Landowner enrollment eligibility expands for Turkey Hunter Access Program

MADISON - Landowners in Turkey hunting zones 1, 2, and 3 interested in earning extra income in exchange for providing public access during the spring turkey hunt are encouraged to apply for the Turkey Hunter Access Program for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
THAP provides financial incentives to private landowners interested in making their land available for public access during the Spring turkey season, which runs from March 1-29.
Annual lease payment rates are $5/acre, and lease payments are made in the form of an upfront lump sum payment at the beginning of the contract. Priority will be given to parcels greater than 40 acres in size with at least 30-70 percent forest cover within a one-half mile of the property.
Research points to lack of access to quality hunting grounds as one of the reasons for declining hunting license sales. Private landowners can help retain, recruit and re-engage people in wildlife-dependent recreation by opening their land to public access for spring turkey hunting.
Funding for the Turkey Hunter Access Program is provided by Wisconsin's Wild Turkey Stamp Program.
Interested landowners should contact Anne Reis, VPA-HIP and THAP Coordinator, at 608-279-6483 for more information or visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "THAP."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Public comment feedback period open to County Deer Advisory Councils

MADISON, WI – County Deer Advisory Councils met in each county in March, and preliminary antlerless deer quotas, tag levels, and season structure recommendations for the 2018 deer hunting season are now available for review and comment.
An online public comment period will be open through April 12, to collect feedback on the preliminary recommendations. To view each county’s recommendations and provide feedback, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."
Antlerless quota recommendations and hunter success rates from previous hunts help determine the number of antlerless tags available for the 2018 deer hunting season, and help Department of Natural Resources staff and councils work to reach deer population objectives within each county.
"The impact that CDACs are having on deer hunting in Wisconsin is impressive and growing,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. “The public has a real voice in local deer management, and the council members weigh their decisions heavily on public feedback. If you have an interest in helping to shape the deer season in your county, this is an important opportunity.”
CDACs consider a variety of factors, like harvest data, population trends and winter severity to form harvest objective and tag level recommendations.
After the public comment period has ended, each council will reconvene April 16-19, to evaluate public feedback and determine final recommendations for the 2018 deer seasons, which will be reviewed and adopted by the Natural Resources Board in May.
All council meetings are open to the public and provide the opportunity for attendees to address the council. Meeting details for each county can be found at keyword "CDAC."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Minnesota bear hunt applications available

Applications for bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 4, wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236.
A total of 3,350 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Saturday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 14.
Notification to lottery winners will be made by Friday, June 1. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Wednesday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon on Monday, Aug. 6.
An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.
Bear license numbers in the quota area are unchanged from the 2017 season. The current level of bear permit numbers for quota areas is to allow bear population numbers to gradually increase and support a robust bear population.
The 2016 bear season harvest was higher than expected as a result of poor natural food availability. Hunters in the quota area had the second highest record (46 percent) success rate in 2017, while the no-quota area continues to see a high number of licenses sold.
Bear hunting information is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Spring turkey season begins April 18

MADISON, WI - The 2018 spring turkey hunt is almost here and hunters are reminded to check 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 2017 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2017 Fall Turkey Regulations, and 2018 Spring Turkey Regulations.
For more general information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "turkey."
Turkey tags were updated in 2017 and are now called turkey harvest authorizations. Hunters are no longer required to
validate their turkey tag, attach a tag to their turkey, or
keep the tag with the meat.
Hunters are required to carry proof of their turkey license, stamp and harvest authorization while in the field. Valid forms of proof include a printed paper copy, a Go Wild conservation card, a Go Wild authenticated Wisconsin Driver's License or an original Go Wild digital file on a mobile device.
Harvest registration remains a critical component of wildlife population management and turkey registration is mandatory. Hunters are reminded they must register their turkey by 5 p.m. the day after recovery at gamereg.wi.gov, or by phone at 1-844-426-3734. Hunters need their harvest authorization number to register their turkey, located on a paper or digital copy of their harvest authorization.
The 2018 spring turkey season will run from April 18 through May 29, with six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. All seven turkey management zones will be open for hunting.
Youth under the age of 16 may hunt during the spring turkey youth hunt on April 14 and 15. Hunters under the age of 12 and youth without hunter safety can participate in the youth turkey hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program. Youth must be accompanied by a qualified adult and follow the youth turkey hunting and mentored hunting program rules. Youth hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, stamp and harvest authorization. A harvest authorization for any time period can be used during the youth hunt weekend, but youth hunters must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization.
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.
Hunters who would like to pursue turkeys in a state park must hold a harvest authorization for the turkey management zone in which the park is located. Spring turkey hunting is allowed in select state parks during the two-day youth hunt and the first two time periods of the regular season. For more information regarding hunting in state parks, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "state park hunting."
The Fort McCoy spring turkey hunting season is managed separately from the State of Wisconsin spring turkey hunt. Hunters who do not receive a harvest authorization through the Wisconsin spring turkey drawing 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).

