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Turkey head shot or body shot
First time going for turkey. Debating whether to head shoot with a Magnus or Guillotine. Or do I body shoot with a Kill zone? Thanks
Well I'm finding out that head shots are hard! I missed twice on Saturday! ??
It's my second year trying to get one with my Magnus bullheads.
Trying to get them to hold there heads still is the tricky part.
I have taken three with muzzy COC in the body
See diagram for guidance
If you're gonna head shoot one, use a Magnus Bullhead. They are a great head. The guillotines are junk. I really like head shooting them anymore. I feel that aiming at their head/neck area makes me a better shot vs body shooting them. I have a tendency to shoot center mass on them when aiming for body shots, which oftentimes isn't ideal depending on the shot presented. Plus with a Bullhead, the tracking job is easier!
What tracking job?? All mine shot with COC went no more than a few yards...
I body shot all mine and they all died with in a couple seconds no tracking.
Tony three turkeys does not a turkey expert make. The above info is correct in that body shots on turkeys are notoriously difficult to place correctly for many. Anyone can clearly see where the head and neck are! The heart/lungs/pickle barrel are tougher to locate and doing so requires an understanding of where they are when a bird has taken different postures.
I'm not trying to make it sound like it's impossible to body shoot turkeys. However head shots virtually always result in dead turkeys or perfectly fine turkeys. Body shots result in a remarkable number of killed but not recovered birds.
It was said "tongue in cheek" guys!
Pick whatever you feel comfortable with. When aiming for the head I use Guillotines, for body shots I use the big Grim Reapers. Both work very well for me.
Do those bullheads work on rattlesnakes?
PECO...... I'm sure they would.
I feel I have many more shot opportunities with body shots. You need lots of window clearance for the bull heads, you can't shoot thru mesh, you can't shoot at a hard angle out a small window, you have to have a clear view of the head/neck, and it can't be bobbing around. I've shot birds as they got nervous and started to walk away more than once both in the blind and out. Shots I wouldn't have taken with a bull head. A few tall weeds would likely, more easily deflect the big heads while I can easily thread a mech around or through obstructions. I also like being able to just screw on a big mech on my current set up and go hunt.
I'm a body shooter. I have given head shot broadheads some thought, but for some reason can't put my mine to use head shots broadheads. To be honest I just don't think I would enjoy using heads for head shots. There just something about shooting them in the body that I like. Ed
Teeton sounds like you should shoot them in the body! My last few have been body shots only because I don't want a spare bullhead around the blind for a kid to cut him/herself on. Otherwise I prefer bullheads. Imo guillotines are junk.
pictured is my 45 tom killed and all were with body shots. When using my compound bow I use NAP Shockwave Mech BH. While using my recurve, I use a sharp fixed BH.
Why not an "off with their head" BH? Well I like taking pictures of the tom with its head on.
As mentioned above I prefer the Bullhead because it forces me to "aim small"! I also got tired of chasing and looking for and occasionally loosing turkeys! I have a bullhead knocked and a Rage Extreme handy if I need to make a switch for a shot over 15 yards. Or a follow up if I miss with the Bullhead and he gets a little further out.
Body shots with a big mech head are bad medicine for turkeys. Lights out:)
The key is understanding turkey anatomy and how that changes with the angles,etc. There's been some outstanding picture threads on shot placement, study them and you'll do well. I'm so bad now that I can't even look at a turkey without putting a red dot on him!
My thanks to Tonybear for posting that pic of the skeleton - really lets you see what you're up against, and 'twould appear that the head is not much smaller than the vitals. Plus, you know where it is. Hard to imagine that their necks are really that long, though... and I used to OPERATE on those suckers!
I think I'm recognizing why people like to hit them in the body from dead astern.... besides - hit them that way (given a good angle) and the arrowhead can slide up underneath the feathers, rather than trying to cut through layers of them.
Lucky thing for stickbow shooters - you can nock two arrows onto the string and drop the one you don't want for the shot you're given.
A Bullhead shot produces either an instant dead bird or a bird missing a few feathers. Hundreds are hit and lost every year with body shots.
There are advantages to both. For me...Body shots with the biggest mechanical you trust. I don't like trying to get in and out of the woods with Bullheads and for whatever reason every gobbler Tha comes to my Jake is enraged. They are bobbing, weaving, jumping and pecking. It is typically mayhem. When I used a strutter all the time I rarely got a bird that brave. They would just stand still and wait for an arrow. :)
A lot of shots are missed every year using big head lopping broadheads too.
