Best Blind Setups for Bowhunting Turkeys on Small Properties

Best Blind Setups for Bowhunting Turkeys on Small Properties

The world of turkeys, especially for eastern turkey hunters, is increasingly growing smaller. Just like when it comes to bowhunting whitetails, the turkey hunter is often forced to hunt smaller and smaller chunks of ground. This might mean you’ve got one spot where setting a blind is worth it.

That should theoretically result in a pretty simple choice where to plant your butt during the season, but it’s oftentimes not such an easy choice. On even 15 acres, you might have a few places worth putting a blind or one super spot for season-long action. Just where that is located will often depend on what’s going on across the fence on land you can’t hunt.

Aerial Sleuthing & Glassing

A couple years ago, I only had one property to hunt near my house in the Twin Cities. No one would call it big at 29 acres. Half of that acreage, however, was wetland bringing down the huntable timber to about 14 acres. The spot I picked for my blind wasn’t anything special, other than I knew it was the easiest spot for gobblers cruising the neighbor’s field to hear me.

They wouldn’t be able to see my decoys until they committed, but they’d certainly know I was trying to have a conversation with them. The first time I slipped in to hunt the blind, it was already 2pm, but I didn’t have choice. Within an hour I’d struck up a lively back-and-forth, and soon enough he strutted through the woods into my spread. At a shade over 26 pounds, the longbeard is the heaviest I’ve put down in a lifetime of turkey hunting.


He fell victim to my arrow on a small property, partially because I’d spent a fair amount of time scouting via aerial photography. I knew there was a long, skinny hayfield within maybe 150 yards that wasn’t visible to any part of the property I had permission on. It was an obvious spot for cruising strutters, and I knew the best bet was to call into the airspace around that field and cross my fingers.


view from turkey blind setup with decoys
When you’re setting a blind on a small property, consider how well birds on the neighboring parcels will be able to hear you, or see your spread.

Occasionally when you’re dealing with small-property birds, you can glass neighboring fields to see what is happening. In that case, the visuals will give you a good sense of where the birds are traveling and how close they might be to where you can hunt.


Trail Cameras

Trail cameras vary in their importance to me as a deer hunter. For turkey hunting, I use them a lot when I’m relegated to a small property. This is because hens and toms often feed and travel throughout the day in a circuit, and they might only dip through your woodlot every other afternoon.

I want to be in my blind then, versus riding out every sunrise listening to distant gobbles. Now, trail cameras can only provide a blueprint, but if you’re getting lots of seemingly random activity at lunchtime, you probably know when you should risk slipping in and hunting. You’ll also know where to set your blinds to have the best chance of being where the turkeys want to be.

This matters.


Hotspots

A lot of turkey bowhunters feel it’s simply a matter of getting on a field edge or a food plot and putting in the hours until a bird shows up. Sure, this strategy can work because turkeys are pretty dumb and awfully predictable. But you also aren’t going to have as much in-your-face action with this strategy versus scouting and setting up where the birds want to be.

I volunteered a few years ago to be a mentor in a youth hunt and the property we got to set up on was a turkey haven. Unfortunately, we were met with a blizzard that suppressed a lot of the cheer in the hunters and the gobblers. The spot I was on with my youth hunter was too good though, and even in dismal conditions he dumped one early in the morning.

group of turkey tracks in dirt
If you’re stuck hunting a small property for turkeys, scout enough to understand where the absolute best spot is to set your blind.

The secret to the spot? It was along a 100-acre cornfield that had one tiny area where a pile of birds had been dusting. You could find turkey sign the whole length of the field, but it was at maximum levels in that one area. This applies to small acreages as well and even if you think it doesn’t matter which end of the 20-acre woodlot you set up on, it does.


Not only does the neighbor’s land affect the birds you might run into, but there is bound to be a certain spot on any given property that the birds like to scratch, travel, roost, or whatever. Figure that out and use it to inform your decision on where exactly to place your blind.

Conclusion

It’s more fun to have a couple of sections to roam so that you can set up multiple blinds and have plenty of options. Unfortunately, that’s not reality for most of us in the midwest and especially the east. That doesn’t mean the limited-acreage turkey hunter can’t find a spot to go, though. You can – you just need to do a little sleuthing to figure out exactly how to set up to maximize your limited blind setups.

Recommended for You

Don't ruin your chances of tagging a big buck this fall. How-To

Late-Summer Scouting Mistakes to Avoid

Tony J. Peterson

Don't ruin your chances of tagging a big buck this fall.

From fixed to hybrid to mechanical, we've rounded up the best new broadheads from the 2019 ATA Show. ATA Show

Best New Broadheads for 2019

Brian Strickland - January 10, 2019

From fixed to hybrid to mechanical, we've rounded up the best new broadheads from the 2019 ATA...

Sweet, smoky and spicy - this is my the best combination for jerky! Recipes

Sweet & Smoky Venison Jerky Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Sweet, smoky and spicy - this is my the best combination for jerky!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist witnesses a hen trying to destroy one of his decoys while hunting turkeys in Kansas.

Canyon Ranch Bowhunt

Canyon Ranch Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony Peterson sees plenty of action while hunting whitetails and hogs in Texas.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 9: Wild Turkey Explosion

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 9: Wild Turkey Explosion

Curt Wells provides color commentary on some of the team's best turkey hunts, including this one with his grandson in Kansas.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Curt Wells explains the importance of momentum and penetration. How-To

Heavy Vs. Light: Choosing The Best Hunting Arrow

Curt Wells

Curt Wells explains the importance of momentum and penetration.

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies. Turkeys

Spring Gobbler Reset: How to Bowhunt Turkeys in May

Tony J. Peterson

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies.

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for Bows

9 Top Budget Bows for 2018

Tony J. Peterson - February 20, 2018

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for

See More Stories

More Turkeys

Danny Farris, Jeremy Eldredge, and their sons hunt gobblers in Nebraska. Turkeys

Cornhusker Turkeys in the Spring

Bowhunter TV - August 28, 2014

Danny Farris, Jeremy Eldredge, and their sons hunt gobblers in Nebraska.

While hunting whitetail in Missouri, Bowhunter Magazine associate publisher Danny Farris takes time Turkeys

Tale of a Hunt-Turkey

Bowhunter TV - August 28, 2014

While hunting whitetail in Missouri, Bowhunter Magazine associate publisher Danny Farris takes...

Tony Peterson experienced a turkey hunting season for the books! Turkeys

DIY Spring Gobbler: 5 Days, 3 States, 4 Longbeards

Tony J. Peterson

Tony Peterson experienced a turkey hunting season for the books!

See More Turkeys

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×