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Black Bear Permits and Spring Wild Turkey Harvest Authorizations Application Deadline is Dec. 10

Dec. 10 is the deadline to apply for 2020 black bear permits as well as spring turkey permits. - Photo credit: Catherine Khalar
Dec. 10 is the deadline to apply for 2020 black bear permits as well as spring turkey authorizations.Photo credit: Catherine Khalar

Contact(s): Alaina Gerrits, assistant upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458, or Matt Gross, assistant big game ecologist, 608-261-7588,
December 3, 2019

MADISON, Wis. - Black bear and wild turkey hunters are reminded to submit their applications for the 2020 season permit drawings before midnight on Dec. 10. Applications for permit drawings can be purchased through Go Wild or an authorized license agent.

Black bear

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently in the process of determining 2020 harvest quotas. Harvest numbers from the 2019 black bear season are not yet finalized, but preliminary estimates show that hunters harvested more than 3,600 bears.

Bear hunters are reminded that due to the high interest in this hunt, hunters must apply for several years before receiving a permit through the drawing process for most bear management zones. 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 the hunter is selected in the 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 be aware of drawing status. Applicants selected in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing and may purchase their 2020 Class A bear license beginning in March 2020. Applicants may also check their status online through their Go Wild customer account.

The season structure for the 2020 bear hunt is as follows:

Zone C (dogs not permitted):

All other zones:

2020 spring turkey

Dec. 10 is the deadline to apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization (previously known as a tag or permit). Turkey harvest authorizations are issued through a preference-based drawing system. For more information on the turkey preference drawing, see the Turkey Frequently Asked Questions.

Applicants may choose up to two time period and zone combinations that they would like to hunt. As a third choice, applicants may choose one zone in which they will accept a harvest authorization for any time period. This third choice can be the same zone as the first and/or second choice. The second and third choices are optional, but applicants are encouraged to provide second and third choices to maximize their likelihood of drawing a harvest authorization.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail after the drawing results are finalized.

Unsuccessful applicants will receive a preference point that will increase their chances of drawing a harvest authorization the following spring season. Hunters can check their application status online through Go Wild.

Any harvest authorizations that were not awarded in the drawing will be available for purchase as bonus harvest authorizations starting March 16. Bonus harvest authorizations will cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents.

All turkey hunters are required to possess a valid spring turkey license and Wild Turkey Stamp when they acquire their spring turkey harvest authorization. A 2020 spring turkey license is $15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents. The 2020 Wild Turkey Stamp is $5.25.

The 2020 spring turkey season is as follows:

For information on hunting in state parks, visit the DNR website here. All harvested turkeys must be registered. For information on how to register your turkey, visit the turkey registration page here.

Youth turkey hunt - April 11-12

The annual Spring Turkey Youth Hunt is designed for hunters ages 15 and younger. Interested youth hunt participants should apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization before the Dec. 10 deadline. A harvest authorization for any time period can be used during the two-day youth hunt, but hunters are limited to the zone listed on their harvest authorization.

Youth hunters must either have a Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment or hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program. All hunters under 12 years of age must participate in the Mentored Hunting Program, even if they have completed a hunter safety education course. All other turkey hunting regulations apply to the youth hunt.

Spring wild turkey hunt for people with disabilities applications due Dec. 10

Hunters with disabilities may apply for a harvest authorization outside of the normal spring turkey drawing. Hunters can apply for the Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities by submitting Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A.

This special hunt is only valid on private lands. Forms must be submitted by Dec. 10 to the DNR wildlife biologist for the county in which the hunt will take place. Any applicant who applies for a turkey harvest authorization using Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A may not apply for a harvest authorization through the general spring turkey drawing.

For more information regarding bear and turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit the bear hunting and the turkey hunting pages of the DNR website.

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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