Turkey Time!

Spring is finally here and with it the fish are biting and the turkeys are gobbling. April was an interesting month mixed with experiencing a heavy snowstorm to sweating in a bass boat under the hot sun. This edition features turkey hunting tips and trivia, a killer turkey recipe on the grill, a new Takedown highlight video showcasing Ramcat Broadheads, our new featured video “Fly Fishing Early Season Trout” by newcomer Brad Eaton and a brand new column, Wilderness Self-Reliance, which will equip you with the basic knowledge required to survive in the outdoors.

(Due to the increasing size and popularity of this newsletter, in order to avoid spam filters and make it easier for you to scroll through, you will click on some articles to read further)

The Takedown Team met up with Brad Rucks at the Deer & Deer Hunting Studio to put the finishing touches on our three hunts that will air in the summer on NBC Sports!

Jason spent some time in North Carolina catching bass and prospecting new opportunities for Takedown Outdoors.

ProStaffer Joe Galloy was out burning and prepping food plots that will hopefully draw in the monster buck he found sheds to this winter.

Rod Goodall, a dear friend of Takedown, hosted Jason in Charlotte as they fished and networked in the region. Rod moved his whole family to NC in order to run an awesome non-for-profit called Riley's Catch. Their main focus is having a positive impact on high school kids through fishing clubs and outdoor activities.

Jerry is recovering quickly from a complete knee replacement. He may not be able to get around fast, but he can still split an arrow. Now Jason knows where to Judo Chop him when he gets out of line!

ProStaffer Hunter Nelson said goodbye to his Takedown canine Clay who is off being trained at a hunting academy for dogs. He's going to be a stud this fall.

Scott headed out west for a good old fashion Cowboy Weekend. The action was so intense, Scott caught ProStaffer Torry Granrath and his horse taking a midday nap.

Jason and Matt Behnke have been shooting up the night bow fishing for carp with Takedown friend Captain Dean Wilkins of Carpaccio. Book your trip at www.carpshootchicago.com

Scott spending time doing what he loves best: being a cowboy and teaching people how to ride!

Snowstorm on April 15th in Illinois…there is definitely something wrong with this picture!

"Birdman" Burr got into some nice early season bass at one of his favorite Missouri hotspots.

Jason enjoyed his day at Camp Harrison, NC and the wonderful staff that makes that place so magical. There are some exciting possibilities for Takedown Outdoors to partner with this camp in the future.

Watch the new Takedown Adventures video & Brad Eaton's filmmaking debut "Fly Fishing Early Season Trout" on our website at http://takedownoutdoors.com/opening-day/

The Takedown Outdoors YouTube Channel


Having Eyes to See

By: Jason Amato

This time of year in the hunting community everything revolves around turkeys. Hunters glass field after field looking for some strutting toms putting on a display for all to see. Personally, I’ve always thought my fellow hunters were crazy when they would describe the excitement and anticipation around turkey season. I’m a whitetail hunter with the bow so the idea of some bird getting my blood going seemed highly unlikely.

That was until I finally gave it a try last May in Wisconsin with my cousin Hunter. Hunter had been doing some scouting the week prior and knew there was at least two toms (mature, male turkeys) in the area. We brushed in our Double Bull blind and settled in to watch the sunrise. I remember thinking this would be a great setup for a nap. As the sun rose, the silence was pierced by the loud gobbling of a tom. Before we could get the camera ready, he appeared 100 yards away along a fence line. My first thought was “this is going to be easy!” I was about to learn a lesson in just how smart these birds truly are and why hunters get so worked up over these Thanksgiving Day gobblers.

This turkey had us pegged from the moment he entered the field. Every time I’d think he was about to come into the decoy, he’d circle around keeping way beyond bow range. Nothing we did, could call this guy in! Later that morning a different tom came into view and preceded to do the same avoidance dance the first bird did. My excitement turned into frustration as it was becoming increasingly clear that I had underestimated my adversary. I had heard the stories over the years about these birds legendary vision. Now I had witnessed it firsthand. In the whitetail woods, I’m focused on avoiding a deer’s nose. Seeing this amazing display of vision gave me a new appreciation and respect for the wild turkey.

A turkey’s eyes are located on the side of its head allowing these birds to cover 270 degrees field of vision. This is known as periscopic vision due to the fact that they can see objects that are not in their direct line of sight. Add to this the fact that turkey see in color and you get around three times the eyesight of us humans! It’s this excellent vision that keeps them safe from predators as they walk along the forest floor.

Next weekend, will mark my second season turkey hunting. In preparing for the hunt, I keep thinking about the difference in vision between a turkey and me. I just see what’s in front of me and a turkey sees everything around it. What if I could see like that? What dangers would I avoid? What exciting opportunities would I discover? What risks would I take? What attitudes and perspectives would change? What we see affects so much of our outlooks. Which is pretty scary considering we see only one-third as much as a bird!

