Wisconsin budget changes rules for deer, turkey hunters

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The 2017-2019 biennial budget recently signed by Gov. Scott Walker includes changes in deer and turkey tagging that went into effect immediately.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is currently implementing changes involving the use of deer and turkey carcass tags and hopes to clarify any confusion the new requirements may cause during the fall hunting seasons now underway.

Deer, turkey

Under the new budget law, deer and turkey carcass tags are not required to be issued with licenses. In addition, validation and attachment of carcass tags is no longer required.

These changes do not affect other species such as bear, bobcat, fisher, otter or sturgeon.

To date, nearly one million deer and turkey carcass tags have been issued for the current fall hunting seasons. The department will honor all issued deer and turkey carcass tags as an authorization to hunt deer and turkey within the assigned or designated location. Customers making additional purchases throughout the remainder of this year's hunting seasons will be issued products that will not include the usual validation and attachment language.

While hunting, customers will still be required to carry proof they are authorized to hunt within the designated location. Hunters will be able to use their DNR issued Conservation Card, a GoWild validated Wisconsin driver's license, a GoWild digital file or a paper tag/authorization as proof of compliance. For the remainder of 2017 seasons, the game registration system will recognize either the previously issued tag number or the harvest authorization number to connect the customer's information from their profile to the zone and season in which the customer is authorized to hunt.

The department will continue to issue carcass tags for deer, however hunters will not be required to validate or attach the carcass tag to the deer. The tag will continue to be issued based upon management unit, zone, land type (private or public), sex of deer and will identify weapon as appropriate.

To minimize impacts to customers for the 2017 fall turkey season now under way, the department will allow the use of previously purchased turkey carcass tags to serve as the new turkey harvest authorization.

Harvested turkey and deer must still be registered under current law. Harvest registration is a critical part of deer and turkey population management. Customers will be asked to enter either their carcass tag number or their turkey harvest authorization number into the Game Registration system to begin the harvest registration process

Canada goose registration

Canada goose hunters are no longer required to report their daily harvest. DNR will be collecting harvest information in the future through the use of waterfowl surveys.

For more information on the changes and how they might affect you during the current and upcoming fall hunting seasons, visit dnr.wi.gov.