Category Archives: Turkey Hunting

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.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
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.

Turkey Hunting

Family – the best part of turkey season

The tires sang their boring melody as we drove across the miles. Like the ever changing southern Indiana landscape, so were our subjects of conversation. From deer hunting, turkey hunting, school, work, God, prayer and most of all – character, the topics spanned from shallow to deep.

[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]

Questions that only a child could ask we attempted to answer. Expressions that only a child can give left us filled with laughter. Little did I know that this moment would be the best part of turkey season.


A new job and busy schedule left us with only a few days to pursue the allusive Eastern turkey. Wanting my boys to share in the joy of filling a turkey tag, we resigned our place in the hardwoods so they could have the opportunity. We had some close calls and great times, unfortunately, “if” and “buts” are the summary of this years turkey season.


A few years ago we would have felt a sense of failure if we ended the season empty handed. Maybe it’s age or a new sense of appreciation for the big picture, but this was the best turkey season ever. Laughing and sharing with our boys made this season more fulfilling than any other. Listening to them share life experiences and how they are applying the lessons they learn made this season extremely rewarding. The conversations that surrounded the trip, the laughing together and the sharing of tears and triumphs, has given us a new definition of success.


Success is often defined by the bragging rights associated with a harvested animal. How easy it is to feed the ego and forget the value of the entire experience. No photos can be taken of time spent discussing the things that matter most. It’s hard to share with friends the heart-felt satisfaction that comes from being a recipient of your child’s hug. Few people give slaps on the back for smiles shared in cherished moments. How easy it is to forget the things that really matter. Ultimately, it was the quality time spent sharing that made this season a success.


As a dad, I have no beard to display or spurs to show. Our satisfaction is hidden in the recesses of a fathers heart. A heart that is full of the moments shared with boys who made my day by sharing their heart and soul. When your children share what they are learning in life and how they are applying it to be a person of character – can anything be more satisfying?

Real Avid Fini Choke Tube Wrench

Real Avid: FINI – Choke Tube Wrench

Their mission statement is simple … “Solve real problems for real hunters and shooters by giving them hard-working products that are inventive, highly capable and totally unique in the market.”


I would have to say Real Avid has accomplished their mission. This company represents the merging of non-traditional, revolutionary and cutting edge. There are many companies making better mousetraps the only problem is, I don’t hunt with a mousetrap. Only once did I wish we had a better mousetrap, that was on a sheep hunt being overrun with mice in our wall tent. Thats a whole ‘nother story.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]

Lets start with the Real Avid FINI Choke Wrench. If you have more than one shotgun or gauge of ‘lead spreader’ you will want to own a FINI. Compact in size and weighing in at under 2oz. the FINI is the premier all-in-one choke tube wrench. Designed to fit six different gauges, .410, 28, 20, 16, 12, and 10 makes it a tool you don’t want to be without. With its anodized aluminum surround, Torx™ fasteners and stainless steel wrench, its built to withstand the harshness of any environment.

A cam style lock that secures the wrench at 90° and 180° makes it tough enough to exceed 50 lbs of torque for the choke that is a tad stubborn. Thats not all, Real Avid thought of you … remember the last time you were trying to adjust the windage and elevation on your scope using a penny or dime. Integrated into the end of the wrench is a neat little adjustment tool so you can keep your change. What will they think of next?



Retails for just $9.99. Visit today.


Turkey Hunting Tips

[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
He was an accomplished turkey hunter, yet very eager to share his turkey hunting tips. As I sat mesmerized by the display of iridescent feathers shimmering in the morning light, serenaded by thunderous gobbles and humored by the duo of dancing birds, this opening act in wild turkey theatrics sealed our fate. While seated in the shadow of the Oklahoma oaks during a premier Rio Grande performance, I listened as my mentor explained turkey hunting tips in that old fencerow. That morning became the birthplace of a passion – a passion to hunt the wild turkey.
Champion call maker Bill Barker with a beautiful Oklahoma Rio Grande turkey.

Since that memorable morning when champion call maker Bill Barker shared his turkey hunting tips and introduced us to the wild world of clucks and purrs, turkey hunting has been on the roster of passionate pursuits. Whether the Merriam’s wild turkey in the mountains of Idaho or the Rio Grande wild turkey in the flat land of the Southwest, we have attempted to chase these bearded birds each and every spring.


Displaying a collection of blocky beards or tacking a tail-fan to the wall has been just a small segment of the success. A greater sense of satisfaction is found in passing along the passion to first time turkey hunters through sharing the turkey hunting tips that had been shared with us. 


