Turkey Hunting in Wisconsin
Essential Requirements for Turkey Hunting
To legally engage in turkey hunting, hunters must ensure they have the following:
Spring Turkey Hunting License: Required if hunting turkeys during the spring season. This license is specifically for the spring turkey hunting period.
Fall Turkey Hunting License: Necessary for hunters who plan to hunt turkeys in the fall season. This license is distinct from the spring license and is tailored for the fall turkey hunting period.
Wild Turkey Stamp: A mandatory stamp that is valid for both spring and fall turkey hunting seasons. The stamp is a crucial addition to the respective hunting licenses.
Unfilled Turkey Harvest Authorization: Hunters must possess a turkey harvest authorization that is valid for the specific season, period, and zone they are hunting in. This authorization must be unfilled at the time of the hunt.
Definition of Turkey Hunting: A person is considered to be hunting turkey if they have in their possession any of the following during an open turkey hunting season:
- A firearm, crossbow, or bow and arrow.
- Turkey decoys or a turkey call.
License Specificity: It is important to note that the licenses are season-specific. Hunters need to acquire the appropriate license depending on whether they are hunting in the spring or fall season.
Stamp Requirement: The wild turkey stamp is a universal requirement for both seasons and must be acquired in addition to the hunting licenses.
Harvest Authorization: The turkey harvest authorization must be appropriate for the time and location of the hunt and must not have been previously used (unfilled).
Mandatory Turkey Registration: Key Steps and Procedures
All hunters must register their harvested turkeys, an obligatory step to ensure sustainable hunting practices and effective wildlife management. Registration must be completed by 5 p.m. on the day following the turkey's recovery.
There are two convenient methods for turkey registration:
- Online: Visit gamereg.wi.gov for a straightforward, digital registration process.
- Phone: Call 844-426-3734 (844-GAME-REG) for telephonic registration.
Essential Details for Registration
During registration, hunters are required to provide their authorization number. This number is critical to validate the harvest and streamline the registration process.
Absence of In-Person Stations
Note that there are no physical in-person registration stations available. The registration process is fully digitalized, offering a more efficient and accessible method for hunters.
Confirmation of Registration
Upon completing the registration, hunters will receive a harvest registration confirmation number. It's important to keep this number for records as it serves as official proof of the registration.
Wisconsin Turkey Hunting Regulations Overview
Legal Hunting Methods
- Permitted Weapons: Hunting wild turkeys is legally restricted to shotguns, muzzle-loading shotguns, crossbows, or bows and arrows.
- Prohibited Weapons: All other types of firearms or hunting methods are not allowed.
Restrictions on Calls and Decoys
Electronic Calls and Devices:
- Usage of recorded or electrically amplified bird calls or sounds is prohibited.
- Possession of devices that produce electronic amplifications of bird calls or sounds while hunting is also banned.
- Hunters with a Class A or B disabled hunting permit authorizing hunting from a stationary vehicle for more than one year.
- Hunters who are deaf or severely hard of hearing, as confirmed by a medical professional.
- The use of live or electronic decoys is not permitted in turkey hunting.
- This restriction is aimed at preventing unethical hunting practices and maintaining fair chase principles.
Use of Dogs
- During the spring turkey season, hunting with the aid of dogs is illegal.
- However, this restriction is lifted in the fall turkey season, allowing for the use of dogs.
Licensing and Authorization Requirements
- If you or a member of your hunting party possess a turkey decoy or calling device while afield, you must also carry a turkey hunting license, stamp, and a valid, unused harvest authorization.
- This regulation ensures that all hunters in the field are properly licensed and authorized to hunt turkeys.
Compliance and Ethical Hunting
- These regulations are designed to promote ethical hunting practices and ensure the safety and fairness of turkey hunting in Wisconsin.
- Compliance with these rules is not only a legal requirement but also a matter of responsible wildlife management and conservation.
