Harmon Carson will tell you that turkeys are smarter than you think. He should know — he’s been chasing them from Louisiana to Texas since he was in high school. 

While he’s harvested his fair share of toms over the years, the 30-year-old from Haughton wanted more of a challenge — so he decided to pick up his bow. 

“I’ve chased them all over with my bow,” he said. “But I haven’t killed many because they are a tough animal to bowhunt.”

A turkey’s keen eyesight means it can pick up even the slightest movement, which sends it running for safety. While most turkey hunters avoid detection by remaining still at the base of a tree with shotgun propped up and waiting, a bowhunter must move in order to draw back. For that reason, Carson said there’s no room for error. 

While he’s harvested a few birds in Texas, it wasn’t until last year he was able to knock one down in Louisiana with his archery gear — with a long bow, to top it off. From a ground blind, he shot a nice tom from a distance of 16 yards. For him, bowhunting turkeys isn’t about filling tags — but rather about the challenge of it all.

“In 2011, I stopped using a compound and went straight traditional — for deer and everything,” he said. “I like the challenge of having to get the animal close. It’s much more intimate.”

Chad Lafleur, an Opelousas hunter who chases turkeys near Roxie, Mississippi, said it’s about the challenge, as well. He harvested his first gobbler with a bow about 18 years ago and since then,