Where it all began …

If you are new to the world of turkey hunting and don’t have a clue where to begin, here are some turkey hunting tips to get you started. Whether you’re curious about how to locate turkey’s, call turkey’s or clean the bird you’ve bagged, that information is included in these helpful recourses. Hopefully these instructive articles will push aside trepidation, kick “I can’t” in the tail and help you to get out there and getcha’ some gobble.


For all things turkey hunting tips – click on the links below.


Turkey Hunting Basics: A Beginners Guide to Chasing Long-Beards by Dustin DeCroo


1. Scouting for Turkey 


Tips For Scouting Wild Turkeys by Cole Daniels  – 

6 Tips for Scouting Spring Turkeys by by Doug Howlett  –

Spring Thunder Video – Scouting/Bowhunting Tips –

Spring Turkey Scouting Tips by Philip Bourjaily  –


2. Sounds of Turkey 

How to Call Like a Turkey By Doug Howlett –

Beginner’s Guide to Turkey Calls & Calling – 

Understanding Turkey Calls and Turkey Sounds –

Turkey Calls, Tips and How To’s –  


3. Setup for Turkey 

Choose a Setup by John Higley – 

Turkey Hunting Tips With Scott Ellis: Where to Set Up –
Turkey Decoying To The Next Level by John Fletcher – 

Setting Up on Gobbling Turkeys to Hunt More Efficiently by John Phillips –


4. Shot placement on a Turkey 

Shot Placement on a Turkey – Where to Aim –

Chasing Spring Gobblers with a Bow by Brandon Wikman –

Wild Turkey Vitals and Shot Placement – 


5. Savoring your Turkey 

Cleaning a Turkey – 

Cleaning Your Wild Turkey –

Recipe: Walnut Parmesan Wild Turkey Strips by Tiffany Haugen –

Recipe: Blackened Wild Turkey Alfredo – Ohio DNR


6. Showing off your Turkey 

Mounting Your Own Turkey Tail and Beard By Larry Beckett –

Preserving a Turkey’s Trophy Parts by Lovett Williams –

Turkey Fan Mounting –


No matter the outcome of your first Turkey hunt, it will be a memorable one. Here’s to a great hunt!


scout for turkey


Real Avid Turkey Tool: Cut, Carry and Calculate

When attempting to earn the title of ‘Genuine’, there is fierce competition against countless wannabe’s. In this rivalry there are frauds; packaged and labeled nicely, but in reality they are nothing but flimsy facades. The vying also draws imitators who dress the part but never perform. Thankfully, there is a company making authentic hunting gear that has secured the sought after title. Introducing – Real Avid.

[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]

Real Avid plays by a different set of rules. Think… Exemplar! Real Avid is dedicated to making premier tools for honest-to-God sportsman. Each piece of gear they manufacture is designed to withstand harsh and uncompromising environments. By designing tools with industrial-strength materials this company is changing the game.

Enter – Turkey Tool.


Ingenuity coupled with integrity makes this tool downright ‘trick’. Beyond its brawny aluminum side-plates, it possesses the tools every turkey hunter needs. Made with 440 stainless steel the Turkey Tool’s implements are constructed to meet and beat natures strongest and most stubborn situation. Tucked neatly into its ergonomic design are:


  • Brush and game saw
  • Knife
  • Choke wrench – .410-10ga
  • Pin Punch
  • Carry Hook
  • Beard and spur ruler
  • Cordura Sheath Included


Being the only one of its kind qualifies the Turkey Tool as a true trophy. Light weight and concealable makes it perfect for the turkey vest. Need to brush in a blind, lop of a pesky limb or tighten that choke tube, its all here. With its exclusive Carry Hook and rubber cushioned grip you can now tote your turkey with added ease.

 real avid turkey tool


Measuring and scoring your Tom has never been easier. With the Turkey Tool you have a flexible ruler that can help you take a tally. Real Avid even includes instructions how to properly score your bird. Tucked neatly into its Cordura sheath the Turkey Tool is compact and just as committed as you are. Cut, carry and calculate – all in one tough package.


turkey tool


Real Avid – all about the “genuine article” impostors need not apply.