I prefer body shots. If your using a bullhead, what do you do if you have heavily hunted birds and they hang up on you well outside of your decoys? What's your effective range with those heads?
Native Okie-- there's no arguing that lots of shots are also missed with bullheads too. The point is though when they are missed high with a bullhead it is a complete airball. When they are missed low with a bullhead the arrow bounces harmlessly off the bird. Misses of the same scale On a body shot produce a dead but often not recovered bird.
I certainly agree there are advantages and disadvantages to each option. For me the advantages of a bull head clearly outweigh those of a body shot head.
Im with Paul.
Headless turkey pics suck
Head shots only for me with a Bullhead.
I have killed 13 with Bullheads at under 10 yards. I have killed 1 with a Bullhead at about 23 yards. I have only ever missed one bird with a Bullhead (last year and I blame it 100% on me for rushing the shot). If you are patient, I would argue that a head/neck shot is the EASIEST shot to make in all of bow hunting mainly because the target point of aim is so clearly defined.
Back in my body shooting days I lost two for every one that I killed. That is ALL on me due to the ever changing point of aim that is not clearly defined. I sucked at body shooting birds and got very frustrated with it. There is no worse of a gut wrenching feeling than wounding and losing an animal in my opinion. I have a lot of respect for guys who body shoot birds year in and year out without losing any. But the shot is not for me.
I just love the head shot. Almost always it is instant death with zero meat damage.
Decap ... sooo much fall watching their heads fall off!
What DEC said. Anyone who claims they haven't lost a bird with body shots is either lying or hasn't shot many turkeys. Eventually, you will lose one, even with a decent shot. With the headshots, it's either a clean kill or a clean miss. Sure, it's a little more challenging, mainly because of the erratics of the Bullhead flight and having to keep shots within 25 yds or so. But, if you can put an arrow into the small critical area of the vitals as many here claim, then you should be able to put it into the same area of the head/neck.
I've killed 7-8 with a Bullhead so far, and haven't lopped any heads completely off....dang it! When I do, I can just get JIMBOW to fix it for me ;-) As far as them hanging up farther out, I try and carry a couple of arrows tipped with expandables for that.
"What DEC said. Anyone who claims they haven't lost a bird with body shots is either lying or hasn't shot many turkeys."
You're right, I have lost one to a body shot back in the 90's before I knew where to aim. If I was losing 2 birds to every 1 I killed like someone said above, I would have switched to head shots or back to shotgun only a long time ago.
I'm sure I'll lose one again some day but I can about guarantee you it won't be this year since I'm likely not even going to be able to hunt them. :-( Good luck to you guys regardless of your turkey head choice.
Lost the first one for me two years ago. I had always taken body shots and we thought my shot on this one was good, but this bird was not broken down and we could not find him. Decided head or neck shots only from now on with 2" Shwackers for me. I want to either be watching him flop right now or I can watch him putt putt his was off laughing at me.
I have used both methods, killed with both methods and missed with both. I am presently a head/neck shot guy. I think that it may cost me a shot opportunity at times and I hit the edge of my blind window last fall but I filled my tag the next weekend. I did wound two with body shots so I like the kill or miss aspect of the Bullheads. Mainly I like the fact that there are no holes with features in the breasts or thighs. I hunt out of a blind so the shots can be close and I do not need to transport the Bullheads through brush. It does add the challenge of getting the bird close and stationary including the head which is okay for me. If I do not kill I get to hunt more but I have the time and property.
I've used both methods and when I'm in the blind I have capabilities for both but always prefer to use the Magnus Bullheads. I really like the fact that it's a clean miss or a clean kill with those heads.
I have shot 12 toms in the body and recovered all 12. All with Wasp Jak Hammer 1 3/4". Not one made it 30 yards. Most under 10 yards after the hit.
I've shot birds with both. I prefer a three blade 2" mechanical. I have missed more with bullheads than lost with a mechanical. I still use the bullheads when I am hunting in suburban areas around homes. I don't want a turkey with and arrow sticking out of him running through some ones back yard. When I am hunting on the farm I am using expandables.
