MADISON – New this year, fall turkey hunters will no longer be required to apply or compete in a drawing for fall turkey harvest authorizations. Instead, one fall turkey harvest authorization will be issued at no additional cost with the purchase of a fall turkey or conservation patron license. Customers will need to specify their zone of choice when purchasing their license.
In addition to the fall harvest authorization issued with the purchase of a license, bonus fall harvest authorizations will be sold over-the-counter on a first-come, first-served basis. Select turkey management zones will have a set number of bonus authorizations available for $10 apiece beginning in August. Bonus authorization levels are determined after looking at turkey harvest and population data, as well as hunter feedback and harvest authorization sales, within each zone.
Wisconsin has seen a decrease in fall turkey harvest over the past decade. DNR surveys indicate the lower harvest is due to reduced hunter participation and effort, and not a reduction in the turkey population. In the fall, more people are hunting turkeys opportunistically while pursuing other species, rather than exclusively hunting for turkey.
The reduced harvest and hunter effort has led wildlife managers to believe a competitive drawing is no longer necessary for the fall season. The DNR will continue to monitor harvest and population data to ensure continued success of Wisconsin’s wild turkey management program.