Wisconsin 2014 wild turkey permit status:
After the last minute spring turkey permit reduction fiasco that very few knowledgeable hunters thought was a good idea. Fall turkey hunters were concerned those same few complainers would manage to convince the WDNR to reduce fall turkey permit availability in 2014. Thankfully, wildlife management based on science prevailed and the fall turkey permit numbers will be equal to the number offered during the 2013 fall season. Statewide 96,700 permits will be available with permits allocated to specific turkey management zones based on the amount of habitat available.
Fall permit levels are set by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources after review by the Turkey Advisory Committee, a group that includes representatives from the department and numerous partner organizations with an interest in Wisconsin’s wild turkey resource.
Zone-specific fall 2014 permit levels are as follows:
- Zone 1: 27,500
- Zone 2: 18,000
- Zone 3: 30,000
- Zone 4: 15,000
- Zone 5: 3,800
- Zone 6: 1,400
- Zone 7: 1,000
Scott Walter reports:
“We certainly heard from hunters who were concerned that this past winter might significantly impact our northern turkey flock,” said DNR upland wildlife ecologist Scott Walter. “We do know from research in the Midwest that prolonged periods with deep snow and cold can lead to increased mortality, and with up to four feet of snow on the ground and weeks of bitter cold in some areas this year, those concerns were justified. However, when the snow finally began to melt and winter flocks broke up, folks began to see turkeys in large numbers across the north.”
Fall either-sex harvests can impact turkey populations if hen harvest is excessive, but the number of hens harvested in Wisconsin is very low. Biologists are not concerned that fall harvests will influence turkey populations. Given these low hen harvests and indications from the spring season that turkeys came through winter in decent shape, the advisory committee decided to maintain fall permit availability at 2013 levels.
“In northern zones 6 and 7, hunters harvested just one hen for every 50 to 100 square miles of forest cover last fall,” said Walter. “In some counties, total registered hen harvest was in the single digits – these very low hen harvests are well below the level capable of influencing population abundance.”
According to Scott Walter,
since all permits are utilized in the northern zones, every permit not allocated would lead to one hunter that would not be able to pursue turkeys in that zone in 2014. A permit reduction would provide no benefits for the turkey population, so a reduction in hunting opportunity is not necessary.
In layman terms think of turkeys this way; Turkeys live about 2 and half years whether you hunt them or not.
So even if you did not apply by August 1st for a fall turkey permit you can still purchase over the counter tags when they go on sale August 23. Successful applicants will be notified by mail the week of August 18. Hunters who did not apply for the drawing will not a receive a tag with their turkey license, they will need to purchase a tag over the counter.