193,000 Permits Issued for Spring Turkey Season

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More than 193,000 permits have been issued for the spring 2005 Wisconsin wild turkey season. Postcard notifications to successful applicants are in the process of being mailed. Only successful applicants receive notification of their permit via postcard. Hunters who do not receive a postcard by mid-February can check the DNR Web site or call a DNR Service Center to find out the status of their permit application.

The spring hunting season will run from April 13-May 22. The season is divided into six 5-day (Wednesday through Sunday) time periods. A total of 43 zones, 15 state parks and Fort McCoy will be open for hunting.

There were 185,369 permits issued for the 2004 spring season. Hunters harvested 47,477 turkeys for a success rate of about 25 percent.

Hunters are reminded that Fort McCoy runs a separate spring turkey hunting season, different from the State of Wisconsin spring turkey hunt. Hunters who do not receive an authorization to hunt turkeys in a Wisconsin turkey hunting zone for the spring 2005 season 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 their Web site:

“Winter survival should be good this year,” says Andrea Mezera, assistant upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. “Snow cover and cold have been moderate and as long as there is access to ample food supply, turkeys can handle nearly any Wisconsin winter.”

Mezera says turkeys can remain in roosting areas for up to two weeks during especially severe weather and can lose up to forty percent of their body weight before dying of starvation.

“Biologically,” she says, “artificial feeding is not the best approach to helping wild turkeys. Long-term habitat management aimed at increasing the suitability to turkeys year round as well as during extremes of winter is the best investment.”

Three new state park properties will again be open for this spring’s turkey hunting season. This includes Interstate, Willow River, and Newport State Parks. Successful applicants for the spring 2005 drawing in zones 34 and 37, time periods A-C are eligible to apply for a second drawing by March 1st for a limited number of access authorization permits. Eligible applicants will be mailed drawing information. If selected, they will be allowed access to the park during the time period in which they hold a valid permit/carcass tag. This does not authorize the harvest of an additional turkey.