U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood is requesting that those residing on the installation take note of a newly signed policy. Garrison Command Policy 39, Cantonment Archery Hunt Pilot Program, allows culling of the deer population frequently found roaming within the cantonment area.
According to the policy, “Six archery-only cantonment hunting areas (approximately 770 acres) will be opened to hunters as part of the pilot program.”
Jeffrey Pebworth, Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch wildlife biologist, said the purpose of the hunt is to increase recreational opportunities on the installation as well as assisting in reduction of the deer population which will, in turn, reduce vehicle collisions and other conflicts.
“Deer can be seen on a regular basis around the cantonment which allows people opportunities for wildlife viewing and enjoying nature, but high deer numbers can lead to significant safety and nuisance concerns,” Pebworth said. “Nearly 200 traffic accidents involving deer have been documented on post since January 2016.”
He said deer also cause damage to landscaping and gardens within the cantonment area, to include many newly planted trees killed by bucks rubbing their antlers during mating season.
Pebworth added, “Recent research has also shown that reducing numbers of deer within urban areas can reduce the number of ticks, which are documented carries of several diseases including Lyme’s disease.”
Due to the areas open to hunting being adjacent to residences, offices and other highly used locations, DPW has ensured increases awareness and safety protocols will be put into place.
In addition to the requirement of having to attend a face-to-face safety brief, hunters selected for this opportunity must also sign a document stating that they understand and will abide by several safety rules and protocols.
These rules include: being discrete; not pursuing wounded deer beyond open hunt boundaries; hunting from a portable stand at least 10 feet off the ground; not placing stands within 100 feet of roads, houses, walking trails, school grounds or other occupied infrastructures; and not parking within 300 feet of an occupied residence or active training area.
Participation in the five scheduled hunts, which begins Nov. 21 and end Dec. 31, will be determined by a random lottery process with the drawing scheduled to take place Nov. 7. Those interested may apply until 5 p.m. Wednesday through the Fort Leonard Wood iSportsman website at https://ftleonardwood.iSportsman.net.
For more information, contact the DPW Natural Resources Branch at 573.596.7605.