April 5, 2011
MADISON - The April 13 opening of the 2011 spring wild turkey hunting season is just around the corner, and state wildlife officials say hunters can look forward to a good spring hunt. They are also encouraging experienced hunters to consider taking a youth out during the April 9 and 10 statewide spring turkey youth hunt.
More than 225,700 permits were made available for this spring's hunt, the same number of permits offered for the 2010 spring season. More than 145,500 of those permits were issued in the preference drawing for the spring 2011 season, leaving 80,178 tags available for sale. Remaining permits went on sale March 21. As of April 5, there were still permits available for three zones in later hunting periods. Remaining permits can be purchased until they are sold out or the season ends. Visit the spring turkey leftover permit availability page for up-to-date information.
"From the information gathered during annual surveys, the wild turkey population continues to show relatively good, healthy numbers," says Scott Walter, Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist. "The results of the 2010 10-week brood survey were mixed, indicating a downturn in the number of turkey broods observed, while brood size increased slightly from 2009 levels. Overall, turkey brood production appears to have leveled off somewhat but remains slightly below the statewide long-term goal."
Hunters harvested 47,722 turkeys in 2010, a 9 percent decrease from the near-record harvest of 52,581 birds in 2009. Spring success rates over the past few years have been in the 22 to 25 percent range.
The 2011 spring turkey season starts on April 13 and consists of 6 five-day time periods that end on May 22. Find out more on the wild turkey page of the DNR website.
The 2011 Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will occur statewide on April 9 and 10. The two-day spring youth hunt, successfully initiated in 2007, occurs each year during the weekend preceding the opening of the regular spring turkey season. The youth hunt allows close one-on-one mentoring of future hunters in a relaxed atmosphere without competition for hunting spots from regular season hunters.
Thanks to the Mentored Hunting Program that took effect starting with the 2009 fall season, youth hunters aged 10 and 11, in addition to youth ages 12 through 15, may now also participate in the 2011 youth turkey hunt. Under the Mentored Hunting Program, youth ages 10 through 15 may hunt during the two-day youth turkey hunt without first having completed hunter education, so long as they do so with a qualified adult mentor and follow the rules of the program. Youth ages 12-15 who have already completed hunter education may hunt during the youth hunt while accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. Each youth must have a valid spring 2011 turkey harvest permit, license, and stamp.
Youth are allowed to hunt on April 9 and 10 in the turkey management zone for which their permit is valid, regardless of the time period their permit is issued for, and may harvest only one male or bearded turkey during the two-day hunt. A youth who does not successfully harvest a turkey during the two-day youth hunt may use the unfilled permit during the time period and in the zone for which the permit was issued. There is no special application procedure for the youth hunt, but young hunters must either be issued a tag through the drawing or purchase a leftover tag. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Krista McGinley, (608) 264-8963, Sharon Fandel (608) 261-8458 or Scott Walter, (608) 267-7861