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Author: Mike Schoby
Field Testing the Gobbler Guillotine™ Turkey Hunting Broadheads and Arrows
Several years ago, I began bowhunting for turkeys - at the time I thought it was the ultimate challenge; a feather in my bowhunting cap if you will; a test of my hunting prowess. Several years down the road and a couple of un-recovered birds under my belt, I decided to give up bowhunting for long beards and go back to the scattergun.
The problem is turkeys have a small vitals area, shrouded inside a large body, plated with thick feathers, all wrapped up in some hard bones. It is akin to hitting a suspended (also invisible) egg inside of a basketball. And even when you do succeed in hitting the proverbial egg, birds often have enough life left to fly, run or hide, making recovery a difficult task. Unlike big-game species that have lots of blood that can be followed - even a well-hit turkey bleeds very little, and if they fly, forget about following that trail.
So for these reasons I gave up stick and string gobbler madness - until this spring anyway when I saw this new broadhead called the Gobbler Guillotine. This large-diameter broadhead stands alone as the only broadhead intended to be used for head shots on turkeys. This is a concept I like - either instantaneous death, or a bird that walks away unharmed, to be called in another day.
I had thought of shooting turkeys in the head before and have heard of guys doing it with blunts. I had even gone so far as to try wire "bird" points with this technique in mind, but had a very difficult time shooting them with any degree of accuracy and they whistled so bad, I was sure it would cause even the most hard-of-hearing bird to "jump" the string.
But the Gobbler Guillotine is significantly different than other turkey heads. It is not simply a screw-on point, it is a complete system including fletching, arrow and head all working in conjunction with each other to provide optimum results. According to the inventor, "If you shoot my heads on a standard shaft with normal fletching - you won't like them very much. They are designed to be shot with the special arrows unique to this head."
I took his word for it - and used them as a complete system and was more than pleased. The first thing I noticed about the extra-long shafts (32-inches from nock to insert so they stabilize well and protrude far enough in front of most bows to avoid contact between the head and riser) is that they have a high profile, radical feather helical to stabilize the large heads. The second thing, which was not so obvious at first glance, is the shaft is tapered from the insert (the thickest) to the nock.
Sighting in is a relatively simple affair. I used the shafts with standard 125-grain field points for my initial sighting process and with a few minor adjustments was dead on from spitting distance to 20 yards with one pin. For the second step, I screwed on the Gobble Guillotine head without the blades and shot into a layered foam block - there was no significant point of impact change between standard field points and this head.
Then for a final test, I inserted the 4-inch blades into the head. It should be noted that the blades are not exposed during flight - instead they are covered with thin, plastic straws held in place with small pieces of sticky-backed foam. The straws break open on impact, but help keep the arrow from planing, as well as diminish the whistling noise so common to large broadheads.
Afraid of breaking my limited supply of blades, I didn't want to shoot them at the flat foam target, so I set up an old foam decoy with a large mound of tumbleweeds behind it for a backstop. The first shot, the arrow whizzed right past the decoy's head and stopped unharmed in the tumbleweeds. I thought I had missed the decoy, but upon closer inspection, I found a large, perfect razor-cut right through the decoy's neck. A few more shots and I confirmed the broadhead was flying just like a field point and the decoy's head was in tatters.
The first time I got out in the field to try out the Gobble Guillotine was during the Nebraska's early turkey archery season. Within minutes of setting up my Cabela's Lightning Set Blind and getting settled in, I heard a series putts and purrs that sounded pretty close - I responded with a few choice licks from a slate call. From behind the blind, 18 - yards away, out strolled three jakes. I drew back my Cabela's PL-1 and picked a spot on the jake's bobbing head. Whether it was because he was moving or I just had a case of turkey fever, the blades zipped past close, but not close enough to catch him. He ran a bit at the shot, but only went about 50 yards out in the clearing before proceeding to strut with his compadres for the next half hour - no amount of calling would bring them back into range. They finally moved off and out of sight.
Later in the day, two long-bearded gobblers responded to my calls and slowly worked towards the blind. At 15 yards, I drew my bow; at 12 yards, I released the arrow at the incoming bird. Years of practicing with conventional arrows and 3D turkey targets paid off as I hit the bird exactly where I aimed - right in the beard. It would have been a perfect shot with a conventional broadhead, but not for the Gobbler Guillotine. The arrow stopped like it hit a brick wall and dropped to the ground. The bird whirled and ran off - I watched him go several hundred yards through an open field before he disappeared into the timber - scared and possibly bruised, but no worse for wear from the experience. Retrieving my arrow confirmed this - the straws covering the blade were cut through but still intact on the blades, indicating they did not penetrate into the bird at all - just as their intended design.
The broadhead cut feathers, but I did not find any blood on the point, blades or on the open ground to indicate that the bird's skin was even broken. While I was disappointed, at the same time I was relieved. It is nice to know that if the shot does not hit exactly where aimed, you are not going to have a wounded bird running off.
The next morning found me back in my blind. Within a half-hour of sun up, two mature gobblers emerged from 10 yards behind the blind. Neither had made a sound coming in. I drew back, centered my pin on the lead bird's head and squeezed the trigger. The Gobbler Guillotine hit right under the beak of the bird and I heard the blade make contact with a meaty "thwap". The bird jumped in the air, landed and shook its head - I could tell it was a hit, but not sure how good of one.
The bird began walking away, shaking his head, but only made it a few yards before it stumbled. Ten yards away, he fell over, fluttered a couple times and lay still. Exiting the blind, I picked up blood at the spot I shot him, and then noticed a blood trail that would rival any archery-killed deer. Approaching the dead gobbler, I saw that a single blade had cut the jugular and the windpipe - creating the shortest follow up I have ever had archery hunting for gobblers.
To say I was elated was an understatement. The heads worked as advertised and have opened up new possibilities for my spring season. Once again I can get the thrill and sense of accomplishment of bowhunting gobblers without running as large of a risk of wounding birds or wasting meat.
If you are thinking about hunting gobblers this spring with a bow and arrow for the first time or are a seasoned veteran, try the Gobbler Guillotine for fast humane kills with very little tracking required.
Due to their large cutting diameter, there is no effective way of keeping these heads in a quiver. I opted to carry the arrows without blades attached into the field, where I assembled them once in my blind. Once it is done a couple of times, arrows can be put together in a couple minutes apiece - extras can be stored safely out of the way in the blind by leaning them against the back wall - points on the ground.