By Lt. Jason Ploss, Fort Leonard Wood Conservation Law Enforcement supervisor
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — (March 21, 2023) With spring turkey hunting season approaching fast, now is the time to read and understand the regulations.
Missouri’s youth turkey hunting season is April 1 and 2, and the regular spring turkey season is scheduled for April 17 through May 7.
Fort Leonard Wood Regulation 210-21 “Hunting and Fishing Regulation” is free and available electronically on the iSportsman website. Hunters should read and be familiar with the regulation to ensure they are aware of and comply with all installation hunting rules. Missouri Department of Conservation regulations must also be followed and may be found here. The MDC’s seasonal summary of regulations publication is also available for pickup at any permit vendor or by stopping by the Conservation Law Enforcement Office in Bldg. 1000.
State hunting permits may be purchased on post at the Outdoor Adventure Center, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in Bldg. 2290. The OAC staff can be reached by calling 573.596.4223. Permits can also be purchased electronically on the MDC website. In addition to a state hunting permit, hunters will need iSportsman permits, which can be purchased on the iSportsman website.
Hunters must have both Fort Leonard Wood and state-issued permits with them while afield/hunting. Electronic permits are allowed through the iSportsman webpage and Missouri hunting app, but lack of service on a mobile device does not absolve someone from the requirement to carry permits while afield.
Another requirement on-post hunters must follow is ensuring check-in and check-out of open areas using iSportsman. Check-in and check-out procedures must be completed on the same day access is desired. You may check-in to two areas at the same time as long as the areas share a border with each other and are both open for recreation. All recreators must also display their six-digit iSportsman permit number in the front windshield of their vehicle while they are afield. The permit number must be placed in a manner that it is easily viewable from the outside of the vehicle. Be sure to confirm check-in prior to going afield and confirm your check-out upon leaving the area.
Youth turkey season
The youth turkey season is open to hunters ages 6 to 15. Hunting hours for the youth turkey season are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Hunters need a Missouri spring turkey hunting permit and appropriate Fort Leonard Wood permits, which will also allow them to participate in the regular spring season. Youth hunters are limited to one male turkey, or a turkey with a visible beard. Hunters who take a turkey during the youth season may not harvest a second bird until April 25. This is because the bird taken during the youth season counts as the first bird for the first week of the regular season.
Spring turkey season
Hours for Missouri’s regular spring turkey season are 30 minutes before sunrise until 1 p.m. each day. Hunters must have a Missouri spring turkey hunting permit and appropriate Fort Leonard Wood permits. Hunters are limited to harvesting two male turkeys or turkeys with visible beards. Hunters may only take one turkey during the first week of the season, April 17 through 23. Hunters may harvest a second or both turkeys during the second and third week of the season, however they may not be taken on the same day.
Weapons and equipment allowed during both the youth turkey season and the regular spring season include:
- shotguns with shot not larger than No. 4;
- longbows, recurve bows or compound bows;
- hand-held string releasing devices, illuminated sights, scopes and quick point sights;
- crossbows; and
Hunters may not use:
- shotguns capable of holding more than three shells in a magazine and chamber combined;
- shot larger than No. 4 (in use or in possession);
- any sighting device that casts a beam of light on the game;
- thermal imagery equipment or night vision equipment (in use or in possession);
- recorded calls (in use or in possession);
- dogs or live decoys; or
- bait, which includes grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to attract turkeys or other wildlife. Additionally, placing consumable products that would cause a concentration of wildlife is a violation of county wide Chronic Wasting Decease restrictions and undermines efforts being made to combat the spread of CWD.
Hunters have a responsibility and must use risk-management skills to ensure everyone is safe. Review the safety tips below as a starting point for hunting safety this season:
- If you are not hunting, try to steer clear of areas where hunters may be.
- Attend a hunter safety course, even if it is not required where you hunt.
- Hunt in pairs and have a first-aid kit available.
- Take a cell phone and let someone know where you will be and when you will return.
- Know how to properly handle your weapon and follow all safety rules.
- Make sure all equipment is in good working condition.
- Avoid wearing blue or red while afield during turkey seasons to reduce the potential of becoming a victim of a misidentified target.
- Know side effects of prescription drugs and never drink alcohol while hunting.
- Report observed violations of the law to a Conservation Law Enforcement Officer or Military Police.
- Be sure of your target. Never point a weapon at anything that has not been identified.
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission