NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 2,443 days

See This Full Issue

All Previous Archived Issues


Contact(s): Krista Pham, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458; David MacFarland, DNR large carnivore specialist, 715-365-8917; Adam Murkowski, DNR assistant big game specialist, 608-261-7588
December 8, 2015

MADISON -- Wild turkey and black bear hunters have until close of business Dec. 10 to submit an application for 2016 hunting season permits.

Black bear

Bear hunters are reminded that harvest permits (Class A licenses) are issued via drawing, and hunters must apply for several years in some management zones before they receive a permit.

Harvest numbers from the 2015 black bear season are not yet finalized, but preliminary estimates show that hunters harvested close to 4,200 bears. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently in the process of determining 2016 harvest quotas.

Bear hunters are reminded that they can apply for a permit or purchase a preference point for future years. In order for bear permit applicants to retain their accumulated preference points, they must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years or all previously accumulated preference points will be lost.

If a bear management zone is selected at the time of purchase and the hunter is selected in the February drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. It is the applicant's responsibility to know their drawing status. Those selected in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing, and may purchase their 2016 Class A bear license beginning in March 2016. Applicants may also check their status through the online licensing service or by contacting a DNR Customer Service Representative.

The season structure for the 2016 bear hunt is as follows.

Zone C (dogs not permitted):

All other zones (use of dogs permitted):

For more information, visit the DNR website at and search keyword "bear."

Spring 2015 turkey season

The 2016 spring turkey season will begin April 9 with the annual Spring Youth Turkey Hunt. The regular turkey season will begin the following Wednesday, April 13, and will consist of six seven-day time periods, with the final period closing May 24.

A permit drawing will take place in late December. Successful permit applicants will receive a postcard by late January 2016. Applicants may also check their drawing status online through the Online Licensing Center beginning in late January.

Permit winners may purchase their required 2016 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents) and 2016 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25) in early March. Each permit (also known as a carcass tag) will be printed at the time of purchase. Conservation Patrons and Senior Citizen Recreation Card holders are required to purchase a turkey license or stamp when they pick up their permit.

Leftover permits following the initial drawing for 2016 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March.

Turkey hunters are reminded that Wisconsin's state park turkey management zones were eliminated Sept. 1, 2014. However, state parks remain open for hunting. For more information, visit and search keywords "hunting state parks."

Harvested turkeys must be registered by 5 p.m. on the day following harvest. In-person registration stations are no longer available, and hunters can use the call-in registration hotline at 1-888-HUNT-WIS or the online registration webpage (keywords "turkey registration").

Youth turkey hunt

The eighth annual Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be held prior to the opening of the regular spring turkey season April 9-10.

In conjunction with the Mentored Hunting Program, the Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be open to resident and non-resident youth hunters ages 10-15. A Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment is not required for Spring Turkey Youth Hunt participants. Special rules and regulations apply to those who choose to participate in the Mentored Hunting Program, and interested hunters should carefully review these rules prior to entering the field.

A spring turkey license, stamp, and valid permit/carcass tag is required to participate in the youth hunt. All other existing turkey hunting rules and regulations apply.

Youth hunters who do not harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use an unfilled permit during the zone and time period for which the tag was issued. Interested youth hunt participants should apply for a spring turkey permit before the Dec. 10 deadline.

Applications for turkey hunts for hunters with disabilities are due Dec. 10

Hunters with disabilities who wish to turkey hunt next spring on private land are reminded of an additional opportunity to hunt using a separate application and authorization form.

Applications to conduct a Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities on private land must be submitted using DNR Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A. Forms must be submitted before Dec. 10 to a local DNR wildlife biologist or department office for the county where the hunt will take place. Please note that any applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may not apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey drawing.

First-time license buyer discount

Certain resident hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses are available for as little as $5 for those who have never purchased that same type of license or have not purchased a Wisconsin license authorizing that activity in any of the prior ten years. Certain non-resident licenses are also discounted for first-time buyers.

Hunting and fishing licenses and applications for permit drawings can be purchased through the Online Licensing Center, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (hours for service centers vary - check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).

For more information regarding bear and turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keywords "bear" or "turkey."

Those interested in receiving email updates can sign up for the DNR's GovDelivery service. Visit, and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page to "Subscribe to DNR Updates."

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 08, 2015

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.