DNR seeks input on proposed expansion of Elk Zone 20

The Minnesota DNR is proposing to expand the boundaries of an elk hunting zone near Lancaster and is asking for public input on the proposed change.
The proposal would expand the boundary of Elk Zone 20 by about 6 miles to the west and 3 miles to the south, to better encompass areas where elk have been during elk hunting seasons.
People can provide input on the proposal through March 30 by:
* Contacting Jason Wollin, Karlstad area wildlife manager, at 218-436-2427 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
* Visiting Wollin in person on Tuesday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Karlstad Area Wildlife Office, 402 Main St. S. in Karlstad. No appointment is necessary.
* Mailing written comments to: Barb Keller, Fish and Wildlife Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.
The huntable areas within the proposed expansion to Elk Zone 20 are all on private lands, and the affected landowners have been notified via mail about this opportunity to provide input on the proposed change. Elk hunters must obtain permission to hunt on private agricultural or legally posted property and landowners are under no obligation to allow hunting on their property.
Elk hunters are selected via a lottery and hunting typically occurs during three to four nine-day seasons in September and October. Season details for 2023 have not yet been set, but information will be available in May.
Additionally, landowners with at least 160 acres of agricultural or grazing land in the elk zone are eligible to apply for an elk license under the special landowner lottery.
Applications for both the general and the landowner lotteries will be accepted beginning in mid-May and the lottery application deadline will be June 16.
More details from last year’s elk season are available on the DNR elk hunting page at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/elk/index.html.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Bonus turkey authorizations go on sale March 20

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will begin selling 2023 bonus spring turkey harvest authorizations on Monday, March 20, with a designated sale date for each zone.
Previously known as leftover permits, bonus harvest authorizations are available for purchase through the DNR's online license portal at GoWild.Wi.Gov or at all license agents. Found at https://dnr.wi.gov/Permits/CSRSP/LicenseAgents.aspx. Sales begin at 10 a.m. and run through midnight each day.
Hunters who want additional harvest authorizations or who missed the spring turkey drawing deadline last December can purchase bonus authorizations beginning March 20.
Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey zone map at https://p.widencdn.net/hafpm2/turkzones and the spring turkey bonus harvest authorization availability at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/permits/springturkey.html  to see if harvest authorizations are available for the period and turkey zone they wish to hunt.
Bonus harvest authorizations are $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Both residents and non-residents will have equal opportunities for purchase. Hunters can purchase bonus authorizations at a rate of one per day until the zone and time period are sold out or until the season closes. Bonus harvest authorization purchases will not affect preference point status for future spring drawings.

The scheduled sales dates for the 2023 spring turkey bonus harvest authorizations are:
* Zone 1 - Monday, March 20
* Zone 2 - Tuesday, March 21
* Zone 3 - Wednesday, March 22
* Zone 4 - Thursday, March 23
* Zone 5 - Friday, March 24
* Zone 6 - No bonus harvest authorizations available
* Zone 7 - No bonus harvest authorizations available
The Go Wild system will use an online queue to assign random numbers to customers who enter the site between 9:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. There is no advantage to entering the site before 9:45 a.m. Customers who join after 10 a.m. will be added to the queue in order of arrival.
The DNR recommends that turkey hunters interested in purchasing a Conservation Patron license do so before March 20, to make the bonus harvest authorization process as quick and easy as possible.
After zone-specific sales conclude the week of March 20–24, all remaining bonus turkey harvest authorizations for all zones will be available for purchase Saturday, March 25, at 10 a.m.
In total, 101,924 bonus turkey harvest authorizations are available across turkey zones 1-5 for the 2023 spring season. No bonus harvest authorizations are available for zone 6 and 7 as all available permits were issued via the spring drawing.
All spring turkey hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, a 2023 wild turkey stamp and a valid turkey harvest authorization. If they have not already done so, hunters will be required to purchase the spring turkey license and stamp authorization when purchasing a bonus harvest authorization.

