I'm a new poster to this forum, and a relatively new turkey hunter compared to yourself. It sounds from your posts like you have done a good deal for the sport through the years, and for that I thank you since I come to the sport relatively late in life. I do love turkey hunting, and my initial reaction to the dramatic changes proposed by SB481 is "way too much, too quickly". But I am trying to learn all I can about the Bill, especially why there seems to be such a rush and what was the driving factor behind it?
When news of this Bill came out in the press I emailed both the DNR & the Wis Conservation Congress to ask if they had input to the Bill. My DNR email was forwarded internally to Scott Hull, the guy that you referred to in your recent post. Mr. Hull replied to me.
Charlie, I do need to ask about a few of the facts and opinions that you've brought up in your posts on this forum.
One fact that you used when initiating this discussion is that the Wis initial turkey permit applications dropped from ~170,000 in 2009 to 149,000 this year. You used the 21,000 drop as a cause of concern about our future turkey ranks, and a possible good reason for this Bill. On a recent post you again referred to this drop as an "undeniable fact". Well, you should be relieved to hear that the actual numbers are much better.
The Journal article you read must have used preliminary numbers. The actual Final 2010 Spring number, posted on the DNR website is 162,679 first choice applicants, not 149,000.
http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/hun ... spring.pdf
The 2009 number of initial applicants was 169,765, a drop of 7086 (only 4%) to 2010. Not 21,000. "Treerooster" made a good point earlier that 2009 may have had a small applicant surge due to going from 50+ zones to 7 that year.
Along with his email reply to me Mr. Hull of the DNR sent along a copy of both last year's poll results & the poll itself. You write in your Feb 26 post that you were a part of the poll last year and it did NOT ask you if you were satisfied with the current season structure. Well, the 2009 Poll's Question #3 reads: "Wisconsin's current turkey hunting season framework (6, 5-day time periods, 7 zones, a limited draw for first permits, and over-the-counter sale of unissued permits) is intended to provide a quality hunting experience by spreading out hunter density and demand across time periods and zones. How satisfied were you with the current season framework?"
The results to that question from 4000+ turkey hunters who responded to the poll were 31.7% Very Satisfied, 24.2% Somewhat Satisfied, 29.5% Satisfied, 10.7% Somewhat Dissatisfied, 4.0% Very Dissatisfied.
Seems pretty clear to me that the Spring 2009 poll DID ask, and that most of these 4000+ hunters are satisfied with the current regulations. I did find that the DNR posted the earlier 2007 and 2008 Spring polls on their webite at http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wil ... arvest.htm
Neither of these earlier polls specifically referred to hunter satisfaction with the season structure. Although I'm not a pollster, after reading the polls in my opinion the poll questions do a good job of trying to get hunter input & experiences, & are not just a "DNR feel good poll".
If you or anyone else would like to see the complete 2009 poll and results before they're posted on the website, I expect that Mr. Hull would send you a copy. His email is Scott.Hull@wisconsin.gov
Finally, in his email response to me Mr. Hull wrote "I can emphatically tell you that the DNR was not involved in the development of this bill nor were we consulted." Charlie, you posted that contrary to what Mr. Hull said, that "... he was consulted and asked for input every step of the way by the state NWTF who helped write it and the Senators". Exactly where. please, did you get that information that the DNR was consulted every step of the way?
The email response to me from the Wis Conservation Congress can be the subject for a another post. This one's long enough.
For anyone interested in another point of view from a long-time sportswriter, here's an interesting article by Patrick Durkin titled "Spring turkey hunt -- why mess with good thing?:
http://host.madison.com/sports/recreati ... 03286.html