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Time to prepare for 2017 spring turkey season

Published by Central Office March 14, 2017

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861

Leftover spring turkey permits go on sale March 20

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.

Tagging, transport and possession- if you leave it, tag it!

Hunters must validate the carcass tag immediately with a confirmation number and the date and time of kill. This validated carcass tag must be attached to the turkey before leaving the carcass unattended.
Hunters must validate the carcass tag immediately with a confirmation number and the date and time of kill. This validated carcass tag must be attached to the turkey before leaving the carcass unattended.

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.

Leftover spring turkey permits go on sale March 20

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).

Spring turkey periods run for seven days

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.

Wisconsin's public lands the perfect place to pursue birds by providing a wealth of opportunities to find a place to hunt 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.

Public lands are the perfect place to pursue turkeys this spring.
Public lands are the perfect place to pursue turkeys this spring.
Photo Credit: DNR

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 turkey hunt set for April 15-16

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.

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773