DNR issues turkey harvest tags for spring turkey hunt

MADISON, WI - The 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization drawing has concluded and 138,144 successful applicants will receive spring wild turkey harvest authorizations.
A total of 244,218 authorizations were available for the spring turkey season. The leftover harvest authorizations not issued in the drawing will be available for purchase beginning March 19.
Postcard notifications to successful applicants have been mailed. Hunters can also monitor their harvest authorization status in their online account at GoWild.WI.gov.
Along with a spring turkey harvest authorization, a valid 2018 spring turkey license and Wild Turkey Stamp is required to hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Stamps and licenses may be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any license agent or DNR Service Centers, beginning in March at the start of the license year.
The spring turkey season begins on the third Wednesday in April. The 2018 spring season will run from April 18 through May 29, with six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday.
Hunters are reminded that spring turkey harvest authorizations are no longer available in any of the previous state park hunting zones following a 2014 rule change. While these have been eliminated, state parks remain open for spring turkey hunting during select periods, and have been absorbed into surrounding turkey management zones. For example, a hunter wishing to hunt within Governor Dodge State Park, previously Zone 1A, may still do so with a Zone 1 harvest authorization. For more information regarding hunting within state parks, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "state park hunting."
Hunters are reminded that the Fort McCoy spring turkey hunting season is managed separately from the State of Wisconsin spring turkey hunt. Hunters may apply for a 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization at Fort McCoy only if they have not received one through the regular spring turkey drawing. Applications can be obtained from Fort McCoy by calling 608-388-3337 or visiting www.mccoy.army.mil.
Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within 2017 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2017 Fall Turkey Regulations and 2018 Spring Turkey Regulations.
The leftover harvest authorizations for the 2018 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Monday, March 19 at 10 a.m. Leftover harvest authorizations will be first issued for sale by zone, one zone per day. Leftover harvest authorizations can be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any of more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.
Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey management zone map and the leftover harvest authorization availability page to see if harvest authorizations are available for the period and zone in which they wish to hunt.

The following zones have leftover harvest authorizations, and scheduled sales dates are as follows:
Zone 1- Monday, March 19;
Zone 2- Tuesday, March 20;
Zone 3- Wednesday, March 21;
Zone 4- Thursday, March 22; and
Zones 5 and 7- Friday, March 23.

NOTE: all available harvest authorizations for Zone 6 were issued via the drawing.
After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey harvest authorizations will be made available for purchase Saturday, March 24. Extra turkey harvest authorizations can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time-period sells out or the season closes.
Leftover turkey harvest authorizations cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents - each will have equal opportunity to purchase leftover harvest authorizations. Purchasing a leftover harvest authorization will not affect preference point status for future turkey drawings.
Youth hunters under the age of 16 may hunt during the youth turkey hunt on April 14-15. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. During the youth hunt weekend, hunters under the age of 12 and youth hunters who have not completed a hunter education course can hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program. Special rules and regulations apply.
Each youth hunter must have a valid spring 2018 turkey harvest authorization, license and Wild Turkey Stamp. A current, valid harvest authorization issued for any time-period can be used during the youth hunt, but the youth hunter must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization. Youth hunters may harvest only one male or bearded turkey during the two-day hunt.
Youth who do not successfully harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use their unfilled harvest authorization for the time-period and zone for which their authorization was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.
For more information and the rules and regulations on the spring turkey youth hunt, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "youth hunt."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

2018 Minnesota spring turkey hunt applications due

Minnesota spring turkey hunters hoping to bag a tom during the first two weeks of the season have until Friday, Jan. 26, to apply for a lottery permit.
The season runs from April 18 to May 31 and is divided into six hunt periods, A through F. Hunt A and B licenses for firearms hunters age 18 and older are limited in availability and assigned via lottery drawing.
Turkey lottery applications cost $5 and can be purchased online at mndnr.gov/licenses, by phone at 888-665-4236, or in person from a license agent. Successful applicants will receive a postcard in the mail by mid-February and can purchase their hunting license starting March 1.
Firearms licenses for hunts C, D, E and F are not lottery-limited and will be available for purchase over-the-counter beginning March 1. All licensed turkey hunters can participate in Hunt F if they have an unused tag from one of the earlier hunt periods.
Archery and youth hunters (under 18) are exempt from the lottery and may purchase a spring turkey license valid during all hunt periods, including hunts A and B.
Surplus lottery licenses from hunts A and B, if available, will be sold over-the-counter starting in mid-March.
Visit mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey for more information about turkey hunting in Minnesota.

2018 Spring Turkey Hunt Periods

Hunt A: April 18-24
Hunt B: April 25-May 1
Hunt C: May 2-8
Hunt D: May 9-15
Hunt E: May 16-22
Hunt F: May 23-31

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Late season deer hunt on tap in CWD zone

A special late-season deer hunt is scheduled Saturday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 14, to help control chronic wasting disease in southeastern Minnesota.
The hunt is open to Minnesota residents and nonresidents and takes place in an area that includes all of deer permit area 603 as well as the portion of permit area 345 south of Interstate 90, the southern portion of permit area 347 and the northern portion of permit area 348.
Hunters need to plan ahead because private land makes up most of the hunt area and hunters must have landowner permission. Public land in the area likely will be crowded. And hunting opportunities will be limited and available only by permit at Forestville State Park and Pin Oak Prairie Scientific and Natural Area. Permits to both are sold out.
Participating hunters need to know the detailed hunt rules, available on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/603hunt.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Wisconsin's holiday hunt begins Dec. 24

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin deer hunters can look forward to additional deer hunting opportunities during late archery and crossbow seasons, as well as the antlerless-only "holiday hunt" in select deer management units.
The antlerless-only holiday hunt is offered in 17 Farmland Zone units Dec. 24-Jan. 1. The holiday hunt is offered in these units based on recommendations from County Deer Advisory Councils where added opportunity to harvest antlerless deer is offered to help reach antlerless harvest goals and the county deer population objective.
Hunters may fill any unused antlerless tags in the designated deer management zone, unit and land type (public or private) printed on each tag. Only antlerless deer may be harvested in holiday hunt units with any legal firearm, crossbow or archery equipment. Units where the holiday hunt is not offered are open for archery and crossbow hunting. Bucks may be harvested only in non-Holiday Hunt units.
Successful hunters are reminded to register their deer by 5 p.m. on the day after harvest. Registration can be completed online by searching "GameReg" on the DNR web page or calling 1-844-426-3734.
For more information on units offering the holiday hunt, check out the interactive deer map at keyword "DMU."

Chronic wasting disease sampling
CWD sampling is being offered at various locations throughout southern, central and northern Wisconsin including both in-person service as well as self-service options.
Self-service kiosks are 24/7 options for hunters to drop off a deer head to be tested for CWD. The online registration database now includes within the station type option drop down menu the specification of self-service kiosks in available counties.
To find sampling station locations and additional information, search keywords "CWD sampling."
Hunters can search for CWD test results individually or view a summary. Hunters will need a customer ID or CWD sample bar code to search for individual results. For information, search keywords "CWD results."
Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey
The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey will remain active until all deer seasons have ended, and wildlife managers ask that hunters to submit a report of what they saw during their time in the field. This information will provide valuable data pertaining to Wisconsin's deer herd and other species.
For additional information, search keywords "deer hunter wildlife."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR to release more pheasants

MADISON, WI - Bird hunters will have another option to beat cabin fever in December when the Department of Natural Resources releases nearly 1,500 additional pheasants on five public properties before the holiday season.
Cabin fever is no match for time spent pursuing pheasants with family and friends.
These one-time stocking efforts, are in addition to the 75,000 birds released throughout the season and are the result of a trial run of the new hatchery equipment at the state game farm in Poynette.
Properties to be stocked before the holiday season include:
* Mud Lake Wildlife Area, Columbia County.
* Mazomanie Unit of Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Dane County.
* Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Kenosha County.
* Brooklyn Wildlife Area, Dane & Green counties.
* Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area, Rock County.
"We selected properties with suitable cover for pheasant hunting near population centers, while avoiding counties holding a Holiday Hunt for deer," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "The department hopes this late-season stocking will provide an opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, and perhaps add some additional table fare to your holiday meal."
As a reminder, quality pheasant hunting opportunities exist throughout Wisconsin, including wild pheasant hunting where suitable habitat exists and previously stocked public lands. The pheasant season runs through Dec. 31, and all hunting regulations and bag limits apply through the season close. Pheasant hunting regulations can be found in the 2017 Small Game Regulations.
In addition, hunters are encouraged to wear blaze orange while upland bird hunting to increase visibility with other hunters.
For more information regarding pheasant hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin hunters harvest 4,157 bears

MADISON, WI - Preliminary registration numbers show hunters harvested 4,157 bears during the 2017 Wisconsin bear hunting seasons.
Preliminary registration totals for the 2017 bear hunt are as follows:
Zone A: 1,069.
Zone B: 816.
Zone C: 1,009.
Zone D: 1,263.
"Although harvest declined slightly from 2016, this follows a pattern of annual variation that has developed in recent years, and reflects the goal to reduce bear numbers in certain areas of the state," said Jeff Pritzl, Department of Natural Resources acting large carnivore specialist. "The preliminary harvest of 4,157 is very close to the previous four alternate year harvests when hound hunters had the first week of the season. Crop and property damage reports, along with nuisance complaints have declined measurably this year, due in part to purposeful management of the population through hunting."
Summary tables and more information regarding bear hunting in Wisconsin can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "bear."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Pheasant hunting great excuse to get outdoors

Minnesota pheasant hunters still have time to harvest roosters this December.
“We had a late corn harvest which affected the early pheasant season, but things are shaping up nicely for late-season hunting,” said Nicole Davros, farmland wildlife research supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Additionally, despite the lower overall count on our roadside surveys this year, our rooster index went up slightly. This means there are still birds to chase out there.”
Field conditions were wet enough that the corn harvest was significantly delayed this fall.
“Now that the crops are out of the fields, there are fewer places to hide and hunters should be seeing more roosters,” Davros said.
Despite warmer weather in late November, pheasants are already using both grassland cover and winter cover such as cattail sloughs and willow thickets, according to Scott Roemhildt, DNR Walk-in Access Program coordinator.
“Hunters who are willing to work these tougher-to-reach areas will have opportunities to harvest birds,” Roemhildt said. “The colder weather in our forecast will make wetlands more accessible to hunters as the water freezes up.”
Both Davros and Roemhildt agree that late-season pheasant hunting is a great excuse to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, regardless of whether any roosters are put in your bag.
“Pheasant hunting is a great way to stretch your legs and clear your mind when things get hectic,” Davros said.
Added Roemhildt: “It’s also a chance to introduce someone new to pheasant hunting as kids get time off from school and family comes to visit.”
On Dec. 1, the daily bag limit increased to three roosters with a possession limit of nine roosters.
Hunters need a small game license and a pheasant stamp to hunt pheasants in Minnesota. A small game license costs $22 for Minnesota residents age 18 to 64, and the pheasant stamp costs $7.50. Pheasant hunters 65 and older need to buy a small game license for $13.50 but are not required to buy a stamp. Hunters age 16 to 17 must buy a $5 small game license but do not need to buy a stamp, and hunters under 16 can hunt pheasants without a license or stamp.
Hunters can also purchase a Walk-In Access validation for $3 to gain additional public hunting opportunities on private land that is enrolled in the program. As of September, 25,335 acres of land across 241 sites in western and southern Minnesota have been enrolled in the program.
Minnesota’s 2017 pheasant season is open through Monday, Jan. 1. Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset. Additional details on pheasant hunting are available at mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant. Additional details on the Walk-In Access Program are available at mndnr.gov/walkin.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR