WI has become a turkey hunter's paradise especially for residents although compared to other states NR coming to WI get one heck of deal on license fees. Depending on unit selected particularly 1&3 where permits have not sold out for the last 2 seasons any hunter can kill as many turkeys as they want, no limit except you can only purchase one tag per day. Of course you could stock up in advance if you have are really large pro turkey hunter ego.
As a young man living in MN I was one of the many volunteers helping with the turkey reintroduction. WDNR likes to rewrite the history a little by making it seems they the government workers came up with trading geese for turkeys with MO. However, it was volunteer citizen hunters in Forest Lake, MN who hatched that idea and began the stocking program with wild birds. MN agreed to trade geese and grouse for turkeys. The geese were easy to catch so MDNR and FWS took care of that part. The grouse well not so easy that task fell to some of us younger volunteers. Ever try and catch a grouse alive? Very labor intensive I think MN still owes MO quite a few grouse to this day. I worked on the grouse catching crews thereby earning my chance to release some turkeys in Houston.
Years later my most satisfying hunt ever; my very first turkey hunt in the hills of Houston, MN hunting for the descendants of the turkeys I released. Would love to claim that hunt culminated with a tagged gobbler but alas I had a lot to learn about turkey hunting. Took me 5 hunts before I figured it out but since that 5th hunt I have killed a turkey on every hunt since with few exceptions. But I digress.
Back to turkey paradise here in WI. Depending on who is estimating WI has more turkeys than any other state or at least it is in the top 3.
WI fields the fewest hunters of all the top turkey states. In 2011 there were about 126,000 turkey licenses sold this is very light hunting pressure statewide. The number of turkey hunters has been going down each year and turkey population going up except for 2011 due to a severe winter in the areas I regularly peruse I think we lost about 30% of the turkeys(WDNR strongly disagrees with me on this.), even with that loss there is still plenty of birds.
Now that there is so much turkey hunting to had as a resident of WI I no longer travel out of state like I once did. I have hunted turkeys in 21 states offering up a wide variety of hunts from swamps, prairies to mountains.
If you travel around WI you can get a wide variety of hunts from river lowlands, swamps, prairies, bluffs, farmland and the big woods. Over in the Clark County Forest you can call in wolves with your turkey calling. There is nothing that adds much more adrenaline to calling session than a wolf staring at you from a few yards wondering where the turkey dinner is.
I am very curious as to why WI has so many more turkeys than MN. No one has really studied that. WDNR after all these years has finally began some new turkey studies hopefully they will shed some light on this disparity. WDNR has not nor does it now manage the turkeys instead they manage turkey hunters. I highly doubt the management of turkey hunters has much to do with the high turkey numbers. MDNR has also managed their turkey hunters even more so than WI and as Dewey points out there is a huge difference between turkey numbers in the 2 states. Has to be habitat; but exactly what about the habitat in WI?
So to all my Non Resident friends come on over and enjoy the good old days of turkey hunting right now.