Fall Wild Turkey Season Opens Oct. 1

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Wisconsin’s 2005 fall wild turkey hunting season will open on Oct. 1, with 85,400 permits issued for the 40-day season that runs through Nov. 9. The last of the permit notification were sent out to successful applicants in the mail last week.

A total of 93,128 applicants applied for fall turkey permits this year, an increase from 90,839 applicants in 2004, according to Andrea Mezera, upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

“There were more than 81,800 hunters who received a single permit, and approximately 3,500 who received two permits,” Mezera says. “This is an increase of about 6,500 permits over the 2004 fall permit levels, which resulted in 10,362 birds being harvested for a 13.1 percent success rate.”

State wildlife officials say hunters should be able to look forward to an excellent fall season, with good turkey production reported this year and the state’s wild turkey population now extending well into the northern part of the state. Expansion is occurring in part due to statewide mild winters, available habitat, and expanded habitat development and improvement. Revenue from the sale of the turkey stamps directly funds much of this habitat work.

Since most turkey hunting occurs on private land, Mezera says, it is important for hunters to keep landowner relationships a high priority.

“Landowners in Wisconsin are usually willing to allow hunters to use their land as long as they ask politely for permission to do so,” she says.

Fall turkey hunters need to be aware of special blaze orange clothing requirements in effect for ALL hunters when firearm deer seasons are occurring. All hunters hunting within a Zone T Management Areas are required to wear at least 50 percent blaze orange during the antlerless only deer season Oct. 27-30. Hunters statewide are required to wear blaze orange during the youth firearm deer hunt on Saturday, Oct. 29. Hunters within the CWD - Herd Reduction Zone must also meet the 50 percent blaze orange requirements during the Oct. 27 – 30 firearm season. Additionally, hunters within the special CWD - Disease Eradication Zone Deer Management Units (DMUs) are required to wear 50 percent blaze orange starting Oct. 27 through the end of the turkey season. Please refer to the 2005 Deer Hunting Regulations for a complete list of all DMUs and the season type that applies to that unit.

There are special safety concerns that hunters need to pay special attention to when turkey hunting. Primarily, they need to be aware of other hunters in the field during this time, both turkey hunters and those pursuing other game. Turkey hunters should not stalk a turkey. A turkey hunter who tries stalking a calling turkey is often actually stalking another hunter. Turkey hunters who are wearing camouflage should let others know of their whereabouts by shouting out to them.

During the fall turkeys spend more than 90 percent of the daylight hours in hardwood habitats. Both brood flocks and adult male flocks make extensive use of areas dominated by oak and hickory. Turkey hunters should monitor the acorn crop in the area they hunt, as the success or failure of acorns will determine where turkeys will be feeding. In years of poor acorn production, turkeys spend proportionately more time in cornfields.