The spring turkey season is comprised of six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones will be open for hunting in 2023.
Spring turkey season dates are:
* Youth Hunt: April 15–16
* Period A: April 19–25
* Period B: April 26–May 2
* Period C: May 3–9
* Period D: May 10–16
* Period E: May 17–23
* Period F: May 24–30
Regulations for the 2023 spring turkey hunting season are listed in the 2022-2023 Combined Hunting Regulations at https://widnr.widen.net/s/pdq5r2sdqc/2022wi_huntregulations.
For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit the Turkey Hunting and Management webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/turkey.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Apply for 2023 elk hunting season by May 31

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the application period for the 2023 elk hunt is open until May 31.
Once widespread across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s. Thanks to the support of many partners and the backing of Wisconsinites, the herd is back.
“Thanks to collaborative reintroduction efforts, Wisconsin’s expanding elk population has grown. The state has had an annual hunt every year since 2018,” said Josh Spiegel, the DNR Wildlife Biologist in Sawyer County. “We anticipate growth in the herd again this year and are thrilled to offer this hunting experience.”
While the northern and central elk herd populations continue to grow, the 2023 hunting season will occur only within the northern elk management zone and is open from Oct. 14-Nov. 12 and Dec. 14-22. Successful applicants can hunt during either period. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag.
Wisconsinites can purchase their elk license applications online through Go Wild or in-person by visiting a license agent found at https://dnr.wi.gov/Permits/CSRSP/LicenseAgents.aspx. The application fee is $10 each and is limited to one per person. The DNR recommends all applicants check and update their contact information to ensure contact with successful applicants.
For each application, $7 goes directly to elk management, monitoring and research in Wisconsin. These funds are used to enhance elk habitat, which benefits the elk and other Wisconsin wildlife.
If selected in the drawing, the cost of an elk hunting license is $49. Winners will be notified by early June. Wisconsin residents can only draw an elk tag once in their lifetime.
Before obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners must participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter orientation. The class covers Wisconsin elk history, hunting regulations, biology and behavior, and scouting/hunting techniques.
This year's elk quota will go to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for approval in May. For more information on the elk hunt, visit the DNR Elk Hunting webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/elkhunting.html.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Landowner enrollment begins for Walk-In Access Program

Enrollment opens Wednesday, March 15, for Minnesota’s 2023 Walk-In Access program, which pays landowners to allow public hunting on private lands.
Since 2011, the Walk-In Access program has enrolled parcels of 40 acres or larger with high-quality natural cover. Land enrolled in conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program or Reinvest In Minnesota is preferred, but enrollment in such programs is not a requirement. This year, landowners can receive $18 per acre enrolled. For more information about what land is eligible for this program, visit the DNR website at dnr.state.mn.us/walkin/enroll.html.
A $3 fee paid when purchasing a hunting license allows a hunter to access enrolled parcels, which are marked with highly visible signs posted by DNR staff. Walk-In Access is often seen as a win-win for hunters and landowners, Walk-In Access Program Coordinator Amber Knutson said.
“For just $3, hunters have nearly 30,000 acres of privately-owned land available to them,” Knutson said. “Hunters can have confidence that they’re welcome on that parcel, and that can be a big time-saver in the field.”
Participating hunters can access Walk-In Access parcels Sept. 1 through May 31. Hunting laws are enforced by DNR conservation officers. Landowners aren’t required to purchase additional liability insurance since enrolled lands are covered by recreational use laws under Minnesota state statute.
This program is primarily funded through a Voluntary Public Access grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additional funding sources come through a surcharge on all nonresident hunting licenses, Walk-In Access validations, and donations.
Landowners can sign up for the program at their local Soil and Water Conservation District office or by contacting Knutson at 507-537-6464. More information is available at the DNR’s Walk-In Access page at mndnr.gov/walkin.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

It’s time to talk turkeys

Now that Daylight Saving Time is in place, there is more time, at the right time, to listen for tom turkeys gobbling as they begin their days.
Scouting, hunting, photographing, or just birding Wisconsin’s wild turkeys provide several options of marking their territories. Be mindful that where tom turkeys roost, fly down, feed and fool around with other turkeys, changes as spring approaches and beyond.
“Spring is a time of change,” said Jeff Fredrick, of Mindoro in La Crosse County. “Understand from one week to the next week turkeys may be in slightly different locations, do slightly different things and react to our presence in different ways, but every little bit helps to understand the spring gobbling season.”  
To Fredrick, turkeys are just about everything. He studies them, talks about them at seminars, hunts them, eats them, makes decoys from their feathers, creates art displays with parts of them, makes diaphragm calls to trick them and for a long time was Wisconsin’s state turkey calling champion.
He’s retired from the calling/judging business, but is the sole employee of Jeff Fredrick Design, which encompasses many of his turkey encounters.
Even now, Fredrick is scouting turkeys, which can be as simple as waking up before the turkeys, stepping out his back door and listening.
“Sometimes I try to be in a position to see them fly down, watch which direction to go and whether they are headed to the top or bottom of a ridge,” he said. “At least that’s a starting point.”
While turkeys gobble most of the year, much of that noise is concentrated during pre-mating time. At certain times gobbling is most intense before the birds fly down from their tree roosts.
“Missing that first gobbling by as much as five minutes may mean your scouting is giving the wrong information,” Fredrick said. “And one day there can be zero early gobbling, too.”
Most experienced turkey fanatics have a saying for turkey behavior. “Turkeys will be turkeys. They do what they want, when they want, too.”
A big part of scouting turkeys in pre-season, is creating a shocking sound to get a tom to shock-gobble. Making a sound from a call or having a noise created by the real thing seems to work, but not 100 percent of the time.
Coyotes, owls, crows, woodpeckers, sandhill cranes, truck muffler systems and gun blasts, work some of the time. Professional calls are sold to mimic these sounds. Some calls are made by a hunter’s vocal sound. Clapping with cupped hands will also work sometimes, or will in turn attract the attention of other animals, who call and that gets a gobbler’s attention in a chain of events.
Sometimes hunters pull out a mouth, diaphragm, slate or box call, and actually call to the tom as a hen might do. A little bit of that goes a long way and sometimes the wrong way, hunters have been heard to say.
The same goes for turkey decoys before the season.
Some hunters use nothing but their eyes, ears and a good pair of binoculars, either from a blind or while being totally camouflaged. When time is up or work is calling, the would-be hunter leaves the woods, hoping the turkey doesn’t see what sounded off.
With turkeys, tracks, sounds and sights are all possible scouting implements. Hearing shock gobbling seems the most revealing.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112.

Minnesota turkey hunting licenses on sale March 1

Minnesota turkey hunters can buy their licenses for the spring 2023 season starting Wednesday, March 1.
Licenses may be purchased online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense, by telephone 888-665-4236 or in person wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Hunters can hunt statewide and buy licenses for any time period (A-F) over the counter.
For research purposes, license agents will be asking hunters which permit area they plan to hunt, so hunters are advised to know which permit area they plan to hunt when they buy their license. The information is useful to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in managing the state’s turkey population. Importantly, hunters who identify their permit area when purchasing their license will not be restricted to hunting in only that area.
Season dates and hunt rules can be found on the DNR’s turkey hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey. Permits to hunt the popular Carlos Avery and Mille Lacs wildlife management areas in the A-C time periods, and Whitewater WMA in the A-B time periods, were distributed already by lottery only for firearms hunters 18 and older. The lottery application deadline was Feb. 17 and results are available on the turkey hunting page of the DNR website.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR to host fall migratory game bird hunting season meetings

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources today announced a series of public meetings to present information on the proposed 2023-2025 migratory game bird seasons.
The public is encouraged to attend and provide feedback in the manner they prefer.
The 2023-2025 season proposal details will be finalized and available for public review following the Migratory Game Bird Committee meeting on Feb. 28.
“The DNR has made the decision to set the migratory game bird seasons for multiple years to create more consistency across seasons. We hope the public takes advantage of our many input opportunities during this important review and comment period,” said Taylor Finger, DNR Game Bird Specialist.
Because migratory bird season dates and structures don’t often change on a year-to-year basis, the DNR is moving to a multi-year season setting structure to simplify the regulation process. In addition to this change, public hearings will take place both in-person and virtually to provide more options for anyone interested in providing input on the migratory bird season structure.
To learn more about waterfowl in Wisconsin and view the 2023-2025 waterfowl season options when available, visit the DNR’s waterfowl hunting webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/waterfowl.

* La Crosse: Tuesday, March 7, at 7 p.m., at La Crosse State Office Building, Rooms B-19 and B-20 3550, Mormon Coulee Rd., La Crosse, WI 54601
* ZOOM: Wednesday, March 8, at 7 p.m., Online via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82238718595?pwd=ZkRDQXF5YmozVDVFdlhSOVZKd2kyUT09#success; Join by phone at 312-626-6799; Meeting ID: 822 3871 8595
* Appleton: Thursday, March 9, at 7 p.m., at Fox Valley Technical College, D.J. Bordini Center, Room BC112A, 5 N Systems Dr., Appleton, WI 54914

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR