As you guys know from our last blog post, we are crazy excited for turkey season. It’s a little over a month away and we are already making good use of our dummies and scouring the internet for new amazing calls. In all this anticipation though, we realized this was also a perfect teaching opportunity for our resident hunting novice, who has never hunted a turkey. We went over different arrows with her (as you all read in last month’s newsletter), helped her pick out a brand new bow (she chose the Bowtech Carbon Rose), but then we realized we missed a very important lesson: where to aim on a turkey, and more importantly, why.
While there are several ways you can hit a turkey, you want to make sure that your shot will incapacitate your bird; poor shots result in a wounded bird escaping and increase the risk that you lose the animal altogether and the animal then dies elsewhere. That is a no win all around, and we felt the best way to avoid that is to discuss the different areas where you can aim that generally lead to a solid kill shot. It should also be mentioned that the type of broadhead you use will also come into play when deciding where to place your arrow. Turkey anatomy is a bit different than most people realize. First, you have to take into consideration that a good portion of the bird is feathers and the body itself is relatively small in comparison to the bird’s overall size. Because of this, the internal organs also sit more towards the bird’s rear and higher than most people would initially guess; making hitting certain spots even more important.
One of our favorite, and generally the easiest, ways to make sure you hit a good mark is to hit the turkey in between struts while he is facing away from you. This shot is in most cases fool proof. As long as your aim holds, you will more than likely either snap the turkey’s back (thus preventing flight) or hit a vital organ or two. This position works well for any type of broadhead, but this is also where a mechanical broadhead will definitely shine. Unfortunately, while this is a perfect position for novice hunters, turkeys are rarely compliant and you will more often than not see them strutting. While you can still hit organs when they are in a strut, the feathers make sighting in the right spots much harder. In this instance, it is better to attempt a heart shot by aiming for the turkey’s vent.
While we love us some good back shots, we have found turkeys also love to have a good stare down. If you decide that the staring contest has gone on long enough and you want to be declared a winner and have dinner, aim just below where his beard begins. The goal here is to snap the turkey’s neck or hit some major arteries or vitals. Most mechanical broadheads do a great job in this instance since they have a large cutting diameter when deployed. Fixed broadheads are also a solid broadhead here because they tend to have really great penetrating power which you will need for this shot to be a success. This shot can be a bit tricky though, so practice is definitely your friend here.
Luckily, in this instance the shot placement is basically the same whether the turkey is strutting or not, but it should also be noted that more often than not this shot will also cut off part of the turkey’s beard, preventing it from becoming a nice trophy. Just keep in mind that the turkey itself is much smaller underneath those feathers and therefore you need to make sure you have a good, tight grouping. The other thing to keep in mind here is that the turkey’s organs are located near the back of the bird, so you need to make sure your shot has good penetrating power. Some people also use this position as an opportunity to use guillotine type arrowheads, however we prefer to go the more traditional route sans decapitation.
Obviously, there are other positions the turkey may be in (like strutting around broadside), but we’ve found that if we wait it out until the turkey settles into one of the positions we mentioned before, we have a much better kill rate and run less risk of the bird running or taking flight. Turkeys can also be tricky in the sense that sometimes even if you do get a lung shot or hit organs, they will still either take flight or flee and the blood trail left behind is very hard to follow. Spine shots are one way to guarantee this won’t happen, though you need lots of good practice in to make sure your aim is solid as the spine while long, is narrow giving you little room for error. Another way to ensure you don’t lose your bird is by using your Pro-Tracker. Our transmitter will hook into the bird the same way it would in an animal hide and prevent losing your prize.
The Pro-Tracker® Transmitter is a rechargeable, lightweight, water resistant transmitter that disengages from the arrow upon impact; allowing for pass-throughs. The transmitter hooks into the animal’s hide and begins sending Radio Frequency (RF) signals every three seconds for the duration of the battery life (10-12 hours). You will need the Pro-Tracker® Receiver to read and track the signal.
The Carrier is what screws into your arrow and holds the transmitter. It is aerodynamically designed to compensate for the weight and shape of the transmitter. Meaning minimal adjustments to your equipment for the same precision. Our Aluminum Carriers are made from a 7075 aluminum alloy which is typically used in aerospace programs. It is the strongest aluminum alloy in the market and made to resist high velocity impacts.
The Pro-Tracker® Radio Frequency (RF) Receiver is a compact system with an easy to attach antenna. This state of the art receiver can track up to 6 different transmitter signals at the same time. Displaying signal strength, transmitter number, current time, time spent tracking, and current battery life, all on an easy to read LED screen. Available only in the Pro-Tracker® System
The Pro-Tracker® Custom Carrying Case helps you keep track of your Pro-Tracker system and ensures everything stays together. Its lightweight and durable design ensures your equipment is protected while being as easy as possible to carry during your hunting trip and recovering your trophy.
