Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861
MADISON - The 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization drawing has concluded and 138,144 successful applicants will receive spring wild turkey harvest authorizations. A total of 244,218 authorizations were available for the spring 2018 turkey season. The leftover harvest authorizations not issued in the drawing will be available for purchase beginning March 19.
Postcard notifications to successful applicants have been mailed. Hunters can also monitor their harvest authorization status in their online account at GoWild.WI.gov.
Along with a spring turkey harvest authorization, a valid 2018 spring turkey license and Wild Turkey Stamp is required to hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Stamps and licenses may be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any license agent or DNR Service Centers, beginning in March at the start of the license year.
The spring turkey season begins on the third Wednesday in April. The 2018 spring season will run from April 18 through May 29, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday.
Hunters are reminded that spring turkey harvest authorizations are no longer available in any of the previous state park hunting zones following a 2014 rule change. While these 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 harvest authorization. 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 may apply for a 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization at Fort McCoy only if they have not received one through the regular spring turkey drawing. 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 2017 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2017 Fall Turkey Regulations and 2018 Spring Turkey Regulations [PDF].
The leftover harvest authorizations for the 2018 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Monday, March 19 at 10 a.m. Leftover harvest authorizations will be first issued for sale by zone, one zone per day. Leftover harvest authorizations can be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any of more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.
Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey management zone map [PDF] and the leftover harvest authorization availability page to see if harvest authorizations are available for the period and zone in which they wish to hunt.
The following zones have leftover harvest authorizations, and scheduled sales dates are as follows:
NOTE: all available harvest authorizations for Zone 6 were issued via the drawing
After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey harvest authorizations will be made available for purchase Saturday, March 24. Extra turkey harvest authorizations can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time-period sells out or the season closes.
Leftover turkey harvest authorizations cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents - each will have equal opportunity to purchase leftover harvest authorizations. Purchasing a leftover harvest authorization will not affect preference point status for future turkey drawings.
Youth hunters under the age of 16 may hunt during the youth turkey hunt on April 14-15. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. During the youth hunt weekend, hunters under the age of 12 and youth hunters who have not completed a hunter education course can hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program. Special rules and regulations apply.
Each youth hunter must have a valid spring 2018 turkey harvest authorization, license and Wild Turkey Stamp. A current, valid harvest authorization issued for any time-period can be used during the youth hunt, but the youth hunter must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization. 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 harvest authorization for the time-period and zone for which their authorization was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations [PDF] apply.
For more information and the rules and regulations on the spring turkey youth hunt, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "youth hunt."
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.
For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "turkey."