NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 3,060 days

See This Full Issue

All Previous Archived Issues


April 1, 2014

Hunters need park-specific permit to hunt those parks; other parks are open to any hunters

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to reflect the third turkey period ends on May 6 and that turkey hunting in state parks will go through May 6.

MADISON - Turkey hunters interested in hunting in a Wisconsin state park during the 2014 Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season should note that the 16 state parks that were open to spring turkey hunting prior to 2014 are still designated as special turkey hunting zones.

"To hunt in the 16 state parks with designated turkey zones, a person must have a turkey hunting permit that is issued specifically for that zone," said Scott Loomans, wildlife regulations specialist for the Department of Natural Resources. "The 2012 law opening state park properties to hunting did not eliminate the established state park turkey zones that are set in current administrative codes."

State park spring turkey zone permits are issued through the same permit application process as permits for regular turkey zones. Hunters had to apply for those permits by the Dec. 10 application deadline, and all available permits for state park units were issued through the application process, so there are no state parks zone permits available for over-the-counter sales.

Loomans says the other state parks that are now open for spring 2014 turkey hunting are open to any person who holds a turkey hunting permit for the general turkey hunting zone (zones 1-7) [PDF]for which that particular state park is located within.

All state park properties, including those in designated state park turkey zones, are only open for the first three turkey hunting periods, which end May 6; they are not open for the last three periods.

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board recently voted to remove individual state park turkey zones. Thus, beginning in 2015, the existing state park turkey zones will be eliminated, but they remain in place this spring because changes to Wisconsin Administrative Code procedures can now take up to two years to change rules.

State parks that have turkey zones include: Belmont Mound, Buckhorn, Devil's Lake, Governor Dodge, Hartman Creek, Interstate, Mirror Lake, Natural Bridge, Nelson Dewey, New Glarus Woods, Newport, Rocky Arbor, Straight Lake, Wildcat Mountain, Willow River and Wyalusing, and the Loew Lake Unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest.

A list of the state parks which have their own special zone designation, as well as a map of the state turkey management zones can be found in the Small Game and Turkey Hunting regulations pamphlet [PDF].

Hunting is only allowed within the parks in areas designated as open. Closed areas include within 100 feet of designated use areas, such as parking lots, campgrounds and picnic areas, as well as within 100 feet of certain trails. Additional areas within parks may be closed due to safety concerns. Also some state parks have property that is within municipal boundaries where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.

"It is each hunter's responsibility to know what areas within a park are open to hunting and which areas are closed," Loomans said. Maps indicating closed and open areas are available on the DNR website, at park offices, and will be posted at parking areas and other locations within parks.

Wisconsin State Parks Director Dan Schuller notes that while early spring is a lower use time at state parks, it is also a very popular time for many bird watchers to visit parks to observe migrating spring birds, so hunters should expect to encounter other people using the park during spring turkey hunting periods.

And while most turkey hunters wear camouflaged clothing while hunting, all visitors are encouraged to wear blaze orange or other brightly colored clothing when hunting seasons are open, including turkey hunters while walking to and from their hunting locations.

For more information search the DNR website for keywords "turkey" and "hunting state parks."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Loomans - 608- 267-2452 or Paul Holtan, state parks, forest, trails and recreation public affairs manager - 608-267-7517

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Need an expert?

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.