November 22, 2011
MADISON - Wild turkey and black bear hunters have until close of business on Dec. 10 to apply for available permits for the 2012 Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season and the 2012 black bear hunting season.
Preliminary permit levels for the spring turkey season are set at 225,420 total permits (not including Fort McCoy or State Park & Disabled-only Hunting Zones). This is the same number of permits available to hunters during the 2011 spring season. Final permit levels are not set until after the close of the fall turkey season but will likely not differ significantly from preliminary permit levels.
Total permits available for the 2012 black bear hunt has not yet been determined. The Natural Resources Board will take up the proposed black bear quotas and harvest permit levels at its January 2012 meeting.
Applications for each of these two permit drawings cost $3 and may be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). Applications postmarked after the December 10th deadline, or those which have been filled out incorrectly, will not be considered for the drawings.
Hunters interested in receiving email updates can sign up for the DNR's GovDelivery service through the "Subscribe to DNR Updates" link on the DNR website. There, you can select your subscription preferences.
The 2012 spring turkey season officially begins with the April 7-8 Spring Turkey Youth Hunt. The regular turkey season begins on the following Wednesday, April 11. New in 2012, the spring season will consist of six 7-day time periods, ending on May 22. Previously the season was six 5-day periods. The drawing for permits will take place in late January or early February. Successful permit applicants can expect to receive a postcard by mid-February. All applicants may also check their drawing status online through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website starting in mid-February.
With the start of the 2012 license year on March 7, 2012, permit winners may then purchase their required 2012 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents) and 2012 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25). The permit (also known as a carcass tag) will be printed at the time of purchase. Conservation Patrons and Senior Citizen Recreation Card holders do not need to purchase a turkey license or stamp when they go to pick up their permit.
Permits remaining after the initial drawing for the 2012 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March, at a date to be specified later.
All turkey hunters are reminded that in-person turkey registration stations are no longer available in Wisconsin. Turkeys can be registered either via telephone at 1-888-HUNT-WIS or online through the Wild Turkey Hunting in Wisconsin page of the DNR website. These registration systems were in implemented with the Fall 2011 turkey season, and offer hunters a more convenient method of registering their turkey.
Applications for people who want to conduct or participate in a spring wild turkey hunt for people with disabilities on private land must also be submitted by Dec. 10 to the local DNR wildlife biologist or department office for the county within which the hunt will take place. Please note that any hunter applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may NOT also apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey drawing.
The 2012 black bear season begins Sept. 5, the first Wednesday after Labor Day, and runs through Oct. 9. The opening week of Wisconsin's bear hunting season alternates - allowing those who hunt over bait to go first one year and those who hunt with the aid of dogs to go first the next year. In 2012, hunters who hunt over bait will go first in all management zones; the season for those hunting with the aid of dogs or using other methods will open Sept. 12 in zones that allow hunting with the aid of dogs (A,B, and D). In Zone C, where hunting with dogs is prohibited, hunters may hunt bear over bait or by other means not using dogs from September 5th through Oct. 9.
There were 27,793 hunters who submitted applications for the 9,005 Class A bear harvest permits available for the 2011 bear season. A total of 103,853 hunters applied for either a harvest permit or a preference point in 2011.
Applicants currently need to have collected between four and nine preference points in order to successfully draw a bear harvest permit. Hunters can check their preference point status in one of three ways: by visiting the Online Licensing Center, by calling Customer Service & Licensing toll-free at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463), or by contacting a local DNR Service Center.
The bear drawing is held each year in early February. Drawing winners will be notified via U.S. Mail shortly after the drawing. Drawing winners may purchase their 2012 Class A bear license beginning March 7, the start of the 2012 license year.
Total permit availability for the 2012 black bear season has not yet been determined. Proposed quota and permit levels will be taken up by the State Natural Resources Board at its January 2012 meeting.
More information on black bear hunting is available on the DNR website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: on spring turkey hunting contact Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist - (608) 267-7861 or Sharon Fandel, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist - (608) 261-8456; on black bear hunting contact: Linda Olver, Assistant Big Game Specialist - (608) 261-7588