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How to Hunt Turkeys on Small Properties

How to hunt turkeys on small propertiesMy hunting log reveals that almost half of the past two-dozen turkeys I’ve killed in Wisconsin the past few years came from properties that were 80 acres or smaller.

I’ll remain downright happy with the situation, because I’ve learned that small properties and tiny woodlots can produce outstanding hunting.  From Maine to Minnesota and throughout the rest of turkey country, they attract birds.

Often, they’re overlooked or underhunted.

How to Pick a Small Property to Hunt

If a 30-acre farm has food, for example, it’s a good bet to hold birds. If a piece has food and a good roosting area, it’s an even better bet.

Sometimes, the attraction is more subtle. Maybe a small property has a good stand of pines or perhaps turkeys travel through a small woodlot that runs through it.

If possible, try to line up several small properties, even if some seem less than ideal.

Planning the Hunt

Two toms in the turkey woodsThe first step to hunting small properties is pretty straightforward: Learn everything you can about the place.

A word of caution: It can be tough to access small properties without boogering turkeys. Scout hard, but use a cautious, low-impact approach.

Use a similar approach during the hunt. If you’re hunting flydown, get there well before daylight, and take your time. It helps to have a predetermined route to your setup.

Calling Strategies

My calling strategies for small properties aren’t that much different than my approach for big timber. I’m just a bit more subdued and patient.

When I’m pressed for time or feeling impatient, I’ll make a milk run to several small properties in hopes of finding a hot bird. If the terrain allows, I might try to strike the area from the road. If not, I’ll slip in, call a few times and then move on if nothing answers.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be dissuaded by small properties that only seem to hold birds now and then.

Turkeys have relatively small home ranges, so they’ll usually be in the area even if they’re not on property you can hunt. You’ll have to be patient and try to call turkeys onto the property, or better, identify when and why they use the area so you can plan an ambush.

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