Where To Shoot A Turkey (Proper Shot Placement)

Hunters should aim for the head and neck area of Turkeys to get the fastest, most human, and cleanest kill. Although the head and neck are small targets that constantly move, it is the best aiming point to preserve your Thanksgiving turkey.

Perfect shot placement can change depending on the type of weapon or firearm used by the hunter. Shotgun hunters should always aim for the turkey’s neck and head. However, hunters that use more precise firearms like rifles and bows can aim for the body.

The type of firearm and optical attachment can also have an impact on where to shoot a turkey. Red dot sights and magnified scopes can be used effectively depending on your choice of weapon.

Turkey shot placement

What Is The Perfect Shot Placement On A Turkey?

The perfect shot placement on a turkey is their neck and head. Turkey hunters aim for this area because it ensures a swift and humane kill, prevents unnecessary suffering, and preserves the meat quality.

However, hitting a turkey’s head or neck can be challenging as it is a small area and turkeys are constantly moving. Turkeys have small vital areas within their neck and head, and it is very easy for turkey hunters to miss high.

The type of weapon a wild turkey hunter chooses to use can also change shot placement. The most common types of weapons used for turkey hunting are listed below.

  • Rifle
  • Shotgun
  • Bowhunting

Where To Aim On A Turkey When Using A Rifle?

The ideal shot placement is at the upper 1/3 of the turkey’s breast when turkey hunting with a rifle. You do not need a large amount of stopping power to hunt turkeys & the accuracy and range from a rifle can be beneficial.

However, turkey hunting with a rifle is relatively rare compared to shotgun and bowhunting. Most turkey hunts take place at close range and in dense foliage. This makes shotguns and bowhunting more effective.

Where To Aim On A Turkey When Using A Shotgun?

The best shot placement is on a turkey’s head and neck region when shotgun hunting. Aiming your shotgun sights at the wild turkeys head and neck ensures a quick kill. Although turkeys have tiny heads & necks and are constantly moving, shotgun pellets cover a larger surface area that gives hunters a better chance.

New hunters often make the mistake of shooting at the body of the turkey and damage the meat. They also tend to aim too high when hunting wild turkeys. Be sure you can see the head of the turkey right above your iron sights before pulling the trigger.

Shotgun turkey hunting

Where To Aim On A Turkey When Bowhunting?

The ideal shot placement for bowhunters is at the top portion of the bird’s breast. Turkeys have a very small kill zone and bowhunters need to be precise.

Killing a turkey with a bow is more challenging compared to using a shotgun. This is because shotguns deliver a spread of pellets and bows require precise shot placement.

Why Is Shot Placement Important?

Shot placement is very important because it ensures an ethical and humane kill and gives the hunter the best chance of success. Turkeys are small birds and hunters have just seconds to make a fontal or broadside shot.

Is The Hunters Shooting Position Important?

Yes, the hunter’s shooting position is very important when turkey hunting. Hunters should shoot from the kneeling position and resting the shotgun their knee. The kneeling position provides stability and control, allowing the hunter to maintain a steady aim and absorb the recoil more effectively.

Which Type Of Firearm Is Best For Turkey Hunting?

Shotguns are the best firearm for turkey hunting. Turkeys are often hunted at relatively close ranges where shotguns are most effective. Shotguns also disperse multiple pellets in a wide pattern, increasing the likelihood of hitting vital areas (head and neck) on the turkey’s body.

Guns for turkey hunting

Are Red Dot Sights Effective For Shotgun Turkey Hunting?

Yes, red dot sights are highly effective for shotgun turkey hunting. This is because red dot sights offer hunter’s better accuracy, more precise aiming, and faster target acquisition.

Unlike traditional scopes that require aligning crosshairs precisely, turkey hunting red dot sights provide a single point of focus on the target and a larger sight picture.

Can You Rifle Hunt Turkeys With A Magnified Scope?

Yes, you can use magnified rifle scopes to hunt turkeys. Hunting gun scopes allow hunters to sight birds in from much further distances. However, most turkey shots take place from within 40 yards. This is why the most popular turkey gun is a shotgun.

Do All Animals Have The Same Kill Zone?

No, all animals do not have the same kill zone. Shot placement will be different on a deer, bear, coyote, elk, and other type of game. Although the vital organs will produce kill shots on all animals, they are all located in different locations. So if you’re hunting small game like squirrels, you can place your squirrel hunting scope on a much smaller area than on a black bear.

Where Do You Aim You Scope To Kill A Coyote?

Aim your rifle scope on the heart and lungs of the coyote to get a quick and ethical kill. Coyote shot placement is different than turkey shot placement because these animals have different anatomies. A broadside coyote is generally an easier target thank turkeys.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is shot placement more crucial than the type of firearm used for hunting turkeys?

Yes, shot placement is more important than a hunters choice of weapons when turkey hunting. A well placed shot with any firearm will be lethal if it lands on the head or vital organs of the turkey.

Should you aim for the head when shooting a turkey?

Yes, you should aim for the turkey's head and neck region when turkey hunting with a shotgun. Place your shotgun reticle right below the turkey's head to give yourself the best chance of a successful shot.

The Bottom Line

By now you should be an expert on where to shoot a turkey. Turkey hunters should aim for the head and neck are in most situations. However, if you choose to bow hunt or rifle hunt you can aim for the body of the turkey to give yourself a better chance of success. Use these tips to catch your Thanksgiving dinner in the upcoming fall turkey seasons.

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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