Despite Gov. Tony Evers stating that state parks would remain open to the public seven days ago, on Thursday, April 9 he reversed course and officially had the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) close about 40 state parks, forests, and recreational areas. The DNR wrote that the move was made due to unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism and the need to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff.
The move was a shocker to many who were worried that the spring turkey hunt would be in jeopardy because of so much land being off-limits, but thankfully turkey hunting will be allowed in closed areas from April 15 through May 26.
Dan Trawicki, of the Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International (SCI), said the club was pleased that turkey hunting would be allowed, but pointed out that those dates would not allow the youth turkey hunt, which starts April 11.
“The Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International is pleased that Gov. Evers will allow turkey hunting on those state parks that allow hunting,” Trawicki said. “Unfortunately, at least for now, the exception does not include our youth season which is set to begin Saturday, April 11. We will be asking for a clarification on something that could be an oversight. Our members are all being encouraged to continue with the turkey season, and still practice social distancing and other habits that keep us all safe in this difficult time.”
Trawicki said that he’s been in contact with state representatives for clarification on the decision.
“Sen Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) will be asking the governor to clarify his position on the upcoming turkey season and the closing of state parks and forest areas,” he said.
Trawicki also said that his group is working with senators with hopes that people who have park stickers could still use them because they have paid a fee to do so, like people with a conservation patron license, for instance. Before the parks were open for free admission, overcrowding was not a problem.
So, for right now grab your box and slate calls and plan on hunting the above-mentioned public parks and lands, but these are unusual times and more changes could be just down the pike.
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