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WI hunters register 7,394 birds during fall turkey hunt

From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

-- Wisconsin's wild turkey hunters registered a total of 7,394 birds during the fall 2010 wild turkey season.

Hunters registered 5,530 birds during the Sept. 18 through Nov. 18 regular season, and 1,864 birds during the Nov. 29 through Dec. 31 extended season in Turkey Management Zones 1-5. In 2009, 8,265 birds were registered in the fall harvest.

"The fall 2010 turkey harvest was down, likely because of poor brood production in 2009," said Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist. "The 2009 brood production was influenced by rainy and cold conditions. We saw the impact of reduced brood production during the 2010 spring season with a higher proportion of adult birds compared to jakes in the harvest, indicating fewer jakes in the population."

Hunters also purchased fewer permits for the fall 2010 hunt compared to the previous year; 61,567 permits were issued in fall 2010 compared to 68,796 in 2009. Approximately 34,000 fall permits remained unsold by the close of the fall 2010 season. The total number of permits available for 2009 and 2010 was identical at 95,700.

Hunters can expect approximately 95,700 permits to be available for the 2011 fall season.

"The statewide population of turkeys remains very strong," Walter said. "And with controlled permit levels in place, we were able to offer an extended fall season for Zones 1 to 5. The extension gave many hunters additional hunting opportunities over a longer time period."

Of the 95,700 permits available for the 2010 fall season, the DNR issued 48,908 permits in the drawing and sold another 12,480 remaining permits over-the-counter after the drawing had been completed. The 7,394 registered birds compute to a success rate of 12 percent, identical to the success rate for the 2009 fall season.

A pilot program allowing the use of dogs to hunt turkey was tested during the 2007-2009 fall seasons in a nine-county area in the southwest part of the state. The program went statewide for the 2010 fall season, and by all reports has been a great success.

For more information contact Walter at (608)267-7861 or Krista McGinley at (608)264-8963 or Sharon Fandel at 608) 261-8458