Number of fall turkey tags to remain the same as ’08

Madison – There will be no change from last year in the number
of turkey tags to be issued this fall, and preliminary tag numbers
for next spring could remain the same as 2009.

That was the consensus of the DNR Turkey Management Committee
when it met June 12 via a conference call to finalize the 2009 fall
permit levels and set preliminary numbers for the spring of
2010.

Scott Hull, DNR upland wildlife ecologist and committee chair,
said the group wants to stay with the previous spring and fall
permit levels for a while in order to evaluate harvest in the new,
larger zones. The new seven-zone system began with last fall’s
hunt.

“If you change the zones and then the permit levels and
something else, it makes it harder to scientifically evaluate the
performance of things,” Hull said. “If you can hold as many things
(as possible) steady, such as permits, it makes our job easier to
evaluate things such as the harvest.”

Hull also said that, for the most part, the issuance of permits
is meeting hunter demand, so it makes sense to keep things at
status quo for a couple years.

During the 2008 fall season, the DNR made 95,700 permits
available among the seven zones. That number will be used again
this fall, with the following number of tags issued per zone: Zone
1, 27,500 permits; Zone 2, 17,400; Zone 3, 30,000; Zone 4, 15,000;
Zone 5, 3,800, Zone 6, 1,400; and Zone 7, 600 permits.

Wildlife biologists around the state were given the opportunity
to “tweak” the numbers, but agreed to stand pat.

The turkey committee looks at the number of applications for
permits, and the number of permits available.

Wildlife managers also considered that the Natural Resources
Board has approved extending the fall turkey season through Dec. 31
in zones 1 through 5 beginning this year. In those zones, the
longer fall season will be closed during the nine-day gun deer
season. Wildlife managers realize that the longer season could have
an influence on harvest totals this fall.

The fall season in the northern Wisconsin zones – 6 and 7 – will
continue as in the past, but will not be part of the new, extended
fall season. In those two zones, the season will end before the gun
deer season opener, as it has in past years. This year the fall
season in zones 6 and 7 will end Friday, Nov. 19.

The new, longer fall season that is set for zones 1 through 5
must still pass legislative review to go into effect this fall.

Spring 2010 the same

Turkey tag numbers for the spring 2010 season will tentatively
remain the same as the numbers from this past spring. The committee
had some concerns about crowding in the Kettle Moraine State Forest
because of the larger zones, but the DNR is waiting to receive
results from hunter questionnaires that were sent out to a sample
of turkey hunters to get their observations on that point.

That means that the preliminary numbers for the spring of 2010
will be at 225,414 for the seven zones and state parks. Tag
numbers, by zone, will be: Zone 1, 74,400 permits; Zone 2, 34,200;
Zone 3, 63,000; Zone 4, 34,920; Zone 5, 12,000; Zone 6, 4,200; and
Zone 7, 2,400 permits, in addition to permits issued for state
parks.

The committee will meet again in August, when one of the topics
of discussion will be ways for hunters to register turkeys without
visiting a registration station – either by registering them online
or by telephone. This concept was supported by sportsmen during the
spring hearings and later was approved by the NRB, but exact
details on this change have to be determined. The new process
wouldn’t start before 2011.

This fall the state again will allow experimental turkey hunting
with dogs in nine southwestern counties. That has been approved by
the Natural Resources Board to extend statewide beginning in 2010,
and now needs to pass legislative review before finalized.

The DNR Turkey Management Committee will have another meeting in
December to confirm final tag numbers for the 2010 spring hunt, and
to review preliminary numbers for next fall.

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