You wouldn’t think by looking at a turkey that they would present much
of a challenge. After all, they’re just a pile of feathers and a few
pounds of meat, right? Wrong! Turkeys are one of the toughest animals
on two legs and you can’t assume you have Thanksgiving Dinner in the
bag until you are wrapping your tag around their legs.
After they are hit with a broadhead they can run and hide in the
brush, fly away or run so fast that hunters stand no chance of
catching up. In many states, the number of bowhunters who tag a
gobbler in the spring is below 20%. The number of bowhunters who take
a shot or hit a bird with an arrow is much higher. A well-placed arrow
is crucial when turkey hunting with archery gear. To help bowhunters
become more successful, many companies have broadheads designed
specifically for putting a spring gobbler next to the mashed potatoes
where he belongs.
Most broadheads fly through a turkey’s body quickly which often
results in little internal damage. In the past, many bowhunters placed
washers on the backside of their broadheads to reduce penetration,
resulting in more internal damage and greater shock to the bird.
First, a turkey’s vital area is pretty small, about the size of a
softball. That means you have to precisely place your arrow into this
small spot on a bird that is usually moving a little. Second, turkeys
leave little in the way of tracks or a blood trail to follow should
they be hit poorly. If you wound them and they fly or run off,
recovery is iffy at best.
For that reason, shooting a broadhead with a large cutting diameter is
highly recommended when turkey hunting. This need, plus the ease at
which a complete pass-through can be achieved, are why expandable
heads are so popular with experienced turkey bowhunters.
Think about it. Most replaceable-blade broad heads shot by deer
hunters have a cutting diameter of between 1 and 1 ¼ inch. When opened
up, mechanicals have a cutting diameter of between 1 ¾ and 2 ¼ inches.
That’s a huge difference—especially in relation to the small vital
area of the average gobbler.
... In terms of penetration, this is definitely a case where less is
more. By that I mean many bowhunters intentionally shoot a set-up with
a good chance that their arrows will stay in the bird and not pass
completely through. The theory here is that with a foot or more of
arrow shaft sticking out each side, a turkey’s ability to run or fly
off before the archer can reach him is severely impaired. This will
help you recover the bird before he gets to thick, tall brush and
becomes hard to find. ...
Remember that, while you may want to impede penetration a bit, the one
way you do not want to do this is by using a broadhead will dull
blades. In all bowhunting endeavors, you must only use blades so sharp
they scare you and that will cleanly slice through flesh, internal
organs and blood vessels.
Though I am not a hunter, it seems logical that lopping the head off the bird with a "gobbler guillotine" (below) would destroy less meat than a through-the-innards shot.