Host a spring Learn to Hunt turkey event

MADISON, Wis. - February is an ideal time to plan your spring turkey Learn to Hunt program, with classes typically taking place in mid to late March.
Hunter Nikolai, assistant hunter recruitment specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources R3 program, says the turkey Learn to Hunt is more popular than other species covered in this longstanding education program dedicated to carrying on the state's hunting heritage. R3 stands for recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters, anglers, trappers and shooting sports participants.
"Since 1996 conservation groups, outdoor clubs and dedicated individuals have helped carry on Wisconsin's hunting heritage by hosting Learn to Hunts in their communities," Nikolai said. "It's a great way for these groups to recruit new members to their organizations while passing on their hunting expertise to the next generations-both youth and adults."
Participants are not required to have hunter safety certification, and the DNR may waive season dates, license fees and stamp fees for novice participants upon approval by the local wildlife biologist.
"We're always looking for new, motivated groups to start up a Learn to Hunt program. Whether your group has never hosted a Learn to Hunt or hasn't in recent years, we're here to help you get your feet on the ground," Nikolai said.
Nikolai says spring turkey season offers an excellent opportunity for novice hunters of all ages to harvest their first bird. A conservation success story, wild turkeys abound in the state and their population continues to grow, in part because of well-managed hunting seasons.
"And, they're excellent table fare," he said.
The spring season begins April 15, and runs in six periods through May 26.
Groups may request up to $25 for each novice participant through the Learn to Hunt Reimbursement program to help cover the costs of materials, rentals, meals and overnight accommodations.
For step-by-step instruction on how to host a Learn to Hunt or to find an upcoming Learn to Hunt near you, visit the DNR website.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Bear application period delayed

MADISON, Wis. - The bear application period for the 2021 bear hunting season is delayed due to legislative review.
The application period which normally opens in March will open shortly after the legislative review process is complete at a date to be determined.
The 2021 bear application deadline remains Dec. 10, 2020. Applicants are reminded to be aware of the new bear management zone boundaries as their hunting grounds may change to a new unit beginning in 2021. It is not known precisely how these changes will specifically affect harvest permit wait times, but there will likely be no significant changes across zones A, B, C and D.
The Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan 2019 - 2029 was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bear Advisory Committee and approved by the Natural Resources Board in May 2019. Among the changes are new zones which must undergo a legislative review. The new bear management zones are designed to address bear conflicts and manage desired population levels effectively.
"Wisconsin continues to be one of the premier black bear hunting states in the nation, with ample public hunting lands and a robust bear population. As such, the extent of bear range has steadily expanded further south into the central forest and beyond," said Matt Gross, DNR assistant big game ecologist. "The new zones will allow management decisions to address both the opportunities and challenges that can arise with an expanding bear population."
If you would like to hunt black bear in Wisconsin, you must possess a Class A bear license. You may obtain a Class A bear license by:
* Being selected in the bear drawing.
* Participating in the Learn to Bear Hunt Program.
* Receiving a Class A bear license transfer via the Awarded Permit Transfers Program or the Deceased Customer Preference Approval Transfer.
Applications are required for a Class A license or to receive a preference point. Hunters must apply at least once during a period of three consecutive years otherwise all previously accumulated preference points will be lost. Sign up on the DNR website to receive notification of when the 2021 bear permit application opens.
Wisconsin bear hunting is extremely popular, and more people apply each year than the number of licenses available. For 2020, over 119,000 hunters applied for a permit or a preference point for 11,535 available permits.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Enroll in Deer Management Assistance Program by March 1

