All posts by Steve Flores

Steve Flores is a passionate hunter who enjoys chasing 'mountain' whitetails in his native southern West Virginia. Steve's writing has been featured in major outdoor magazines such as Petersen's Bowunting, Bowhunting World, and Deer and Deer Hunting.
bowhunting practice

Bowhunting Practice Made Perfect

Every year the same scene plays out over and over across the country. Archers engage in backyard bowhunting practice with the illusion that they are somehow preparing themselves for the rapidly approaching bow season. However, what many of these well-meaning bowhunters don’t know is that nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re looking for the ultimate method for getting the most out of your bowhunting practice, if you want to make it perfect, then consider the following tips.
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Make Your Bowhunting Practice Situational

So many times treestand hunters conduct their bowhunting practice from the comfort of their freshly groomed yard. The problem with that is in no way does shooting flat-footed in the back yard resemble the environment they will be faced with when they head afield.
Whenever I am preparing for a hunt, no matter what it is, I always try to conduct a great deal of “situational” practice. In other words, I practice exactly how I will hunt. For example, if you hunt primarily from a treestand then you should be practicing from a treestand. Why? Because shooting from an elevated position requires a host of body mechanics that are different or unused when shooting on flat ground.
If you don’t create muscle memory during “situational” practice time then you stand a greater risk of botching the shot during crunch time. Also, shooting angles to the vitals will vary greatly depending on shot angle and distance.
bowhunting practice situational
The same goes when you are planning a spot and stalk hunt. Make sure your bowhunting practice includes a good deal of long-range shots from kneeling positions. Throw in some uneven terrain and high wind and you will be getting the most out of your time spent preparing.
Also, make sure to include a few practice sessions with your actual hunting attire. This will help give you an idea about what you’re hunting clothes will actually feel like when they are put to use in a real hunting situation.

Clutter Things Up

Conducting “situational” bowhunting practice is great but be sure to raise the level of difficulty by throwing some obstacles into the mix. For instance, not every whitetail bowshot will be void of arrow thwarting limbs.
The easiest way to recreate that sort of situation is to move your 3D target out of the freshly cut grass and back into the brush. This will force you to look at different shooting angles and how your bow/arrow set up reacts when faced with the task of shooting over or under obstructions.
Sometimes, even the smallest of obstacles can wreak havoc with a shooters thought process. In other words, some bowhunters panic and implode when an obstacle or two get thrown into the shooting scenario. If your eyes have already seen this (and overcame it) during your bowhunting practice then you stand a good chance of making the shot without even thinking about it when it really matters most.

Leave The Range Finder At Home

While I would never advocate leaving your rangefinder at home during a hunt, I do think it is a good idea to abandon it ever now and then during your bowhunting practice sessions.
The result might be a few bad shots, maybe even a lost arrow or two, but eventually that will lead to you strengthening your range-estimation skills. That will ultimately lead to you driving an arrow into the sweet spot of a buck that didn’t give you time to range him. The bottom line is never fully place the outcome of your hunt on a piece of technology. At the very least be prepared to get the job done in the event that it fails.

Get Your Blood Pumping

How many bow shots have you taken at whitetails with no elevation in heart rate or breathing? Probably the same as me—-none. So how can shooting under perfectly calm conditions (physically) prepare you for a nerve-racking shot at the buck of your dreams? It won’t.
The easiest way to reproduce those effects would be to increase your heart rate just prior to taking the shot. This can be done with some push-ups or a quick sprint.
bowhunting practice workout
Obviously, whenever you’re shooting from a treestand you can’t do this but whenever I conduct my bowhunting practice from an elevated position I try to sprint to the 3D target and remove my arrows.
I don’t sprint back however because I have arrows in hand. But the sprint does elevate my heart more than simply strolling up to the target.
Jogging between targets on a 3D course is also a great way to learn how to shoot under physical and mental stress. You may get more than a few weird looks from onlookers but who cares. This is bowhunting and nothing should be left to chance.

Ditch The Field Points

I am constantly amazed at the number of bowhunters who don’t incorporate broadheads into their bowhunting practice regimen. The results can be less than desirable. While sniper-like accuracy with field points does a lot to boost confidence it matters very little unless you can do the same with the broadhead you plan to hunt with. After all, broadheads (fixed or mechanical) rarely shoot the same as field points.
bowhunting practice broadhead
Even if your bow is properly tuned, your arrows are correctly spined and you’ve walk-back tuned your rest you can still expect a slight difference in impact point. For me, slight just isn’t going to cut it. That’s why I always keep extra broadheads lying around that are used for practice purposes. I shoot a fixed-blade head so if I want to shoot the same head all I have to do is swap out the blades and I’m ready to hunt.
Even mechanical broadheads will have some variance in how they shoot when compared to field points. That’s why manufacturers are now offering them with practice versions. Make good use of them or you could be sorry.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It’s a familiar phrase when it comes to physical fitness but it has just as much impact when applied to your own shooting. What I mean is that if you want to be deadly at 40 yards then you should do a lot of shooting from 60 yards. The reason for this is simple.
After months of shooting at 60 paces, that 40 yard shot that once seemed intimidating will look more like a golf “tap-in”. And that’s exactly what you want. I routinely conduct my bowhunting practice from 60, 70 and even 80 yards. And, while I would never attempt a first shot at a whitetail at that range, the all-to-common 30, 40 and 50 yard shots are much, much easier to handle.
bowhunting practice comfort
In the end everyone’s shooting “comfort zone” will be different. And that is ok. No one can tell you how far you should feel comfortable shooting. If you’ve put in the time you will know exactly what you can handle and what you can’t. Just make sure you don’t step outside of that range no matter if it is the buck of your life standing down range or a slick-headed doe.


