All posts by Randy Hynes

Christ follower, husband, father and founder of 365 Whitetail. Randy is the former Online Editorial Director for Petersen's Bowhunting, Petersen's Hunting, North American Whitetailand Bowhunter Magazine. His passions include fly fishing, photography and exploring wild places.

Turkey Hunting Tips

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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

Arrow Lube for 3D archery

The Three Little Pigs and Arrow Lube On a Retractor

In childhood we heard how the “The Three Little Pigs” were threatened with “huff and puff.” Enshrined in our culture is the saga of a big bad wolf, brick house, and a boiling pot. Like our tip for today, it is “huff and puff” that set the wheels of innovation in motion.

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3D archery shooters attempting to extract arrows from stubborn targets understand “huff and puff.” Its no fairy tale when tugging on carbon arrows tightly pinned in foam. That’s why most 3D shooters won’t be without their favorite arrow lubricant. Stored in neat little applicator bottles this slimy stuff is essential for extracting arrows.


Arrow lube is not something you want to lose during a 3D shoot. Once again the threat of “huff and puff” got the pigs thinking. With some creativity they set out to find a better way to keep the lubricant handy.


Think – Fly Fishing


arrow lube


Gadgets and gear in the fly-fishing world are frequently attached to retractors, often known as “zingers”. When the tool is not in use it is stored neatly in its place. When the tool is needed just give it a tug and its convenient tether will reach where you need it. When finished, let go of the implement and its spring loaded cable retracts to its original position.


Using a double retractor we set out to outsmart the wolf. With the retractor pinned neatly on the inside of the quiver pocket, the lube stays conveniently located. The arrow lube bottle is fastened to the retractor using a “fly floatant” holder. Now you can effortlessly use the lube and ‘whala’ the retractor takes it right back home. For convenience we also elected to fasten our bow string wax in the same way. This tip may not build a brick house or boil the “Big Bad Wolf” but it might save you some “huff and puff.”


3D arrow lube


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.

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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. 
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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 –



Spot-Hogg Hogg–It Eliminating Bow Sight Shine

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The world of bowhunting is a university in its own right. The lessons and learning curve seem endless. Accepting the fact that there is too much to learn to ever graduate is essential. Sometimes the most trivial will make us more proficient when it comes to the aspects of archery.


For several years now I have been a Spot-Hogg aficionado. The functionality and durability of their bow sights have served my family well. We are such devoted loyalist’s that even the wife and kids have a Spot-Hogg.


Spending a considerable amount time shooting indoor 3D, I noticed that it was difficult to control the brightness of the Spot-Hogg Hogg-it pins when used with a wrap. Under florescent lighting I was fighting significant glare from off the fiber optic pins. This was in not making a positive contribution to my 3D score. In talking to Spot-Hogg they offered this little tip.


Find a silicone wristband of your choice. Wrap the wristband around the Spot-Hogg wrap. Adjust the wristband as needed. You can now control how much light enters the fibers when shooting indoors or out. Spot on! This was exactly what the Hogg called for.


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.

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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.



Bacon Wrapped Venison Backstrap

They may have steaks “…as big as a saddle blanket and as tender as a mother’s love,” but even Texas can’t top this meaty match. Bacon wrapped venison backstrap is a match made in heaven. Here’s a simple recipe that’ll treat your palate to a tantalizing taste you won’t soon forget.
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Bacon wrapped venison backstrap is savored by wild game connoisseurs everywhere. Providing unparalleled flavor, the backstrap & bacon marriage offers the tastebuds an experience unsurpassed. While this recipe can be tailored to your liking, it’a an all time favorite in our family.
• Olive Oil
• Seasonings of choice
• Large skillet
• Small brush
Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet. Stir and saute your choice of seasonings in the oil. Place the backstrap in the simmering and seasoned oil. With a brush, evenly spread the oil and seasoning over the meat. Rotate the backstrap in the skillet until delectably browned on all sides.
Bacon Wrapped Venison
• Cookie sheet
• 2 pounds of bacon
• Toothpicks
• Non-stick spray
While browning the backstrap, pre-heat oven to 350F. Ready the cookie sheet, bacon and toothpicks. Spray the cookie sheet with a non-stick spray, then lay the bacon on the cookie sheet in a neat and close row.
After your backstrap is browned, season lightly for optimal flavor and place the venison on the row of bacon. Wrap the bacon around the browned backstrap and fasten with toothpicks. You can garnish the bacon with colored seasonings if you prefer a little flair.
Bacon Wrapped Loin
Cook the venison backstrap for 25-30 minutes if you prefer a medium meat. After the cook time, turn the oven to Broil. Place the cookie sheet and backstrap into the oven. While cooking, carefully roll the baskstrap over on each side and crisp bacon to perfection. You will need to pay close attention at this point, it does not take very long to crisp the bacon. When the bacon is crisp, remove, cool and serve.
I’ve had some steaks that would knock your hat in the creek, but this beats them all. Hang on cowboy – this is gonna be good!
Thanks to The Will to Hunt blog for allowing us to enter The Mindful Carnivore Photo Contest. We consider it an honor to be one of the six finalist.

Bacon Wrapped Venison Recipe



The Little Red Hatchet

He cleared his throat and said “It was around 1927 … ” and I was lost in the story. His gnarled 93-year-old hands motioned as he described drooping pine boughs and big antlers. Tales of bad blizzards and the biggest buck he had ever saw captivated our attention.


Spellbound, we listened of the War years when ammo was scarce and all he had was a couple rounds for a .32 Winchester Special. I cringed as he remembered being lost in the big dark woods of North Michigan. His experiences of tenting in the cold and stalking bucks in the snow were book worthy. We smiled as he told of crippling an old car across the miles, just so he could hunt another season. It was an honor to hear sixty plus years of reminisces. When Grandfather had finished I asked if he still had his little red hatchet and he assured me that he did. It was the little red hatchet that he had carried for as long we had hunted together.
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It was with that little red hatchet and a swift stroke that Grandpa would send a piece of pine bark flying. Exposing a bright white blaze on selected trees, those marks would become my roadmap to and from where we were hunting.   With a Marbles compass and those ivory crescents, he made sure I could find my way in the timber whether in the dawn or darkness. I watched as he used that well-worn hatchet to drive tent stakes and clear shooting lanes. Grandpa even taught me how to cut a buck pole with that little ax. I was just a boy, but this was no ordinary hatchet.

Maybe to me the hatchet is something sentimental but I believe it represents a whole lot more. I see a legacy represented in that pitch stained piece of steel. It is a memoir of a mentor who passed on a heritage of hunting and the great outdoors. Every tree he blazed not only pointed me forward but it pointed back to a man who found it important to give me an appreciation for the finer things in life. From that old Remington to his dog-eared Bible, he had taught me that there are some things you hold on to forever.

Today, my passion and reason for hunting exceeds a high scoring set of antlers. My experiences have taught me how much value there is in spending time in the outdoors. The legacy that began with a little red hatchet is carved deeply within my lifestyle.   I now have the opportunity to teach another generation about the best things in life. I may use reflectors and a GPS to find my way but I am still trying to make a mark for my boys to follow. Each of us holds the power to blaze a way for the next generation—let’s pass on the marks made by the little red hatchet. Take a kid hunting!