MADISON -- Hunters who plan to purchase a leftover permit or successfully drew a spring turkey permit and are interested in getting an additional permit as they anxiously awaiting heading into the woods have a number of helpful resources available to help them prepare for the hunt.
For tag species such as wild turkey, in 2017 hunters must again possess their carcass tags while hunting. Upon killing a turkey, hunters must immediately validate the carcass tag by writing the date and circling AM or PM in the space provided. No hunter may leave the turkey carcass unless the validated carcass tag has been attached to it.
All harvested turkeys must be registered either online at GameReg.Wi.Gov or via phone at 1-844-GAME-REG (1-844-426-3734) by 5 p.m. the day after harvest. Hunters will need the carcass tag number from their carcass tag to begin harvest registration process. Again this year, there are no in-person registration stations are available. Following the registration process, hunters will be given a harvest registration confirmation number which must be recorded on their carcass tag at the time of registration.
The 105,464 leftover permits for the 2017 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Each zone will have a designated sales date with sales starting at 10 a.m. and running through midnight each day. These sales will be held for five consecutive days with customers able to purchase one permit per day.
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.
The following zones have leftover permits, and scheduled sales dates are as follows:
When all tags have been purchased for a given zone, online users will be sent directly to the Go Wild home page for the remainder of that day.
DNR's customer service staff recommends that turkey hunters who are interested in purchasing a Conservation Patron license do so prior to March 20 in order to make the leftover permit process as quick and easy as possible. For 2017, a number of enhancements have been made to the GoWild.Wi.Gov site to allow license purchases with fewer "clicks" and speed the rate at which customers will be able to transact business.
During the sale of the leftover spring permits, the system will use an online queue to assign random numbers at 10 a.m. to customers who enter the site between 9:45 and 10 a.m. There is no benefit to entering the site prior to 9:45 a.m. Customers who enter after 10 a.m. will be added to the line in order of arrival.
After you have reached your personalized dashboard on GoWild.Wi.Gov, click the 'Buy License' button to open the catalog. From there, you will find the Spring Turkey Leftover Permit at the very top of the list.
After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey tags will be made available for purchase Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m. 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.
Leftover permits can be purchased online through GoWild.Wi.Gov and at all license agents. 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).
The 2017 spring turkey 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 will be open for hunting. For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "turkey."
"We are anticipating another great spring turkey season in Wisconsin - turkey production did decline last year due to the heavy summer rains, but we are experiencing another relatively mild winter which may help compensate," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "I encourage turkey hunters to take a look at the regulations ahead of the season, and wish everyone a safe and happy hunt!"
Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within the 2016 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2016 Fall Turkey Regulations, and 2017 Spring Turkey Regulations. [PDF]
Public lands are the perfect place to pursue turkeys this spring.
Each year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts use Wisconsin's public lands for a variety of activities, ranging from birdwatching 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.
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).
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.
MADISON -- Landowners in Marinette, Oneida and St. Croix counties who would like to play an important role in wildlife management are encouraged to check out Snapshot Wisconsin.
Snapshot Wisconsin is a citizen science effort to capture images of all types of wildlife including deer, elk, bears, fox, bobcats, whooping cranes and more to and learn more about Wisconsin's wildlife. This project is led by Department of Natural Resources staff in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Extension.
This project offers a unique opportunity to view wildlife in their normal routines in the wild and data collected will help researchers better understand Wisconsin's ecological landscapes. To date, 446 volunteers currently maintain 613 trail cameras - 8,614,896 photos have been collected.
"Snapshot Wisconsin is a great way to get involved in volunteer-based monitoring and learn more about all of our different wildlife species. We have volunteers in Wisconsin participating as trail camera hosts and approximately 4,000 volunteers from around the world participating in crowd-sourced classification of our images on www.snapshotwisconsin.org" says Susan Frett, one of the volunteer coordinators working on the project.
To qualify to participate, volunteers must have access to at least 10 acres of contiguous private land in Marinette, Oneida or St. Croix county and agree to maintain a trail camera on that land for at least one year. Training and supplies are provided and no prior experience with trail cameras is necessary. In-person training sessions will be held in each county later this spring.
Snapshot Wisconsin is also recruiting applicants in Dodge, Iowa, Iron, Jackson, Manitowoc, Racine, Sawyer, Vernon and Waupaca counties. Tribal members or affiliates on tribal lands and educators throughout the state are also encouraged to participate. Additional counties will be added over the next few years.
Volunteers can sign up by visiting www.snapshotwisignup.org or find out more details by visiting the webpage which can be found at dnr.wi.gov using keyword "Snapshot Wisconsin".
Follow Wisconsin DNR on Facebook and Twitter for Snapshot Wisconsin updates and fun photos of all types of critters.
And, be sure to follow the department's Facebook page (exit DNR) for Snapshot Wisconsin updates, which will include photos from a number of project volunteers.
MADISON -- With cold weather and snowfall nearing an end, the Department of Natural Resources is looking for volunteers to lend their ears for the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey.
Volunteers will get to know Gray tree frogs (and many other frog and toad species) well through the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey. J. Rowe photo
Wildlife enthusiasts who rely on audio versus visual cues and listen for the anticipated choruses of wood frogs, boreal chorus frogs, and spring peepers are the perfect fit for this citizen-based monitoring project. The Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey (exit DNR) is the longest running citizen science amphibian calling survey in North America.
The survey was initiated in 1981 as a response to known and suspected declines in the 1960s and 1970s in numerous Wisconsin frog species, including the northern leopard frog, American bullfrog, pickerel frog, and Blanchard's cricket frog. The project's goals were to determine the status, distribution, and long-term trends of Wisconsin's twelve frog and toad species.
Since 1984, volunteers have contributed over 8,300 survey nights and 83,000 site visits. During this time, citizen scientists have helped DNR conservation biologists define the distribution and population trends of all 12 frog and toad species in the state.
Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey routes available to interested volunteers (open status is indicated by a green icon) can be found on the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey's website (exit DNR). If desired routes are occupied for 2017, interested volunteers can request to be placed on a waiting list for future years as requested routes or counties become available.
Volunteers who wish to sign up for an open WFTS route or phenology surveys in 2017 can contact the department's Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey Coordinator for further information.
In a typical year, more than 100 Wisconsin citizens take to the streets at night to record frog calling activity throughout Wisconsin's mosaic of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Volunteers survey three nights a year--during early spring, late spring, and early summer. Each volunteer makes 10 stops per night (five minutes at each site) and document species calling and the relative abundance of each species. For more information, check out a helpful survey overview video (exit DNR).
American toad. Andrew Badje photo.
More recently, phenology surveys (exit DNR) have been made available to help monitor frog and toad emergence and breeding seasons throughout the state to better document fluctuating spring weather conditions. Instead of visiting 10 stops (as completed by the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey), phenology volunteers choose one wetland to monitor throughout the frog calling season and record data as often as possible, for example, one five-minute survey per night.
Phenology surveys are open to an unlimited number of volunteers statewide and can often be completed comfortably from a three-season porch.
ASHLAND, Wis. -- Throughout Wisconsin, bald eagles are sprucing up their nests, red-tailed hawks are pairing up, and great horned owls are already sitting on eggs. For Wisconsin's earliest breeding species, daily sightings are already being documented for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II (exit DNR).
"Mild winter weather and the early return of some migrants, like geese, cranes, and blackbirds, have many birders anxious for spring and the start of nesting season," says Ryan Brady, DNR wildlife biologist and science coordinator for the atlas survey. "The atlas is a great way to put that eagerness to work for birds and the places they call home."
Organizers of this comprehensive bird survey, now entering its third year, encourage all birders and wildlife watchers to submit observations and attend free regional training workshops in Barron, Brown, Kenosha and Vernon counties in March and April.
"We always need more people to help," said Nick Anich, Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist and lead coordinator of the atlas survey. "From backyard birders, to kayakers observing wetland species during a paddle, to hunters recording observations from their blinds, there are many ways to gather sightings for the atlas and every bit of information is valuable toward understanding distribution and abundance of Wisconsin's breeding birds, which is a primary goal of the Atlas project."
Participants will need to survey more than 1,200 blocks of land across the state to replicate the effort from the first atlas (1995-2000) and ensure complete coverage.
Wildlife enthusiasts from Wisconsin, especially those who live in or travel to remote and sparsely populated regions, could add key data vital to completing the project, says Nick Anich, lead coordinator of the atlas survey and conservation biologist with DNR.
Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities or project details is encouraged to attend one of four regional workshops, where they can hear presentations tailored to either new or returning volunteers, attend a field trip to a local birding hotspot, and meet coordinators and expert birders from their region. Workshops are set for the following dates and locations:
Workshops are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. For details and registration, visit wsobirds.org/atlas-2017-regional-kickoff-workshops (exit DNR).
The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is led by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, and DNR.
Since the project started in 2015, more than 1,100 participants have submitted observations through eBird on more than 3 million birds and so far documented 11 bird species not recorded nesting in Wisconsin during the first atlas (1995-2000). After the survey is completed in 2019, the data will be published in a hard-copy book and online, and the dataset will be available for use by researchers, land managers, and others working to conserve birds and their habitats.
MADISON - The Nicolet Bird Club of Three Lakes has joined forces with Department of Natural Resources staff to manage Thunder Lake Wildlife Area in Oneida County through the Adopt a Wildlife Area program.
Members of the Nicolet Bird Club of Three Lakes and Department of Natural Resources staff are working together to enhance Thunder Lake Wildlife Area in Oneida County.
State wildlife officials say the Adopt a Wildlife Area program provides a positive impact to the environment, while giving people of all ages and interests an opportunity to participate in hands-on conservation work.
"From the outset, DNR staff have been very supportive of the Nicolet Bird Club of Three Lake's creation and goal of making the Thunder Lake Wildlife Area a popular destination for birding and wildlife enthusiasts - our club could not have accomplished what it has without DNR assistance," said Bill Lamon, Nicolet Bird Club of Three Lakes president. "DNR staff have made presentations to the club and provided counsel and direction to ensure that club initiatives are consistent with DNR goals for the area."
To date, club members have accomplished the following work with help from DNR staff, with an overall goal of improving public access for birding and wildlife observation:
Future improvements are planned at Thunder Lake Wildlife Area as this great partnership continues to grow.
Wisconsin State Fisheries Areas, Wildlife Areas, Flowages, Wild Rivers and Riverways provide critical fish and wildlife habitat along with outstanding nature based recreation. Adopt a Wildlife Area Participants receive a first-hand look at how the department uses management goals to maintain thousands of acres of property throughout Wisconsin and play a key role in enhancing wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities for others to enjoy.
Key adoption activities include habitat enhancements, invasive species control, nest box construction, trail and facility maintenance, and more. All safety and maintenance equipment, training, and certification is provided by the department.
MADISON -- Individuals, community and school groups, conservation organizations and local governments that enlist volunteers to gather critical information regarding Wisconsin plants, animals, waters and other natural resources are encouraged to apply for up to $5,000 to help fund these monitoring activities.
The Natural Heritage Conservation program has provided Partnership Program funds to volunteer monitoring projects since 2004 and has provided more than $1 million in support to 241 high priority natural resource monitoring projects in Wisconsin. This program provides important services through increased data collection capacity, citizen engagement, and significant cost savings; partner organizations typically contribute $3 in matching funds and donated time for every $1 the state provides toward the projects.
The Partnership Program application is open to any organization or individual conducting citizen-based monitoring that addresses priority species and habitat data needs in Wisconsin. The application is due April 6, 2017.
"Citizen-based monitoring helps to fill priority data gaps while empowering volunteers to make a difference both locally and statewide," says Eva Lewandowski, coordinator of the Citizen-based Monitoring Network for DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program. "Wisconsin has a long and proud tradition of volunteer involvement in monitoring our natural resources, and financial support from the Partnership Program goes a long way in supporting those volunteer efforts to study and protect our plants, animals, and habitats."
The Department of Natural Resources has released a request for proposals for the Citizen-based Monitoring Partnership Program and is currently accepting applications. This request for proposals and application guidelines can be found on the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network website (exit DNR).
Projects can apply for up to $5,000 to fund monitoring activities from July 1, 2017 to June 20, 2018. In previous years, funded projects have focused on topics like monitoring lake temperatures, documenting bird distributions, and training volunteers to monitor rare plants.
MADISON -- Department of Natural Resources staff uses a number of tools to reach Wisconsin's citizens. While these outlets give DNR staff an opportunity to interact directly with the public, they also let visitors to these pages share stories and experiences with others from all over the world.
Share photos, tag friends, and interact with DNR staff on our Facebook page
Facebook provides an avenue to share feedback with staff, ask questions, or simply share photos or stories from afield. Whether you are looking for answers to a question about regulations, or looking to share a photo from your trip to a state park, Facebook is a perfect fit.
Check out the department's Facebook page www.facebook.com/WIDNR (exit DNR).
Looking for news on the go? Send us a tweet!
For people who like to get their news on the go, Twitter provides bite-sized updates for a number of DNR programs and events. Check out the department's Twitter page twitter.com/WDNR (exit DNR).
Learn more about a number of cool DNR projects on our YouTube page
For a closer look at some of the department's most interesting projects and programs, the department's www.youtube.com/user/WIDNRTV (exit DNR) provides an inside look at everything from tips for deer season to environmental success stories.
Receive email updates for topics that interest you - subscribe to a Gov Delivery list
To receive email updates regarding everything from deer hunting to volunteer opportunities, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select any lists that fall within your outdoor interests.
Are you a "pinner?" Check out DNR's Pinterest page
Whether you are looking for wild game recipes, or new ideas for fun acitvities in the outdoors, the department's www.pinterest.com/wdnr/ (exit DNR) provides a number of opportunities to check out cool photos and trip ideas and share with friends.
Looking to start your career with DNR? Our LinkedIn page has it all!
If you are interested in a career in natural resources management, look no further - the department's www.linkedin.com/company/wisconsin-department-of-natural-resources (exit DNR) is a one-stop shop for job opportunities at DNR.
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
Read more: Previous Weekly News