If your current bowhunting practice routine isn’t giving you the results you want then it is time to change things up. Consider the aforementioned tips to take your game to the next level and feel free to add a few of your own in the comment section below. Best of luck this fall!

Whitetail Pre Orbital Gland Lure Secrets

I will be the first to admit that over the course of my bowhunting career I haven’t had a lot of luck hunting over scrapes despite what all of the popular magazine articles might suggest.
In fact, I’ve never filled a tag while perched high above a pawed out piece of earth waiting for a buck (any buck) to return and do it again. However, a few years ago I found a better alternative. One that peaks the curiosity of the mature buck in the area and keeps him coming back to investigate.
I’m talking about using whitetail pre orbital gland lure as a means to inventory big bucks and eventually kill them. I know it sounds complicated but it really isn’t. This process can be used alone or can be used in conjunction with existing scrapes or mock scrapes to make them even more attractive.
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What Is The Whitetail Pre Orbital Gland

The whitetail pre orbital gland is a trench-like slit found on the bare skin extending out from the whitetails eyes. These glands are lined by a combination of sebaceous and sudoriferous glands which produce a waxy secretion that contains pheromones and other chemical compounds.
whitetail pre orbital gland location
Deer and other ungulates regularly deposit these secretions on twigs and grass in a way to communicate with each other.
Information gathered from these secretions not only help deer communicate but they also help the local bucks establish a “hierarchy” amongst themselves. It is this desire to establish and maintain a pyramid of dominance that gives the savvy hunter a behavior he can exploit.
The idea is to introduce an intruder into the mix while bucks are still in bachelor groups and basically know each other.

How is Whitetail Pre Orbital Gland Lure Different?

There are several advantages to using whitetail pre orbital gland lures.

  1. They can be used anywhere, anytime of the season.
  2. Bucks have a distinct identity and pre orbital scent plays a role in publicizing that.
  3. It is waxy and doesn’t wash off as easily as urine-based deer lures.

Unlike urine-based deer lures, whitetail pre orbital gland lure doesn’t dissipate rapidly. Urine-based lures will evaporate very quickly because they are water-based.
pre orbital lure location
Not only that, urine breaks down (chemically) turning into ammonia shortly after it hits the ground. Bucks visiting this urine-based lure probably have no idea “what” peed there.
A better analogy would be that they only know that “something” urinated in that spot. However, with pre orbital gland odors that simply isn’t the case.
The scent lasts longer and doesn’t breakdown before deer have a chance to interpret it. This allows them to get the right message when encountering the odor.

Advantages Of Using Pre Orbital Gland Lure

One of things I like about using whitetail pre orbital gland lure is that it can be done in the mid-late summer months when not much is going on and everyone else is hanging out by the pool.
Incorporating this tactic during the late summer allows me to take an inventory of the bucks in the area. Within a few months of doctoring my sites I have a pretty good idea about the type of bucks that are roaming around my hunting area.
If no mature bucks show up it is a pretty good assumption that I’ve either messed up on the location (more on that in a minute), cut corners on my scent control or there simply aren’t any true giants in my area.
Using this tactic during the summer has another distinct advantage—bachelor groups. During this time bucks are hanging together in groups.
pre orbital buck licking branch
They are getting to know each other (through scent) and they are establishing their pecking order. Some of this scent communicating comes in the way of “licking branches”.
You are probably familiar with the licking branch but I dare say it is during the fall months when it is accompanied by a scrape underneath. That branch is still there and it is still vital in the grand scheme of things despite the fact that it doesn’t include a scrape.
Also, if you attract one buck from a bachelor group to your set up you will typically attract them all. That is the basis for the success of Pre Orbital gland lure.

Essential Tools For The Pre Orbital Set Up

Before heading afield there are a few things you are going to need. They include:
whitetail pre orbital gear

  1. Rubber Boots
  2. Rubber Gloves
  3. Scent Control Spray
  4. Clean Clothes
  5. Scouting Camera
  6. Clean Pliers For Breaking Limb


Where To Create A Pre Orbital Gland Lure Trap

When it comes to using whitetail pre orbital gland lure location means everything. Start by looking for high traffic areas that see a lot of deer movement. These are easy to find by the heavy trails.
whitetail pre orbital gland licking branch
However, don’t be afraid to experiment with areas that you know hold deer but aren’t accompanied by heavy deer trails. After all, mature bucks don’t always follow the norm and they can sometimes move through an area without following the path that “regular” deer use.

