What are some tips for hunting spring turkeys in areas where the population is less than 20 birds in a 20-acre area. Are decoys useful? Have any calling tips? — Aaron Kissling
The main consideration when hunting limited numbers of birds on small properties is to proceed with caution. You do not want to bump or spook turkeys. Although they won’t abandon their home ranges in the face of any amount of pressure, they often relocate slightly within their home ranges. A gobbler that gets bumped or shot at a few times will likely be across the property line soon.
I like to slip into small properties in the dark. I’ll usually sit and call instead of moving around. Any turkey on 20 to 40 acres will hear my yelping, and I don’t want to risk bumping a silent bird by walking.
If I hunt a small area during the day, I’ll glass open spots to make sure I’m clear to enter the woods. Then I’m very cautious about where I walk and set up.
The most important part of hunting small tracts is to know the land intimately. This lets you slip in and out undetected, and also allows you to call from ideal setups where birds feel comfortable working.
I take most of my Wisconsin birds from small properties. They’re not great every day, but when you encounter turkeys on them, you can usually make something happen. Good luck.
— Brian Lovett