Weather milder for youth turkey hunting season

What a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time, we were collectively digging out from an all-time record snowfall. A few of us were still trying to hunt turkeys.

The youth turkey season opens Saturday and continues through Sunday. Co-worker and president of the Winnebago Strutters chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Jennifer Schloss, said her son Caleb was planning another youth hunt this weekend.

Last year, fighting hand-numbing cold and knee-deep snow, 11-year-old Caleb managed to drop a 26.1-pound gobbler on public land near Wautoma — with 12 minutes to go on the last day — after missing a bird earlier in the day! He, Jennifer and Caleb’s dad, Trent, had hunted hard in the blizzard for two days.

Let’s hope Caleb and all the other young hunters out there age 15 and younger have much balmier weather than last year. The forecast calls for much warmer temperatures and maybe a little snow that hopefully won’t stick around.

Hunters younger than 12 (or those 12-15 who have not completed a hunter education class) must hunt with a mentor (licensed hunter age 18 or older). See these rules for more information: dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/documents/turkyouthhunt.pdf

Upcoming meetings

Don’t forget some important meetings next week in Shawano and Waupaca counties when their respective Deer Advisory Councils meet to review the public’s comments on antlerless deer quotas, permits and extended seasons.

• Shawano County’s council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St., Shawano. Members have recommended six antlerless permits per gun and archery buck tag, a holiday hunt for antlerless deer and extending the archery season through Jan. 31.

• Waupaca County’s council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Manawa City Hall, 500 S. Bridge St., Manawa. Members have recommended three antlerless permits per gun and archery buck tag, no holiday hunt and no extended archery season. Waupaca’s council is the only one among surrounding counties (also including Oconto, Outagamie, Portage and Winnebago) not to recommend a holiday hunt and extended archery/crossbow season through Jan. 31.

Waterfowl news

Once again, waterfowl hunters are likely to have a 60-day duck season for 2019. The Natural Resources Board was expected to approve the proposed season regulations this week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides a general framework and states within the Mississippi River Flyway, including Wisconsin, have some discretion in those rules.

The early teal season would be Sept. 1-9, with a six-bird daily limit. Early goose would be Sept. 1-15. The limits are five Canadas and 20 light (snow and Ross’) geese per day.

Mourning dove season would be Sept. 1 through Nov. 29 (15 per day) and woodcock would be Sept. 21 through Nov. 4 (three per day).

The proposed duck season dates are: Youth hunt, Sept. 14-15; North Zone: Sept. 28 through Nov. 26; South Zone: Sept. 28 through Oct. 6 and Oct. 12 through Dec. 1; Mississippi Zone: Sept. 28 through Oct. 6 and Oct. 19 through Dec. 8.

As in the past, the daily duck limit is six, including no more than four mallards (only one may be a hen), three wood ducks, two black ducks, two redheads, three scaup, one pintail, two canvasbacks and 5 mergansers (no more than two hooded). The daily limit on coots would be 15.

Proposed goose season dates are: North Zone: Sept. 16 through Dec. 16; South Zone: Sept. 16 through Oct. 6, Oct. 12 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 through Jan. 2; Mississippi Zone: Sept. 28 through Oct. 6 and Oct. 19 through Jan. 9.

The goose season totals 92 days and the daily limit is three Canada geese, 20 white geese (snows, blues and Ross’), one Brant and one greater white-fronted.

CWD record

A record 1,060 deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in 2018-19, topping the previous season’s 597. The vast majority of those cases occurred in the Southern Farmland Zone. Our Central Farmland Zone had nine positives from the 5,489 deer tested, according to the DNR.

There are currently 56 CWD-affected counties, including Shawano and Waupaca counties, which means baiting and feeding deer are prohibited. The baiting and feeding ban in Marquette County that was previously lifted was added back on March 1. Green Lake County was added to the ban list on the same date.

Ross Bielema is a freelance writer from New London and owner of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Contact him at Ross@wolfriverccw.com.