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is looking to partner with landowners for the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) designed for healthy deer and habitat.
DMAP is a cooperative effort between the Department of Natural Resources, landowners and hunters to provide habitat and deer herd management assistance to those interested in managing their property for wildlife. Wildlife and forestry professionals assist landowners with management practices that consider the ecological and social impacts white-tailed deer have on the landscape.
In return, DMAP participants can choose to share habitat information, collect biological data and participate in DMAP workshops. This one-on-one relationship, stressing communication and cooperation, makes DMAP a flexible and effective deer management program for private and public lands alike.
Although DMAP enrollment is open year-round, landowners, hunters and land managers with properties that are 160 acres or more are encouraged to enroll before March 1, to be eligible for a site visit with a DNR biologist and forester in 2020. Landowners, who enroll by March 1, will also receive a management plan with recommendations to assist with reaching the goals for the property.
DMAP provides informational resources and professional assistance regarding wildlife habitat management for properties of any size to help participants improve habitat for wildlife. DMAP participants are invited to professional workshops on a variety of topics such as:
* Financial assistance programs.
* Natural forage for deer, deer ecology and management.
* Chronic wasting disease (CWD).
* Deer research and predator effects on the deer herd.
DMAP participants receive regular updates on items of interest to land stewards and opportunities to participate in citizen science programs. Neighboring landowners with properties within one-half mile are encouraged to enroll as a DMAP cooperative.
Landowners who enroll in a DMAP cooperative with a combined acreage of 160 acres or more are eligible to receive a site visit and management plan. DMAP cooperatives also provide an opportunity to monitor local wildlife populations, and share costs and equipment on habitat projects to benefit deer and other wildlife over a greater area.
To receive DMAP email updates and other information, subscribe here. Follow the prompts and select the "Deer Management Assistance Program" option, found under Wildlife Management.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Hunters register 3,792 turkeys during 2019 fall hunt

MADISON, Wis. - With another wild turkey season complete, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports hunters registered 3,792 birds during the fall 2019 wild turkey season.
There were 74,775 harvest authorizations were issued for the 2019 fall season, an increase of 860 from 2018. Of those sold in 2019, 70,084 were awarded a fall turkey license and 4,691 were sold over the counter as bonus harvest authorizations.
As in 2018, the fall turkey drawing was waived in 2019. Anyone with a fall turkey license and stamp was awarded one harvest authorization for the zone of their choice. In addition to the harvest authorization included with a fall turkey license, a total of 13,000 bonus harvest authorizations were available for purchase in zones 1-4.
With a difference of only 10 more birds registered, the fall harvest in 2019 was almost identical to 2018. There were 3,782 turkeys registered during the 2018 fall season. This season's harvest success rate was 5.1%, also equal to 2018. The success rate is calculated based on the number of harvest authorizations sold and is not corrected for non-participation.
"Although this year's fall harvest is nearly identical to 2018, over the last decade, we have seen a steady decline in the number of turkeys harvested in the fall," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "Reductions in harvest over the last 10 years are largely due to a decline in hunter participation and effort. The annual fall hunter survey shows continued declines in fall turkey hunter numbers and a larger portion of those hunters are pursuing turkeys secondary to other species."
The wild turkey is truly one of Wisconsin's wildlife management success stories. A key role in the success of the wild turkey management program can be attributed to hunters through their purchase of the Wild Turkey Stamp which provides vital financial support in providing for future opportunities for turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin.
Since wild turkeys were first successfully reintroduced into Wisconsin in 1976, population levels continue to increase and expand statewide. Successful restoration of the wild turkey resulted from tremendous hunter and landowner support, good survival and high-quality habitat.
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.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

CWD informational meeting scheduled Feb. 12 in Dunn County

MENOMONIE, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Conservation Congress will host a public meeting Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m., to discuss the recent discovery of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer in central Dunn County.
The meeting will be in the Dunn County Judicial Center, Room 1402 (multipurpose room), 615 Stokke Parkway, Menomonie, WI. DNR staff will be present to answer questions and share information with attendees.
Following this informational session, representatives serving on the County Deer Advisory Council will meet with DNR staff. These council representatives will assist department staff in developing preliminary recommendations regarding sampling strategies and responses to new CWD cases.
For more information about CWD in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Informational meeting on CWD set Feb. 12 in Marathon County

WAUSAU, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Marathon County Deer Advisory Committee will host a public meeting Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m., to discuss the recent discovery of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer in Marathon County.
The meeting will take place in the Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Building at 212 River Drive in Wausau. DNR staff will be present to answer questions and share information with attendees.
For more information regarding CWD in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Learn how to hunt turkeys in Minnesota this spring

Youth and adults can learn to hunt turkeys this April with experienced volunteers who will cover safe hunting techniques, how to call-in turkeys, hunting tactics and field dressing a bird.
Participants can apply through Sunday, March 1. The hunts are Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19, and provide opportunities to access locations that may otherwise be closed to hunting. Participants learn the skills and techniques that allow new turkey hunters to become lifelong hunters.
This is the 18th year that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the National Wild Turkey Federation have cooperated to offer these hunts. Details about how to apply and costs to participate are available on the DNR’s learn to hunt opportunities page.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR