Spring turkey hunt underway in Wisconsin | News

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Wisconsin’s spring turkey season began on Wednesday, April 20. Despite the cold temperatures this year, state wildlife officials expect active participation.

A game bird expert with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said that since the reintroduction of turkeys to the state in the 1980s, turkey hunting has grown in popularity. Officials said last year nearly 250,000 turkey tags were sold statewide.

The season is divided into six sections to avoid overcrowding.

“If we didn’t have it that way, we would have a lot more competition from hunters in the first 3 weeks of the season,” said Taylor Finger, game bird biologist for the WI DNR.

Laramie McClurg has been hunting turkeys for over 30 years and says it’s a skill he has passed down from generation to generation.

“A lot of that time was spent with my dad,” McClurg said. “Every year I do a few hunts with him and we have countless memories together.”

Now McClurg is teaching her nine-year-old daughter how to hunt.

“His enjoyment of nature and the outdoors and spending time with me is really what matters,” McClurg continued.

This year, wildlife officials are keeping an eye out for bird flu or bird flu. This strain of the disease had more impact on wild birds than the 2015 strain.

“The strain impacts wild birds; however, carriers are usually waterfowl and wetlands,” Finger said. “Turkeys just don’t come into contact with waterfowl in large numbers, so the likelihood of them coming into contact with a goose or duck is low, but there’s always a possibility.”

Experts advise hunters not to handle sick or dying birds.

There are still bonus turkey tags available for later seasons, for more information click here.

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Sharon P. Juarez