New Wisconsin state budget eliminates carcass tags for deer and turkeys, registration of Canada geese

Gov. Scott Walker’s Thursday, Sept. 21 signing of the state budget includes a number of changes for the DNR and Wisconsin sportsmen, with the perhaps the most noticeable change to sportsmen being the new tagging requirement, or lack thereof, for deer, turkeys, and Canada geese.

This next bit of news may just be the most important thing for hunters to remember – YOU MUST still register deer and turkeys, with that registration now being done by phone or online. Canada goose harvest information will now be collected in a different fashion.

Deer

Deer carcass tags no longer have to be validated or attached to a carcass upon harvest.  All deer must still be registered, however. Hunters must still carry proof that they have the authorization to hunt by carrying a DNR Conservation Card, a GoWild validated Wisconsin driver’s license, a GoWild digital file, or a paper tag/authorization.

The DNR said the GoWild system will be programmed to create a deer tag template that will no longer require validation or tag attachment language. The Department will honor all deer carcass tags previously issued with validation stubs, even though the hunter will no longer have to remove the stub or attach the carcass tag to the deer.

“The deer carcass tag number on tags that have already been printed/sold and the ‘harvest authorization number’ associated with licenses sold going forward for the remainder of the year, will be connected to the customer’s profile for harvest registration purposes. The unique tag number or harvest authorization number will continue be used for deer harvest registration purposes,” said Kevin Wallenfang, the DNR’s deer ecologist.

Turkey

Turkey carcass tags no longer have to be validated or attached to a carcass. The DNR will allow the use of previously purchased turkey carcass tags to serve as the new turkey harvest authorization. Hunters must still register their turkeys by phone or computer, and they must also carry proof of having a hunting license using one of the methods described above for deer hunters.

GoWild will be programmed to create a system for issuing turkey harvest authorizations.  The system will manage the number of harvest authorizations issued per zone and time period.

Once a turkey is registered, the tag number or harvest authorization number will be connected to the customer’s profile for harvest registration purposes. The number that was previously issued as a tag number will be accepted as the harvest authorization number and will be used for harvest reporting purposes for the remainder of the fall season, according to a statement from the DNR’s customer service office.

Canada geese

Goose registration is no longer required. Instead, the DNR wildlife management program will collect goose harvest information by incorporating survey questions on Canada goose harvest into the annual small game harvest survey tool. The small game harvest survey is an annual survey to the hunting public which provides data to estimate harvest for such species as ruffed grouse, pheasant, cottontail rabbit as well as many other species.

The current car killed deer authorization system will be expanded to include vehicle-killed turkeys.  Motorists have been allowed to pick up vehicle-killed deer for some time and now road-killed turkeys may be picked up with authorization from the DNR – either go on-line to the WDNR website at dnr.wi.gov, or by call (608) 267-7691.

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