Should Wisconsin consider a free one-day Thanksgiving turkey season for deer hunters?

Wisconsin’s fall turkey season continues to wane some years, then after taking a boot in the seat, interest picks up for a time.

Too bad. It could be a fun outdoors adventure and continues to be that for some.

Could the state turkey population stand a few hundred additional harvests during an extra season without cutting too deeply into the number? Probably so.

How about going back to 1621, when the English colonists (Pilgrims) apparently celebrated with the Wampanoag to mark the first successful harvest?

By Thanksgiving Day, some gun deer hunters are tiring of deer stands, deer drives, and punching in the results on their phones or computers. A few go after big fall walleyes; a few more hunt pheasants or ducks before the noon or evening meal. If there is a little ice starting to cover lakes in the north, then tip-ups are an option, too, before another push at the final weekend whitetails.

Could a new tradition develop, in part to replace the several long-standing and important deer hunting rituals the state took away?

How about a free day of turkey hunting, open to all licensed deer hunters, with no license other than the gun deer card required? Trade in the rifle for a bow or shotgun and shoot a turkey for the Thanksgiving Day meal? Require registration and the tradition would have commenced.

The workings could be refined and the result could be reintroducing hunters to a Thanksgiving hunt, something they may expand on themselves.

Yes, I know, the fall turkey season is already open in zones 1-5 during the gun deer season, but this would draw special attention to the fall season, something almost no gun deer hunters do.

Years ago, a team of reporters from Germany were here to craft a documentary on Wisconsin’s newly discovered deer disease. They stopped by in the morning to talk and asked if I would go out and shoot them a turkey to celebrate our Thanksgiving.

After explaining that would be impossible and illegal, they went on their merry way to talk dead and dying deer with hunters, after turning down my offer to join us later in the day. (By the way, the team spent two weeks here filming a documentary for their country.)

I guess it just seemed natural to them that we would try to have wild turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

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