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.

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