This dual-charging station allows you to charge up to two transmitters at a time. It includes both a USB and outlet adapter. The outlet adapter allows you to charge your transmitters at home while the USB adapters allow you to charge your transmiters in your truck for extended hunting trips.
The patented Pro-Tracker® Recovery System will help you locate your trophy with durable state-of-the-art technology.
The compact receiver can track up to 6 different transmitters at once. Displaying signal strength, transmitter number, current time, time spent tracking, and current battery life, all on a easy to read backlit LED screen. By watching the receiver you can even determine if the animal is moving or is stationary.
Once activated upon impact with the target the transmitters have a 12 hour battery life. They are also waterproof and rechargeable so they can be reused over and over again. They come with a charging station that can be plugged into wall outlets or vehicle USB ports for extended hunting trips.
The Pro-Tracker® System has been field tested by top experts in the archery industry. With the Pro-Tracker® System you’ll see virtually no difference in the trajectory of your arrow because of the aerodynamic and lightweight design of the carriers and transmitters.
Tests have even shown the system does not impact the level of penetration the arrow has. The Pro-Tracker® System has the durability and precision to recover your trophy.
Not only does the Pro-Tracker® system not interfere with ethical shots, but numerous wounded loss studies have shown just how much it is needed in bowhunting. According to one study done by the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Agency, 50% of deer that were shot were never recovered.
There are many reasons why it could become nearly impossible to recover an animal. Sometimes game only bleed internally and don’t leave a blood trail, or flee into impossible terrain. Sometimes the weather takes a sudden turn.
Whatever the reason, the Pro-Tracker® System is designed to overcome these obstacles and recover the animal without detracting from the method in which you choose to hunt. Whether in a tree stand, ground blind, or stalking your favorite game, the Pro-Tracker® System is the one sure method for the ethical recovery of all wounded game.
Q. Is the Pro-Tracker® Legal in my State?
A. ‡ Indicates states where we believe based on our reading of the State regulations the use of the Pro-Tracker System are prohibited. In no way is this considered to be a legal opinion.
‡ Alaska: No
Arizona: Use at your own discretion (unlawful to use electronic night vision equipment, electronically enhanced light-gathering devices, thermal imaging devices or laser sights; except for devices such as laser range finders, scopes with self illuminating reticles, and fiber optic sights with self-illuminating sights or pins that do not project a visible light onto an animal. I is unlawful to use tracking devices to aid in the taking of wild game).
‡ Arkansas: No (It is unlawful to use electronic tracking devices to locate wildlife or computer assisted hunting equipment)
California: Use at own discretion (has several municipalities, most of which have their own additions or addendums in regards to legal hunting equipment)
Colorado: Use at own discretion (Colorado does have specific restrictions in regards to battery operated equipment on bows and arrows. Tracking devices, specifically, are not mentioned in the regulatory manual).
Georgia: Use at own discretion (it is unlawful to kill or cripple game without reasonable efforts to retrieve. Unlawful to use electronic communications equipment to aid in the pursuit of game).
‡ Idaho: No (cannot take big game with aid of radio telemetry)
Illinois: No (electronic devices, including but not limited to those that use radio telemetry, are not permitted)
Iowa: Use at your own discretion (it is unlawful to use dogs, domestic animals, bait, radios, handguns, rifles and crossbows , automobiles, aircraft, electronic calls or any mechanical conveyance or device to hunt deer. You cannot use a two-way mobile radio transmitter to communicate the location or direction of game or furbearing animals, or to coordinate the movement of other hunters).
‡ Kentucky: No
‡ Minnesota: Yes
‡ Montana: No (electronic or battery-powered devices attached to a hunting bow. – A bow sight or arrow which uses artificial light, luminous chemicals such as tritium, or electronics).
Nevada: No (it is unlawful to hunt any wildlife with an arrow that has any chemical, explosive, or electronic devices attached).
New Hampshire: Yes
New Jersey: Yes
New Mexico: Yes
‡ New York: Yes
‡ North Carolina: Yes
‡ North Dakota: Use at your own discretion (Telescopic sights, range finding devices, battery- powered or electronically lighted sights or other electronic devices attached to the bow, or the arrow, are not permitted (exception: lighted nocks and recording devices which do not aid in range finding, sighting or shooting the bow are permitted). Handheld range finding devices are legal).
‡ Oregon: No (electronic devices may not be attached to bow or arrow).
South Carolina: Yes
‡ South Dakota: Yes
‡ Washington: No (It is unlawful to have any electrical equipment or electric device(s), except for illuminated nocks, attached to the bow or arrow while hunting).
West Virginia: Yes
*Disclaimer: This research was obtained by the staff of Pro-Tracker and is not to be considered a legal representation as to law. When using the Pro-Tracker system the user must assume any responsibility as to the State regulations that they are in. This is only a guide.