The ranger district office is located near Ratcliff on Highway 7 about one-quarter mile west of FM 227 in Houston County. A work center is located about one-half mile north of Highway 7 on FM 227.
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|26 Feb 5:55 pm CST
Dispersed camping is permitted in most parts of the National Forest year round, but is restricted to 25 designated hunter camps during the fall deer season to provide a safer hunting experience. A map of these camps is available at the ranger district office in early September.
As gun deer hunting season begins, U.S. Forest Service officials are reminding hunters of guidelines designed to make their hunting trips to national forests and grasslands safe and enjoyable, while sustaining the health of the forests.
�Hunting is a very popular outdoor sport in East Texas, and we have many hunters who love to hunt the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas,� Forest Supervisor Fred Salinas said. �Our primary concern is the safety of hunters and other visitors, so we encourage hunters to be familiar with and follow all hunting guidelines.�
Salinas said hunters and those accompanying them on public land must wear daylight fluorescent orange, also called �hunter orange,� to prevent accidental shootings. He said Forest Service regulations require a minimum of 400 square inches of hunter orange (144 square inches visible on both the chest and back of hunters and a fluorescent orange cap or hat).
Salinas recommends that visitors who hike, ride or just stroll through the forest during hunting season wear colorful safety clothing as well. Also to promote safety, all those camping or hunting in the Angelina, Davy Crockett, Sabine or Sam Houston National Forest or the Caddo National Grasslands must camp in designated campsites or developed recreation areas from Sept. 16, 2005 through Feb. 1, 2006.
Hunters using the wildlife management areas (WMAs) must possess the $48 annual hunting permit to hunt deer, turkey, small game, waterfowl and feral hogs.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Official Hunting Guide and the Public Hunting Lands Booklet, regulations vary in different locations. The annual booklets are issued to individuals who obtain a WMA permit, and the booklets list rules for national forest lands within the WMAs.
�It�s the hunter�s responsibility to know the regulations and game limits while hunting in national forests and grasslands,� said David Norsworthy, U.S. Forest Service captain. �Hunters should check bag limits for the county where they are hunting and refer to this year�s hunting booklets for information to avoid citations. No baiting for wildlife or hunting over baited areas is allowed on the national forests or grasslands in Texas.�
Norsworthy also said only portable deer stands are allowed in national forests and grasslands and are limited to 72 hours in one location. To prevent damage to trees, the stands must not be nailed to trees.
According to Norsworthy, some hunters fail to remove their deer stands, causing damage to forest land and creating an expensive, time-consuming cleanup.
�We have noticed some illegal deer stands that are permanent and we�re making attempts to locate the builders; however, anyone occupying an illegal stand will be issued a citation as well,� Norsworthy said. �We aggressively pursue illegal permanent deer hunting structures and other illegal activity.�
Visitors also need to know vehicle rules in forests. In the event of an emergency, Norsworthy said it is critical to not leave vehicles parked near gates or in areas that would impede traffic and block roads. He said all-terrain vehicle riders are required to comply with state ATV law while on national forest lands.
There are various areas closed to off-road vehicles on each forest. For specific information, users need to contact the District Ranger�s office.
Both Salinas and Norsworthy want visitors to the Angelina, Sabine, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett National Forests and the Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands and WMAs to enjoy themselves and return home safely.
For additional information on this year�s hunting season, please contact the Forest Service District Ranger offices.
Hunters may also visit the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas� website at www.fs.fed.us/r8/texas and review information under �hunting 2005-06.