It has become evident to me as I grow older that life is all about perspective. Many of the most joyful people I know probably have the least appealing circumstances and life experiences. How is this possible? Could it be they see the things all around them, not just the trials in front of them? The biggest risk-takers I know have taken risks that seemed to make no sense to me. Could it be they saw beyond the present obstacle and viewed the future blessings around the bend?

My father once shared with me a powerful example of perspective he calls the Thumb Principle. As small as your thumb is, it has the power to blot out the sun, moon or Willis Tower. If you shut one eye and hold your thumb up to anyone of these objects you can block them out at the right distance. Sadly, too many times this is true of our circumstances or what’s standing in front of us. Though small in the grand scheme of life, they can cast a powerful shadow over everything else. However, when we step back and see just how small our thumb is compared to these huge objects, it changes everything! It’s all about our perspective.

Over the years, I’ve tried to apply this example to my own life. Am I viewing my circumstances with the backdrop of an Almighty God who loves me dearly or is my perspective of God being based on the circumstances I face in front of me? Like me, are you experiencing some sort of fear, frustration, disappointment or feeling of hopelessness in your life? I would encourage you that for many the remedy may be as simple as a perspective change.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe!” Ephesians 1:18-19

Takedown is proud to announce our new partnership with Tom Rayburn of Mossy Oak Properties for 2014. Mossy Oak is one of the most trusted names in the outdoor industry. If you are looking for recreational property to hunt, fish or just enjoy the outdoors contact Tom at www.agrirecland.com

Wilderness Self-Reliance

The Five C's of Survival

By: John Anderson

Imagine a great day chasing elk in the early winter. You hiked in solo and just bagged a monster late in the day, but after tracking it down, it’s dark and cold. A winter storm is fast approaching and you’ve got little choice; you’re stuck out in it tonight. Are you prepared? Do you have the tools in your kit and the knowledge to use them to survive?

I’m John Anderson and this is the newest addition to Takedown Outdoors: Wilderness Self-Reliance. I have always had a love for the outdoors, like many of you, and I was raised hunting and fishing with my father. I have a career in technology which has led me far from the woods on a daily basis, so I jump at the opportunity to get out into nature. Acquiring these skills has been the product of a desire to regain the ancient paths that our forefathers walked. Let’s learn together what it takes to survive when the unforeseen becomes your reality.

I have found, if you think ahead and prepare for the distinct possibility that things may not go according to plan, you can do a lot to affect your survivability in any wilderness situation. There are five categories of gear that can help you in this preparation, and combined with the understanding of how to use them, they’ll make the difference that will give you the confidence to never again fear a long night in the woods.


Takedown is proud to announce our new partnership with CZ-USA for 2014. All Takedown Events will now showcase CZ Over/Under Shotguns for all our guests. Check them out at www.cz-usa.com

Make a statement with the "Take 'Em Down" t-shirt. These high-end, 60/40 poly-cotton blend shirts were built to last. Check them out at takedownoutdoors.com/store/

Book now your Spring & Summer events for 2015. Participants will now have the opportunity to try out recurve bows and crossbows! For more info visit: takedownoutdoors.com/events/

Takedown Trainer

The Proper Warm-Up

By: David Buchanan

As the outdoor industry continues to push the limits of adventure, there has been an increasing number of injuries among avid and hardcore outdoorsmen induced through these activities.  Many fitness experts feel that these injuries are the direct result of an inadequate warm-up. This month we will tackle the  three main goals of a warm-up and discuss the common misunderstandings around stretching.

A warm-up should:

1) Prepare the joint for activity in and throughout the joint’s desired range of motion.

The joints of the body are viewed by many to be like hinges.  A hinge, if it is to work properly, must be lubricated frequently. It must also be worked back and forth through its full hinge range.  If this is not done often, the hinge will begin to freeze up and possibly even “squeak” near its beginning and end ranges.  The joints of the body have the same needs as does the hinge of a door.  The joints need to be worked through their full range so that the joint’s fluid can lubricate the joint so it does not freeze up or “squeak”.

2) Increase metabolic activity- elevate heart rate, raise core temperature, and stimulate the glandular system.

Metabolic activity as defined by Signet/Mosby medical encyclopedia is “the sum of all chemical processes that take place in the body as they relate to the movement of nutrients in the blood.”  The primary way to increase metabolism is through exercise.  During exercise, the heart rate elevates, then the body temperature rises and there is an increase in hormonal activity.  The action of elevating the metabolic activity directly relates to the next goal.

3) Facilitate the flow of bodily fluids.

To use a cliché, this goal is “to get the juices flowing”.  The fluids targeted for increased flow are the synovial or joint fluid- the lubricant, cerebrospinal fluid- the brain and spine fluid, interstitial or cell fluid, circulatory fluid– blood and plasma, and lymphatic or glandular fluid.  The increase flow of these fluids is the direct result of the two preceding goals.

