Many people from Missouri and beyond are getting ready for their favorite way to enjoy fall—hunting on their national forest lands. Mark Twain National Forest provides a million and a half acres for these activities.
Hunting regulations for Missouri are set by the Missouri Department of Conservation in the Wildlife Code; and those rules govern hunting activities on the forest as well, Mark Twain National Forest Public Affairs Officer Cody Norris says.
To learn more about the regulations for this season, please visit the MDC 2020Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information, available online.
There are several things that hunters can do to be respectful to one another and to non-hunters during the season.
Norris said it is the hunter’s responsibility to stay off private land unless they have permission from the landowner. Hunters who kill or injure a deer must make a reasonable effort to retrieve and tag it, but this does not authorize trespass. Get permission before going onto their land. Watch for “No Trespassing” signs and trees with purple paint as markers of private land boundaries.
The forest service can provide hunters with maps in several ways. Norris said there are online maps of the forest service’s units which can be found in the Avenza app. The Forest offices also have maps for sale and can assist you with finding the topographic maps residents need for the area when planning to visit. These can be found on the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/mtnf and going to “Maps and Publications”, then choosing “Maps”. The Motor Vehicle Use Maps can also be accessed on this website and are a great tool to have for utilizing the appropriate Forest Roads. Many hunters are also using applications, like OnX, to ensure they are on the correct land as they hunt.
Members of the public should wear appropriate clothing. Norris said wearing blaze orange hats and jackets is an important way to prevent hunting accidents. Also, be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions. Winter storms can move in and catch people by surprise, so have a plan — and a backup plan — for staying warm if this happens. Let someone know where you plan to go and when you plan to be back so someone can start looking for you in case you get into a situation where you are need help and are unable to check in.
“There is a lot of land out there, so please be generous and respectful toward your fellow hunters and others out enjoying the Forest. Remember to Leave No Trace. Keeping a clean camp makes it easier to pack your trash out at the end when you are ready to head home,” Norris noted.
Residents with any questions can reach out to a Forest Service office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m:
•Forest Supervisor's Office (Rolla) - (573) 364-4621
•Ava-Cassville-Willow Springs Ranger District (Ava) - (417) 683-4428
•Eleven Point Ranger District (Doniphan) - (573) 996-2153
•Houston-Rolla-Cedar Creek Ranger District (Houston) - (417) 967-4194
•Poplar Bluff Ranger District (Poplar Bluff) (573) 785-1475
•Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger District (Potosi) - (573) 438-5427
•Salem Ranger District (Salem) - (573) 729-6656