DNR to change carcass tags beginning this fall

Paul A. Smith
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Beginning this fall, hunters in Wisconsin will use a new procedure to validate carcass tags for deer and several other species.

Rather than writing on them, the tags will now be validated by tearing or cutting off the bottom portion.

Many hunters complained last year when a new feature of the Go Wild! licensing system required them to use a writing instrument to validate a paper tag.

In wet, cold or other conditions, the process was especially challenging and seen as a step backward from the long-standing procedure that required only a knife.

The new procedure will cover tags for deer, bear, wild turkey, sharp-tailed grouse and lake sturgeon, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

In addition, the rule change means Canada goose hunters will no longer be required to validate a permit. They will still have to report goose harvests by phone or online.

The rule was approved Wednesday by the Natural Resources Board in Madison.

The new procedures will take effect following the spring turkey season. Regulation pamphlets for the spring hunt have already been printed and don't include the new process, said Eric Lobner, DNR wildlife director.

Other validation requirements will remain the same. Hunters must possess their carcass tags while hunting or fishing for tag species and must validate tags immediately upon harvesting an animal.

As in the past, hunters must attach the tag to the animal if they leave the carcass.

Harvest registration also must occur as indicated for the species through the DNR's electronic GameReg system, online at or at (844) 426-3734.

Harvest registration is required for specific species and is critical in helping DNR biologists evaluate populations and set permit levels, according to the agency.

Sturgeon summary: The 2017 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System ended last Sunday with 847 fish registered, including 552 from Lake Winnebago and 295 from the Upriver Lakes of Butte des Morts, Poygan and Winneconne.

The harvest was up from 703 in 2016.

The 2017 season lasted the full 16 days on both sections of the fishery. It was the first time the season went the limit on the Upriver Lakes since the lottery fishery was implemented in 2007.

Deteriorating ice conditions reduced spearing effort over the last week. Just 10 sturgeon were harvested in the last seven days of the season.

In addition to warm weather and poor ice, the season will be remembered for large fish and a good safety record. Nine sturgeon that weighed 140 pounds or more were speared. The average over the last four seasons was three fish of this size class.

No fatalities were recorded to sturgeon spearers this year.