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Fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons open Sept. 15

DSORe NewsPic 1
2012 fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons are set to open, hunter prospects look good.illustration c. OOAK Digital Gallery ©2012

MADISON – The 2012 fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons are set to open, and state wildlife officials say that hunter prospects are good for both seasons. The turkey season will open statewide at the start of shooting hours on Sept. 15, as will the grouse season in Zone A. Grouse hunters interested in pursuing grouse in southeastern Wisconsin should be aware that the grouse season does not open until Oct. 20 in Zone B.

Overall, Wisconsin’s statewide wild turkey population remains strong, and wildlife officials have set the number of fall turkey permits available at 96,700, a 1,000-permit increase over the number of permits offered during last year’s fall turkey season. Permits were increased by 600 in Zone 2 and by 400 in Zone 7 in order to better accommodate demand by hunters.

Ruffed grouse populations in Wisconsin appear to be entering a downswing, according to this spring’s drumming survey results. Ruffed grouse populations are known to boom and bust over an 8-11 year period, and the index that the state uses to track ruffed grouse numbers decreased statewide by 25 percent between 2011 and 2012. This decrease isn’t a surprise, as Wisconsin was overdue for the expected downturn, but weather conditions in the spring were excellent for nesting and brood-rearing, and should mean a good year for reproduction. First-year birds may therefore help offset the cyclic downturn in numbers, and hunters can expect good hunting again during the 2012 season.

Fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse season dates and reminders

2012 Fall Wild Turkey Season Dates (all zones):

  • Sept. 15 through Nov. 15

2012 Fall Wild Turkey Extended Season Dates for Zones 1-5 ONLY:

  • Nov. 26 through Dec. 31

2012 Ruffed Grouse Season Dates:

  • Zone A: Sept. 15, 2012 through Jan. 31, 2013
  • Zone B: Oct. 20 through Dec. 8

2012 Woodcock Season
Sept. 22 through Nov. 5

For more information, see the Wisconsin wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and Harvest Information Program pages on the DNR website.

Read more here:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

  • Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist: (608) 267-7861
  • Krista McGinley, assistant upland wildlife ecologist: (608) 261-8458

Turkey and grouse hunting have special safety concerns

DSORe NewsPic 2
“Wear blaze orange clothing and stay in visual contact with your hunting partners at all times.”Part of the mindset necessary for a safe hunting season.photo c. Dan Small Outdoors, LLC. ©2012

MADISON — Hunters need to keep safety in mind when hunting turkey and grouse.

“There’s something very special about turkey and grouse hunting,” says Jon King Department of Natural Resources hunter education program administrator. “And with the enthusiasm that goes along with this type of hunting, we should all be mindful of making sure we return home safe and sound at the end of each hunt.”

Here are some things King says hunters need to keep in mind when going afield after ruffed grouse and fall turkey:

Follow the four basic rules of firearm safety: TAB+K.

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Plan your hunt and hunt your plan.
  • Know your safe zone of fire, know where your hunting partners are and always advance forward in unison and don’t get ahead of or behind your hunting partner.
  • Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it.
  • Shooting into thick cover or heavy brush without positive identification can lead to a tragedy.
  • Wear blaze orange clothing and stay in visual contact with your hunting partners at all times. If you lose sight of each other, stop hunting, call, and listen until you locate each other.
  • Other hunters and non-hunters will be afield so take the time needed to ensure you have a safe shot.
  • Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot.
  • 34 percent of hunting incidents are self-inflicted and preventable.

King suggests that you advise someone else of where you will be hunting and when they should expect you back. If something should go wrong, at least someone will know where to start looking.

“Famed conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote, ‘There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting, and ruffed grouse hunting,’” King says. “Don’t let careless hunting practices spoil this special tradition.”

Read more here:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

  • Jon King, hunter education program administrator: 608-575-2294
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