FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — With hunting seasons approaching fast, it’s important to know the rules that affect Fort Leonard Wood.
Missouri’s 2023-2024 deer hunting regulation increased the number of firearm antlerless permits to four in Pulaski County, and two new portions of firearms deer season. These changes will provide additional hunting opportunities and increase harvest of antlerless deer where needed to meet management goals, and help slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
Pulaski County is a CWD Management Zone and will require mandatory testing of deer harvested on Nov. 11 and 12. However, it is wise to have any deer harvested this archery or firearm season tested for CWD. Samples can be dropped off all season at the Fort Leonard Wood Outdoor Adventure Center on FLW K, except Nov. 11 and 12, when they need to be taken to one of the Pulaski County CWD testing sites at either the Waynesville Public School Career Center, 400 GW Lane, in Waynesville, or 16300 Wabash Lane, in Plato, Missouri.
Baiting for wildlife is prohibited on Fort Leonard Wood, and due to Pulaski County being listed as a CWD management zone, all salt products and mineral attractants are also prohibited on post. In addition, the antler-point restriction has been removed for the CWD Management Zone on Fort Leonard Wood. This was done so young bucks are no longer protected from harvest because the young bucks can spread the disease to new areas as they search for territories or mates.
The No. 1 violation for three consecutive years during hunting season has been area-access violations. As a reminder, everyone must check in and out of open areas using the Fort Leonard Wood iSportsman website, regardless of duration or activity. All recreational activity is conducted via the website, from purchasing appropriate permits to determining when areas are open or closed, along with sign-in and sign-out procedures.
Please remember that check-in and check-out procedures must be completed on the same day access is desired and all recreational users must display their six-digit iSportsman permit number in the front windshield of the vehicle in which they are travelling each time they are checked in. This permit number must be placed in a manner that it is easily viewable from the outside. Be sure to confirm check in prior to going afield and confirm check out of the area prior to 10 p.m. If multiple hunters travel in the same vehicle, all personnel afield need to have their permit displayed.
Other common violations include hunting over bait, off-roading, hunting in a closed area, hunter orange violations, and failure to tele-check deer as prescribed. This is performed through the Missouri system, not iSportman. However, hunters are still required to report harvests in iSportsman as well. Always remember to notch a deer tag immediately upon retrieving a harvest as well.
In accordance with FLW 190-11, all crossbows and compound bows being transported for use on Fort Leonard Wood must be declared at any installation access control point. Crossbows are required to be registered in the same manner as other firearms, and the registration receipt (FLW Form 1835 or FLW Form 1835-A) must always be kept with the weapon. The registration process can be found on the Fort Leonard Wood website.
Feral hog traps are always off limits to all persons, as are the hogs which may be in traps. It is illegal to harvest a deer that enters a hog trap or to hunt near a baited feral hog trap. Feral hogs may be taken on Fort Leonard Wood only incidentally, while hunting for deer or turkey and following all legal seasons, restrictions and methods for those seasons.
Some of the more important hunting dates for the upcoming season include:
- Archery Deer and Turkey Season is Sept. 15 to Nov. 10 and Nov. 22 to Jan. 15;
- Fall Turkey Firearm Season is Oct. 1 to 31;
- Early Youth Firearm Season is Oct. 28 and 29;
- Firearm Deer Season is Nov. 11 to 21;
- CWD portion is Nov. 22 to 26;
- Late Youth Firearm Season is Nov. 24 to 26;
- Antlerless Only Seasons are Oct. 6 to 8, and Dec. 2 to 10 (Pulaski County, including Fort Leonard Wood); and
- Alternative Methods Season is Dec. 23 to Jan. 2.
It is the hunter’s responsibility while afield to provide both state and Fort Leonard Wood permits for inspection by a Conservation Law Enforcement Officer. Many times, hunters are unable to pull up their digital permits on the Missouri Hunting app while afield, so it is recommended, but not required, that everyone keep on them a paper copy of their Missouri State Deer and Turkey hunting permits. Upon registration with iSportsman, there is a required annual safety brief and quiz prior to being able to purchase Fort Leonard Wood recreational permits, including hunting permits.
The following permits are required to hunt deer and turkey, depending on the season:
- 2023 Archery Deer and Turkey Permit is $12.
- 2023 Cantonment Archery Permit is $12.
- 2023 Firearm Deer Permit is $12.
- 2023 Firearm Turkey Permit is $12.
- 2023 Combo Permit, which includes hunting, fishing, archery deer and turkey, firearm deer and turkey, and cantonment archery, is $60.
There are eight permanent ground blinds, located in Hunting Areas 3, 5 (East), 5 (West), 7, 14, 26A, 32 and 36A. These are available for use by all patrons, on a first-come basis and require check in and check out through iSportsman. However, they are designed primarily for disabled hunters, so it is expected that able-bodied hunters defer use.
Firearms turkey and waterfowl hunters should remember that shotguns capable of holding more than three shells in a magazine and chamber combined are prohibited.
The Missouri Wildlife Code requires all unattended tree stands be labeled with full name, address and telephone number, or conservation ID number. Permanent tree stands are not authorized on post. Temporary tree stands include, but are not limited to, ladder stands, climbing stands and hang-on stands not affixed to trees with nails, screws or other permanent fixtures.
All other recreational activity that may occur outside the cantonment area is governed by FLW 210-21. For activities other than hunting and fishing, it is required that those recreating outdoors register on iSportsman and obtain the Outdoor Recreation Permit. This enables individuals to check in and out of areas and participate in activities such as picking berries or mushrooms, riding horses, hiking, cycling, bird watching and searching for shed antlers.
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 they have slowly returned to the Missouri Ozarks. Most bear reports and sightings are of young males, averaging 60 to 90 pounds, foraging and looking to establish new range. They typically move at dawn and dusk, are very wary of human activity and tend to scare easily. However, bear activity changes dramatically as winter approaches. They will be highly focused on consuming as much food as possible, and it may become easier to walk up on a feeding bear. Black bears in Missouri are protected and cannot be hunted, possessed or pursued unless selected for the state management lottery hunt. In any instance with a bear encounter, stand tall and make noise. Everyone is encouraged to visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website for more information.
It is always good practice to review the 2023 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulation prior to the season starting, which can be found here.
Organizations on post can also request Conservation Law Enforcement to provide a 60-minute overview of Fort Leonard Wood’s hunting and fishing regulation. Call 573.596.5002 or 573.528.8136, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Let’s have another great hunting season this year. Know your surroundings, dress appropriately for the weather, use a safety harness while in tree stands, let someone know where you are hunting and handle all weapons safely.