I have been hunting Turks with a bow for about 20 years. Taken 60 with a bow and have used EVERYTHING under the sun. The last 8 have been taken with Dcaps and bullhead (both GREAT) options. The others with mechs. I 100% believe that the head hunters are the best option no doubt. I have chased more birds than I can count, and through persistence and luck I've taken most of them home. However, the stress and 'coin flip' that comes with it wasn't worth it anymore. I have lost 9 birds and remember every one. Still bothers me. Once I planted CRP and hinge cut my timber, I almost had to go head hunter. The head is WAY easier to hit IMO and provides a more specific target. It is amazing how quickly your pin settles in that red white and blue dome. Watching them fall in the deeks and quickly is also a faster means of death.
Please don't take this as a 'if you don't shoot head hunters you're wrong ' post.
Just from a guy who has been hunting them awhile, learned some lessons, and believe they are the way to go. Grab some pillows, hang some apples in front of them or tennis balls and have at it.
These birds were completely decapitated, fast death, I just place the heads back on for pics :)
"If I was losing 2 birds to every 1 I killed like someone said above, I would have switched to head shots or back to shotgun only a long time ago."
I was body shooting birds with a bow before such thing as a Bullhead existed. And yea I did switch back to a shotgun for a period of time because I got so aggravated with losing body shot bow birds. I tried the Guillotine when it first came out in 2004 and could not get them to fly (this was long before we knew what we know now about making head chopper heads fly well). So I pretty much went back to gun hunting birds for a few years. The Bullhead hit the market in 2008 I believe and I started using them in 2009, killing my first bird that I drew back on with one. From there on it has been 14 Bullhead kills in 9 years with one clean miss. I live in a one bird state sadly, so getting multiple kills in a year takes travel and given my business life I don't get a lot of time to go chase birds in other states, though I try my best.
Like I said, I have a ton of respect for guys who can body shot kill birds virtually every time. For me though, no thanks. The point of aim is not clearly defined for ME and my tiny brain. Further that point of aim is ever changing depending on the birds body position and if the feathers are puffed or laid down. The first thing we are taught as bow hunters is to "pick a spot". I have yet to find anything on any wild animal that is as clearly defined "spot" as that red, white, and blue head/neck of a turkey. I love the head/neck shot. No tracking 99% of the time and zero meat damage.
I share the same opinion as Hawkeye ^^^. I've lost my fair share of birds over the years and each one is a vivid painful reminder. I'm back to shooting Bullheads.
Probably depends where you are hunting. Wooded areas with a lot of brush I would stick to the body with a smaller head....open field, either one. Some of you guys that can hunt those nice open fields are lucky.
I haven't killed nearly as many as he has but he is spot on and his write-up is exactly how I feel.
I don't like ugly pictures :-)
Spring ball practice
Spring ball practice
How do you know birds aren't nicked in the head, neck and die without being recovered? I find a bird or two every year that appears to have been shot by someone else. Usually not in good enough condition to tell how they were killed( bow, gun)unless is a bobcat they seem to chew everything down to nothing....
I equate hitting a body vital with a tennis ball which may only drift up and down a little as the bird walks. The center of the vitals is the center of vitals if you know the anatomy and how angles change.
The head to me seems like a ping pong ball bouncing, spinning rapidly changing direction on a air stream from a vacuum in reverse. At least that's the two ways I have practiced at archery league and in my backyard. Tennis ball on a string hanging from shepard's hook.
Not an expert but I like my pics with the head in place, haven't had issues with a well placed body shot.
Wasp Jak-Hammer 13/4 inch cut upper mid body.
"How do you know birds aren't nicked in the head, neck and die without being recovered? I find a bird or two every year that appears to have been shot by someone else."
Hard to say obviously but I doubt they are head/neck shots. Again, this isn't to argue right or wrong, and nobody is going to change their way of doing things, but my post was more for those thinking about bowhunting turkeys and that there are more than one way to skin a cat. It wasn't that long ago that the wing butt was the preferred spot to shoot them...at least in the literature.
Nobody doubts that's Joes spots are perfect, but many don't hit there and thus the lost birds. At the end of the day, it does us all a disservice as archers when fly offs and lost birds are reported. One of my buddies think sit should be illegal to hunt turkeys with a bow because of lost birds. Another outfitter I know wont take archers anymore because of lost birds. Again, I have lost birds. Joe and others may not have. Hats off to them.
But for the record...I like nice picture too :)
I've lost 1 bird. It was a body shot. A poor one at that. I have killed about 15-16 with a bow.
i have killed 16 birds with the bullhead and I only had one which went a few yards but it was easy to find, even if the bullhead was not made I would still shoot a head chopping broadhead.
Rage to the head! I'd like to try the bullheads out. But I would need longer arrows and bigger fletching