MADISON - The 2017 spring turkey permit drawing has ended and 135,307 successful applicants will receive spring wild turkey permits.
A total of 240,768 permits have been made available for the spring 2017 turkey season - remaining permits will be available through over-the-counter sales beginning March 20 with zone 1.
Postcard notifications to successful applicants have been mailed. Hunters can also monitor permit status online through GoWild.WI.gov or via the Department of Natural Resources Customer Call Center from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463). Turkey hunters will be able to purchase their turkey permits starting in mid-March once the new license year begins.
Starting in 2017, the spring turkey season will begin on the third Wednesday in April. The season will run from April 19 through May 30, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones and Fort McCoy will be open for hunting.
Hunters are reminded that spring turkey permits are no longer available in any of the previous state park hunting zones following a 2014 rule change. While these permits have been eliminated, state parks will 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 permit. 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 who do not receive approval to hunt turkeys through the state drawing in a Wisconsin turkey hunting zone for the 2017 spring season are eligible to apply for a spring permit at Fort McCoy. Applications can be obtained from Fort McCoy by calling 608-388-3337 or visiting www.mccoy.army.mil [EXIT DNR].
Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within the 2016 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2016 Fall Turkey Regulations, and 2017 Spring Turkey Regulations [PDF].
The 105,464 leftover permits for the 2017 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Monday, March 20 at 10 a.m. Leftover permits will be first issued for sale by zone, one zone per day.
The following zones have leftover permits, and scheduled sales dates are as follows:
Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey zone map [PDF] to verify where they would like to hunt and use the department's turkey permit availability page to see if permits are available for the period and zone in which they wish to hunt.
After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey tags will be made available for purchase Saturday, March 25. Extra turkey tags can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time period sells out or the season closes.
Leftover turkey permits cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents - each will have equal opportunity to purchase over-the-counter permits. All hunters are required to purchase a spring turkey license and 2017 Wild Turkey Stamp, unless they have previously purchased the license and stamp or are a 2017 Conservation Patron License holder. Leftover permit purchases will not affect preference point status for future spring or fall turkey permit drawings.
Hunters with any questions regarding permits should contact the DNR Customer Call Center, open 7 a.m. through 10 p.m., seven days a week, at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).
Youth hunters ages 12-15 who have completed hunter education may hunt during the youth turkey hunt on April 15 and 16 while accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. In addition, thanks to the Mentored Hunting Program, turkey hunters ages 10 and 11 may also participate in the 2017 youth turkey hunt without first having completed hunter education, as long as they do so with a qualified adult mentor and follow program rules.
Each youth hunter must have a valid spring 2017 turkey harvest permit, license and Wild Turkey Stamp, and may hunt in the Turkey Management Zone for which their permit is valid, regardless of the time period for which their permit is issued. 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 permit during the time period and in the zone for which the permit was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.
Each year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts use Wisconsin's public lands for a variety of activities, ranging from bird watching to hunting. For those interested in exploring all Wisconsin has to offer, the department has a number of tools available to help users find a new favorite spot in the wild.
For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "turkey."
MADISON -- Ongoing efforts to improve habitat and water quality are paying off with seven streams in Dane and Grant counties receiving an upgrade or making a new appearance on Wisconsin's list of classified trout streams.
Token Creek exemplifies the long-term commitment behind these important gains, with a 2016 survey documenting naturally reproducing brown trout, said David Rowe, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries team supervisor. The survey collected young of the year fish as well as brown trout up to 15 inches in length.
Rowe said recovery of the cold water stream began in 1994 with the removal of the old mill pond dam and has continued with habitat improvement projects and watershed protections. The finding of the young trout allowed the Department of Natural Resources to upgrade 4 miles of the stream on the state's list of classified trout streams to class 2 waters from the previous class 3.
"This is good news for anglers and it's also good news for everyone who cares about the area's rivers, lakes and streams," said Joanna Griffin, DNR trout specialist. "It shows that work to manage runoff and restore the stream have improved habitat to the point where trout can not only survive but thrive."
This year, Token Creek is not the only good news story. In all, the current round of seven updates includes five upgrades to class 2 from class 3 waters, one upgrade to coveted class 1 from class 2 status, and one new classification to class 2 from unclassed.
Among the other recent changes:
Griffin said the changes are based on approximately 300 stream site surveys conducted by fisheries management staff each year to continuously update the classification. Under the classification system:
Trout stream classification updates were last published in early 2016 and going forward will now become official every odd year. The next classification changes will become official in January 2019.
If all of this great news about trout has you excited to get out, Wisconsin's official maps of classified trout streams include information from the last round of updates, with more than 41 additional streams that have been classified as trout waters since 2014. Most of these 292 miles are found in west central and southern Wisconsin counties and are open for the early catch-and-release season, which runs until midnight, May 5.
Additional information about where to fish and local regulations can be found using DNR's TROUT tool, which was designed to help trout anglers find places to fish including classified trout waters, public land and DNR fishing easements. To learn more about the regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "trout regulations."
Early season anglers must have a valid 2016-2017 fishing license and a trout stamp; licenses are valid from the April 1 through March 31 the following year. Access DNR's online licensing system by searching "GoWild.wi.gov."
MADISON - Subscribers to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine will be treated to some dramatic images of some of Wisconsin's most iconic and historic Great Lakes lighthouse in "Picturing Wisconsin lighthouses," in the February issue that is being mailed this week.
Readers can also learn how Mary Kay Baum, a Madison woman who has worn many hats over four decades of public service, uses her love and dedication to nature to overcome physical challenges, in "Preserving pine relicts a prescription for good health."
Two stories showcase youth programs that not only teach conservation, but life lessons as well. "Helping themselves, helping their tribes, helping the environment" highlights the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's Summer Tribal Youth Program that prepares Native American youth for more job opportunities in the future. "Opening the door to lifelong opportunities" promotes the statewide Envirothon program, open to young people statewide and teaching conservation through competition.
"The North American conservation model" takes a reflective look at how wildlife management has been funded across our continent since the early 1900s and how the model could be updated to accommodate a wider audience of outdoor enthusiasts.
Readers can learn of a New Deal engineering project at Grandfather Falls north of Merrill where the flow of the Wisconsin River is forced through two massive redwood pipes in "Wonders crystallize through the ages." Ice castles form every winter at the site, but this may be the last year as the penstocks are due for repair and replacement with metal pipes.
The magazine's resident chef, John Motoviloff, dedicates his cooking column, "Keeping it wild: Outdoor food and forays," to his rendition of East Coast fish chowder - 'Sconnie chowdah!
Our other columns take travelers to explore Saddle Mound in Jackson County, and face-to-face with a hibernating bear in "Bear in the hole." The back cover is devoted to the winter beauty of Foulds Creek State Natural Area in Price County.
Last but not least is the much-awaited update to a popular groundwater insert - "Groundwater: Powering Wisconsin's Economy." It is introduced by "A peek beneath the surface," taking readers into Wisconsin's basement to discover the aquifers that hold and transport our groundwater.
Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as an inexpensive gift that gives all year. Six big issues for $8.97. People can subscribe at 1-800-678-9472 or online at wnrmag.com.
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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