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Reminders When Deer Hunting on Mark Twain National Forest

Deer hunters of all ages can have a memorable hunt on Mark Twain National Forest if some map study and regulation review is done ahead of time.

We are in the midst of the fall hunting seasons, with firearm deer hunting set to begin soon. The following reminders are provided to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable hunt on Mark Twain National Forest.

Mark Twain National Forest is often portrayed as large, green blocks of land on some maps. In reality, private land, state land and national forest land are typically mixed together within national forest boundaries. Use topographic maps and the various GPS units on the market to ensure you are hunting on public land and not trespassing on private land.

Travel only where motorized vehicles are permitted. Mark Twain National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps are free and available at all Forest Service offices, or can be viewed and downloaded at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mtnf/map/mvum. The maps are also available through the free smartphone app called Avenza. The Motor Vehicle Use Maps show which Forest Roads are open to highway-legal vehicles. On the ground, Forest Roads are designated with a brown Carsonite post (flexible brown posts about 3 inches wide and 3 feet tall) with road numbers.

There are only two trail systems on Mark Twain National Forest for all-terrain vehicles (ATV) or utility task vehicles (UTV): Chadwick Motorcycle and ATV Use Area (Christian County) and Sutton Bluff ATV, UTV, and Motorcycle Trail System (Reynolds County). Otherwise, ATVs and UTVs are not allowed on Mark Twain National Forest, with one exception: you may use them on Forest Roads open to highway-legal vehicles in counties where ATV or UTV county permits are issued, providing you have a county permit and abide by Missouri State motor vehicle regulations. Not all counties encompassing the Mark Twain National Forest offer permits. You can learn more information about use of off-road vehicles at www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm8_045366.pdf.

Permanent tree stands are not allowed on national forest lands, but a portable stand can be used as long as the hunter’s full name and address are clearly marked on it. Portable tree stands can be used only during a period encompassing 15 days prior to the start of archery season through the 15th day after the close of archery season.

Small, open fires are permitted except during extremely high fire danger. No special permits are required. Please use extreme caution with campfires and make sure they are out before vacating the campsite. Use only dead and down material for firewood. Cutting or defacing live trees or shrubs is prohibited.

Finally, be sure to let a friend or family member know where you are planning to hunt and when to expect to get home or back at camp. Such information can be invaluable in the event we need to render aid to you.

To receive updates on Mark Twain National Forest events and happenings, follow us on Twitter @marktwain_nf, and like us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/marktwainnationalforest.

Mark Twain National Forest – It’s All Yours.

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Becky Ewing is the District Ranger for the Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger District of Mark Twain National Forest

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