Mossy Oak’s Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland’s Sound Secrets for Bowhunting Turkeys
Editor’s Note: You need nerves of steel, the shooting confidence of the legendary Robin Hood, the woodsmanship of Daniel Boone and the positive attitude of Dale Carnegie to bag a gobbler with a bow. Most bowhunters agree that going after gobblers with their bows usually means they’ll each have 10-to-one odds against themselves. For every 10 times you encounter a tom within bow range, you only may take that bird home on one of those attempts. Some of the best turkey hunters and bowmen in the nation will tell us why this week.
Although manufacturers have designed plenty of equipment specifically for taking turkeys with a bow, most archers name accuracy in shooting as the most-critical key to bagging a bird. The bowhunters I know who consistently harvest toms every spring change their equipment very little from how they bowhunt for deer to bowhunt for turkeys. Because the turkey provides such a small target, you need every advantage you can have that aids you in shooting accurately. Using the same equipment you’ve utilized during deer season to set-up the same way when you hunt turkeys will increase your comfort level with your tackle. However, since turkeys respond quicker to sound than even deer seem to, note these additional cautions you can take to quieten your bow even more. "I take my bow apart, separate the limbs from the risers and put pool-table felt between the risers and the limbs to quieten my bow for turkey season," Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland of West Point, Mississippi, one of the nation's well-known bowmen and master turkey hunters and executive with Mossy Oak, explains. Strickland also uses large puffs on his string to quieten the string even more. He places felt on his arrow rests and waxes his arrows with furniture polish to keep them from making sounds as they pass across the felt. "One of the best ways to find out just how noisy your bow is to go into a closed room and draw your bow," Strickland suggests. "Probably you'll be surprised at how much noise it makes. If you can hear the bow's being drawn, the turkey can too."
Most hunters espouse one of two philosophies on the best bow weights for bagging turkeys. Some believe a heavier bow which produces faster arrow flight decreases the chances of the turkey's moving during the arrow's flight. Reason dictates that the quicker the hunter delivers the arrow from the bow to the turkey, the less likely that the bird will get out of the way of the arrow. However, if you pull a heavy bow and have to hold the bow at full draw for some time waiting for the turkey to get into the position for you to shoot, you may miss the bird. Many turkey hunters consider a 50- to 60-pound bow more than adequate for downing a longbeard. To measure the best type of bow and weight of bow for you to have the most comfort, don't change the poundage of your bow to hunt during turkey season. If you've shot a 50-pound bow while hunting all year and can hold this bow back for a long time, or, you've shot a 70-pound bow in field archery and during deer season, then select the poundage most comfortable for you.
Tomorrow: Dale Faust on Where to Place the Shot and Why to Use Decoys When Bowhunting Turkeys
Today's Video Clip
Captain Troy Frady on Light Tackle
Check back each day this week for more about "Bowhunting’s Ultimate Challenge – the Wild Turkey"