Bullheads, Birds, Beetle Spins & Bass

Newcomers to the challenge of bowhunting wild turkeys are often undecided as to whether they can use their standard deer rig for birds. The answer is yes. And no.

Chances are good you currently shoot a compound bow with a draw weight of 50-70 pounds. Mine is set for 55 pounds. I can shoot it comfortably (read: draw the bow with minimal movement) and hold it at full-draw for 10, 20 or even 30 seconds without giving it a second thought. Provided you can do the same with your deer rig, you don't need a special bird bow.

Now comes the tricky part. You can kill turkeys with standard deer broadheads and arrows. I've done it many times and it works. Except when it doesn't.

Say what?

The heart/lung area of a wild turkey is very small, and depending on the shot angle—and whether the tom/jake is strutting—it can be nearly impossible to know where to aim. More than once I've watched my arrow enter a strutter exactly where I was aiming, and while I filled the sky with feathers, I didn't even break skin. I know this sounds impossible, but it's true. Obviously I was either aiming in the wrong spot (probable) or I was mistaken and my arrow flew off-target slightly (certainly possible).

In any case, body-shooting a turkey is like walking a high wire. It can be done—and done well by some people—but I'm not one of them.

Several years ago my buddies and I switched to shooting Magnus Bullheads on turkeys. These are the types of broadheads where you aim for a tom's head or neck. No longer do I question where to aim. If a tom is strutting head on, I aim just below his beak. If he's strutting broadside, I aim for his cheek. In other words, if you can see a tom's head or neck, you know exactly where to aim.

I limit my shot distance with a Bullhead to 10 yards, and most of my kills have come from only 5. And in almost every case you either miss or the tom drops in his tracks—with no damage to the breast meat!

Keep this in mind: Chances are 99 percent you'll have to use specially designed arrows with Magnus Bullheads. I use Victory arrows, which you can buy in a package deal with the Bullheads. The length of the arrow prevents the broadhead from hitting your bowsight at full draw, and the large fletchings help the arrow fly true.

One more thing: The easiest way to practice with Victory arrows and Magnus Bullheads is to hang a pillow from a horizontal tree branch. Place a 6-inch-long piece of duct tape vertically in the center of the pillow. Stand back 5-10 yards, pretend the tape is the neck of a gobbler and have at it.

As the photo above shows, I used a taxidermy tom to lure in my latest gobbler. I actually laid the deke down to simulate a wounded bird. And I sent a Bullhead on its way just as the tom was getting ready to step on top of my decoy.

P.S. One of the best things about shooting a gobbler in the morning is it frees up the afternoon for other outdoor activities. After cleaning my bird, I took my son to a nearby farm pond for largemouth bass.

While the Bullhead was deadly for the bird, my son learned that Beetle Spins are just as deadly for the bass.