By Lt. Jason Ploss
Hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists take note: Several changes have been made to Fort Leonard Wood’s hunting and fishing regulations this year, as well as to FLW 190-11, which governs, in part, the use and transportation of all weapons on the installation.
Under FLW-190-11, which was revised in April, all crossbows and compound bows transported for use onto Fort Leonard Wood should be declared upon entering the installation at any installation access-control point.
In addition, crossbows are now required to be registered in the same manner as other firearms. A registration receipt (in the form of Fort Leonard Wood Form 1835 or FLW Form 1835-A) must be kept with these weapons at all times.
As a reminder, Fort Leonard Wood is currently open only to Defense Department ID cardholders.
Register with iSportsman
If they haven’t already done so, all persons planning to utilize hunting, fishing and other recreation areas should register with the web-based Fort Leonard Wood iSportsman system at https://ftleonardwood.isportsman.net.
The iSportsman site is the vehicle by which all recreational activity is conducted, from purchasing the appropriate Fort Leonard Wood permits to determining whether hunting, fishing and recreation areas are open or closed and completing sign-in and out procedures. Familiarity with this system is imperative.
Persons must check in and check out of open areas using iSportsman on the same day access is desired.
All recreational users must display their six-digit iSportsman registration number in the front windshield of their vehicle each time they are checked in. The registration number must be placed in a manner that is easily viewable from the outside. Users should be sure to confirm check-in prior to going afield and also confirm check-out of the area prior to 10 p.m.
Upon registration with the FLW iSportsman system, there is a basic Recreational Users Permit that is issued free of charge. For additional recreational activity, the following permits are required:
— The Sportsman Permit, available for $15, is required for all hunting and fishing activity on the installation. For those persons 65 years of age and older or disabled, or under the age of 16, this fee is waived.
— Archery Deer and Turkey Permit: $5.
— Firearm Deer Permit: $5.
— Fall Firearm Turkey Permit: $5.
It is the hunter’s responsibility while afield to provide permits for inspection by the Conservation law enforcement officer.
In past seasons, hunters have often been unable to pull up their digital permits on the Missouri hunting app while afield, so it is recommended, but not required, that hunters bring paper copies of their permits with them while hunting.
Some of the more important hunting dates for the upcoming season include:
— Archery deer and turkey seasons: Sept. 15 through Nov. 13; Nov. 25 through Jan. 15.
— Early youth firearms deer season: Oct. 31 through Nov. 1.
— Firearms deer season: Nov. 14 through 24.
— Late youth firearms deer season: Nov. 27 through 29.
— Antlerless deer season: Dec. 4 through 6 (throughout Pulaski County, including Fort Leonard Wood).
— Alternative methods deer season: Dec. 26 through Jan. 5.
Deer, turkey limits
Hunters may take only two antlered deer during the archery and firearms deer hunting seasons combined.
Antlered deer on post, in compliance with the four-point restriction, consist of a deer with at least four points on one side.
Deer with spike antlers longer than 3 inches are protected and illegal to harvest.
Using an archer’s hunting permit, only one antlered deer may be taken prior to Nov. 14.
Fort Leonard Wood has five permanent ground blinds, located in Hunting Areas 3, 7, 14, 26A and 32. These are available for use by all patrons on a first-come basis. However, they are designed primarily for disabled hunters, so it is expected that able-bodied persons will defer use at all times.
Firearms turkey hunters and waterfowl hunters should remember that shotguns capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined are prohibited.
The Missouri Wildlife Code requires all tree stands be labeled when left unattended with the full name, address and telephone number or Conservation ID number listed. In all cantonment hunting areas, only temporary stands may be used and must be removed upon the conclusion of the day’s hunting.
Baiting for wildlife is prohibited on Fort Leonard Wood at all times. Food may not be placed, exposed or scattered so as to constitute a lure, attraction or enticement.
Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait; however, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited and are considered bait.
Feral-hog traps are, at all times, off limits to all persons, as are the hogs which may be in the traps. It is illegal to harvest a deer that enters incidentally into a hog trap or to hunt in close proximity to a baited feral-hog trap. Feral hogs may be taken on Fort Leonard Wood only incidentally while hunting for deer and following all legal seasons, restrictions and methods.
Other recreational activities that may occur during the fall hunting seasons are governed by FLW 215-3, “Usage of Non-Hunting and Fishing Recreational Activities.”
Anyone recreating outdoors are required to register through the FLW iSportsman site and obtain the free Outdoor Recreation Permit, which allows users to check in and check out of areas of the installation for activities such as, but not limited to, picking berries, mushrooms, riding horses, hiking, cycling, searching for shed antlers and visiting Miller Cave, to name a few.
Stay ‘Bear Aware’
The potential to have an encounter with black bears has increased dramatically over the past several years, with numerous confirmed reports.
Black bears were released in Arkansas in the 1950s and slowly have returned to the Missouri Ozarks.
The majority of bear sightings are young, sub-adult males, averaging 60 to 90 pounds. These young bears are typically foraging and looking to establish new range. They move primarily at dawn and dusk, are very wary of human activity and tend to scare easily.
The confirmed reports of bears on Fort Leonard Wood represent 90 percent of the reports received for Pulaski County. This indicates that bear encounters, sightings and disturbances in housing areas are likely to become more commonplace.
Black bears in Missouri are protected and cannot be hunted, possessed or pursued. In any instance with a bear encounter, stand tall and make noise.
Everyone is encouraged to visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website at https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/general-species-information/be-bear-aware for more information concerning bears.
Organizations on Fort Leonard Wood can request Conservation Law Enforcement to provide a 60-minute overview of Fort Leonard Wood Hunting and fishing Regulation 210-21. This briefing includes time for questions and answers.
To request a presentation, ask questions or for more information regarding hunting and fishing on the installation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573.596.5002 or 573.433.6000.
(Editor’s note: Ploss is the Conservation Law Enforcement supervisor with the Fort Leonard Wood Directorate of Emergency Services.)