August 23, 2014

Talking turkey with the DNR

PHOTO: Jackie Johnson

The Department of Natural Resources is traveling the state to talk turkey with the public. The agency is looking for feedback from hunters, property owners, and others who are concerned about the birds, as it considers changes to Wisconsin’s Wild Turkey Management Plan. State Wildlife ecologist Scott Walter says they want to make sure the state’s growing turkey population is being dealt with properly.

The plan was last updated in 1996 and Wisconsin’s wild turkey population has continued to explode since then. Walter says turkey hunting has become much more popular as well, so they want to make sure the current structure of the season is working out.

Wild Turkeys were reintroduced in the state in 1976. The population has grown dramatically since then and the birds can now be found in every Wisconsin county.

The agency is holding a series of hearings across the state to help evaluate the management plan. Walter says feedback so far appears to be largely positive. He says there’s “general satisfaction with the way things are going now,” although they have heard some concerns about recent extensions in some of those hunting periods.

If members of the public can’t make it to a hearing or missed one in their region, the DNR does have an online survey available as well. A full list of meetings is available on the agency’s website.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:11)