Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861
MADISON -- The 2017 spring turkey hunt is almost here, and hunters are reminded to check out the regulations and other helpful information on the Department of Natural Resources website to make sure they are ready for another year in the woods.
Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within the 2016 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2016 Fall Turkey Regulations, and 2017 Spring Turkey Regulations [PDF]. For more general information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "turkey."
For tag species such as wild turkey, in 2017 hunters must again possess their carcass tags while hunting. Upon killing a turkey, hunters must immediately validate the carcass tag by writing the date and circling AM or PM in the space provided. No hunter may leave the turkey carcass unless the validated carcass tag has been attached to it.
All harvested turkeys must be registered either online at GameReg.Wi.Gov or via phone at 1-844-GAME-REG (1-844-426-3734) by 5 p.m. the day after harvest. Hunters will need the carcass tag number from their carcass tag to begin harvest registration process. Again this year, there are no in-person registration stations are available. Following the registration process, hunters will be given a harvest registration confirmation number which must be recorded on their carcass tag at the time of registration.
The 2017 spring turkey season will run from April 19 through May 30, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones will be open for hunting.
Youth hunters ages 12-15 who have completed hunter education may hunt during the youth turkey hunt on April 15 and 16 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 2017 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 year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts use Wisconsin's public lands for a variety of activities, ranging from birdwatching to hunting. For those interested in exploring all Wisconsin has to offer, the department has a number of tools available to help users find a new favorite spot in the wild.
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 select periods, 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 "state park hunting."
Hunters are reminded that the Fort McCoy spring turkey hunting season is managed separately from the State of Wisconsin spring turkey hunt. Hunters who do not receive approval to hunt turkeys through the state drawing in a Wisconsin turkey hunting zone for the 2017 spring season are eligible to apply for a spring permit at Fort McCoy. Applications can be obtained from Fort McCoy by calling 608-388-3337 or visiting www.mccoy.army.mil (exit DNR).