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MADISON – Wild turkey and black bear hunters have until close of business on Dec. 10 to apply for available permits for 2015 hunting seasons.
In 2014, interest in Wisconsin bear hunting continued to grow — the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources received 108,271 applications. Although wait times may reach several years for some zones, statewide hunter success rates remain high and have been roughly 50 percent on average.
Bear hunters can apply for a permit or purchase a preference point for future use. In order to retain accumulated preference points, bear permit applicants must apply at least once during any consecutive three-year period, or all previously accumulated preference points will be lost.
If a zone is selected at the time of purchase and a hunter is selected in the February drawing, preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. Those who draw successfully will be mailed a courtesy notification shortly after the drawing. It is each hunter’s responsibility to be aware of drawing status and whether or not they were selected to purchase a license. Successful applicants may purchase a 2015 Class A bear license beginning in early March 2015.
The season structure for this year’s bear hunt is as follows:
• Zone C (dogs not permitted): Sept. 9 to Oct. 13 – with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs.
• All other zones (use of dogs permitted): Sept. 9-15 – with aid of dogs only; Sept. 16 to Oct. 6 – with aid of bait, dogs, and all other legal methods; and Oct. 7-13 – with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs.
For more information, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword “bear.”
Spring 2015 Turkey Season
The 2015 spring turkey season will begin April 11-12 with the annual Spring Youth Turkey Hunt. The regular turkey season will begin the following Wednesday, April 15, and will consist of six seven-day time periods, with the final period closing May 26.
A permit drawing will take place in late December or early January. Successful permit applicants will receive a postcard by late January 2015. Applicants may also check their drawing status online through the Online Licensing Center beginning in late January.
When sales for the 2015 license year begin March 4, 2015, permit winners may purchase their required 2015 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents) and 2015 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25). Each permit (also known as a carcass tag) will be printed at the time of purchase. Conservation Patrons and Senior Citizen Recreation Card holders are required to purchase a turkey license or stamp when they go to pick up their permit.
Leftover permits following the initial drawing for 2015 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March.
Turkey hunters are reminded that in-person turkey registration stations are no longer available in Wisconsin. Turkeys can be registered online or via telephone at 1-888-HUNT-WIS.
For more information, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword “turkey.”
State park management zones eliminated
Wisconsin’s state park turkey management zones were eliminated – this change officially took effect Sept. 1, 2014. Hunters are no longer able to apply for spring turkey permits in any of the previous state park hunting zones. Please note that state parks will remain open for spring turkey hunting and have been absorbed into the larger turkey management zones. For example, a hunter wishing to hunt Zone 1A, Governor Dodge State Park, should now apply for a Zone 1 permit. More information is available in the 2014 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations. For more information regarding hunting within state parks, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “hunting state parks.”
Hunters who previously submitted an application for the 2015 spring turkey season with at least one application choice within a state park hunting zone have the option to alter their application status through the Dec. 10 application deadline. Please contact the DNR Call Center toll-free at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) or visit the DNR Online Licensing Center . It is important to note that all application choices for state park zones have automatically been converted to larger turkey management zones that correspond with the original location (time period choices have been left intact). No further action may be necessary on the hunter’s part if they are satisfied with this conversion.
Youth Turkey Hunt, April 11 & 12
The seventh annual Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be held April 11-12, the weekend prior to the opening of the regular spring turkey season.
In conjunction with the Mentored Hunting Program, the Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be open to resident and non-resident youth hunters ages 10-15. A Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment is not required for Spring Turkey Youth Hunt participants. Special rules and regulations apply to those participating in the Mentored Hunting Program, and interested hunters should carefully review these rules prior to entering the field.
A spring turkey license, stamp, and valid permit/carcass tag are required to hunt during the Spring Turkey Youth Hunt. All other existing turkey hunting rules and regulations apply.
Youth hunters who do not harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use an unfilled permit during the zone and time period for which the tag was issued. Interested youth hunt participants should apply for a spring turkey permit before the Dec. 10 deadline.
Applications for turkey hunts for hunters with disabilities are due Dec. 10
Hunters with disabilities who wish to turkey hunt next spring on private lands are reminded of an alternate opportunity available using a separate application and authorization form.
Applications to conduct a Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities on private land must be submitted using DNR Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A. Forms need to be submitted before Dec. 10 to a local DNR wildlife biologist or department office for the county where the hunt will take place. Please note that any hunter applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may not apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey drawing.
First time license buyer discount
Certain resident hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses are available for as little as $5 for those who have never purchased that same type of license or have not purchased a Wisconsin license authorizing that activity in any of the prior ten years. Certain nonresident licenses are also discounted for first-time buyers.
Hunting and fishing licenses and applications for the permit drawing ($3 application fee) may be can be purchased: through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).
More detailed information is available in previous news releases on turkey and bear seasons, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords”bear” or “turkey.”
Hunters interested in receiving email updates can sign up for the DNR’s GovDelivery service. Visit dnr.wi.gov, and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page to “Subscribe to DNR Updates.”