Creating The Pre Orbital Gland Lure Set Up

Locate a suitable branch, one that is not dead and is very flexible. Break the limb (about chest height) in a way so that it doesn’t fall to the ground but leaves a great amount of surface area exposed.
Next apply 2-3 drops of the Pre Orbital Gland Lure to the exposed fibers of the broken limb. That’s it.
whitetail pre orbital lure application
The process isn’t very complicated. However, locating the right spot takes a little forethought. In fact, spend a little extra time contemplating where you will placing your lure.

Additional Considerations

I like to take my set up a step further by adding deer inderdigital gland lure to the ground underneath the doctored limb. This simply adds another scent to the overall set up and strengthens the illusion that an intruder buck was indeed in the area.
Also, before embarking on the journey into your hunting area make certain that you are as odor free as possible. Treat each trip to your set up as if you were hunting.
Return trips to re-freshen your set up and swap SD cards in your camera should be conducted about ever 10-14 days. Anything sooner will only complicate your ability to fly under the radar.

Where To Get Pre Orbital Gland Lure Scent

I buy my pre orbital gland lure directly from because it is of the highest quality and is NOT a synthetic scent. Simply put it is the real thing made from a single buck. Go online for this and other highly effective lures.
Do you have a favorite technique for luring in early season bucks? If so, let us know in the comment section below. Remember, there is no off season.

Early Season Bowhunting Tips

10 Early Season Bowhunting Mistakes

With the opening day of bow season quickly approaching everyone is confident that he/she will fill their tag on an early season buck. Sure, some will. However, if your game plan includes the following mistakes—you won’t.
The opening days/weeks of deer season revolve around one thing—food. And, for the most part, your best chances of success will occur in the late evening hours just before sunset. Hitting your treestand in the pre-dawn darkness with the zeal of a middle school boy attending his first homecoming dance will only cause more harm than good.
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Early season hunts are a great way to get a head start on filling your freezer.

Getting Up Early

You see, no matter how early you arrive in the woods you’re likely going to bump the very deer you are hunting right off of the food source. This is especially true if you are hunting food plots or other agricultural food sources. Still, even big-woods bowhunters will have a tough time getting to the stand undetected.
Getting to the stand in the morning unnoticed can be done if you know the whereabouts of the bedding area and can come in from the back side and set up on a transition route. Even then you run the risk of bumping deer. Your best bet is to wait until midday and sneak in close to the groceries and plan an evening hunt.

Slacking On Your Scent Control

Early season means hot, humid and sticky hunting conditions. The result is an abundance of sweat. Sweat equals odor. Odor will kill your odds of filling a whitetail tag no matter what phase of the season you’re in. However, it’s more easily manufactured during the early season.
It’s no secret that scent control should be a staple of your overall hunting routine but in the early season it is perhaps more important than any other time. This is simply because of the high temperatures and the limited amount of clothing that you are wearing.
Early Season Bowhunting tactics

Choose your scent control system wisely; especially during the hot conditions you’ll face during the early season.

In other words, you’re going to sweat, a lot, and you’re not going to be able to hide it under 5 layers of clothing like you would during the cold conditions of the rut. Also, bucks won’t be running around in a wonder lust condition throwing caution to the wind in early/late September. Instead, they will be using the wind to the utmost as they make their way from bedding areas to food sources. Therefore, if you’re going to slack on your scent control (not that you ever should) the early season isn’t exactly the best time.

You Shot All Summer From The Ground

Unless you plan to hunt from a ground blind on opening day then practicing for weeks standing flat footed in the back yard can be counterproductive. In fact, doing so could cost you the buck of your dreams. Even worse, you could end up wounding an animal and never finding it. How?
You see, shooting from an elevated position presents all sorts of mechanical differences than what is required when shooting from the ground. For instance, bending at the waste in order to keep the angle between the eye and the peep sight consistent is crucial to making a killing shot from a treestand.
Early Season bowhunting mistakes

Hitting the 3D range with your buddies is a better alternative than simply standing in the backyard shooting arrow after mundane arrow into a blank backdrop.

In addition, arrow impact and shot angles change dramatically when shooting from above an animal as opposed to eye level. Only through “situational” practice, shooting from an elevated positions, can you see firsthand which angles present the biggest problems and which will lead to a short blood trail.

You Spent Too Little Time Scouting

Perhaps the best time to pattern a big buck is in the weeks leading up to opening day. Food dominates the thoughts of a deer at this time and they pretty much stick to the same routine unless an outside variable like scouting pressure or changes in food availability change that.
Early Season Bowhunting

Spending time in the pool is great but summer should also be spent figuring out where the deer are feeding and bedding and when they are doing it.

Therefore if you’re going to scout then do it from a distance with quality optics. That will help you keep the element of surprise while still maintaining tabs on the comings and goings of the deer herd. If you hunt in a mountainous settings then trail cameras can be a good scouting tool. Just be sure to check them during the late morning hours when your odds of bumping into deer are the lowest.

