Hunters asked to consider teaching new hunters of all ages

MADISON, WI - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Learn to Hunt coordinator says the early winter weeks of February and March are ideal times to plan spring turkey Learn to Hunt events for youths, adults and families interested in nature and eating healthy.
Keith Warnke, DNR hunting and shooting sports coordinator, says those planning their own spring hunt outings can be among the most effective mentors for those interested in learning about safe and effective hunting, and its role in conservation and harvesting healthy foods.
"Setting aside time to teach the next generation of hunters is of utmost importance for the future of our wildlife conservation programs and unique hunting culture in Wisconsin." Warnke said.
Warnke says it is common to organize Learn to Hunt events for youth - but another group often is overlooked. Adults and families who have a strong appreciation for Wisconsin's resources, its wild spaces and eating healthy.
"We know that young adults and families living in urban and suburban areas really value sources of local, sustainably-raised protein," Warnke said. "Hunting wild game is a very meaningful way to have a personal connection with your food."
Spring turkey seasons offer an excellent opportunity for novice hunters of all ages to harvest their first animal. A conservation success story, wild turkeys abound in the state and their population continues to grow, in part because of well-managed hunting seasons.
"Whether you grill up your turkey the day of the hunt or save it for Thanksgiving," Warnke said, "there's nothing like a healthful, savory meal of wild turkey, and the memory of a spring morning in Wisconsin, with turkeys gobbling at dawn."
For more information on all your Learn to Hunt needs, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "LTH."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Southeast Minnesota landowner deer permits available through mid-March

Landowner deer permits in portions of southeastern Minnesota’s chronic wasting disease management zone become effective this week as the Department of Natural Resources works with eligible landowners to reduce the possibility of disease spread.
“We’re targeting our efforts this year and contacting eligible landowners via letter with the details they need to participate,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “With their help, we want to lower deer densities in core chronic wasting disease locations and remove potentially infected deer.”
Only landowners within two miles of any CWD-infected deer discovered in 2016 or 2017 are eligible to receive a shooting permit, which will be effective from mid-February to mid-March. Only landowners or their authorized designees can take deer. There is no public hunting opportunity.
The DNR will sample all deer taken, including fawns. Participating landowners are required to submit heads for testing at designated collection boxes located in the disease management zone.
To encourage participation, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association will conduct a drawing for a muzzleloader. A person will be entered in the drawing each time they take a deer and submit the head for sampling.
If any deer taken during the landowner shooting phase tests positive for CWD, the landowner or designee will be contacted and results posted on the DNR’s CWD website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
The special late-season hunt in southeastern Minnesota revealed no new instances of CWD. Late season participation and harvest was down from 2017. Participants harvested 374 deer, down from the 2017 late hunt harvest of 900.
The total number of CWD positive wild deer sampled in this disease management area remains at 17, with six new positives identified in the fall of 2017.
A map of the disease management zone and additional information about the DNR’s efforts to keep Minnesota’s wild deer healthy are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd. Because disease information can change rapidly, people are encouraged to regularly check back for updates.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Hunter Ethics Award honors character, not harvest

LA CROSSE, WI - If a hunter's action impressed you as kindness, courtesy, respect, responsible - or any way you witnessed a moral compass in action - consider nominating the individual for the annual Wisconsin Hunter Ethics Award for 2017.
First awarded in 1997, the annual Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources honor recognizes the hunter whose action are emblematic of Wisconsin's hunting heritage. A heritage that is of an outdoor tradition enjoyed responsibly, respectfully and safely by and for all and not about trophy bucks or number of pheasants.
DNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller, also a member of the award committee, says ethical behavior often means going above and beyond.
"That means actions that help another during a hunt, or taking steps to ensure the resources are there for all," Schaller said. "The award is focused on a singular action or event such as past recognition; returning lost gear, helped others find lost game or assisted another hunter facing a challenge of some kind."
Anyone - hunter or non-hunter - can nominate a licensed Wisconsin hunter for the DNR Ethical Hunter Award for an action that took place during the calendar year of 2017. While many nominations are made during gun-deer season, the ethical action could be something done during a squirrel hunt, turkey hunt, waterfowl hunting or any other Wisconsin hunting season.
A four-person committee studies the nominations and selects the person judged most deserving of this award. The annual honor was established by Bob Lamb, retired outdoors editor of the La Crosse Tribune, retired DNR conservation warden supervisor Steve Dewald and retired University of Wisconsin-La Crosse biology professor and outdoors writer Jerry Davis.
Last year, Wisconsin-based Vortex Optics partnered with the award and provided a package of a range finder, binoculars and a rifle scope for the award winner. Highlighting Wisconsin hunting heritage, Vortex is planning to continue the partnership.
"Hunting ethically continues to be significant in helping set examples for young hunters. The DNR annual ethical hunter award brings examples of this behavior public," Davis said. "We're privileged to have Vortex Optics, Inc. as a sponsor."
Simply send the name, address and other contact information to Chief Warden Todd Schaller, by email or letter and explain what the ethical act was.
To become eligible for the 2017 award:
* The nominee must be a licensed (resident or nonresident) Wisconsin hunter.
* The ethical hunting act must have occurred in Wisconsin during the 2017 calendar year.
* Nominations will be considered for any DNR-regulated hunting activity, not only deer hunting, in Wisconsin.
* Written nominations must contain the name, address and telephone number of the witness or witnesses, or be aware of the behavior, which led to the nomination. Mail to Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to Department of Natural Resources, Attention: Chief Warden Todd Schaller LE/5, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by Feb. 15, 2018.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Hunters register 3,971 birds during fall turkey hunt