Regulations on Baiting Turkeys in Wisconsin
Prohibition of Baiting
- Illegal Practice: Using bait to hunt turkeys is strictly prohibited under Wisconsin hunting regulations.
- Definition of Bait: Bait typically refers to any substance used to attract animals, like turkeys, to a specific location for the purpose of hunting.
Legal Hunting Practices
- Agricultural Crops: Hunting turkeys over agricultural crops is permissible. This includes areas where crops are grown and left standing.
- Wildlife Food Plots: It is also legal to hunt over wildlife food plots. These plots are areas specifically cultivated with plants that are beneficial for wildlife, including turkeys.
Distinction Between Baiting and Legal Practices
- Baiting vs. Natural Food Sources: The key distinction lies in the intention and method of attracting turkeys. Baiting involves the deliberate placement of attractants for hunting purposes. In contrast, hunting over natural food sources like standing crops or food plots does not involve such direct manipulation.
- Ethical Hunting: This regulation ensures ethical hunting practices, where turkeys are not unnaturally lured into a hunter's vicinity.
Youth Turkey Hunt Regulations in Wisconsin
Eligibility and Licensing
- Age Requirement: The Youth Turkey Hunt is specifically designed for hunters who are 15 years old or younger.
- Residency: Both residents and non-residents of Wisconsin are eligible to participate.
- Licensing: Participants must possess a spring turkey license, stamp, and a valid harvest authorization for spring 2022.
Hunting Mentorship Program
- Youth Ages 11 and Under: These young hunters must participate under the Hunting Mentorship Program.
- Uneducated Youth Hunters: Youth without hunter education certification are also required to hunt under this program.
- Guidance: For more detailed information on the Hunting Mentorship Program, refer to page 8 of the hunting regulations.
Harvest Authorization Usage
- Spring 2022 Authorizations: These are valid during the youth hunt, regardless of the specific time period they are designated for.
- Zone-Specific Hunting: A youth can fill a harvest authorization valid for the zone they are hunting in during the youth hunt, irrespective of the authorization's designated time period.
- Unfilled Authorizations: If a youth does not harvest a turkey during the youth hunt, they may use their unfilled harvest authorization during the assigned time period and in the zone for which it was initially issued.
- Adult Supervision: Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years old throughout the two-day youth hunt.
- Safety and Guidance: This requirement ensures not only the safety of the young hunters but also provides them with guidance and mentorship during their hunt.
Assisting Other Hunters in Turkey Hunting
Regulations on Calling Turkeys for Another Hunter
For individuals who wish to assist other hunters by calling turkeys, there are specific regulations to be aware of:
License Requirement: No hunting license is required for a person to call turkeys for another hunter, as long as certain conditions are met.
Conditions for License Exemption:
- The caller must not possess a firearm, bow, or crossbow while performing the calling activity.
- This exemption applies only to the act of calling and does not authorize the caller to engage in actual hunting.
Guide License Requirement:
- If the individual calling turkeys charges a fee for their services, they are required to obtain a guide license.
- This requirement ensures that commercial activities related to hunting are regulated and individuals offering such services are properly licensed.
Role of the Caller: The primary role of the caller is to assist in attracting turkeys by mimicking turkey sounds. This is often done to aid a licensed hunter in their hunting endeavor.
Compliance with Regulations: While a hunting license is not required for calling activities under the specified conditions, it is crucial for the caller to comply with all other hunting regulations and laws.
Commercial Activity: The transition from a voluntary caller to a paid guide necessitates the acquisition of a guide license, signifying the shift to a professional service.
Spring Harvest Authorization Drawing System for Turkey Hunting
Overview of the Drawing System
The distribution of turkey harvest authorizations for the spring season involves a specific drawing system that is guided by a cumulative preference mechanism. This system plays a crucial role in the fair allocation of hunting opportunities among applicants.
Key Features of the Drawing System
Cumulative Preference System: This system is designed to prioritize applicants based on their history of applications and selections in previous seasons. The more times an individual has applied and not been selected, the higher their preference in the drawing.