You Don’t Know The Favored Food Source

Speaking of food sources it shouldn’t come as a surprise that if you don’t know the preferred food source of the deer then you probably aren’t going to be able to formulate a solid early season game plan.
It is important to stay one step ahead of the deer by understanding which food sources will be available not only when the season opens but in the weeks that follow too. This applies to those hunting over food plots as well as the hardwoods.
Bowhunting Early Season

Attractants are a good alternative to bringing bucks in close when natural food sources are scarce or hard to find.

Those hunting hardwoods need to know the availability of mast crops as well as which ridges hold oaks that are actually dropping them. Also, the bounty of food plots can change depending on how hard they’ve been hit during the preseason and how the weather has affected their overall growth.
The bottom line…know your food sources and their conditions before the season starts not after.

You Dismissed The Attraction Of Water

Unless you’re hunting in areas that harbor creeks, streams or ponds, you really should consider the importance of a water source. Dry, humid conditions will certainly drive deer to any nearby watering holes. Setting up somewhere nearby can certainly be just as deadly as hunting over a food source given the right circumstances.

No Exit Strategy

Hunting near food in the early season means you are going to get caught in your stand while deer are feeding nearby. How are you going to handle this situation?
One option would be to have a landowner or friend drive up (if your stand is on a field edge) and push the deer off of the food source once the sun goes down. This will take the attention off of you and place it on the unexpected intruder.
Another option would be to use a predator call to push the deer away. A little can go a long way so start off softly and if the situation demands it you can get a little more aggressive with your calling in order to achieve the results you want.

Checking Your Trail Camera Too Often

Trail cameras are a double edged sword. On one side they are an awesome scouting tool. On the other they can lead to tipping off the very buck you are chasing. However, that is usually the result of checking the camera too often in the weeks leading up to opening day.
If you know a good buck is using the area then hang a camera and check it once or twice and forget about it until you actually move in to hunt. Checking the camera might reveal the buck isn’t using the area any more but that is much better than pushing him out of the area because you bumped him going in and out to pull camera cards.
10 Early Season Bowhunting

Scouting cameras are only helpful if their use doesn’t disturb the deer you are hunting.

Personally, I would rather adjust my stand sight simply because a buck is no longer there than have to do so because I spooked him. That is the surest way to never see him again. If you live in an area with good cellular service then one of the wireless scouting cameras may be just what you are looking for. If not, limit your trips in and out to view the images.

You Left Your Old Nocks On Your Arrows

This might sound petty but think about the beating your arrow’s nocks have taken over the course of a summer of hard shooting. That sort of beating will certainly take its toll not only your equipment but your shooting as well.
Certainly some of those ‘flyers’ you experienced on the target range can be attributed to worn out knocks. The last thing you want is to pull a ‘rogue’ arrow from your quiver when it’s time to make a shot in the field. Thus, simply buying a new set of nocks and installing them a week or so before the opener will tighten up your groups and boost your shooting confidence and we all know that a confident shooter is a deadly one.

You Didn’t Test Your Broadheads

Why go through all of the above steps and then miss your shot because your broadheads didn’t fly like your field points? The point is you shouldn’t.
And while poor broadhead flight can be attributed to many different things (one being the failure to Walk-Back tune your arrow rest) you’re never going to know your broadheads aren’t flying well until you shoot them. That shouldn’t be the first arrow you loose during the season.
Early Season Bowhunting Preparation

Walk back tuning is a great way to improve broadhead performance.

Make it a point to test shoot your broadheads (fixed or mechanical) before the season starts to ensure they are flying properly. If not, you could run the risk of blowing your one and only chance at the buck of your dreams.


The early season can be a great time to simply put some fresh venison in the freezer or arrow the buck of your dreams. It can also be a nightmare. The choice is up to you which scenario has the likelihood of playing out.

Under Armour Fat Tire Review

Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe

The thing about running shoes is I’ve never really found a pair that had it all. Sure, there have been some that offered just the right amount of stability but left a lot to be desired in comfort. Some were comfortable but didn’t hold up to the long hours of rigorous workouts. And then some were just disappointing all around.
However, the radical, outside the box, Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe is something much different. In my opinion, it might just be the perfect running shoe—at least for me.
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Nothing on the market today looks like the Under Armour Fat Tire shoe. Likewise, I think you will be hard pressed to find anything that performs like it either.

The Foundation

If you’re going to build something then nothing is more critical than getting the foundation right. It only takes a glance to see that the Under Armour Fat Tire was built with a unique (and highly effective) foundation.
Drawing its inspiration from the highly popular Fat Tire mountain bikes, the GTX is constructed of a Michelin (yes, like the tire) Wild Gripper outsole rubber compound that cradles your feet in nearly 2-inches of unmatched, impact absorbing comfort! And, while the sole has a unique, slightly curved shape, it doesn’t hinder walking or running. Instead, it adds to the already soothing feel of the shoe.
Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe

The thick sole of the Under Armour Fat Tire might have a different look to it but only after trying it out for yourself will you truly appreciate everything it does.

Running proves these points in spades as the composite textile and foam construction found on the inside of the Under Armour Fat Tire absorbs impacts with the road, rocks, treadmill—you name it. And, when the shoe does meet an obstacle you can hardly notice due to the Michelin material and the amount used. In addition, the unique traction lugs on the bottom of the Fat Tire offer unmatched cross-slope grip with performance over all types of terrain.
Under Armour Fat Tire

The grip of the Under Armour Fat Tire is superb for just about any conditions you may find yourself running in.

Performance On the Outside

The great features of the Under Armour Fat Tire GTX don’t stop at the sole. On the outside users will be pleased with the solid construction and durability that Under Armour garments are known for world wide. This includes the 100% waterproof Gore-Tex membrane that provides a barrier between your foot and the elements. This feature also allows for air flow to keep your feet cool and comfortable yet dry.
Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Shoe

The new Under Armour exclusive Ridge Reaper camo is highly attractive and adorns the outside of the GTX Fat Tire model.

Lace It Up

Adding to the performance list of this shoe is the BOA Closure System. With this you can literally tighten the shoe to your exact comfort/performance specifications in a matter of seconds. No old-fashioned laces to contend with. Simply push the BOA dial in and turn clockwise to tighten. To loosen, pull the dial out and the steel lace, nylon guides release themselves from the spool.
This feature might be one of my favorites simply because it adds a custom ‘dialed-in’ fit to the shoe depending on the situation at hand. Sometimes I like my shoes tight when I’m hitting the trail pretty hard. Other times, when I’m just kicking around, I like them loose; but not too loose. The BOA system gives me the option to meet both circumstances effortlessly.
Under Armour Fat Tire Running Shoe

The BOA Closure System eliminates the hassle of stretch and weight found in ordinary lacing systems and is guaranteed for the life of the product.

The Scent That Kills

Under Armour fans are familiar with the great lengths the company has made to keep hunters undetected in the field. The Under Armour Fat Tire follows this same mind set with the incorporation of Cupron on the inside of the shoe. What is Cupron? It is an anti-bacterial, copper infused sock liner that kills 99.9% of athletes foot fungus after 12 hours of contact.
And, while this product is marketed as a running shoe I can see it being used in certain hunting situations. With the addition of Cupron Technology the Fat Tire provides high performance during training but also won’t contribute to game-spooking odors (should you take it afield) the way ordinary running shoes can or will.

When The Rubber Meets The Road

So how does the Under Armour Fat Tire perform? Flawlessly! I’ve honestly tried to find something about this shoe that I dislike but I can’t. If I wanted to be picky I guess I could point out that if the BOA Closure System were to fail it would take more than a shoe string to fix. However, as I mentioned it does have a lifetime warranty so it’s really no concern to me.
Nevertheless, the first time I slipped these shoes on my feet I knew they were unique and special. As a former athlete in high school and college my body (particularly my knees) doesn’t always agree with the constant pounding that goes with trail running or just running in general.
Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Shoe Review

Do yourself a favor and try to find a flaw with the new Under Armour Fat Tire.

The Under Armour Fat Tire is honestly the most comfortable running shoe I’ve ever used, simply because it creates such a fine cushion between my feet and the road. This translates to less shock on my knee joints and even my back. Both of which allow me to train harder for hunting season or just overall better health.

Moving Forward

One change I would like to see made to this shoe is the introduction of a slightly more aggressive tread for really rugged terrain. Why? Well, if I could take the overall feel of this running shoe and incorporate it into an all-out hunting boot—look out. That would really be something special.
However, the UA Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe is already special in so many ways. The only thing missing—is your foot.

walk back tuning for bowhunting turkey

Walk-Back Tuning And Bowhunting Turkey

With the opening day of my home state’s spring gobbler season looming large I thought it would be a great time to break out the broadheads and make sure my arrows were flying with surgeon-like precision. However, it only took a few shots for me to realize that they weren’t.
In years past this would have sent me into a frenzied panic. Followed by a great amount of time spent shooting and adjusting my bow sight. Followed by more shooting and adjusting. Followed by me settling for what I thought was good arrow flight. Well, not anymore.
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Today, I use a method called “walk-back tuning” in order to ensure that my arrows are flying with laser-like perfection.

What Is Walk-Back Tuning?

Walk-back tuning is simply a method for ensuring that your bow’s center-shot is set correctly. It is done using arrows shot at a constant aiming point, using one pin, from varying distances. It may sound complicated but it is actually a very simple procedure. Let’s get started.

