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WI hunters take fewer fall turkeys; spring permits on sale March 22

From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

-- Hunters registered 7,073 birds during the Sept. 12 through Nov. 19 regular season and 1,192 birds during the Nov. 30 through Dec. 31 extended season in turkey zones 1 – 5. In 2008, 10,698 birds were registered in the fall harvest.

The Fall 2009 turkey hunt showed a decrease in harvest, which was anticipated given poor brood production in 2008, according to Scott Hull, upland game ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. “The 2008 brood production was influenced by rainy and cold conditions. We saw impacts of this reduced brood production during the 2009 spring season with a higher proportion of adult birds compared to jakes in the harvest, indicating fewer jakes in the population.”

Hunters purchased fewer permits for the fall 2009 hunt compared to the previous year (68,796 permits issued in fall 2009 compared to 76,448 in 2008). Approximately 26,000 fall permits remained unsold by the close of the fall 2009 season. The total number of permits available for 2008 and 2009 were identical at 95,700.

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

Permit levels are not yet set for the 2010 fall season but Hull feels hunters can expect a similar number of permits to be available. Of the 95,700 permits available for the 2009 fall season, the DNR issued 57,950 permits in the drawing and sold another 11,120 remaining permits over-the-counter after the drawing had been completed. The 8,265 registered birds compute to a success rate of 12.0 percent compared to 14.0 percent in 2008.

A pilot program allowing hunting turkey with dogs in the fall continued for a third year and was available to hunters in a 9-county area in the southwest. Specific harvest statistics are not yet available for those counties but anecdotal reports suggest that the previous two years went well. The program will go statewide next fall, allowing fall turkey hunting with dogs throughout the state.

Spring 2010 turkey season permits  will go on sale beginning March 22, and the 2010 turkey hunting season will run from April 14-May 23, in six 5-day time periods. In total, 225,729 permits are available for the spring 2010 turkey season. An estimated 76,636 spring turkey permits remaining after the drawing will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting March 22 by zone, one zone per day, with each zone having a designated sales date.

For updated information on leftover spring permit availability and other information regarding the 2009 spring turkey hunting season, visit the wild turkey page of the DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/hunt/turkey/index.htm.

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