Prepping For Spring: Equipment

turkey hunting equipment

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It’s Almost Time

As the Spring turkey season draws near (find your season dates here), it’s time to make sure your equipment is up to snuff. We’re not shooting at a 180-pound animal with vitals the size of a basketball. We’re talking about a 20-pound bird that loves to move, with vitals small enough to make a world class archer think twice before releasing an arrow. Bowhunting turkeys isn’t for the faint of heart, but you don’t have to enter the season devoid of confidence. In fact, confidence in your gear will inspire confidence in your abilities when it comes time to let that arrow fly. So, where do we start?

Draw Weight

I like to start with draw weight. If you’ve got your bow maxed out for whitetails, you need to turn it down a few times for turkeys. There’s no sense in trying to hold 70 pounds on a turkey that is hung up when 55 pounds will easily do the trick. Plus, shooting a lower weight helps to eliminate pass-thru. Pass-thru is a major bonus with whitetails, especially with a sub-par shot, but with a turkey, you want that broadhead to stay in the bird, doing as much damage as possible – especially with a sub-par shot. There are countless horror stories of bowhunters losing longbeards due to poor shots. It’s still possible to lose one without a pass-thru, but you’re much more likely to find it if that arrow never makes it out the other side. With lowering the weight also comes the added bonus of being able to hold still for longer. Especially if you’ve just come off a season of shooting 15 pounds heavier. 

Arrow Spine

You don’t have to be a bow tech to understand the basics of arrow spine. You just need to know that in basic terms, it’s the stiffness of your shaft. It tells you how much your shaft will flex when released from the bow. The lower the number, the stiffer the arrow. The higher the number, the more flexible the arrow. For example, a 300 is stiffer than a 350, which is stiffer than a 400. Pretty simple, but why does it matter? Well, an arrow should only flex a certain amount or it will fly poorly, so you need to match your turkey hunting draw weight and preferred arrow shaft length to the correct spine to get the best performance from your setup. Now, it may seem like a big undertaking, but all major manufacturers will have a spine calculator on their site to help you determine the correct spine for your setup, so you don’t need to break your brain trying to understand it all. Just know that if you purchased your arrows for your whitetail setup and you’re going to lower your draw weight for turkeys, you may need to purchase new arrows with a higher spine rating. Plugging your setup into a spine calculator will tell you if you need new shafts or not. For a deeper understanding of arrow spine, Easton has a great article here.


Choosing the right broadheads for turkey hunting can be an easy task, but you have to decide beforehand whether you’re aiming for the vitals or for the neck/head. I personally choose to aim for the vitals because it’s a much larger target, offering a little shot forgiveness, and I can use regular broadheads. For head/neck shots, a larger broadhead that is made specifically for that application is typically used. For shooting the vitals, any sharp, quality broadhead that is well-placed will do the trick. Fixed blade or mechanical – doesn’t matter. I prefer to use the Grim Reaper Whitetail Special Razorcut mechanicals that I use for deer because they open wide, offer a nasty 2″ cut, and offer more friction than smaller blades, which helps reduce pass-thru. And they fly extremely close to field points. I keep several on-hand, which helps the wallet come Springtime. No matter what you choose, just make sure it flies accurately before you release it at a turkey. 


This is a good time to look over your string and cable to make sure it’s going to get you through the entire season. Having to replace worn out strings mid-season means you’ll be tuning your bow when you could be chasing longbeards. America’s Best Bowstrings is my preferred string manufacturer. Their strings require virtually no shoot-in and they don’t seem to stretch much, if at all. Their customer service has always been topnotch as well. If you need new strings, now’s the time.

Stay In Tune

If you decided to purchase new strings, or your bow has never been properly tuned before, you’ll need to tune now. And if it’s been a season or two since your bow was tuned last, it’s a pretty good idea to go ahead and see if it still shoots “bullets” through paper, as things can sometimes move a little through the course of a season. If somethings’s a little off, it’s time for a re-tune. We won’t dive into tuning right now, but this article from Petersen’s Bowhunting has been a great resource for me. It doesn’t cover every aspect of tuning, but it’s a great start to the process and it’s very easy to understand.

*Note: when tuning is complete, it’s a good idea to use a white-out pen or paint pen of some kind to mark the placement of every adjustable piece of equipment, especially your sight. This enables you to quickly and easily verify that nothing has moved prior to a hunt.*


The time to work on your calling isn’t  the week of opening day. Even for the die-hards with years of experience, we need a little more time than that to get our hands and mouths acclimated to finessing those friction, box, and mouth calls. Break those diaphragms out of the fridge, scuff those friction calls, and put the time in now, so you’re singing all the right notes to that longbeard on opening day.


avian x decoys

If you don’t hunt with decoys, you might want to read this article on the benefits of having them on-hand this Spring. Not only will you see the benefits, but you’ll also see the highest quality, most realistic decoys on the market. If you do use them, make sure they’re still keeping form and that you’ve got a good game plan in mind for how you’ll set them up. If you’re hunting a new location, map out in your mind where you’ll place each one to present a realistic scene for approaching turkeys. If you’re anticipating an aggressive tom coming to whoop up on your Jake decoy, place it in the most advantageous spot for your setup. If you’re a right-handed shooter, you don’t want your Jake sitting to your right. Having it on your left will make for a much less awkward shot angle. Keep those things in mind as you plan your decoy placement. 

Going In Blind

This next part pertains primarily to those who have patterned certain turkeys and know where they’ll be setting up when they walk in the woods. Whether you’re hunting out of a natural blind or one purchased from a retailer, it needs to be set up in advance of the season, if at all possible. On private land, you can go ahead and have it built/set up a few weeks in advance. That way you’re not going in and spooking turkeys right before the opener. Make sure to steak AND tie down any manufactured blinds, as they will most certainly blow away during storms or high winds. Also, use the provided poles to keep the roof arched, so rain doesn’t cause it to collapse. It may be a little harder to convince yourself to leave a purchased blind on public land for an extended period of time, as theft is a possibility. Just use your best judgement based on your knowledge of the area. 

Prepare Now

Thinking through the equipment you’ll rely on this Spring is a crucial first step to wrapping a tag around that bird you’ve been dreaming of since deer season ended. So, start now and set yourself up for success, so the only thing on your mind come opening day is the side you’re going to pair with that smoked turkey breast.


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