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin hunters registered 3,971 birds during the fall 2017 wild turkey season, a decrease from 4,990 turkeys registered during the 2016 fall season.
The harvest success rate was 6.4 percent, compared to 7.3 percent in 2016. Success rate is calculated based on the number of harvest authorizations (formerly known as a tag or permit) sold and is not corrected for non-participation.
In total, 102,550 harvest authorizations were available within seven Turkey Management Zones in 2017, but only a 62,239 harvest authorizations were issued, down from 67,906 issued in 2016. Harvest authorization levels are determined by recent trends in harvest, hunter success and turkey reproduction, as well as hunter densities and field reports of turkey abundance.
"The fall turkey season provides a much different experience for turkey hunters than does the spring hunt, and we have a dedicated group of hunters that enjoy pursuing turkeys in the fall woods - in particular, those who hunt turkeys with dogs," said Mark Witecha, Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist.
The DNR first initiated a fall turkey season in 1989 after an increase and expansion of turkeys throughout the state. Since then, hunters have been able to pursue turkeys during both fall and spring seasons.
"Total fall permit sales have declined from the highs of the early 2000s, and fewer turkeys are being harvested during the fall season as a result," said Witecha. "Turkey harvest totals reflect a number of factors, including turkey population size, weather conditions, and hunter participation and effort, and we have seen participation decline as hunters balance fall turkey hunting with many other hunting opportunities available that time of year."
To learn more about Wisconsin's wild turkeys, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "turkey."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Walk-In Access generates revenue for landowners

Landowners can generate revenue by allowing public hunting on their private land in 46 Minnesota counties through the Department of Natural Resources Walk-In Access Program.
Sign-ups are Monday, Jan. 22, to Friday, April 27.
“This program is a win-win for landowners and hunters,” said Scott Roemhildt, DNR Walk-In Access coordinator. “And what’s more, by signing up for three years, landowners can qualify for habitat enhancement on their Walk-In Access acres.”
For Walk-In Access, eligible parcels must be at least 40 acres and covered by high quality natural vegetation. Landowners are paid by the acre to allow hunting access from Sept. 1 to May 31. Bonuses are paid on parcels that enroll in a three-year contract, are more than 140 acres and are located near a state wildlife management area or federal waterfowl production area.
“This may be an opportune time for landowners to sign up for this program because there is some uncertainty about how it will be funded in the 2018 Farm Bill,” Roemhildt said.
In a change this year, landowners who enroll in a three-year contract also may qualify for up to $20,000 in habitat enhancements on their land for prescribed burning, removing invasive trees and brush, or planting native species.
Walk-In Access parcels are for public hunting only and no motorized vehicles are allowed on conservation land. Bright yellow-green signs identify area boundaries and parking is along roads or in designated parking areas. Recreational use laws provide extra liability protection for acres enrolled in Walk-In Access.
Walk-In Access began in 2011 and has grown to more than 26,700 acres in 2017. The program is currently funded through 2018 with a three-year grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-3A75-16-509. Other funding comes through a surcharge on nonresident hunting licenses, a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2012 and donations from hunters.
Landowners should contact their local soil and water conservation district office for enrollment information. Details can be found at mndnr.gov/walkin.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR issues turkey harvest tags for spring turkey hunt