What You Need

There are a few items needed for this procedure. Here they are.
1. Large Target (20”x20” is great but use whatever you have)
2. Blue Painters Tape
3. Range Finder
4. Arrows (4 should do the trick)
5. Broadhead Of Choice (or you can simply use field points)
6. Allen Head wrenches for adjustments
7. Calm Wind
8. Little Patience

Getting Started

Walkback tuning and bowhunting turkey
The First Step to ‘walk-back tuning’ is preparing your target. Start by making a T with your blue tape; splitting your target down the middle. (See above image)
bowhunting turkey and walk-back tuning
The Second Step is to sight in your bow at 20 yards. Use the intersecting point of the T as your aiming point. Make sure your arrow is hitting dead center of the intersecting tape lines before moving on to Step 3. (See above image)
walk back tuning
The Third Step is to use the same aiming point and the same 20-yard sight pin and shoot the remaining arrows. The key is to do so at different yardages. For example, your first arrow (used as your aiming point) is shot from 20-yards. The remaining arrows can be shot from 30, 40, and maybe 50-yards using your 20-yard pin. Don’t worry about your arrows falling down the target as you shoot. In fact, that is what you want. (See above image)
The Fourth Step is to analyze your arrow pattern. If your arrows fall to the right of the vertical center-line (like mine did) then you must move your rest to the left in order to bring them closer to the center-line. Conversely, if your arrows are falling to left of the center-line you would move your arrow rest to the right. Simple enough.
bowhunting turkey tuning
The Final Step is to adjust your arrow rest (left or right) and return to your 20-yard starting point. Repeat the walk-back tuning process until all of your arrows land in the vertical tape line. (See above image)

Moving The Arrow Rest

The first time I tried the ‘walk-back tuning’ method I made the mistake of moving my arrow rest too much at one time. Believe me when I say it takes very little arrow rest movement to influence your arrows flight path. So, minute adjustments are the best method for quick success.
walk back tuning for turkey
Walk-back tuning is a simple process that doesn’t require much more than items you already have at your disposal.

Additional Thoughts

• When choosing distances to shoot you can certainly use 5-yard increments if you wish. Also, you don’t have to go as far out as 50 yards. Ideally, you should only go as far as you feel comfortable shooting in the field. If your effective range is 30 yards then certainly there is no need to shoot beyond that.
• Try to shoot when the wind is calm and your nerves are steady. Drinking a cup of coffee and heading out on a windy day to walk-back tune your bow is a mistake.
• You might need a few ‘warm up’ arrows before you actually start the walk-back process.
• Sometimes it may be you and not the arrow rest that needs ‘adjusted’. Meaning, don’t be afraid to shoot a second round before making any adjustments just to be sure it wasn’t you that fouled up the arrow flight instead of your rest.


The beauty of this method is that it can be used for field points, fix-blade heads or even mechanicals. With a little time and effort you will have your arrows flying like cruise missiles no matter what is on the business end of them; making your confidence soar. And everyone knows, when it comes to archery, confidence is 90% of the battle. Best of luck.

Better than cam hanes

Better Than Cam Hanes?

If you don’t know who Cam Hanes is you’ve either been living under a rock for several years or you haven’t made the fitness/hunting connection yet. Cam Hanes is, in simplest terms, a passionate bowhunter who takes physical fitness in the name of hunting preparation to the extreme—actually, beyond the extreme.
I started following Cam Hanes after stumbling across his website by accident. Since that day, my life-style and the way I approach bowhunting hasn’t been the same. As a former college athlete I had spent the first part of my life focused on conditioning and physical fitness. However, once my playing days ended it was easy to let myself go. And I did. Soon I became lost ‘physically’.
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Cam Hanes has impacted thousands of lives with his intense attitude toward fitness and bowhunting. That includes mine.

I simply didn’t have the motivation for fitness I once had while playing football. However, my motivation as a bowhunter never wavered. It wasn’t until I stumbled across Cameron’s message that I realized how much one could affect the other. Suddenly, I was starting to fell motivated again.

Ramp It Up

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I could be more successful at bowhunting (or hunting in general) if I was in better physical shape. You see, the terrain I live and hunt in doesn’t suffer the weak. Therefore, in order to overcome the many obstacles I face every season I had to, as Cam puts it, “Ramp It Up”.

The Problem With Cam Hanes

I will admit that after following Cameron for a while I started to feel the pressure. Pressure to run as far as he did, lift as much as he did and shoot as much as he did. Eventually it became a race I couldn’t win. After all, Cam is Cam and I’m just Steve.
Cam Hanes lifting

Before you start out on the journey toward physical fitness you need to understand who you are competing with.

So, for a while I turned Cam off. I quit following him and I started to dismiss what he was doing as being relevant to me. He was the perfect scapegoat for my own lack of effort; both in the gym and on the shooting range. However, I eventually learned that the problem wasn’t with Cam Hanes—it was with me.
After backsliding for a while I decided to give Cam’s philosophies another try. Only this time I took a different approach. I decided not to compete with him but with someone much more powerful—myself.

The Real Competition

If, like me, you’ve decided to incorporate physical fitness into your off-season hunting preparations then you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Just don’t make the same mistake I made and make it a competition with someone other than yourself. In my opinion we are our own worst enemies.

Cam Hanes elk hunt

The only person you have to outdo is—YOU. Not just in the gym but in the deer woods as well.

If I can just convince the guy looking back at me in the mirror to lift one more rep, add one more plate, jog one more lap, eat cleaner meals and practice a little more often then I will ultimately be the best version of ME that I can be.

So Now What

I think the most important thing to take away from my ramblings is that guys like Cam Hanes should be used as a motivating tool and not a yardstick. There are plenty of people who inspire us every day. Truth be told, you probably inspire someone without even knowing it.

Cam Hanes family

Who or what motivates you to be healthy or become a more physically fit hunter?

Cam Hanes, along with my family and a few others, inspire me to push myself out of my comfort zone and prepare for hunting season like never before. Maybe you are ready to become the best hunter you can be. If so consider these quick tips.
1. Start Out Slow: The worst thing you can do is look at someone’s training program and immediately try to adopt it. If you are just starting out and jump in using an advanced lifting or running program you could end up injured. Remember nobody gets stronger when they are hurt.
2. Focus On The End: Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will be the new version of you. If you expect to reach your goals overnight it isn’t going to happen. Consider where you are and keep the end result in mind. That will keep you motivated when you feel like your gains aren’t coming fast enough.
3. Find A Partner: Everything is easier when you’ve got a friend to join you; especially getting in shape. A partner can motivate you but more importantly they can keep you accountable for workouts, clean eating habits and just staying the course.
Cam Hanes supplements

Supplements are a great addition to any workout program. Just make sure you choose a quality product with only the best ingredients.

4. The Legs Feed The Wolf: While the upper body gets the bulk of our attention the lower body does the majority of work in the woods. Overall body fitness should be the goal as long as the legs aren’t neglected.
5. Eat Clean: Working out is great but poor eating habits will thwart any progress you hope to make toward how you look and feel. A clean diet is more important than how much weight you lift and how many times you lift it.
Until next time: Embrace The Grind, Reap The Reward.

Buck Rubs

Buck Rubs: Ignore Them Or Interpret Them?

I’m going to be totally blunt. It is my humble opinion that hunting over buck rubs is a waste of time! Well, most of the time. You see, for years I subscribed to the notion that buck rubs were a hot ticket to success. Mostly because that’s what the hunting magazine in my hand suggested.
However, I’m more inclined to use a strategy if it actually works and that one simply did not. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never found a rub, hung a stand and had said buck return only to fall victim to a well-placed arrow.
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Big rubs equal big bucks. If you want to shoot a big buck you have to hunt where they live. A good-sized rub is one tell-tale sign that a trophy is in the area.

Maybe I’m doing something wrong. (It wouldn’t be the first time.) Still, even a blind squirrel finds the proverbial nut every now and then. Alas, it hasn’t happened to me yet. So, in my bowhunting rule book the odds simply do not lend themselves to consider hunting over a rub a worthwhile endeavor.
So what does all of this mean? Well, it means I don’t bet all of my chips on buck rubs. There is only one tactic that I bet everything on; but that’s a different article. Back to buck rubs. While I don’t believe they are ‘ground-zero’ for hanging a stand, they can in fact point you in the right direction if you know what to look for.

Consider The Location

In my experience some rubs carry a lot of meaning and others are simply made in random places that are mostly insignificant. The trick is understanding which is which. For the most part, when you find a buck rub near a high-traffic area (human interaction) you can bet it was done under the cover of darkness.
Deer, especially mature bucks, are very keen to human intrusion and know exactly where we’ve been and the areas we like to frequent. So, when you find a rub in one of those areas it’s a good bet it wasn’t done during legal shooting hours. Therefore ignore them.
On the flip side, buck rubs found in thick cover, near bedding areas (buck or doe) or along travel corridors in heavy cover can have significant value. These are the types of rubs that bear further investigating and can often lead to a killer stand site.

Which Side Was Rubbed

Once I find the type of rub I’m looking for I start inspecting not only it but the surrounding terrain as well. And even though I live in and hunt ‘Mountain’ bucks, I feel confident you can use the same investigative procedures as I do.
One of the first things I do is consider which side of the tree was rubbed. Why? Because I can check theories about bedding and feeding areas based on which side of the tree is rubbed.
What do buck rubs mean

A rub is more than a rub. Close inspection can offer a multitude of clues to the overall whitetail puzzle.

For example, if the rubbed portion of the tree is facing a suspected bedding area then I assume the rub was made in the late evening hours when the buck was leaving its bed to feed. Conversely, if the rub is facing a suspected feeding area then I assume the rub was made in the early morning as the buck made its way back to bed.
While both pieces of information are great ‘clues’ to the overall whitetail puzzle, they are hardly smoking guns. You still have to not only hang a stand in the right location but you have to consider the ‘timing’ of the stand, so to put that buck in your lap while the sun is up. Not an easy task.

Timing Is Everything

Like I mentioned, trying to figure out when the buck made the rub is critical. Quite often I find that I have to set up away from the rub in order to catch the target buck on his feet. Such was the case with the buck that made the rub in the image below in 2012.
Buck Rubs and bowhunting

To kill this buck I hung my stand in a funnel about 100 yards away, not right on top of the buck rub like conventional wisdom would suggest.

