Turkey Hunting in Wisconsin

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  • A
  • 350,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 230,000 (estimated)

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $33.25

    Hunting license, application fee, permit and turkey stamp.

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $83.25

    Hunting license, application fee, permit and turkey stamp.

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Wisconsin had long been a sleeper state for turkey hunting, but folks are finding out about it. Here's why.

Non-resident hunters will find the license/stamp affordable.

Also an almost ideal mix of habitat across the state's southern two-thirds: hardwood forest, farm fields, pasture land, river and creek bottoms, grassland and wetlands.

It's a diverse mosaic and wild turkeys thrive here.

There are even birds in the “northwoods” now, and the entire state, divided into seven units, is open to spring hunting. 

As the Wisconsin DNR says:

The wild turkey is truly one of Wisconsin's wildlife management success stories. A key role in the success of the wild turkey management program can be attributed to hunters through their purchase of the Wild Turkey Stamp which provides vital financial support in providing for future opportunities for turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin. Since wild turkeys were first successfully reintroduced into Wisconsin in 1976, population levels continue to increase and expand statewide. Successful restoration of the wild turkey resulted from tremendous hunter and landowner support, good survival and high quality habitat.

When should you hunt here?

First you need to apply for licenses during particular week-long seasons.

Of course the early hunts are popular, but late-season sessions (when the hunting and the weather is sometimes better anyway) always have leftover tags for purchase.

The second to third week of the month usually sees a second gobbling peak according to sources.

In Wisconsin, the southwest quarter of the state is the wild turkey's original stronghold.

These days, birds are everywhere.

The western country (hilly and wooded with farmed ridges and valley bottoms) is prime too. So is the east-central farm country (flatter, but still plenty of woods and fields).

The southeast suburban landscape has birds as well.

One downside to Wisconsin is limited public-land opportunities. Most are in the north, where turkeys admittedly are more spread out. 

Sources suggest many landowners will let you hunt their turkeys; just don't ask about their deer.

Wisconsin also offers a free "first harvest" certificate to commemorate the experience, which is a pretty cool deal for youth and first-time turkey hunters.

Turkey Hunting in Wisconsin (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

Fun Fact: Originally, 334 Missouri birds were brought to Wisconsin. As these flocks flourished and expanded their range, they were trapped and transplanted elsewhere across the state. The rest is turkey-restoration history.

– Steve Hickoff

Wisconsin Turkey Hunting Regulations

Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.