Permit deadline approaching for many hunting seasons

DNR Press Release

MADISON – August 1 is an important harvest permit application deadline for hunters and trappers. Applications are due for the following seasons: fall wild turkey, Canada geese in the Horicon Zone, sharp-tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher, and otter. Any fall turkey permits remaining after the initial drawing will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 25, a departure from previous years when sales didn’t start until noon. Leftover fall turkey permits will be sold by zone until sold out or the season ends.

2012 Season Dates

- Fall turkey: statewide Sept. 15 to Nov. 15; Nov. 26 to Dec. 31 in Zones 1-5 ONLY
- Canada geese, Horicon Zone: season dates are tentative and will not be set by the Natural Resources Board until August 8. Horicon Zone is proposed for Sept. 16 to Dec. 16 (first time period Sept. 16 through Oct. 28; second time period Oct. 29 through Dec. 16). Horicon Zone hunters are expected to receive six harvest tags for their time period.
- Sharp-tailed grouse: Oct. 20 through Nov. 11.
- Bobcat hunting and trapping (north of Hwy 64 only): Period 1 Oct. 20 through Dec. 25; Period 2 Dec. 26, 2012 through Jan. 31, 2013.
- Fisher (trapping only): Oct. 20 through Dec. 31.
- Otter (trapping only): North Zone Nov. 3, 2012 through April 30, 2013; Central & South zones Nov. 3, 2011 through March 31, 2013.

Permits can be applied for through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). A bobcat permit application costs $6; all other permit applications cost $3.
The live operators at the DNR Call Center can help answer any questions folks may have about the permit application process. The Call Center is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, and can be reached at (888) WDNR-INFo (1-888-936-7463).

Fall turkey

There will be 96,700 wild turkey permits available to hunters for the fall 2012 turkey hunting season, 1,000 more permits than were offered in 2011. Permits were increased by 600 in Zone 2 and 400 in Zone 7 in order to better accommodate demand by hunters. Harvest for the 2012 spring season increased by 6 percent compared to the 2011 season, largely due to the unseasonably comfortable weather that characterized most of the season. As well, the increased harvest may have partly been due to relatively mild conditions during the 2011-12 winter. Observed turkey numbers may increase further given the warm and dry conditions during the critical June brood-rearing period. Turkey hunters can therefore still expect excellent opportunities to pursue turkeys during the fall 2012 season.

The 2012 fall season will run from Sept. 15 through Nov. 15 for all seven of Wisconsin’s turkey management zones. In addition, an extended fall turkey season for Zones 1-5 ONLY will run from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31. Hunters who receive a fall turkey permit in Zones 1-5 will be able to fill their unused permits during the extended season in the zone for which they were issued. Hunters may use dogs to hunt wild turkeys during the fall season throughout the state of Wisconsin. The bag limit is one turkey of any age or sex per fall turkey hunting permit (also known as a carcass tag).

New turkey harvest registration procedures

Starting with the fall 2011 turkey season, hunters have been able to register their turkey by telephone or online. In-person registration stations are no longer available. All harvested turkeys must be registered either by calling the DNR’s Harvest Registration System at 1-888-HUNT-WIS (1-888-486-8947) or online via the DNR website (go to and search for “turkey registration”). The phone-in system will accept touch tone entry only. Hunters will be asked to record a harvest registration confirmation number on their hunting permit at the end of the call or on-line session. Hunters will still have until 5 p.m. on the day after harvest to register their turkey. The wild turkey page of the DNR website will have updates regarding specific registration procedures.

Sharp-tailed grouse

For 2012, 235 sharp-tailed grouse hunting permits will be available. This is a slight decrease from 2011 when 250 permits were available. However, the decision has been made to re-open sharp-tailed grouse hunting in DMU 8 for 2012, the result of some promising survey numbers seen in the spring of 2012. “Because sharp-tailed grouse occur at low densities across the landscape, they are often challenging to locate,” said Krista McGinley, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist. “Anticipating and allowing yourself to enjoy the experience of the hunt is encouraged and likely more realistic than the prospect of finding and harvesting a sharptail.” Sharp-tailed grouse management units use the same boundaries and designations as deer management units (DMUs). In 2012, two units will have permits available. DMU 2 will have 200 permits, and DMU 8, which was temporarily closed in 2011, will have 35 permits. DMUs 9 and 10, open in the past, will remain closed.

“Although there were a few more birds observed this spring in a couple areas, some of our traditional sharp-tailed grouse dancing grounds and managed properties continue to hold relatively few grouse, warranting a cautious and conservative approach in our harvest framework,” said McGinley.

Hunters are reminded to carefully review the zone map and apply only for units that are open. Applying for closed units will result in an invalid application.

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