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
 


Annual conference welcomes waterfowl enthusiasts

Waterfowl conservation efforts in the upper Mississippi River Flyway, hunter use of state wildlife management areas and current waterfowl research are some of the topics planned for the Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium – a one-day conference for hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife professionals.
This event provides an opportunity for the public to speak with waterfowl experts from state and federal agencies and conservation organizations and takes place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington.
“Wildlife watchers, hunters and anyone interested in waterfowl and waterfowl habitat are all invited to attend,” said Ricky Lien, wetland habitat team supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We enjoy being able to have face-to-face conversations and listen to perspectives from hunters and others who care about waterfowl and wetlands.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Waterfowl Association and the DNR partner to present the event, now in its 21st year. Attendees will find information booths, a Junior Duck Stamp display, wild-game cooking demonstrations, and a gunsmith who can answer gun fitting and repair questions.

Presenters include:
* James Burnham, Minnesota DNR, hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation.
* David Fulton, Minnesota Cooperative Research Unit, Mississippi Flyway research.
* Kelsie LaSharr, University of Minnesota, hunter use of WMAs.
* Mary Stefanski and Vicki Sherry, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,  Minnesota Valley and Upper Mississippi River national wildlife refuges.  
* Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin, migratory habitat with the Upper Mississippi River Valley.
* Mike Johnson, University of Minnesota, canvasback research in Canada.
* Bruce Davis, Minnesota DNR, mallard telemetry project.
* John Maile, Minnesota DNR, understanding hunting habitat.
* Gary Leaf, Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
* Question and answer session with Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.
At a banquet on Friday, April 13, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association will recognize significant contributors to the state’s waterfowl legacy. Space is limited for the banquet. To register, call the Minnesota Waterfowl Association at 952-767-0320 or visit mnwaterfowl.com.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Antlerless quota, permit levels highlight April meeting

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin County Deer Advisory Councils will release their preliminary antlerless deer quota, permit level and season structure recommendations for the 2018 deer hunting season next week.
An online public comment period will begin April 2, and run through April 12, to collect feedback on these preliminary recommendations.
To view your county's recommendations and provide feedback, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."
Antlerless quota recommendations and hunter success rates from previous hunts help determine the number of antlerless tags available for the 2018 deer hunting season, and help the Department of Natural Resources and councils work to reach deer population objectives within their county.
"The impact that CDACs are having on deer hunting in Wisconsin is impressive and growing," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. "The public has a real voice in local deer management, and the council members weigh their decisions heavily on public feedback. So, if you have an interest in helping to shape the deer season in your county, this is an important opportunity."
Wallenfang said that CDACs are considering a variety of factors like harvest data, population trends and winter severity when they discuss harvest objectives and tag levels for 2018.
After the public comment period has ended, each council will reconvene during the week of April 16-19, to evaluate public feedback and determine final recommendations for the 2018 deer seasons which will be adopted by the Natural Resources Board in May. All meetings are open to the public and provide the opportunity for attendees to address the council. Meeting details for each county can be found at dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Don’t wait to sign up for firearms safety hunter education class

Minnesota’s volunteer firearms safety instructors have scheduled classes throughout the state, and now’s the time for people who want to attend to make plans to do so, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, must take a DNR safety training course and receive a certificate of completion before purchasing a license to hunt.
“Now is a great time to get your son or daughter registered for a hunter safety class,” said Jon Paurus, DNR education programs coordinator. “People who wait until closer to the hunting season risk missing out on the opportunity to enroll in a class, which could result in their kids being unable to hunt this fall.”
People who enroll early have more options, including taking the class in a classroom or online. Whether students take the classroom or online course, they must complete a field day during which they practice handling firearms and learn about hunter responsibility. Field day availability is limited and classes fill up fast (some already are full), so it’s important to plan ahead. If hunters plan on hunting in another state, they should check other state regulations to determine if a firearms safety certificate is required before participating in any hunts.
Visit the hunter education and safety classes webpage for a list of scheduled classes and education requirements for other states. For more information, call 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR