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Turkey hunting in Wisconsin FAQ

Turkeys Silhouetted on a field

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Turkey Hunting

What are the recent changes to the turkey season?
  • As of September 2017, the tagging regulations for harvesting turkeys have changed. See theTurkey Carcass Tag FAQ [PDF]for more information.
  • Since 2018, the fall turkey drawing has been waived. See "How do I get a fall turkey harvest authorization?" below for more information.
What do I need to participate in the turkey hunt?

To hunt wild turkey in Wisconsin, you need a turkey harvest authorization (formerly known as a carcass tag/permit), a turkey license and a wild turkey stamp. An annual turkey stamp, a spring turkey license, a fall turkey license and a fall turkey harvest authorization can be purchased through Go Wild and are included with a Conservation Patron License or a Senior Citizen Recreation Card. A spring turkey harvest authorization can be obtained through the spring turkey drawing, or purchased as a bonus harvest authorization. Visit the turkey hunting webpage for more information.

What do I need to carry with me while hunting?

You must have a valid copy of your license, stamp and harvest authorization (formerly known as a carcass tag/permit) with you while hunting turkeys. This includes a DNR issued Conservation Card, a Go Wild validated WI driver’s license, a Go Wild digital file or a paper print out.

How do I get a spring turkey harvest authorization?

Spring turkey harvest authorizations (formerly known as a carcass tag/permit) are distributed using a preference-based drawing system. To receive a turkey harvest authorization, hunters must submit a $3 application. Applications are available at any DNR service centerlicensing agent or online through Go Wild. The application deadline is Dec. 10. Application status can be checked through Go Wild. Successful applicants will be notified by mail. After the drawing occurs, bonus turkey harvest authorizations will be sold over-the-counter on a first-come, first-served basis.

How do I get a fall turkey harvest authorization?

New for 2018, one fall turkey harvest authorization is included with each fall turkey or conservation patron license at no extra cost. Hunters will choose the zone in which they would like to hunt at the time of purchase. Select zones will have bonus fall turkey harvest authorizations available for purchase starting in August.

How is preference determined for the spring harvest authorization drawing?

Preference status is based on Wisconsin residency, land ownership, and preference points. Below are the preference categories, where #1 has the highest preference:

  1. Resident landowners with 50 or more contiguous acres;
  2. Residents with 1 or more preference points;
  3. All other residents;
  4. Non-resident landowners;
  5. All other non-residents.
What are preference points?

Preference points are awarded to applicants who applied for, but did not receive, a turkey harvest authorization (formerly known as a carcass tag/permit) the previous season. The more points you have, the higher you rank in your respective preference category. Preference points are cumulative, but they expire f you do not apply at least once in a 3-year period. Points are returned to zero upon receiving a turkey harvest authorization, or upon expiration.

What is landowner preference?

Landowners may be Wisconsin residents or non-residents. To qualify, you must personally own 50 or more acres in one tract within the management zone you select as your first choice to be eligible for landowner preference in that zone. The acres may be adjacent to one another to make up the 50 acre tract. You are not required to live on this tract. (Note: This does not mean that a different person may apply with landowner preference for each 50 acres within one ownership.) If the land is under joint ownership, only one of the owners my apply for landowner preference. When claiming landowner preference, only your 1st zone and time period choice will receive the preference in the drawing. Group members claiming landowner preference will lose preference if the zone differs from that of the group leader's.

How do group applications work?

A maximum of ten people who wish to hunt together may apply in the spring turkey drawing as a group. Each group must designate a group leader. Each member, including the leader, must write the group leader's DNR customer ID on their application in the designated section. If group members have different preference levels, the lowest preference will be used for the group in the drawing.

Landowner preference only applies to groups if every member of the group is eligible for, and claims, landowner preference. Group members must request identical zones and time periods in the same order. If different, the choices on the group leader's application will be used. Failure to properly complete the application will disallow you from your group.

How do I know if I successfully drew a harvest authorization in the spring turkey drawing?

The spring harvest authorization drawing takes place in late January. Successful applicants will be notified by postcard. Application status can also be checked through Go Wild, at a DNR service center or by calling 1-888-WDNRINFO (1-888-936-7463).

How do I get a copy of the wild turkey stamp?

When you purchase a stamp through Go Wild, you are purchasing electronic permission. A physical copy of the turkey stamp is no longer necessary to legally harvest a bird, but many people still want the stamp for collection purposes. You can get a physical copy of your turkey stamp at any DNR service center, or request that it be mailed. Visit the collector stamp webpage for more information on how to obtain a copy of your stamp or purchase additional stamps.

Are the spring zones the same as the fall hunting zones?

Yes. Wild Turkey Management Zones [PDF]

What state parks are open to spring turkey hunting?

Information on hunting in state parks.

What opportunities are there for disabled turkey hunting?

Information on spring turkey hunting opportunities for the disabled.

What is the bag limit?

The bag limit for the spring season is one bearded or male turkey per spring turkey harvest authorization (formerly known as a carcass tag/permit). The fall season bag limit is one turkey of any age or sex per fall turkey harvest authorization.

Do I need a license for assisting other hunters?

No license is required to call turkeys if you do not possess a firearm or bow. A guide license is required if you are charging a fee for your assistance.

Can I shoot a turkey for another hunter?


Can I hunt turkey with the aid of dogs or bait?
  • Bait may not be used to hunt wild turkey
  • Hunters with a fall turkey harvest authorization (formerly known as a carcass tag/permit), stamp and license may use dogs to hunt wild turkey throughout the state of Wisconsin during the fall season. It is not legal to hunt turkey with the aid of dogs during the spring season.
How do I register my turkey?

It is required by law to register your turkey by 5 p.m. the day after harvest. The harvest authorization number (formerly known as a tag number) is required to successfully register your harvest. Register online or over the phone through GameReg. In-person registration stations are no longer available. Visit the turkey hunting webpage for more information.