Now let’s tackle stretching.

A warm-up if it is to meet the correct criterion must have an active muscular contraction throughout the joints full range of motion.  As opposed to a passive posture at the joints terminal (end) point, which is the basis for stretching.  Applying proven physiological principles, an active muscular contraction is the most efficient way to fulfill the warm up criterion, not stretching!

Many advocates of stretching believe that a muscle should be relaxed during stretching or muscle contraction, for that matter, is physiologically impossible.  It is obvious that when there is a muscle contraction that the contracted muscle is unable to be relaxed.  To explain why a muscle is being stretched cannot be relaxed will require a basic lesson in human biology.

The joint is usually at its terminal (end) point in most stretch postures, in these postures the joint is in a dislocation force. The body then sets up its protective measures to protect the joint in the form of a reflex.  This reflex is called a stretch reflex.  The joint posture causes the muscle being stretched to go into a sustained contraction in order to hold the joint together and protect it from dislocation.  This usually leads to muscle fatigue and then the joints protection measures breakdown. The joint dislocation or micro trama of the joint tissue (ligaments, cartilage, bone and muscle), is cumulative and sets up an environment where a vast array of other injuries can occur. Remember laxed ligaments are the number one cause of creaking joints.  Therefore stretching causes hinge creaks not prevents them.


We prep our gear before heading out on the next adventure. In the same way we need to properly warm-up our bodies.  Whether you hunt, fish, hike or explore, minimizing injury will maximize your time spent in the great outdoors!

Dave is a registered Kinesiotherapist with 29 yrs. of experience.  He has helped over 100 college athletes transition to the NFL.


David Buchanan
Full Potential Fitness Network


Keep Up



May 2nd – 4th
ProStaffer Bob Wierema’s fly fishing trip to Wyoming

May 7th – 13th
ProStaffer Hunter Nelson is chasing gobblers in Wisconsin.

May 9th
Takedown Shotgun & Archery Shoot for Thrivent Financial at Coon Creek Sportsmens Club.

May 14th – 20th
Jason will be looking to take his first Wisconsin turkey with the bow.

May 21st – May 25th
Jerry & ProStaffer Torry Granrath head way down south to team up with the Mississippi boys for their annual catfish grabbing trip.

May 24th – 28th
Jason & friends embark on an adventure to Montana for a spring black bear hunt.

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Featured Partner

Ramcat Broadheads

By: Jason Amato

Fact: “The Ramcat Broadhead is the hardest hitting, most accurate broadhead on earth, with an industry leading 1 3/8″ cut diameter for the 100 grain. The 125 grain has a 1 1/2″ cut diameter.” Ramcat Website

Being an avid bowhunter, I’m always looking for that perfect broadhead. One that flies true and causes as much damage as possible. If you are like me, then you have probably tried out just about every head in the industry. Each year, new products hit the market and bring the hope of a perfect broadhead. In my opinion, there are four factors that all broadheads should be judged on: accuracy, cutting diameter, penetration and reliability.

Accuracy: The #1 factor in determining whether you have a successful kill or a blood trail that never ends is shot placement. You owe it to the animal and yourself to hit the vitals. If your broadhead doesn’t fly straight, good luck with that! These broadheads literally fly like my field tips.

Cutting Diameter: It is rare to find a fixed blade head with a 1 3/8″ cut diameter. In the past you would need to shoot an expandable head in order to get that kind of hole. The Ramcats have time and again impressed me with the devastating holes they leaves behind.

Penetration: I don’t care how fancy your blade looks, if it doesn’t create serious penetration then you have a serious problem! Just because you shoot a fast bow doesn’t mean that it always equates to a pass through shot. Ribs, shoulders and massive flesh stand in the way of that arrow. The further my arrow passes through my prey, the more damage is done which means greater blood lose. In all my tests, Ramcats have out penetrated the competition.

Reliability: Have you ever had a mechanical blade not open on impact? I have and it stinks! Bowhunting isn’t done in a warehouse or test lab with controlled conditions. Factors like wind, branches, prey jumping the bow string and less than perfect shot angles all add to the need for reliability. When I release that arrow, I must be confident that my broadhead will cut true into whatever gets in its way. This is the confidence I’ve grown to love when my Ramcats take flight. No moving parts on impact, just three sharp blades ready to cut.

Bottom Line: Ramcat Broadheads are deadly accurate and flat out get the job done! You get all the advantages of a fixed blade with the added benefit of backcutting if the arrow doesn’t pass through. I hunt way too hard to worry about my broadheads not performing. Thanks Ramcat!

