Frequently Asked Questions

General Forest Questions,
Hunting Questions,
ORV Questions

General Forest Questions and Answers...

Below are 15 commonly asked questions that are asked by Kisatchie National Forest visitors. If you have a question that is not answered below, feel free to contact us, either in writing, by phone or electronically and your question will be answered as soon as possible. We also welcome comments or suggestions.

1) How Large is the Kisatchie National Forest?
The Kisatchie National Forest has a total of over 604,000 acres of land.

2) How long has the Kisatchie National Forest been a National Forest?
The Kisatchie National Forest was designated a National Forest in 1930.

3) Where is the Kisatchie National Forest located?
In 7 central and northern Louisiana parishes: Vernon, Rapides, Grant, Natchitoches, Webster, Claiborne and Winn

4) Does the Kisatchie National Forest allow ATV's?
Yes, on designated roads and trails.

5) Does the Kisatchie National Forest have horseback riding?
Yes, but you have to bring or rent your horse

6) Are there any horse rental facilities?
Yes, 4B Ranch in Melder, LA

7) Does the Kisatchie National Forest have cabins?
No, but we do have guest tent camping and motor home sites.

8) Who is in charge?
Tom Tidwell is the Chief of the Forest Service.  Mike Balboni is the Forest Supervisor for Kisatchie National Forest.

9) How do fires start in the forest?
1st = arson, 2nd = carelessness and 3rd = lightning

10) Can you hunt in the Kisatchie National Forest?
Yes, With a state hunting license and a free permit for the preserves. Consult Louisiana's Hunting Seasons and Wildlife Management Regulations for specific information.

11) Do you have to camp in designated camping areas?
No. You can camp where you want to.

12) Can you have campfires?
Yes, unless there is a campfire ban in really dry, windy weather.

13) Are there poisonous snakes in the Kisatchie National Forest?
Yes, the Kisatchie National Forest is home to a large variety of snakes, including some poisonous species. The public is encouraged to avoid harassing or harming any snakes that they may encounter.

14) Where can someone get a list of birds found in the Kisatchie National Forest?
At the Kisatchie National Forest Supervisor's Office or any of the five Ranger District Offices.

15) In summer months chiggers (red bugs) and ticks are common in the forest. What can someone do to minimize their exposure chances?
Insect repellant containing 30% or more deet, sprayed on clothing (especially pants and socks) reduces your chances of exposure.

Kisatchie National Forest Hunting Questions and Answers...

Below are some commonly asked questions that are asked by Kisatchie National Forest hunters. If you have a question that is not answered below, feel free to contact us, either in writing, by phone or electronically and your question will be answered as soon as possible. We also welcome comments or suggestions.

1) How far off a KNF road or woods trail do I have to be before I can hunt?
Hunters cannot shoot on or across a road or right-of-way and they cannot endanger persons who might be on roads or trails (36 CFR 261.10(d)).

2) How many deer can I kill on KNF?
One deer per day of the appropriate sex when the season is open - Louisiana has a statewide deer limit of 3 antlered deer and 3 antlerless deer per season (gun, muzzleloader, and archery combined).

3) What kind of hunting dogs can I use on KNF?
Waterfowl, quail, dove, and woodcock hunting - recognized bird-dog breeds. Squirrel hunting - any breed of dog. Rabbit hunting - beagles which do not exceed 15 inches at the front shoulder. No dogs can be used for hunting or chasing any species on a deer still-hunting day. See National Red Dirt Wildlife Management Preserve and National Catahoula Wildlife Management Preserve regulations for details on additional rabbit and squirrel dog restrictions.   ( www.fs.fed.us/r8/kisatchie/hunting/index.html )

4) Can I train my hunting dogs on the KNF?
Yes, but not on deer still-hunting days.

5) What Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' (LDWF) Deer-Hunting Areas are the various Kisatchie Districts in so I can determine the gun-hunting dates?
For gun deer-hunting, KNF lands are seperate and distinct from the LDWF Deer-Hunting Areas listed in the front part of the LDWF's Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet. KNF gun deer-hunting dates are listed in the "Kisatchie National Forest" section toward the rear of LDWF's Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet.

6) Where are the best places on KNF to hunt deer?
A hunter's success usually is directly related to the amount of time they spend scouting for deer. Generally, go to areas that are most inaccessible. If you can't scout, then develop friendships with persons who know the area well.

