From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
-- With the April 13 start of the spring wild turkey hunting season near, wildlife officials say hunters can look forward to a good spring hunt. They are also encouraging experienced hunters to consider taking a youth to the April 9 and 10 statewide spring turkey youth hunt.
More than 225,700 permits were made available for this spring's hunt, the same number of permits offered for the 2010 spring season. More than 145,500 of those permits were issued in the preference drawing for spring 2011, leaving 80,178 tags available for sale.
Remaining permits are available for three zones in later hunting periods, and can be purchased until sold out or the season ends. Hunters can check permit availability at http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/cs/springturkey/.
"Annual surveys continue to show wild turkey population with relatively good, healthy numbers," says Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist. "The results of the 2010 10-week brood survey were mixed, indicating a downturn in the number of turkey broods observed, while brood size increased slightly from 2009 levels. Turkey brood production appears to have leveled off but remains slightly below the statewide long-term goal."
Hunters harvested 47,722 turkeys in 2010, a 9 percent decrease from the near record harvest of 52,581 birds in 2009. Spring success rates over the past few years have been in the 22 to 25 percent range.
The season starts April 13 and consists of 6 five-day time periods that end May 22. The spring turkey youth on April 9 and 10 occurs the weekend preceding the opening of the regular spring turkey season. The youth hunt allows close one-on-one mentoring of future hunters in a relaxed atmosphere without competition for hunting spots from regular season hunters.
Thanks to the Mentored Hunting Program that took effect with the 2009 fall season, youth hunters aged 10 and 11, and youth ages 12 through 15, may now also participate in the 2011 youth turkey hunt.
Under the Mentored Hunting Program, youth ages 10 through 15 may hunt during the two-day youth turkey hunt without having completed hunter education, as long as they do so with a qualified adult mentor and follow the rules of the program. Youth ages 12 to 15 who have already completed hunter education may hunt during the youth hunt while accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. Each youth must have a valid spring 2011 turkey harvest permit, license and stamp.
Youth are allowed to hunt April 9 and 10 in the turkey management zone for which their permit is valid, regardless of the time period their permit is issued for, and may harvest only one male or bearded turkey during the two-day hunt. A youth who does not successfully harvest a turkey during the two-day youth hunt may use the unfilled permit during the time period and in the zone for which the permit was issued.
There is no special application procedure for the youth hunt, but young hunters must either be issued a tag through the drawing or purchase a leftover tag. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.