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September 7, 2010

Hunter safety should be a top priority

MADISON - The 2010 Fall Wild Turkey and Ruffed Grouse seasons are set to open at the start of shooting hours on Sept. 18, and state wildlife officials say hunter prospects are good for both seasons.

Overall, Wisconsin's statewide wild turkey population remains strong and wildlife officials have maintained the number of fall turkey permits at 95,700, the same number that was offered during last year's fall turkey season. Despite a slight drop in statewide population levels, Wisconsin ruffed grouse hunters should also experience a rewarding season.

Hunters may now use dogs statewide to hunt wild turkey for the fall 2010 season; use is no longer restricted to the nine-county area in place during the 2009 hunt.

This will be the second year that an extended fall season, running Nov. 29 through Dec. 31, will be in place. This extended season will take place in Turkey Management Zones 1-5 ONLY.

Hunters are reminded of the requirement for blaze orange on ground blinds (page 9 in Fall 2010 Small Game Regulations) on DNR lands during any Gun Deer Season. Ground blinds on DNR lands left unattended must also have the owner's name and address or DNR Customer Identification Number attached near the door opening. Ground blinds may not be left out overnight. Please note that these ground blind rules do not apply to ground blinds being used for hunting waterfowl or to blinds built only out of natural vegetation found on the DNR property.

Grouse and turkey hunters should also note that during any gun or muzzleloader deer season, including the Oct. 9-10 Youth Deer Hunt, antlerless hunts and CWD hunts (see 2010 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations), blaze orange clothing is required. A hat, if worn, must be at least 50 percent blaze orange.

Turkey, grouse hunting have special safety concerns

Hunters need to keep safety in mind when hunting these challenging game birds.

"There's something very special about turkey and grouse hunting," says Tim Lawhern, hunter education administrator for the state Department of Natural Resources. "And with the enthusiasm that goes with this type of hunting, we should all be mindful of making sure we return home safe and sound at the end of each hunt."

Here are some things Lawhern says hunters need to keep in mind when going afield after ruffed grouse and fall turkey:

Lawhern suggests that hunters also consider wearing some type of eye protection. A good pair of clear or light-colored safety glasses can go a long way toward avoiding injury to eyes and sight.

Grouse and turkey hunters also need to be aware that there might be other hunters afield at the same time after other types of game. Bow hunters may be perched in tree stands and other turkey hunters may be under a tree. Most of them will be wearing full camouflage and will therefore be very hard to see.

"Famed conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote, 'There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting, and ruffed grouse hunting,'" Lawhern says. "Don't let careless hunting practices spoil this special tradition."

Fall Wild Turkey & Ruffed Grouse Season Dates & Reminders

2010 Fall Wild Turkey Season Dates:

2010 Fall Wild Turkey Extended Season Dates for Zones 1-5 ONLY:

2010 Ruffed Grouse Season Dates:

For more information see the Wisconsin Wild Turkey and Grouse of Wisconsin pages of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sharon Fandel, Acting Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 261-8458; Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 264-8963; Tim Lawhern, Hunter Education Administrator: (608) 266-1317; or Bob Manwell, Office of Communication: (608) 264-9248

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 07, 2010

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