MADISON, WI - The 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization drawing has concluded and 138,144 successful applicants will receive spring wild turkey harvest authorizations.
A total of 244,218 authorizations were available for the spring turkey season. The leftover harvest authorizations not issued in the drawing will be available for purchase beginning March 19.
Postcard notifications to successful applicants have been mailed. Hunters can also monitor their harvest authorization status in their online account at GoWild.WI.gov.
Along with a spring turkey harvest authorization, a valid 2018 spring turkey license and Wild Turkey Stamp is required to hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Stamps and licenses may be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any license agent or DNR Service Centers, beginning in March at the start of the license year.
The spring turkey season begins on the third Wednesday in April. The 2018 spring season will run from April 18 through May 29, with six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday.
Hunters are reminded that spring turkey harvest authorizations are no longer available in any of the previous state park hunting zones following a 2014 rule change. While these have been eliminated, state parks 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 harvest authorization. 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 may apply for a 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization at Fort McCoy only if they have not received one through the regular spring turkey drawing. Applications can be obtained from Fort McCoy by calling 608-388-3337 or visiting www.mccoy.army.mil.
Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within 2017 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2017 Fall Turkey Regulations and 2018 Spring Turkey Regulations.
The leftover harvest authorizations for the 2018 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Monday, March 19 at 10 a.m. Leftover harvest authorizations will be first issued for sale by zone, one zone per day. Leftover harvest authorizations can be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any of more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.
Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey management zone map and the leftover harvest authorization availability page to see if harvest authorizations are available for the period and zone in which they wish to hunt.

The following zones have leftover harvest authorizations, and scheduled sales dates are as follows:
Zone 1- Monday, March 19;
Zone 2- Tuesday, March 20;
Zone 3- Wednesday, March 21;
Zone 4- Thursday, March 22; and
Zones 5 and 7- Friday, March 23.

NOTE: all available harvest authorizations for Zone 6 were issued via the drawing.
After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey harvest authorizations will be made available for purchase Saturday, March 24. Extra turkey harvest authorizations can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time-period sells out or the season closes.
Leftover turkey harvest authorizations cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents - each will have equal opportunity to purchase leftover harvest authorizations. Purchasing a leftover harvest authorization will not affect preference point status for future turkey drawings.
Youth hunters under the age of 16 may hunt during the youth turkey hunt on April 14-15. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. During the youth hunt weekend, hunters under the age of 12 and youth hunters who have not completed a hunter education course can hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program. Special rules and regulations apply.
Each youth hunter must have a valid spring 2018 turkey harvest authorization, license and Wild Turkey Stamp. A current, valid harvest authorization issued for any time-period can be used during the youth hunt, but the youth hunter must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization. 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 harvest authorization for the time-period and zone for which their authorization was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.
For more information and the rules and regulations on the spring turkey youth hunt, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "youth hunt."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


2018 Minnesota spring turkey hunt applications due

Minnesota spring turkey hunters hoping to bag a tom during the first two weeks of the season have until Friday, Jan. 26, to apply for a lottery permit.
The season runs from April 18 to May 31 and is divided into six hunt periods, A through F. Hunt A and B licenses for firearms hunters age 18 and older are limited in availability and assigned via lottery drawing.
Turkey lottery applications cost $5 and can be purchased online at mndnr.gov/licenses, by phone at 888-665-4236, or in person from a license agent. Successful applicants will receive a postcard in the mail by mid-February and can purchase their hunting license starting March 1.
Firearms licenses for hunts C, D, E and F are not lottery-limited and will be available for purchase over-the-counter beginning March 1. All licensed turkey hunters can participate in Hunt F if they have an unused tag from one of the earlier hunt periods.
Archery and youth hunters (under 18) are exempt from the lottery and may purchase a spring turkey license valid during all hunt periods, including hunts A and B.
Surplus lottery licenses from hunts A and B, if available, will be sold over-the-counter starting in mid-March.
Visit mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey for more information about turkey hunting in Minnesota.

2018 Spring Turkey Hunt Periods

Hunt A: April 18-24
Hunt B: April 25-May 1
Hunt C: May 2-8
Hunt D: May 9-15
Hunt E: May 16-22
Hunt F: May 23-31


SOURCE: Minnesota DNR