If you start bowhunting and trying to bag a turkey, you can be in a bit of a pickle.

So where to shoot a turkey with a bow ethically? 

In this article, we are going to show you the best opportunities for a dead-dropping shot.

We are going to cover the proper shot placement, as well as the tips for first-time turkey hunters for a successful hunting weekend every time.

Keep scrolling:

Where to Shoot Turkey With a Bow?


Broadside is the most popular way to shoot a turkey.

But the vital area (lung and heart) which can get your job done is smaller than your thought.

If you aim lower, you can get lots of blood but never find your bird as you hit the breast meat and not ethical kill.

So where to aim broadside?

broadside - 3

If your target is facing broadside, the best place to shoot is where the base of the wing connects to the body.

This method is almost foolproof - as hitting the base of the wing with a broadhead will break both wings and pierce the lungs or the heart.

And there’s a problem: Full Strutting

What is turkey strutting?

Thre're activities when the male turkey tries to pursue, show off and make the impression to attract the female.

This method is fairly easy to complete when the gobbler isn't strutting, but achieving an ethical shot can be challenging if your target is strutting.

Here’s why:

The location of a turkey’s vitals changes when it’s strutting, and it’ll be difficult to locate them.

That is why I advise you to refrain from shooting until the turkey returns to normal walking.

How to locate the broadside if the turkey is full strutting?

broadside - male turkey
broad side - female turkey

You should get a vertical line on the front of the birth legs and aim the points where the wings come over. And THWUMP… you take it down immediately.

Facing Away

If the turkey faces away from you and struts, it can offer you the best shot placement.

You can easily draw back the bow as the fan will block the turkey from spotting you. Sometimes you have more time to film your hunt without hurry.

So where to aim?

face away 2

You should aim for the tail's vent or base and need a good penetrating broadhead or a solid fixed blade.

What if the bird doesn’t strut?

If the turkey is facing away from you, walking upright without strutting, you won’t be able to shoot at the tail base.

In this situation, you will try to aim for the backbone, as breaking the spine will immobilize the gobbler target, and it will drop quickly.


Remember that this shot is situational, meaning you will have to wait until the bird stands upright with its back to you.

If it’s feeding or just walking with its head down, you won’t be able to make an ethical shot.

Even if you miss a little and hit the vitals, the shot will do the damage, but it might not be ethical. I advise you to use a wide-cutting broadhead for this shot.

Decoy setup

To make the perfect setup, use a jake decoy about 20 yards in front of you, and ensure that it’s facing you because the turkey will go to the jake directly.

Facing Towards

A turkey facing towards you and standing upright or moving might be a very difficult shot to achieve, as the gobbler will be able to see you. But it’s NOT “mission impossible.”

Where to aim?

face torward - 2

If you have a good case, aim about 4 inches below the neck and the beard's base.

If you can hit this spot directly, the broadhead will break the animal’s back and graze the vitals.

What if he’s strutting?

If the turkey is facing you and strutting, you must aim about half an inch below the beard.

This shot placement will directly break the animal’s back and hit the vitals.

Even more:

To achieve this kind of shot, I advise you to use hens or jake as a decoy, and you will almost surely hit the vital area.

For better results, use a large-cutting mechanical broadhead.

Tips & FAQs:

How to Kill a Turkey Ethically?

You can only get ethical shots when you are completely confident in the shot.

1. So, practice a lot with your bow and 3D targets (both strutting and non-strutting) before hunting.

It will reinforce your muscle memory and where to aim for turkey hunting.

2. Aim at the lung and heart area for maximal success.

Another way to become confident in the shot is knowing where to place the shot for quick takeout.

3. Obstacle-free

Also, check if there are any obstructions when trying to shoot the turkey, as twigs and branches can impact the projectile’s trajectory immensely.

How Far Should You Shoot With a Bow?

The safe and ethical range depends on your skills and the limitations of your chosen broadheads and arrows.

In my experience, stick to 40 yards or less.

The closer range you shoot, the higher chance you take him down.

Can You Shoot Turkey With Broadheads?

Yes, you can hunt it with any broadhead you come across without restriction.

How Long to Wait After Shooting a Turkey With a Bow?

If you have little to no experience hunting turkey, I advise you to wait until your bird bends down if the bird is alone.

If it’s in a flock, wait until one of them is alone.

Ensure that the bird is in solitude, as other birds can be hidden in the bushes, and you can lose them forever.

What Are Proper Bow Requirements?

At the very least, the minimum draw weight needs to be 39 pounds or 18 kilograms.

As for the arrows, they should have a broadhead with at least two sharp cutting edges.


Now that you know where to shoot turkey with a bow, it’s time to put that knowledge to good use.

Shooting a turkey facing away offers you the ideal and best shot placement.

However, if you practice enough, you will find that no turkey is impossible to shoot!

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.