera wasn’t on video and motion activated to move and follow the commotion around! Haha

From: fastflight
05-Apr-23
Body for me. All 6 of my bow turkeys have come while sitting in a stand deer hunting though. Usually use the gun for spring turkey.

From: Dale06
05-Apr-23
I’ve arrowed 40+ gobblers, all body shots, all fixed heads. Planning the same this spring, body shot, fixed head.

From: Pop-r
05-Apr-23
Bounces off of them if hit in the body?! That's good stuff right there now. Smh.

From: Pop-r
05-Apr-23
The authority has yet to chime in.

From: Teeton
05-Apr-23
I'm a body shot guy. For me it just dont feel right, and I have no interest trying to shoot a bird in the head. Rocket Hammerhead. 3 blades that opens to 2 inches. But there getting hard to find.

From: Teeton
05-Apr-23

Teeton's embedded Photo
Teeton's embedded Photo
Teeton's embedded Photo
Rocket Hammer head entrance right thigh
Teeton's embedded Photo
Rocket Hammer head entrance right thigh
Teeton's embedded Photo
Where it exited the right thigh and enter the stomach
Teeton's embedded Photo
Where it exited the right thigh and enter the stomach
Teeton's embedded Photo
Left thigh exit. Most of my arrow exit the birds
Teeton's embedded Photo
Left thigh exit. Most of my arrow exit the birds

From: Medicinemann
06-Apr-23
Eyad, Please tell me that you have a video of you trying to tackle that gobbler......that might compete with Pat's video of the "one that got away"....!!

From: Frenchman
06-Apr-23
Thanks guys - appreciate the wisdom. I'll probably try the head things on my first bird (we're allowed two here in Quebec) and carry some big mechanicals just in case... Season here opens end of April..

From: ahunter76
06-Apr-23
Hunt-yep but was a dead bird. We always KNOW what we want but sometimes we don't get it.. I have a video of TWO perfect pass thrus with an expandable on the same bird & he traveled an unbelievable distance. Lucky he was found. I wish I could load it for all to see.

From: pav
06-Apr-23
Body shots here...with a mechanical head...preferably with the gobbler facing away for a spine shot.

From: Paul@thefort
03-Feb-24

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Body shot. 125 gr. NAP 3 bl mech. Killed 70 plus toms and over 100 geese with this bh.

Maybe lost 2- 3 total toms over the years. Most shot are under 25 yards from a tent blind.

From: Dino
03-Feb-24
I also am a body shot dude. Shoot them with a big 3 blade mechanical and keep your shots as close to the legs as possible

03-Feb-24

Jack Whitmrie jr's embedded Photo
Jack Whitmrie jr's embedded Photo
Head loppers only for me.

From: t-roy
03-Feb-24

t-roy's embedded Photo
Body shot with an expandable
t-roy's embedded Photo
Body shot with an expandable
t-roy's embedded Photo
Neck shot with a Bullhead on this guy
t-roy's embedded Photo
Neck shot with a Bullhead on this guy
A little of both, depending on the setup, and shot distance. I carry both in my quiver.

From: Silvertip
03-Feb-24
For those that can't stand the thought of a miss on a head shot---If you miss you have missed the target by several inches. Those broadheads give you quite a margin of error. If you miss a body shot by that amount there is a good chance of a long recovery or a lost bird (or a clean miss). I will take the clean miss/dead bird. My friends that are extremely successful with body shots are also experts on shot placement for turkeys and are relentless at recovery efforts. Happy hunting whichever way you choose!

From: midwest
03-Feb-24
There have been several opportunities I would have had to pass on if I had limited myself to head shots only.

From: TonyBear
03-Feb-24
Used to just go with my deer/bear hunting set-up. Lost a couple with what I thought were good body shots. Found one quite a while later in a brush pile, rotting. Head shots for me from now on (Archery or shot gun). At least they can't flap and glide off someplace never to be found.

From: elkmtngear
03-Feb-24
Body Shot with a Mech (20ish yards).

Pretty effective, if you hit the right spot !

From: sheds
03-Feb-24

sheds's embedded Photo
sheds's embedded Photo
I’ve taken a couple with bullheads don’t have to run em down, I carry regular broadheads too never know what kinda shot you might get. Its was a bullhead on this one.

From: Groundhunter
03-Feb-24
My disability requires a crossbow. I like mechs. I like the base of neck at body. This last fall used a 170 grain 3 inch 2 blade, NAP, FOC. They may go a step...

From: Stubbleduck
03-Feb-24

Stubbleduck's embedded Photo
Stubbleduck's embedded Photo
Kansas a few years ago.....I've had good luck with the Gobbler Guilliotine heads. Keep the shots within 20 yards and live with the occasional miss. Never wounded one this way, they die in their tracks or depart unharmed. For this photo a friend had his video camera along and filmed the shot. The photo is a frame grab from his video.

From: Stubbleduck
03-Feb-24
Reference my previous note. In the photo you can see the arrowa (Black line) just beyond the turkey that lost it's head. The orange spot is the FOB fletching I use in place of conventional vanes. In the lower right corner of the photo is a dead turkey I had shot five minutes earlier (At that time one got two turkey tags each year...it's one now). The first turkey also lost its head but at a range of, maybe, 10 feet.

From: Rock
04-Feb-24
Over the years I have killed most of my Turkey's with Broadheads and body shots but I use both now, but normally use the Magnus Bullhead now as they work so well. Always have at least 1 Broadhead in the quiver just in case though.

From: Lewis
04-Feb-24
I always used the broadhead I deer hunted with and almost every time my arrow went farther than the turkey but I just might go with the mechanical this year good luck Lewis

From: Scoot
04-Feb-24
Last year I used two different weapons with one basic approach- with a longbow, I shot the air around the head/neck area multiple times. With a compound bow, I did the same thing. It was a humbling spring!!!

From: t-roy
04-Feb-24
I remember that, scoot. Got kinda tiresome texting you back all the time, telling you to keep your chin up ;-)

From: Matt
04-Feb-24
I shoot for the body with a big MBH (Vortex 2 3/4”). Have had very good success over the years. My goal is to break a leg and/or wing. Turkeys are not that big so the large cut has turned some bad shots into good ones over the years.

From: goyt
04-Feb-24
I am also a head shot guy. I have no reason to change.

From: RD
05-Feb-24
Like Rock, I like a Bullhead but a have a snuffer with string handy in case.

From: Scoot
05-Feb-24
Probably wore your your damn thumbs this past spring, T. That's ok- this spring will be a different story. You can pretype a "Congrats Scoot- beautiful bird" text right now to save yourself some time in April or May.

From: Djl
05-Feb-24
Straight away body shot when possible.

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