Bear hunt application deadline May 1

Prospective Minnesota bear hunters have until Friday, May 1, to apply for a bear hunting license.
Applications for the 2020 season should be submitted online or via telephone at 888-665-4236.
A total of 3,575 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Sunday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 18.
Lottery winners will be notified by June 1. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Thursday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon on Aug. 5.
New for the 2020 season, the DNR has made a change to bear permit area 45. The southern portion of permit area 45 has been subdivided to create a new bear permit area (451) to allow additional bear hunting opportunities. Area 451 licenses are not awarded by lottery drawing and will be available to any eligible hunters starting Wednesday, Aug. 5. Bear hunters in permit area 451 do not need to apply in the lottery.
An unlimited number of bear licenses also will be sold over-the-counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.
The number of available bear permits is increasing modestly in the southern and western portion of bear management areas. Overall, bear permit numbers for quota areas remain mostly unchanged this year to allow bear population numbers to gradually increase and support a robust bear population. Bear hunting information is available on the DNR website.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Spring turkey season begins April 15

MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Evers' Safer at Home order recognizes outdoor activity as an essential activity. As such, the 2020 spring turkey season will proceed without changes to the season dates or management zones under the Safer at Home order.
Due to COVID-19, distance is critical. Social distancing - the practice of always staying 6 feet away from others outside of household members - is vital to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Turkey hunting in Wisconsin is designed to minimize hunter contact and is usually a solitary outdoor activity. The purpose of permitting by time period spreads people out in different by time and the purpose of zones spreads people out spatially, resulting in a high-quality hunt.
All current regulations for the season apply. Licensed hunters should hunt the zone and period stated on their harvest authorization.
"Hunting and fishing provides us an opportunity to interact with nature. Hunting and fishing traditions run deep in Wisconsin," said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. "It's these traditions that allow us to have a moment of normalcy during this extraordinary time. Remember to be more than safe."
There are still turkey hunting permits available in five of the seven management zones covering most of the state. This provides opportunities for people to select new zones to reduce travel distances and stay closer to home. Permits are available online.
The remaining permits are generally for later in the season, which is an excellent opportunity to spend time in the woods during the spring season when the hunting can also be very good. All sales directly benefit critical conservation efforts including developing, managing, preserving, restoring and maintaining the wild turkey population in Wisconsin.
Hunting with household family members is still allowed under the emergency order. Social distancing applies to mentored hunts. Because mentors must be within arm's reach of their mentee, the need for social distancing prohibits hunters from mentoring someone outside of their household.
We encourage all spring turkey hunters to adhere to the Safer at Home order's guidelines regarding social distancing. If you encounter a fellow hunter or any other individuals while out hunting, provide at least six feet of space to pass.
The 2020 spring turkey season will run April 15-May 26, with six seven-day periods beginning Wednesday through the following Tuesday. All seven turkey management zones will be open for hunting.
Youth under the age of 16 may hunt during the spring youth turkey hunt April 11-12. Hunters under the age of 12 and youth without hunter safety can participate in the youth turkey hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program.
Youth must be accompanied by a qualified adult and follow the youth turkey hunting and mentored hunting program rules. Under the Safer at Home order, mentors and mentees should be from the same household. Youth hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, stamp and harvest authorization.
A harvest authorization for any time period can be used during the youth hunt weekend, but youth hunters must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization.
Regulations, harvest registration information and other helpful turkey hunting information can be found on the DNR website.
Under the Safer at Home order, we must do all that we can to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The public should stay as close to home as possible and avoid travel outside of their community to help flatten the curve.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. For the latest updates, visit the DNR website or follow @WIDNR on Facebook, @wi_dnr on Instagram, or @WDNR on Twitter.
For specific information regarding the COVID-19 we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Natural Resources Board approves migratory bird hunting seasons

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board recently voted unanimously for the Department of Natural Resources to move forward with proposed rules for the 2020 migratory bird season framework and regulations.
Thanks to input from hunters and new scientific research, Wisconsin will see some notable changes.

