Where To Shoot a Turkey With a Crossbow?

Crossbow hunting for wild turkeys is challenging, thrilling, and rewarding. These birds have small vital organs, so it is important to understand where to shoot a turkey with a crossbow for a lethal shot.
By Rebecca Rios | Updated On December 19, 2022
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Where To Shoot a Turkey With a Crossbow?

Hunting wild turkeys with a crossbow are exciting yet challenging. Crossbow hunters will explain the joy of hunting a feather-armored, delicious wild turkey. But take note that turkey is a challenging prey too. Many turkeys are shot with crossbow bolts each spring and fall, but some of them never recover. One of the prime reasons can be poor shot placement, as the feathers hide the turkey’s body, so it is difficult for a crossbow hunter to understand the exact location of the vital organs.

You can hunt numerous turkeys every spring and fall if you play your cards right. So, stop wondering where to shoot a turkey with a crossbow. Read the article to understand the best shot placement on a turkey. You will also learn many practical tips for successfully hunting wild turkeys with a crossbow. So, dive into the in-depth information.

Where to shoot a turkey with a crossbow?

Turkeys are among the giant birds, so their huge size makes them the perfect prey. Understanding the proper bolt placement to hunt a turkey is crucial to give lethal shots. Since turkeys can not only fly but also sprint at a speed of up to 25 miles per hour.

Unlike other prey, the vital organs of turkeys are small. The killing zone in a turkey’s body is smaller than the basketball, similar to the size of a deer’s vitals. As the target point to hit the turkey is small, so it is essential to understand to give accurate shots.

target areas to shoot a turkey with a crossbow:

The right gear matters, so a crossbow is an effective weapon to kill wild turkeys. Before the hunting, check the rails, fasteners, quiver brackets, and scope mount. Everything should be tight and proper. Apply something on the bolts to reduce the rattling sound. Also, consider silent crossbow cocking devices and bow string silencers. Try to keep the shot as silent as possible to upgrade the hunting game.

Apart from the crossbows, the turkey’s position and the hunter’s expertise collectively make a successful shot to expire the animal. At the end of the day, the dream of every hunter is to give ethical shots for the clean and quick death of the prey.

The vital organs of turkeys are so small that even an experienced hunter confuses about the shot position. Also, turkeys are always in vibration mode because they move continuously. An inch of the slip of the shot can injure the bird. So, it is recommended to practice beforehand. Here are some ideal points that should be targeted at the specific positions:

A broadside shot:

A fatal shot can be taken easily if a turkey stands in broadside or sideways. This shot is beginner-friendly until the hunter has pinpoint accuracy with the crossbow. Target the bolt one or two inches below the neckline. It is the area of the last wing joint, and this joint connects the wing to the body. The point where wings join the body allows you to hit the vital organs.

A strutting turkey puffs up its feather so; it becomes difficult to target the killing zone. Please wait for a minute or two until the bird is stable with its feathers. Then, prepare your bolts for a clean shot. Both wings break if the bolt penetrates the feathers successfully. So, in this way, the bird cannot fly. Also, this shot will directly affect the heart or lungs, resulting in a dead bird.

Where To Shoot a Turkey With a Crossbow

A facing you shot:

The front position of the turkey is challenging, and a beginner hunter cannot handle such an arduous shot. The bird is in front of you to hit the bolt, but the fear of the bird’s motion is also real. Moreover, this shot also offers a minimal target area.

Sometimes, you find a turkey facing you. You will see a clear straight line of the breast feathers. This line will help you target the turkey’s vital organs (heart and lungs). Look where the neck meets the body, and then position your bolt one inch beneath that point to give a fatal shot. This point is somewhere midway between the beard and neckline. A successful shot will pass from the heart and lungs and then hit the spine.

A facing you shot

A facing-away shot:

When a turkey has its rear back in front of you, hit the crossbow bolt at the base of the fan. In this way, you can damage the spine in a single shot. After severing the spine, the bolt will hit the chest cavity. This rear shot is also problematic as the target area is small in this case too.

