MADISON -- Spring turkey season gets underway this weekend with the youth hunt set for Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10 and six individual hunting periods between April 13 and May 24.
In addition to the new purchasing options made possible by the Department of Natural Resources' Go Wild licensing system, hunters will see other changes relating to validation and tagging of certain species such as turkey.
The system has eliminated the use of thermal paper licenses and allows customers in most circumstances to show proof of their licenses with an optional Conservation Card, a verified Wisconsin driver's license, a paper printout or a PDF displayed on a mobile device.
In addition to one of the forms of licensing proof, turkey hunters need a paper printout of their turkey carcass tag. Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, said the Go Wild system requires turkey hunters to print carcass tags directly from their account. There is no more waiting for carcass tags to arrive by mail.
"Hunters can now print tags at home, or stop at a DNR service center or vendor to have a representative print the tags," Witecha said. "If you did not print the carcass tag upon the initial purchase, or if you need a duplicate copy, simply log back into the Go Wild system to print the tag."
Other important steps for turkey hunters this year:
"This information replaces the tagging instructions contained in the spring 2016 regulations pamphlets, which were printed before the Go Wild system was fully developed," Witecha said. "Turkey numbers look strong for the spring season and we wish everyone a safe and successful hunt."
Youth ages 12-15 who have completed hunter education may hunt during the youth hunt on April 9 and 10 while accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. In addition, thanks to the Mentored Hunting Program, turkey hunters ages 10 and 11 may also participate in the 2016 youth turkey hunt without first having completed hunter education, as long as they do so with a qualified adult mentor and follow program rules.
Each youth hunter must have a valid spring 2016 turkey harvest permit, license and Wild Turkey Stamp, and may hunt in the Turkey Management Zone for which their permit is valid, regardless of the time period for which their permit is issued. 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 permit during the time period and in the zone for which the permit was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.
In 2016, the spring turkey season will run from April 13 through May 24, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones and Fort McCoy will be open for hunting.
Hunters are reminded that spring turkey permits are no longer available in any of the previous state park hunting zones following a 2014 rule change. While these permits have been eliminated, state parks will remain open for spring turkey hunting during the first three time periods only, 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 permit. For more information regarding hunting within state parks, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "hunting state parks."
A limited number of Turkey Hunter Education Clinics are being offered this spring in southeastern Wisconsin. For more information, search keywords "turkey clinics."
The Go Wild system is part of a larger DNR campaign to encourage people to head outdoors and enjoy the numerous recreational opportunities made possible by the sound management of Wisconsin's natural resources. GoWild.WI.Gov acts as a portal to help plan adventures with links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, Wisconsin's unparalleled network of state parks, trails and natural areas and a variety of maps.
For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "turkey."