Check out the new Takedown highlight video featuring Ramcat Broadheads at http://youtu.be/GKhBrolPQDw


Tech Tips

Takedown Turkey Talk

By: Hunter Nelson


It’s that time of year again where the snow has finally melted, the grass is turning green, the birds are chirping and most importantly the turkeys are gobbling! Spring turkey season is something I look forward to every year. Having a tom strutting ten yards away and feeling the ground shake with every gobble is quite the adrenaline rush.

Here are four tips to getting that longbeard into shooting range:

Scouting: You have to put in the miles to find where the birds are at.  Most importantly, locate the roost then the feeding areas. Figuring out a pattern will give you the advantage in closing the distance on that tom. A very affective technique is to get the turkeys to “shock gobble” which is done using just about any loud noise from a crow call to the honk of a horn. Getting a tom to gobble on the roost will give away his position benefiting you for your morning hunt since you’ll know exactly where to go.

Practice: At the end of the day it all comes down to the shot. Whether your weapon of choice is a shotgun or bow, you better be sighted in when it comes down to that final moment. Patterning your shotgun is a good way to find out your shooting limits. Draw out to size a turkey’s head and neck area on a target. Set out the target from 20-45 yards while taking shots at different distances with a new target each shot. Afterwards, you can analyze how many pellets are hitting the vital area. Practicing this way will make you more confident when taking the shot.

Calling: It can make or break the hunt. Good calling at the right time is the key to success. The most common technique to calling in toms is imitating a hen using yelps, clucks, cuts, and purrs. To learn these calls it is best to learn from an experienced hunter or an instructional DVD. I like to bring an assortment of calls on the hunt with me. The weather also factors into which call I use. Windy versus calm days will dictate how much volume to put into the call to get the birds to hear you.

Concealment: When it comes to turkey hunting there is no such thing as overkill in regards to your camouflage. Camo is your best friend when those hens hold up in your decoys waiting for that tom to step into range. Although turkeys can’t smell, their eye sight is excellent. I recommend wearing camouflage from head to toe with face paint or a mask on to have minimal skin showing.

Hopefully these tips will lead to your success out in the field this season.  Now get out there and bag your bird!


"Gobble Gobble"

1) Jakes gobble.

True / False

2) These are all calls used for turkey hunting except?

a) Wing-bone
b) Flute
c) Box
d) Diaphragm

3) How do you score a wild turkey?

a) Beard length + spur length + weight
b) Beard length + 10x combined spur length + weight
c) 2x beard length + 10x combined spur length + weight
d) Beard length + 10x combined spur length + 2x weight

4) Some hens have beards.

True / False

5) How fast can a turkey fly?

a) 15 mph
b) 25 mph
c) 35 mph
d) 55 mph

Answers: T, b, c, T, d

Take Em Down & Cook Em Up

Wild Turkey On The Grill

I like this spring recipe because we get to use our grills for the first time and winter final breaks into spring, always a great sign of warmer things to come!

This recipe works with either domestic or wild turkey. I’ve found that of all the animals with a wild and domestic equivalent, turkey is the closest in flavor. A good heritage breed turkey is very similar to a wild one. But even a butterball would work well here. The key is low and slow. This is barbecue, not grilling.

Set your grill up where the fire is on one side of the grill, and the turkey thighs are on the other. Cook the turkey, flipping and painting with the BBQ sauce, every 15-30 minutes until the meat wants to fall off the bone. This should take between 2-4 hours, depending on how old your bird was; an old tom could take 4 hours.

Serve with a veg and starch. Since it’s spring, I chose mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Oh, and beer is my choice here, not wine.

Serves: 2-4    Prep Time: 5 min    Cook Time: 3 hrs


-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

-2 turkey thighs


-1/4 cup unsalted butter

-1 medium onion, grated

-1 cup bourbon

-1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

-1 cup cider vinegar

-1/2 cup maple syrup (or to taste)

-1 tablespoon molasses (for color)

-1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

-Tabasco sauce to taste

-Smoked salt (optional)


-Get your grill ready as described above.

-Coat the turkey thighs in the vegetable oil and salt well. Lay them skin side down on the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook until the meat is just starting to fall off the bone, flipping every 30 minutes or so to paint with the maple-bourbon BBQ sauce. Let the turkey cook without sauce while you make it.

-Once the turkey is on the grill, make the sauce by sauteing the grated onion in the butter for a few minutes. You don’t want the onion to brown, but you do want it to cook enough to lose that raw onion smell and flavor. This should take 5 minutes or so on medium heat.

-Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Boil this down by 1/3. Adjust for heat and salt. If you want, puree the sauce in the blender. I prefer to puree my sauce because it will be thicker that way. Return it to the stove top over very low heat. Stir from time to time.

-When the turkey is done, shift it to the hot side of the grill, skin side down, for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce. Paint with a little more BBQ sauce right when you serve.


Chef Chris Barth
Retro Bistro
1746 W Golf Rd, Mt. Prospect, IL

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