Application Process: Hunters must submit an application to be considered in the drawing. This process is typically outlined in detail on the relevant wildlife management website or through hunting regulation publications.
Drawing Allocation: The drawing determines who receives a turkey harvest authorization for the spring season. This process is random but weighted according to the cumulative preference of each applicant.
Official Guidance: For comprehensive details on the turkey drawing process, hunters are encouraged to visit dnr.wi.gov and search for “turkey questions.” This resource will provide in-depth information about the drawing system, application procedures, and other relevant details.
Eligibility and Deadlines: Hunters should be aware of the eligibility criteria and application deadlines for the spring turkey hunting season. Timely application is crucial for inclusion in the drawing.
Bonus Turkey Harvest Authorizations: Fall and Spring Seasons
Availability and Purchase of Bonus Authorizations
For those interested in turkey hunting, bonus harvest authorizations for both the fall and spring seasons offer additional opportunities. These authorizations, which are not allocated through the standard drawing process, become available for purchase. Hunters can acquire these bonus authorizations at various licensed sales locations or online at gowild.wi.gov.
Accessing Detailed Information
For comprehensive information about turkey hunting, including specifics about bonus harvest authorizations, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website. To find relevant details, search for “turkey” on dnr.wi.gov.
Assisting Other Hunters
The concept of assisting other hunters is a significant aspect of the hunting community. It encompasses sharing knowledge, providing guidance, and supporting each other in the field. This camaraderie not only enhances the hunting experience but also promotes safety, ethical practices, and conservation awareness among hunters.
Importance of Bonus Harvest Authorizations
These bonus authorizations are crucial for managing turkey populations effectively. They provide additional hunting opportunities while ensuring the sustainability of the species. Hunters acquiring these authorizations contribute to the controlled and balanced harvesting of turkeys, aligning with wildlife management objectives.
Special Disabled Spring Turkey Hunts: Guidelines and Application Process
Eligibility Criteria for Disabled Hunters
The special disabled spring turkey hunt is designed to provide accessible hunting opportunities for individuals with disabilities. To be eligible for this program, hunters must possess one of the following permits:
- Class A or C permit.
- Class B permit issued for more than one year, specifically authorizing hunting from a stationary vehicle.
Requirements and Conditions
- Landowner Permission: Eligible hunters must obtain permission from a private landowner willing to sponsor the hunt. This is a key requirement for participation.
- Application Restrictions: It is important to note that hunters applying for this special disabled turkey hunt cannot apply for a harvest authorization through the regular spring turkey drawing. This is to ensure fair allocation of hunting opportunities.
- Obtaining Application Forms: Special hunt applications can be accessed by visiting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website. Search for “disabled turkey hunter” to find the relevant forms (Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A).
- Additional Assistance and Inquiries: For further information or assistance with the application process, disabled hunters can contact the DNR Call Center at 888-936-7463 or reach out to the assistant upland wildlife ecologist at 608-261-8458.
"Learn to Hunt Turkey" Program in Wisconsin
Introduction to Turkey Hunting
- Purpose: The "Learn to Hunt Turkey" program is an educational initiative designed for individuals interested in learning about turkey hunting.
- Timing: These events are scheduled statewide just before the start of the spring turkey season.
- Hands-On Learning: Participants receive practical training and insights into turkey hunting techniques, safety measures, and conservation practices.
- Expert Guidance: Seasoned hunters and wildlife professionals often lead these events, providing valuable knowledge and firsthand experiences.
How to Participate
- Information Access: For detailed information on these events, including dates, locations, and registration details, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website.
- Website Navigation: Go to dnr.wi.gov and search for “LTH” (Learn to Hunt).
Benefits for New Hunters
- Skill Development: This program is an excellent opportunity for new hunters to develop their skills in a controlled and educational environment.
- Networking: Participants can connect with experienced hunters and like-minded individuals, fostering a community of responsible and ethical hunters.