Highlights from the approved season structure include:
* North duck zone will open one week earlier than last season, resulting in two statewide openers, one for the North on Sept. 26 and one for the South and Mississippi zones on Oct. 3. The regular duck season will run for 60 days.
* A 92-day regular goose season with a second split in the South Canada goose zone resulting in a goose season that is open during the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
* An increase in the hen mallard daily bag limit (from one to two) based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service season framework.
* A decrease in the scaup bag limit to one scaup for 15 days and two scaup for 45 days based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service season framework.
* Shooting hours for all migratory bird seasons are open from one half hour before sunrise to sunset with the exception of the early teal season. Shooting hours for early teal open at sunrise and close at sunset.
"These season frameworks were based on the most current scientific data and input we received from the public, input from conservation and hunting groups and results from a waterfowl hunter survey," said Taylor Finger, DNR migratory bird ecologist. "We expanded our outreach efforts in 2020 using social media to increase our engagement with our users, and we saw great attendance at statewide public hearings. In total, we received more than 2,100 comments regarding the 2020 waterfowl season proposals."
Additionally, the NRB set a new zone structure to go into effect for the 2021-2025 seasons. The board approved a three-zone/one-split structure that includes the North Zone, South Zone and an Open Water Zone. The Open Water Zone falls 500 feet from shore on the coasts of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. This decision moves the previously held Mississippi River Zone into the South Zone beginning fall of 2021.
The public plays a crucial role in setting the waterfowl season structure, and Finger thanked those who submitted a comment or attended a meeting. View the 2020 public input results and comments here.
For specific opening dates, closings and bag limits, log onto the Wisconsin DNR website.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


DNR cancels in-person public deer meetings

MADISON, Wis. - In light of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources will suspend in-person County Deer Advisory Council meetings planned for discussing this year's deer season antlerless permit recommendations and will instead use a call-in format. Meeting dates and times have not changed, and meetings remain open to the public.
Wisconsin's hunting legacy runs deep. Everyone has a say about the deer herd in Wisconsin and the DNR wants to hear from you. Between March 30 and April 9, each county will host a call-in meeting talking about harvest goals for 2020. Anyone interested in listening to their county's call can join the meeting by phone from the comfort of home.
The agenda for each county meeting will include the development of antlerless harvest goals and season framework recommendations for the 2020 deer season to achieve each county's deer population objective. Options under discussion include the antlerless deer harvest quota and various season framework options such as offering the holiday hunt or extended archery/crossbow seasons.
Presentations by DNR wildlife biologists normally given in-person at these meetings will be available on the DNR website by March 26. Meeting schedules and call-in numbers can also be found online on the DNR website. After meetings conclude, meeting summaries with preliminary recommendations will also be posted on the DNR website.
All council meetings are open to the public. Due to the facilitation limitations of call-in meetings, public comments will not be taken on the call. Instead, anyone wishing to provide feedback will be asked to do so using the online public input form available on the DNR website from April 16-29.
Each county in Wisconsin has a County Deer Advisory Council to provide input and recommendations to the department on deer management within their county. Councils work with local department staff to schedule meetings, provide community outreach and an opportunity for public input, review population data and deer impacts on forests and agriculture, develop three-year recommendations on county population objectives and create annual antlerless harvest quotas.
A second round of meetings will take place in May, during which council members will review public comment and make final recommendations for the 2020 deer season. No meetings will be held in person for as long as the public health emergency lasts. The decision to host May's meetings in-person or by phone will be made closer to the date.
The DNR will review final County Deer Advisory Council recommendations following the May meetings and provide recommendations to the Natural Resources Board for approval in June. Questions about this updated process can be sent via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


DNR cancels all-approved Learn to Hunt events

Effective immediately, all Wisconsin Learn to Hunt classroom and hunt dates scheduled between March 16, and March 31, are canceled due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
There is an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 in group settings and in close-quarter situations.
Local Learn to Hunt coordinators should communicate the cancellation of their Learn to Hunt program to anybody involved including participants, mentors, volunteers and any conservation warden or biologist scheduled to attend.
The DNR understands the time and cost it takes for local organizations to lead a Learn to Hunt program and is very appreciative of their efforts to introduce new people to hunting in Wisconsin. That being said, the health of the public and doing everything we can to slow the transmission of COVID-19 is a priority.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Bonus spring turkey harvest authorizations go on sale March 16

MADISON, Wis. - Starting March 16, spring turkey bonus harvest authorizations go on sale for each of the seven spring turkey hunting zones.
Hunters are encouraged to check the Department of Natural Resources' turkey zone map and spring turkey bonus harvest authorization availability to see if harvest authorizations are available for the time period and turkey zone in which they want to hunt. There are 113,412 spring turkey bonus harvest authorizations for sale in all seven management zones.
Anyone visiting the site between 9:45-10 a.m. will be assigned a random number (there is no advantage to entering the site before 9:45 a.m.) Starting at 10 a.m., customers who enter the GoWild website will be added to the purchasing queue in the order of their arrival. Sales start at 10 a.m., and run until midnight each day.
The following zones have available bonus harvest authorizations, and their corresponding sales dates are:
Zone 1 - Monday, March 16.
Zone 2 - Tuesday, March 17.
Zone 3 - Wednesday, March 18.
Zone 4 - Thursday, March 19.
Zones 5, 6 and 7 - Friday, March 20.
Bonus harvest authorizations are $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Both groups will have equal opportunity for purchase. Bonus harvest authorizations can be purchased online through GoWild.Wi.Govand at all license agents.
All spring turkey hunters are required to purchase a spring turkey license and 2020 Wild Turkey Stamp unless they are a 2020 Conservation Patron License holder. Bonus harvest authorization purchases will not affect preference point status for future spring drawings.
Once you log into your personalized dashboard on GoWild.Wi.Gov, click the 'Buy License' button to open the catalog. From there, you will find "Spring Turkey Bonus Harvest Authorization" at the top of the list.
Bonus turkey harvest authorizations can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time period is sold out or until the season closes.
DNR customer service staff recommend that turkey hunters who are interested in purchasing a Conservation Patron license do so before March 16, to make the bonus harvest authorization process as quick and easy as possible.
After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey harvest authorizations will be made available for purchase 10 a.m. Saturday, March 21.

Spring Turkey Periods Run For Seven Days
The 2020 spring turkey season is April 15-May 26, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones will be open for hunting. For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website here.
"In 2019, we experienced overall favorable conditions during nesting and brood-rearing, and winter has been relatively mild, so we are anticipating another great spring turkey season in Wisconsin," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "I encourage turkey hunters to look at the regulations ahead of the season, and I wish everyone a safe and happy hunt!"
Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within the 2019 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2019 Fall Turkey Regulations, and 2020 Spring Turkey Regulations.
Public lands are the perfect place to pursue turkeys this spring.

Youth Turkey Hunt Set April 11-12
Youth hunters under the age of 16 may hunt during the youth turkey hunt on April 11 and 12. Hunters under the age of 12 and youth hunters without hunter safety can participate in the youth turkey hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program.
Youth hunters must be accompanied by a qualified adult and follow the youth turkey hunting and mentored hunting program rules. Spring turkey youth hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, stamp and harvest authorization. A harvest authorization for any time period can be used during the youth hunt weekend, but youth hunters must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Passionate about deer hunting? DNR wants to hear from you

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin's hunting heritage runs deep. If you're passionate about deer hunting and management in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources invites hunters, farmers, foresters and anyone interested in deer management in Wisconsin to the upcoming first-round of County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) meetings across the state March 30, through April 6.
Every county in Wisconsin has a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC). Councils give the people of Wisconsin greater input into local deer management. These meetings are important for shaping the 2020 deer hunting seasons and annual antlerless harvest quotas.
County Deer Advisory Councils also provide input and recommendations to the DNR on deer management within their county. Councils work with local DNR staff to:
* Schedule meetings.
* Provide community outreach and an opportunity for public input.
* Review population data and deer impacts on forests and agriculture.
* Develop three-year recommendations on county population objectives.
* Create annual antlerless harvest quotas.
Council members will review the 2019 deer season results and develop recommendations for the 2020 deer season to help each county reach its deer population objective of increasing, decreasing or maintaining the population. Options under discussion include the antlerless deer harvest quota and various season framework options such as offering the Holiday Hunt or extended archery/crossbow seasons.
A schedule of each county's meeting and their location can be found on the DNR website. Those interested can also look up their meeting time and location by county. Visit the CDAC webpage for more info.
Anyone wishing to provide feedback for their county, but unable to attend a council meeting, can review and comment on preliminary recommendations through an online survey. The survey will be available on the DNR website April 16-28.
The second-round of meetings will take place in May, during which council members will review public comment and make final recommendations for the 2020 deer season.
All council meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity to provide feedback as each council develops its preliminary recommendations. The DNR's staff will review County Deer Advisory Council recommendations following the May meetings and provide recommendations to the Natural Resources Board for approval in June. Following Natural Resources Board approval, final recommendations will be in effect for the 2020 deer seasons.
More information about CDAC population objective recommendations, agendas and membership is available here. Additional questions can also be sent via email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR