August 7, 2012
MADISON -- Results from a recent survey on turkey management in Wisconsin show strong support of current practices, with 80 percent of respondents indicating they believe the current seven turkey management zones provide good hunting opportunity, and over three-quarters of respondents favoring the six separate time periods of the spring hunting season.
"While there's a lot of information yet to comb through, our initial summary provides unique insight into how hunters view various aspects of Wisconsin's turkey season framework," said Krista McGinley, assistant upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources.
The survey showed strong approval of the current permit drawing process for the spring season, but also suggested that it might be time to make some changes to the fall permit drawing process.
"Over half of the survey takers indicated that they'd support the elimination of the fall permit drawing in favor of over-the-counter permit sales," McGinley said. "We greatly appreciate the time folks took to participate in the public input process. Thanks to this input, we'll be able to develop a plan that continues to reflect the desires and concerns of our state's hunters."
Following their successful reintroduction to Wisconsin in the 1970s, wild turkeys have expanded their range so that they now occupy all counties in the state, and spring and fall turkey hunting have become very popular outdoor activities.
DNR biologists believe the current Wisconsin Wild Turkey Management Plan, written in 1996, is in need of revision in order to remain pertinent to contemporary issues related to turkey management in the state. A critical part of the revision process includes soliciting, gathering, and analyzing input from the public regarding challenges and opportunities in turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin.
During late April and early May of 2012, 11 public input sessions were held around the state, during which attendees were presented with background information and asked to complete a survey that addressed important issues related to the future direction of turkey management. The survey was also available online through the end of May. Information from this survey will help all of the partners involved in managing our state's turkey flock in developing a plan that protects the turkey resource, but also optimizes recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
"There's no question that the DNR and the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation have done a masterful job restoring wild turkeys back to Wisconsin," says Cory Catlin, president of the federation's Wisconsin chapter. "This was particularly evident a couple of years ago when our state led the nation in spring harvest. Now that we've seen those numbers level off a bit, it's time to move forward with management changes that improve habitat, hunting opportunities, and the overall health of our sport."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Walter, (608) 267-7861 and Krista McGinley, (608) 261-8458