Hanging a stand near this particular rub was a gamble because the immediate area was void of any reliable funnels. Instead, I choose a pinch point about 100 yards away. This funnel had a greater chance of putting the buck in my lap than did the rub which had very few (if any) natural funnels nearby.
I killed the buck in 2013 as he made his way through my funnel during a heavy snow fall. Watching the direction that he came from, and knowing the terrain, it’s highly unlikely I would have killed him had I set up right on top of the rub I had found during my post-season scouting.

Random Rubs In The Right Place

Whenever my post-season scouting doesn’t uncover a ‘kill’ rub I typically keep my eyes open for randomly made rubs in just the right place. Because I hunt in mountainous terrain with no agricultural fields, I base a lot of my strategies on the urge to breed. In other words, I concentrate on does.
I typically like to set up on the fringes of doe bedding areas. But, despite where my stand is hung I am constantly looking for clusters of buck rubs to show up in and around my hunting area. It’s been my experience that this typically means a buck(s) has moved into the area in search of a receptive doe and is marking his territory.
Interpreting Buck Rubs

Here is the buck from my 2013 season. Despite the fact that I had never seen him on the hoof I was still able to develop a game plan based on his rub locations and the surrounding terrain.

Buck rubs that show up in November typically do so for a reason. Just keep in mind that while big bucks make big rubs they also make little rubs. I shot my largest buck to date in the middle of a fresh cluster of small rubs adjacent to a doe bedding area.


In my book buck rubs are most often unworthy of sitting directly over top of. However, with a little investigative work a much better location typically reveals itself. And when that happens it’s time to clear some space on your wall.

Post-Season Whitetail Adjustments

With the whitetail season well behind us it is time to start thinking ahead to opening day 2015. Hey, it’s not called 365 Whitetail for nothing. You see, if you want to be consistently successful chasing mature bucks—there really is no off season.
Besides, there’s no better way to spend these bleak, cold days of winter than developing a red-hot plan for next year. Here are a few of the areas I like to concentrate on immediately after the season comes to a close.
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If you found a great spot during your in-season scouting sessions now is a great time to return with a permanent stand. This will free up space and weight allowing you to move quickly and quietly through the timber when the time comes to hunt.

Tweaking Stands

If you’re like me then you probably have more than a few treestands hanging in the timber. If so, there is a good chance that some need to be tweaked. This could mean moving them 50 yards or just a few. Either way, stand locations can always be fine-tuned. I was callously reminded of this fact just a few short months ago I after hung a stand in a new area of my hunting ground.
After hunting it a few times I realized that it was out of position just ever so slightly. However, every time I sat in it I encountered bucks moving through the area. Thus my hesitation to move. A few weeks later, when the giant ‘mountain’ buck I had been chasing for two months walked out of a nearby thicket and looked directly up at me I realized the cost of my mistake. The worst part is I knew better. The lesson: Use this time to fine-tune stands.

Moving Cameras

The same goes for trail cameras. Sometimes cameras don’t tell the whole story simply because they are not in the position to do so. If you’ve noticed deer using a particular part of your hunting area and you don’t have a camera hanging somewhere nearby now is the time to start looking for the perfect tree. This may take some trimming of nearby brush so by doing it now you lower the risk of disrupting the local deer.

Finding New Clues

Speaking of reducing your disturbance, now is the perfect time to crash through a suspected big buck bedding area. You see, by the time hunting season rolls around, old’ Mossy Horns will have forgotten about your intrusion but you will be all the wiser regarding his hideout.
This is also a great time to be scouting out preferred travel routes to and from bedding as well as feeding areas. Better yet, look for locations that might harbor bucks during the rut (like doe bedding areas).
post season whitetail tips

There is always something to learn in the deer woods and every piece of the puzzle you discover brings you one step closer to success.


You might not chase whitetails in rugged terrain like I do but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your conditioning. Aside from the natural benefits that accompany living a healthy lifestyle, getting in shape will definitely help you overcome the obstacles that all whitetail hunters face.
I believe it is much easier to hit the hills day after day, hang and rehang treestands, scout for new areas to hunt, climb tree steps in frigid temps or ultimately drag out your trophy buck when you’re in good physical shape. Who can argue with that?
post season whitetail adjustments

While we all enjoy a big chest and arms, in the woods, the legs feed the wolf. Don’t neglect lower body conditioning when it comes to preparing for hunting season.

And don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be fitness fanatic in order to train for hunting success. You don’t. I’m like a lot of you. I have a full-time job, a wife, kids, etc. However, I make working out for bowhunting success a priority. You can too.
It doesn’t take much to move the needle in the right direction. The key is to just get it moving. Move the needle before opening day and see if you can’t tell a difference in your hunting prowess.

Gear Testing

With the ATA Show here and gone, everyone is interested in the latest and greatest gear. And that’s a good thing! What better way to spend the summer months then shooting and tweaking your equipment until it is driving nails? The last thing you want to do is wait until a few weeks prior to opening day before you start trying out new bow accessories. That’s a recipe for disaster.


Yeah, the weather outside stinks. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking or preparing for opening day. It may be months away but just like Christmas it will be here before you know it. Start prepping now.
One more thing, don’t forget this is the perfect time for predator hunting. Hey, that might be a great topic to discuss next time…