Photo courtesy of Travis Turner
NWTF Track Stars:
Travis “T-Bone” Turner
Get to know this world champion archer, passionate hunter and Bone Collector
If you have spent time in hunting camp with Travis “T-Bone” Turner, co-host of the popular television hunting show “Bone Collector” with Michael Waddell and Nick Mundt, you know Turner is full of life and lives to make others smile and laugh.
But there is a competitive side that takes over once he grabs his bow or gun and heads into the field. It’s a passion that started early.
Becoming a hunter
When he was a young boy, Turner’s father, a fireman in Dayton, Ohio, introduced young T-Bone to the outdoors. He grew up hunting squirrels and other small game animals with his dad, uncles and grandfather. He never dreamed his passion for the woods would eventually turn into a career.
In grade school, Turner received a gift from his father for bringing home an impressive report card — a recurve bow that didn’t really fit the young 9-year-old. Turner got frustrated and eventually laid his bow down and went back to his trusty shotgun and rifle.
Competitive archery and fate
Turner’s family later moved to Georgia where he became friends with guys who also loved to fish and hunt. His high school buddies took up archery one summer. They urged him to start shooting, too, but he was a little hesitant.
“I remember going to the archery pro shop and buying my first compound bow,” Turner said. “Even though I hit the weight room and played football, I was still a little intimidated about drawing the bow. I wouldn’t pull it back in the store because I didn’t want my friends to see. When I got home I nearly broke the limbs jerking the bow back to full draw. I was expecting it to be way more difficult, but it was smooth and easy. All it took was a few shots and I was completely hooked.”
Turner bought the bow on Wednesday and was pressured by his friends to enter an archery contest the following Saturday. He reluctantly entered the novice division and won first place. He went on to become a four-time Georgia State Champ and 1991 ASA 3-D World Champion.
Soon after, he took another risk — quit his job at Mercedes to pursue a career in the outdoors.
“I became the archery manager of Southern Shooters in LaGrange, Ga., which was the premier outdoor hunting store in the area,” Turner said. “That led to meeting and working on Realtree founder Bill Jordan’s bow.
Over time, I became really good friends with him, Michael Waddell, David Blanton and the rest of the Realtree family. I was working on and setting up bows for country music singers, professional athletes and other celebrities. That eventually led to outdoor television.”
T-Bone and the NWTF
Turner didn’t start turkey hunting until later in life. It wasn’t until after joining the Realtree team he started hitting the spring woods with experienced turkey hunters like Waddell.
“It blows my mind how many turkeys I see across the country during our hunting trips,” Turner said. “There was a time not long ago when populations were more widespread and scarce in some areas. The wild turkey re-introduction program was a major success, which is a tribute to the work of organizations like the NWTF and state wildlife agencies. As hunters, we have a responsibility to join and support wildlife groups like the NWTF. Organizations like these help educate the public, provide funding for invaluable research, conduct habitat enhancement projects, promote hunting and protect our heritage.” — Travis Faulkner