Preparing for Turkey Hunting Season: Practice Archery on a 3D Decoy
As turkey hunting season approaches, I'm gearing up and getting ready to hit the woods. Like many of my fellow hunters, I'm a bow guy. I like hunting with my Mathews and hunting using a bow and arrow gives me close action to the prey that I desire for my hunts. Not to mention the deep satisfaction I feel when I've had a successful hunt using only my bow and arrow.
Not that I haven't shot a few turkeys with my Benelli Nova with my Carlsons TSS Turkey Choke Tube. But I do get out with my bow as much as possible.
Since I hunt throughout the year with my bow, I like to practice my shooting as much as I can to master my skills. Any bow hunter will tell you, muscle memory is important when you're nerves are taking over. Practicing my shots on a 3D turkey decoy is a great way for me to prepare for the upcoming season and increase my chances of success.
I enjoy the 3D archery decoys for all species. We've put together a list of the Best 3D Archery Targets for Bow Hunters that has species including deer, javelina, and bear.
Using a 3D decoy is a great way to practice archery for turkey hunting because it provides a realistic target to aim at. A 3D decoy is a lifelike replica of a turkey, which, when practicing your shots, can be a great tool to make you focus on the size of the turkey and concentrate on the shot.
Best 3D Turkey Target For Under $100
Foam Material - not self-healing
1/2 Strut Turkey
3 Target Shooting Locations
Core is Replaceable
Best 3D Turkey Target For Under $400
Foam Material for Self-healing
Full Strutting Turkey Size
3 Target Shooting Locations
Core is Replaceable
A negative that we need to inform our readers about is the cost of a quality 3D decoy can be expensive. But other options can save you a few bucks. Stay with me until the end of this blog and I'll give you a good option if you are already shooting a Block Classic target style.
One of the main benefits of practicing on a 3D decoy is that it allows the hunter to simulate real-life hunting scenarios. Turkeys are notoriously difficult to hunt, as they have excellent eyesight and can detect predators from far away. Practicing on a 3D decoy can help hunters develop the skills needed to make a successful shot when it counts.
While practicing shots from the standing position is normal, you also need to take a few shots from inside your ground blind. If you are hunting from a ground blind or might take a shot from a seated or kneeling position, practice those shots as much as you would standing. Practice slowly raising your bow to a shooting position and pulling back and holding your bowstring till it's time to release.
Get better at making quality kill shots by practicing on a 3D target. There is no better place to miss a turkey than during a practice session. It takes a lot of effort to call in a longbeard with one of your turkey calls, don't miss when it matters because you were not prepared.
Shaggy Outdoors Recommended 3D Archery Targets
KHAMPA 3D Archery Target 4 Sided
Okay, I understand this isn't a traditional 3D target that we know and love. But this is a great target for the money. Four-sided with deer, rabbit, deer w/heart, and fowl. Shoot at your content and focus on a real target with this cube. Great for kids ** see features
- 18.11 L x 18.11 W x 18.11 H (square)
- Flexible Foam
- Use Field Tips
- No replaceable inserts
- NOT - good for high poundage bow and crossbow bolt
- Good for youth hunters and low-poundage compound bows
- Rating is based on the thought that this target can withstand a higher 60+ poundage bow.
Bowhunting Turkey Tactics
Deciding to archery hunt this season for turkeys is not an easy feat. There are several reasons to not hunt turkey with a bow and let me tell you a few:
- The target kill zone is smaller than an elk or deer
- You are more apt to scare a turkey trying to pull back on your string
- You will likely make some noise and scare off the turkey
So to combat any possible mistakes you will make when you head out to do some spring or fall turkey hunting with your bow, let's go over a few key tactics that will help you be more successful.
Hunt Turkey out of a Ground Blind
Using a pop-up blind to hunt out of will help you conceal your movements. Unlike deer or other wild game, the turkey doesn't give much attention to a new blind in his area. With the right blind setup, you will be able to get ready for the shot and stay out of sight.
Calling turkeys in close to a ground blind is an excellent way to get a close 10-15 yard shot. Using calling with a turkey decoy will increase your odds even more. Not sure which turkey call you should be using? Check out our blog on the "Top 3 Turkey Calls Every Hunter Should Own and Master Before Hunting Season".
While the blind is a great choice to conceal yourself. This does limit your movement and possible visibility. Make sure you do some scouting and know where the birds are roosting before you throw up a large blind.
I like to keep two different types of blinds with me and depending on the situation and location I can decide which one I will use before I head to the woods. The Rhino Blinds have been a good option for the team at Shaggy Outdoors for over 10 years.
The portable Hunter Specialties netting is great for hunting on public land or in the mountains of Arizona. This is a very portable blind option that I can set up wherever I see fit for calling. See the two blind options below.
When archery hunting out of your blind consider two main points. First, what is the overall height of the blind, and second, how will I be sitting in the blind?
My first introduction to pop-up blinds had me furious at myself when I got to the woods. The height of the blind was too short. I wasn't able to sit in the blind and take a shot, I had to get on my knees, and that made for a frustrating experience. So take it from me, get a blind that you can use a chair in. The Rhino Blinds R150 is what I hunt out of today and it works great.
As for a chair, my preference is if I'm sitting all day I want to be comfortable. So recently I picked up a Tidewe Hunting Chair. This chair can hold my 250lb body and is comfortable as all heck. No arms so I don't need to worry about the arms getting in the way of me setting up for a show with my bow. The 360-degree swivel ability allows me to swing around and look out all sides of my blind.
Shot Placement with an Arrow on a Turkey
The reason we practice shooting at a 3D turkey decoy is so we know the best shot placement.
Depending on how the bird's stature, i.e. if the gobbler is in full strut you have four locations. The full strut gobbler is the easiest shot to take, but sometimes you have to take a shot when the bird is not in full strut. Here is the shot placement
- Gobbler Full Strut Facing You - take a shot at the front under the waddle of the turkey
- Gobbler Full Strut Side Shot - aim where the wing connects to the body
- Gobbler 1/4 strut walking parallel - aim for where the wing connects to the body
- Gobbler Full Strut Facing Away - aim at the base of the fan at the center of the turkey rear end
Inexpensive 3D Turkey Archery Target
Okay, so you checked out the 3D targets and WOW they are not cheap. Let's get you through this season with a very inexpensive way to practice taking shots at a turkey body.
If you own a solid target already or a block, then all you need to pick up is the Morrell Target Face. This is a 28" x 42" screen with grommets on the four corners to secure your target.
Final Thoughts on Using 3D Turkey Targets
The best archery hunters are shooting multiple times a week or even every day. The more you shoot the better you will be in the field.
You don't need a 3D target to get started shooting every day. We have a list of the Top 9 Best Archery Targets for Beginners. These targets are excellent daily shooting targets whether your backyard is 20 yards long or you have a 100-yard range outback.
Remember when practicing your shooting, you most likely will be taking a shot from a kneeling position or sitting position. Practice the shots you will possibly take on your hunt. Don't forget to start practicing your archery shots from the treestand as deer season will be here before we all know it.
Looking for more gear information for your upcoming turkey season? Check out the Shaggy Outdoors The Ultimate Gear Guide for Turkey Hunters.
Don't wait, get outside and start shooting today!