A facing-away shot

A quartering shot:

For a quartering shot, target the point where the neck meets the body. This point is a few inches away from the front breast. A quartering shot offers damaged vitals and a broken back.

A quartering shot

Where is the best place to shoot a turkey with a crossbow?

The heart and lung area is the best place to shoot a turkey with a crossbow at the broadside posture. When a turkey is in front of you, the base of the beard and neck is the ideal location for a fatal shot.

Practical tips for shooting a turkey with a crossbow:

Practice shots:

Before moving towards the woods to load a bag of turkeys, ensure you know where and how to shoot. Practice as much as possible to understand the challenges you are about to face in the field.

Practice from different angles and positions on a life-sized 3D turkey target. A still target cannot answer as a live turkey can. But practicing prepares you for the positions of the shots so that you cannot panic in front of the bird.

Shoot twice:

If you hit a turkey and it lays down, do not assume it is dead and you can finish it. Turkeys are smart birds and observe quickly; if they sense any danger, they will instantly run away for their life. So, do yourself a favor and take a moment to recock your crossbow and reshoot the turkey.

Stay safe:

Shield your body with a giant tree in the field. The tree can be a comfortable leaning position and protect you from other hunters who might be present in the field.

Avoid wearing blue, red, and white colors as other hunters can assume that a turkey is lurking instead of the hunter, and they can hit you.

Crossbow bolts:

Use heavy and tough crossbow bolts for turkey. A right crossbow has an aluminum surface for less friction and increased weight. Choosing the perfect crossbow bolt for turkey can result in more accurate and successful shots.

advantages of hunting turkey with a crossbow:

My favorite spring hunting season is here. I am sitting quietly in a row of trees early in the morning. I can smell the woods and can hear the turkeys coming towards me. My crossbow is perfectly mounted on my shoulder. And within a moment, a group of turkeys is in front of me. I get ready and drop a fatal and accurate shot at the perfect angle. A delicious turkey got expired. While moving towards the second target, I am reminding the benefits of a crossbow to myself.

Some of the prominent advantages of hunting turkeys with a crossbow are cited below:

  1. Crossbows are light, narrow, and ultra-compact.
  2. Unlike other bows, crossbows can be cocked before hunting. So, no drawing movement is required when the target approaches.
  3. Crossbow vs. shotgun for turkey is an actual argument. But a person who has used the shotgun is aware of the fact that shotguns are very noisy. The loud sound of the shotgun misses the shots as the turkeys scatter after hearing the blast of the first shot. However, crossbows are designed to produce little to no sound. Also, silent crossbows cocking devices are very common to cock the crossbow before proceeding toward the next shots.
  4. A turkey is undoubtedly a complicated creature with thick feathers, muscles, quills, hollow bones, heavy wing bones, and skin. All these turkeys’ parts decrease the energy of the crossbow bolt; hence, the result is a failed and nonfatal shot. But there exists a direct relationship between the kinetic energy and crossbow bolt speed. Most crossbows shoot the bolts at 350 fps or more. The faster shot means a high level of kinetic energy. And high kinetic energy results in a fatal shot even at more considerable distances. So, crossbows hit turkeys with more force than any other weapon.
  5. Crossbows are a more accurate hunting weapon. Hunting wild turkeys is arduous as they offer small vital areas. The word, accurate, is a thin line between the wounded animal and a successful fatal shot. But thanks to the crossbows as Crossbow bolts for turkey, crossbow broadheads, crossbow scopes, and now crossbow rangefinder scopes, all make it a handy and lethal weapon.


Hunting wild turkeys demand patience, practice, experience, crossbow skills, and the right gear. If you are excellent in all these attributes, then there is a great possibility that flavorsome turkeys will grace your table for the next meal.

The query, where to shoot a turkey with a crossbow, has multiple answers; all answers depend upon the position of the bird and the crossbow you are using. Choose your gadget wisely, and give your best in the hunting field.

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