Participation requires additional permit, safety training
The first part of Missouri’s 2020 archery deer and turkey seasons opened Tuesday and will remain open through Nov. 13. While most hunting on Fort Leonard Wood will take place in designated hunting areas outside the cantonment, the installation is holding a coinciding Cantonment Archery Hunt for the third consecutive year.
To participate, hunters must have access to Fort Leonard Wood as Department of Defense ID card holders, purchase an additional $5 Cantonment Hunt Permit, attend an in-person safety briefing at the Outdoor Adventure Center and sign a certificate stating they have read and understood special safety requirements associated with the hunt.
“We have a big group of people who have signed up already,” said Frankie Brinkley with the OAC. “To do the cantonment hunt, they need to come in and do the safety training, and they have to buy the permit through the iSportsman site.”
Introduced in 2018, the cantonment hunt was created for the twin purposes of increasing the recreational opportunities available to hunters and managing the local deer population in order to reduce vehicle collisions and other conflicts between humans and wildlife.
Along with the cantonment permit, all hunters must have a valid state hunting license, specifically a Missouri archery permit, game tags and the appropriate Fort Leonard Wood permits, including a Sportsman Permit (available for $15) and an archery permit ($5), all of which are available through the iSportsman system or the OAC. All Missouri Department of Conservation seasons, bag limits and regulations apply to the Cantonment Archery Hunt in addition to the special requirements.
Keeping safety in mind is a key focus of the cantonment hunt, according to Lt. Jason Ploss, Conservation Law Enforcement supervisor with the Fort Leonard Wood Division of Emergency Services.
“Hunters must use extra caution due to the location and proximity of the areas to housing and training areas,” Ploss said.
The cantonment hunt includes six areas that hunters can check in and out of on a first-come, first-served basis through the iSportsman site.
Special requirements associated with the cantonment hunt include the following:
— Carrying a notched bow or loaded crossbow or shooting either type of weapon within 100 feet of a building, residence, trail or all-weather road edge is prohibited.
— Parking within 300 feet of occupied residences or active training areas without permission is prohibited.
— Hunters must be discrete, avoid confrontations and be courteous to non-hunters. Hunters must also vacate the area if other recreational or training activities are ongoing.
— Hunters must attempt to recover a wounded animal; however, they should not be pursued outside of open-hunt area boundaries. Hunters must contact the Military Police Desk at 573.596.6141 for assistance if a wounded animal leaves an open hunting area.
Adhering to tree-stand safety measures is also a must. Hunters are required to hunt in elevated, portable stands at least 10 feet off the ground. Permanent stands, stalking and ground hunting are prohibited, and no stand locations are permitted within 100 feet of a building, residence, trail or road.
Ploss also urged hunters to use safety harnesses.
“At all times when hunting from an elevated stand, use a safety harness,” he said. “Whether it is a ladder stand affixed to a tree or a climbing stand, the use of a safety harness is paramount to hunter safety.”
Cantonment-hunt participants must visibly display an iSportsman permit number and cantonment hunting permit on the front windshield of their vehicle.
“Be sure your profile information on iSportsman is current with vehicle and contact information,” Ploss said.
Regardless of whether participating in the cantonment hunt or hunting in the areas outside the cantonment, all hunters should be aware of Fort Leonard Wood hunting regulations and check-in and check-out procedures, all of which can be found on the iSportsman website at https://ftleonardwood.isportsman.net.
Bowhunters coming to Fort Leonard Wood this year should also be aware that updated regulations now require all compound bows and crossbows to be declared when entering the installation. Crossbows must be also registered in the same way as other firearms, and owners must keep either a FLW Form 1835 or 1835-A as a registration receipt with crossbows at all times.
During archery deer and turkey seasons, hunting is open daily, from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Ploss said archery hunters should be aware that other hunting seasons overlap archery season, including the first portion of fall firearms youth deer season, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and the opening of fall firearm turkey season on Nov. 1.
In Missouri, nearly all hunters are required to wear hunter orange during firearms seasons. While bowhunters in archery-only areas and cantonment-only areas are technically exempt, Ploss strongly advises taking along hunter-orange gear or coverings.
“It is recommended that hunters in these areas have hunter orange available for use, especially should the need arise to track wildlife that enters regular hunting areas where (the) discharge of firearms is expected,” he said.
A complete list of state limits, allowed and prohibited hunting methods and other requirements during archery deer and turkey seasons is available from the Missouri Department of Conservation website at https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/seasons.
More information about hunting and fishing on Fort Leonard Wood is available on the iSportsman site or by contacting the Outdoor Adventure Center at 573.596.4223.