Scoring a turkey

How To Score A Turkey

How to score a turkey might not be the first thing on your mind while listening to the gobble of a distant tom, but it might be something you want to know when you bring that long-beard home. 
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
Turkey hunters understand  the sacredness of spring, the sound of a gobbling Tom and the showing-off of strutting rivals make turkey hunting a relished experience. Taking home a bearded bird only highlights the enjoyment of time spent in the great outdoors. If you’ve bagged, tagged and are enjoying the satisfaction of a successful spring turkey hunt, here’s how to score a turkey. How to score a turkey is relatively simple. 


Most big game hunters are familiar with the Pope & Young or Boone & Crockett system of scoring. These organizations record and preserve the records of trophy animals for the purpose of prodigy, conservation and management. In the world of wild turkey hunting the National Wild Turkey Federation has a similar system for scoring your long-beard. Since this system of scoring began in 1982 over 17,000 turkey’s have been registered with the NWTF. Follow these simple steps set forth by the NWTF and learn how to score a turkey. Your bird just might make the book! 


How To Score A Turkey In Four Simple Steps


Step 1. Weigh Turkey 


Weigh your turkey in pounds and ounces. Convert ounces to decimal form. 


(Click here for inches to decimal equivalent chart) 


Step 2. Measure Spurs 


Measure each spur of your turkey in 1/16-inch increments. Spurs must be measured along the outside center, from the point at which the spur protrudes from the scaled leg skin to the tip of the spur. Add both spur measurements. Now multiply the combined length of the spurs by 10. This is the number of points you receive for the turkey’s spurs.


Step 3. Measure Beard 


Measure the beard length in 1/16-inch increments. A beard must be measured from the center point of the protrusion of the skin to the tip. Convert this measurement to decimal form.


Next, multiply the beard length figure by 2; this is the number of points you receive for the beard length. If you have an atypical turkey (multiple beards), measure each beard, convert them to a decimal number, then add those figures together and multiply by two. This is the number of points you receive for your turkey’s beards.


Step 4. Add Measurements 


Add together the weight, the points for spurs and points for beard(s): This is the score you receive for your turkey.


For convenience use the NWTF scoring calculator.


For more information on officially recording your trophy visit  NWTF Wild Turkey Records –


Wild Turkey: Strutter’s Through A Shutter

Like a skilled artist, the sun dabbed color onto the black canvas of morning. As the darkness relented to the sunrise, we listened as all of nature awoke with sound. The grass whispered, the leaves clapped, and the birds chirped out their last few yawns.

[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]

Across the field, the woodlot resonated with the vibrato of a gobbling Tom. As if led by the director, a choir of bearded birds joined the soloist in his incessant thunder. We listened with amusement and anticipation. Poising the camera in the direction of the commotion, we crossed our fingers, waiting to see if the procession of hens and toms would appear in view.


Through the morning mist, we watched a small shadow cross the corner of the woodlot. Reaching the edge of the fencerow the black silhouette crouched to make her way under the barbed wire. It was a hen, and she was Grand Marshal in the eastern turkey parade. We adjusted the tripod and focused on a strutting tom.


Gobbling, yelping, clucking, cutting, kee-keeing and an occasional purr echoed across the field. As the noisy Nikon shutter clicked to the rhythm of the music, we smiled at this strange sounding symphony. Serenaded by the melody of jakes, hens and seasoned gobblers, we were honored to have some of the best seats in the house. The hours passed, the shutter clicked, and we hoped these wary birds would not catch glare or glint of the camera lens.


Photographing a few eastern turkey anomalies was an added bonus. With only 10-20% of hens having beards, we considered it a privilege to photograph a few of natures lesser-knowns. It was also an honor to photograph our very first silver phase hen. I have a heart for renegades, so I want to compliment her for wearing white at a black tie affair. I will definitely be watching to see if she throws this wardrobe on her offspring.


turkey photo


turkey photos


turkey hunting photos


turkeys breeding


It was the warm Michigan weather who gave us the key to inner sanctum. Capturing two breeding sequences on camera was more than we could have asked for. Looks like there will be some little turkeys in a few weeks. In case you didn’t know, the hen will usually lay one egg per day for an entire two week period. After the clutch is complete she will then incubate her eggs for approx. 28 days. With a light winter and early spring it looks like 2012 will be a good year for the turkey population.


Its easy to forget that in the early 1930’s the wild turkey was almost extinct. The hundreds of birds photographed over the course of this trip made me appreciate the great organizations that have helped save this bird from near extinction. Thanks to conservation efforts, wild turkey now number in the neighborhood of 7 million. Enjoy the photos and support your local NWTF. Together we can help preserve habitat and our hunting heritage.