Turkeys are robust. They’re lined in dense feathers, and their important space is deceivingly small—that is very true for strutting toms. Due to all this, you need to shoot a tom within the head and neck with a view to kill him cleanly and ethically. Fairly merely, placing the core of your shotgun sample on a tom’s neck and head will drop him in his tracks. 

But it surely does get barely extra difficult than simply “put it on his head!” Turkeys transfer always, and their heads transfer probably the most. Shot distances differ, which adjustments the unfold and density of your gun’s sample. Then there’s the problem of turkey looking with a bow, which requires an entire completely different sort of shot placement. With a view to simplify turkey taking pictures and enable you to make the quickest, cleanest kills attainable, I’ve put collectively an in-depth information on the place to shoot a turkey. 

The place to Shoot a Turkey with a Shotgun

Many years in the past, shotshell skilled Tom Roster carried out probably the most in-depth turkey load lethality take a look at of all time. In a report on that testing, he says that the fourth cervical vertebrae down from the pinnacle is the perfect intention level for killing a turkey shortly. Winchester copyrighted targets with an “XX” marking this intention level (which you’ll be able to see circled in pink within the photograph under, left). Hitting a turkey right here with a good sample ensures that pellets will strike the cranium and vertebrae, which makes for a really fast kill. It basically shuts the tom’s lights off. 

Nevertheless, I like to recommend aiming barely under Roster’s level. See the pink dot within the photograph under (proper) for my perfect intention level. 

where to shoot a turkey
Intention simply above the big caruncles on the neck (proper). Outside Life

There are a number of causes to intention right here. First, there’s a clear intention level: simply above the big caruncles on the neck (that are normally glowing shiny pink on a fired-up gobbler). You may additional bracket your intention level by holding the place the black feathers meet pink pores and skin. Hit this space and the core of your sample ought to strike the tom within the neck with a number of pellets from the highest of your sample hitting him within the cranium. This intention level is right whether or not a turkey is dealing with you, strolling away, or broadside.

Second, turkeys transfer their heads continuously. At shut vary, your unfold of pellets fired via a good turkey choke is barely larger than a softball. So should you intention greater at shut vary and the turkey bobs his head as you squeeze the set off, you’re more likely to miss. Nevertheless, my intention level simply above the caruncles on the neck stays comparatively nonetheless, even whereas the gobbler’s head is bobbing backwards and forwards. Simply watch the Instagram video of a gobbler strolling under. Because the tom’s head rocks ahead and again, the world we’re aiming for stays nonetheless, which makes for a a lot simpler goal on a strolling fowl. 

Lastly, turkey hunters (particularly these not taking pictures pink dot sights) are inclined to miss excessive. With all the joy of a gobbler strutting into vary, many shooters fail to get their head down on the gun. As an alternative of trying down the barrel, they give the impression of being over it, which causes them to hit excessive. An excessive model of this can trigger a miss regardless of the place you intention, nevertheless it doesn’t harm to shade just a bit decrease on the neck.

The draw back of a decrease intention level is that on longer pictures, it’s doubtless that some pellets will hit the highest of the turkey’s breast, which implies that you might need some pellets in your meat. It’s fairly simple to choose a number of pellets out while you’re butchering the fowl, however it’s also possible to purchase a small metallic detector to ensure there are not any strays left over. 

Should you shoot a good turkey choke, don’t be fearful about meat harm. I usually kill 4 to 6 toms a yr with this intention level and barely lose meat as a result of it’s bloodshot. 

Turkey Capturing Suggestions

where to shoot a turkey
Ensuring your shotgun hits precisely the place you’re aiming is vital for good turkey taking pictures. Alex Robinson

Past realizing the place to shoot a turkey, you need to know a number of issues about ethically killing gobblers. 

Don’t Shoot at a Turkey That’s in Full Strut

Shotgun hunters ought to keep away from taking pictures at a strutting tom as a result of his neck is curled and his head is tucked near his physique. This makes it simple to overlook the core cranium/vertebrae space. Turkeys which are hit within the physique typically roll over after which stand up working. This isn’t a really perfect consequence. To convey a gobbler out of strut, give him a number of clucks on a mouth name (however be able to shoot). Should you’re not utilizing a mouth name, merely transferring your gun ever so barely in order that it covers the tom is commonly sufficient to catch his eye and produce him out of strut. However once more, be able to shoot.

Sample Your Gun

Patterning your turkey gun is vital. Not all shotguns hit precisely the place you intention them. You’ll want to know your actual level of affect and the density of your sample in any respect the ranges you plan to shoot. Don’t shoot past the capabilities of your load/choke/gun combo. For many hunters taking pictures lead turkey hundreds, that’s going to be a max of about 45 yards, nevertheless it might be much less relying in your sample. You need about 100 pellet strikes inside a 10-inch diameter circle, or about 200 pellet strikes inside a 30-inch diameter circle. Hunt with a rangefinder.  

Determine Your Goal and Know What’s Past It

This is among the core guidelines of hunter’s security and it’s particularly vital for turkey hunters. We have to make it possible for we’re taking pictures toms (or jakes and bearded hens the place authorized). Be sure you see a visual beard of a dwell turkey (not a decoy) earlier than placing your finger on the set off. It’s additionally vital to just be sure you don’t by accident hit any turkeys close to the fowl you’re aiming at. Bear in mind your sample will unfold a number of ft vast at longer ranges. You don’t need stray pellets to hit collateral birds which are subsequent to or behind your tom. 

The place to Shoot a Turkey with a Bow

Capturing a turkey with a bow is rather more difficult than taking pictures one with a shotgun. Turkeys look large when their feathers are hyped up in full strut, however their vitals are comparatively small. Plus, they usually don’t depart nice blood trails, even when hit properly. Listed below are your choices. 

Head and Neck

There are completely different “decapitator” fashion broadheads on the market with extra-wide slicing diameters. With these broadheads you intention sq. for the turkey’s neck and both miss utterly or kill him cleanly. However that’s not the one choice for archery turkey hunters.


For a broadside shot on a turkey, you wish to strike them via the guts and lungs, that are decrease than you may anticipate. Transfer up the leg and barely towards the bottom of the wing. The video under from Heartland Bowhunter exhibits about good shot placement. The Heartland crews shoots a ton of toms annually with archery gear. Intention the place they intention. 

Dealing with Away

If the tom is strutting away from you, intention for the vent (or base of the fan). If the tom is strolling away from you, shoot him sq. in the midst of the again simply above the tail fan. See the video under for correct shot placement. 

Dealing with Head On

Bowhunters can shoot a strutting tom, you simply want to grasp the goal is smaller than it seems to be. If the tom is squared up, dealing with you straight, intention simply an inch or two above his beard. Make sure that your arrow doesn’t drift left or proper. You wish to bury your pin inline between the gobbler’s beard and its head.  

where to shoot a turkey
Bowhunters ought to intention for the pink dot proven above when a tom is strutting straight towards them. John Hafner

Ultimate Ideas on The place to Shoot a Turkey

Turkeys are simpler to overlook than you may suppose. Hunters are capable of shoot geese flying via the air, how may we probably miss a turkey standing within the open at 35 yards? Misses largely occur as a result of a shooter will get excited and jerks the set off, whereas additionally pulling their head off the gun. So keep calm, maintain your head down, and press the set off. I believe misses additionally occur as a result of shooters don’t all the time decide a selected intention level. They only shoot within the common path of a tom’s head/neck. So, focus carefully on the gobbler’s neck the place black feathers meet pink pores and skin, let your bead or pink dot hover simply above the large caruncles and … bang! Useless turkey.



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