Turkey Hunting With a Crossbow: Tight Quarters, Trained Techniques

Turkey hunting is a challenging pursuit in any field, blind, or tree. It’s also one of the great hunts that break in a new season. The spring delivers many unknowns into the atmosphere, not least of which is the high potential for shifting weather and plucky toms moving with it. There are a few principles that can help you, though. Especially if you are crossbow hunting. You’ll want the right and best archery equipment you can get. Ravin Crossbows offer a complete range of products, innovative technologies, accessories, and simply expert advice for your next turkey hunt. While a crossbow can’t replace skill, patience, or time spent in the field, it can help you when you call a strutting tom in at eight yards.

Hunting turkey with a crossbow is not legal in all states, though a good number now do, and several more are proposing legislative action to allow it. It’s best to look into your state’s regulations well in advance of your hunt, obtain the proper licensing, and completely understand the season’s timing before getting into a blind or field. Some states even restrict the use of a magnified scope.

Gear and Equipment

Assuming your hunt is legal, you’ll need to get set up with the right equipment.


Being comfortable with your crossbow is the most important part of a successful hunt. When you’re covering ground scouting or hunting, weight is a huge factor when making a purchase decision. Fortunately, Ravin considers this important factor when creating every one of its innovative and industry-leading crossbows. Tracking a flock is not for the faint of heart, and it’s not made easier by excess weight. And for tight shots, Ravin has designed the most compact crossbows on the planet, so you get the best of both worlds–lightweight and compact.


The Ravin Crossbows R Series is a great choice for turkey hunting, and there are stealthy options for hunters looking for a light, compact, and shorter crossbow that delivers high-speed performance in the same shot. The silent cocking of the R Series is a benefit you’ll come to truly appreciate when you’re a couple yards from a shot. Learn more about Ravin technology here.

Every serious turkey hunter knows: concealment, consistent shooting performance, in addition to good calling techniques, make all the difference.

Arrows & Broadheads

The crossbow and arrows you use for whitetail hunting will typically perform just as effectively in the turkey blind. Rarely will there be a passthrough on turkey, as their deep feathers protect the bird like armor. Ravin offers a full quiver of broadheads and arrows designed exclusively for our crossbows. That means you get stronger penetration levels, more accurate shots, and world-class innovative solutions like our lighted arrows and nocks for use in low-light hours.

Broadhead selection is a personal choice. Ravin Crossbows offers Ravin Titanium Broadheads, Ravin Steel Broadheads, and Ravin Aluminum Broadheads; each engineered and designed to work seamlessly with your Ravin Crossbow.


Turkeys see things at a focal level humans simply can’t. That means staying concealed is probably the most important technique on a turkey hunter’s mind. Blinds aren’t entirely necessary, though they offer a huge advantage when calling finicky birds. Most modern blinds are compact and are easy to carry in the field so it’s not a bad idea to consider one if you’re looking to track down toms.

Shooting Rests

Shooting rests are another excellent tool for turkey hunting. Chances are, you’re waiting for the shot in a quite static position. A shooting rest stabilizes your shot so it’s as accurate as possible

With an arrow from a crossbow, there’s such a small area of impact that precision is critical. A shooting rest significantly adds to that accuracy. They also add the benefit of leaving your hands more free to call birds in.

Shot Placement

Shot placement is critical when archery hunting any game animal, but especially with wild turkey.

The area you’re aiming for is approximately the size of a baseball. You never know what shot opportunity you’ll have in the field, so practicing all shooting scenarios on the range builds confidence and proficiency. Keep in mind that a live turkey will not be a static target, so practice standing, sitting, and crouching shots, working up and downhill.

Ultimately, your goal is to put the shot where it’s most lethal—this is one of the most crucial crossbow turkey hunting tips for ensuring a quick, ethical harvest

When it’s time to take the shot, you’ll have to decide which is your best option quickly, and there are three presentations for an archery shot on turkey we recommend preparing for:

  • The broadside shot
  • The frontal shot
  • The rear shot

If you’re an extremely proficient archer, you might also consider a “quartering to” shot (also called a “quartering-toward” shot, which means with the animal facing you, but at an angle) or a rear spine shot. Regardless of which shot you opt for, if a bird lays down or squats and still has an upright head after you hit it, shoot it again.

Broadside Shot

The first rule to making an ethical broadside shot is to be patient and wait for a tom to stop strutting or to posture into a half strut. It’s very hard to identify the vital area for an ethical shot while a tom is strutting.

To hit a turkey in the heart and lungs, aim just behind where the wing joins the body. A broadside shot will be your best choice if you’re new to hunting turkey with a crossbow, unless you’re incredibly accurate out to the yardage of your shot. Recognizing the extent of your skills is one of the crossbow turkey hunting tips to incorporate into all aspects of your approach to hunting.

Frontal Shot

When turkey hunting with a crossbow, a frontal shot tends to be most hunters' least favorite. This shot presents a smaller target to hit the heart and lungs, and the trophy beards often get cut clean off by the broadhead.

If you do take a frontal shot on a wild turkey, your aim point is midway between the neckline and beard, usually one inch above the beard. You don’t want to shoot a full strutting tom with a frontal shot because its posture is compressed, and that makes it extra challenging to acquire the aim point.

Rear Shot

This presentation results in the smallest target area, but as you become more experienced turkey hunting with a crossbow, you’ll find that a rear shot is most likely the shot to result in the bird dropping where it stands. The aim point for a rear shot will be the bird’s anus when the tom is in full strut and facing away. The arrow will sever the spine, crippling the tom before piercing the heart and lung area.

Rear shots require more accuracy and are generally less effective at extended ranges, as they have a higher margin for errors, resulting in a wounded bird.

Check Our Blog for More Hunting Tips

If you’re ready to take on a new challenge, turkey hunting with a crossbow might show up in your next season. We hope these crossbow turkey hunting tips are helpful — check our blog for more expert guidance on all things crossbows. With preparation, the right crossbow equipment and accessories, and the opportunity, you can harvest a turkey this spring hunting season.