7) What can I do when other hunters crowd me when I'm hunting on KNF?
It public land -- you can only hope that others will be respectful of those who arrive first at a hunting spot. But if someone does impose on you, you can either tolerate the crowding or you can leave and find another place to hunt. [It would not serve the greatest good to establish lottery-type hunts with designated hunting sectors.]

8) Can I leave a deer stand on KNF land?
A person can leave a deer stand unattended only if the deer stand is lying on the ground. A person cannot claim a particular spot by leaving an unattended upright deer stand.

9) Can I bait game animals on KNF land?
No.

10) When is the deer rut on KNF?
On KNF lands in: west-central & north Louisiana late October to early November; central Louisiana early to mid-November.

11) Are squirrel, rabbit, and quail-hunting dates uniform across the KNF?
Yes. The Catahoula, Calcasieu, Kisatchie, Winn, & Caney Districts all have the same statewide season dates for these species which are listed in the esident Game Birds and Animalssection of LDWF Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet.

12) Are archery deer-hunting dates uniform across the KNF?
No. For archery, KNF adheres to the LDWF Deer Hunting Areas listed in the front part of LDWF Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet. The Vernon Unit of the Calcasieu District is within Area 3; the southeastern tip of the Catahoula District is within Area 1; the remainder of KNF lands are within Area 2.

13) Is a bow-hunting safety course required to archery hunt on KNF?
No. The US Fish & Wildlife Service requires such a course for archers on USFWS Refuges, but a bow-hunting safety course is not required on KNF lands.

14) Is deer archery season either-sex on KNF?
Yes, EXCEPT if a KNF gun season bucks-only day is in effect.

15) Are gun deer-hunting dates uniform across the KNF?
No. Variation exists among the Districts. KNF gun deer-hunting dates are listed in the isatchie National Forestsection toward the rear of LDWF Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet.

16) What the minimum age allowable for a hunter on KNF?
8 years-old on the designated youth hunts on the National Red Dirt Wildlife Management Preserve & National Catahoula Wildlife Management Preserve. Otherwise, there no minimum age IF the youngster is accompanied by a properly licensed adult (= 18 years old) who is hunter safety-certified. (Refer to the unting General Provisionssection and eneral Deer Hunting Regulationssection of LDWF Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet.)

17) Can I hunt hogs on KNF?
There no designated season for hogs on KNF; however, hogs can be hunted coincidently when a hunting season for some other species is in progress & only with the firearm (& ammunition)(or bow) appropriate for that particular hunting season. The use of hunting dogs must conform to the dog restrictions established for the game species in season. See LDWF Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet for details on legal firearms for various hunting seasons. See National Red Dirt Wildlife Management Preserve & National Catahoula Wildlife Management Preserve regulations for details (www.fs.fed.us/r8/kisatchie/hunting/index.html).

18) Can I camp anywhere, anytime on KNF?
Yes, EXCEPT for National Red Dirt Wildlife Management Preserve, National Catahoula Wildlife Management Preserve [see the Preserve regulations for details (36 CFR 261.10(f))] or Fort Polk WMA. When in KNF campgrounds, see campground bulletin boards for guidance.

19) Can I target-shoot on KNF?
Generally, no, because a person cannot discharge a firearm or any other implement capable of taking human life, causing injury, or damaging property as follows: 1) in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, or 2) across or on a National Forest road or body of water or in any manner or place whereby any person is exposed to injury or any property (such as trees, embankments, etc) is damaged or littered, or 3) into or within any cave. (36 CFR 261.10(d)) Shooting ranges are available at Woodworth (318-484-2212), Ft Polk (337-531-6591), Natchitoches (318-356-9457), Arcadia (318-255-7081), and Ruston (318-397-8949). See www.nrahq.org/shootingrange/findlocal.asp for details.

20) What is the ATV policy on KNF?
ATVs can be operated only on designated roads and trails. This new policy took effect in August 2008.  Operating ATVs on public roads, including forest system roads, is prohibited by Louisiana State Traffic Code.

21) Is prescribed burning harmful to wildlife?
Historically, native vegetation in this area was frequently burned by lightning strikes and Native Americans. Native vegetation and wildlife are dependent on frequent burning.

22) Who sets the hunting seasons for public lands in Louisiana?
The US Fish & Wildlife Service sets the seasons for the USFWS Refuges. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission sets the seasons for all other public lands in Louisiana. Officials from KNF and LDWF meet at least once annually (in the winter) to develop recommendations for the Commission concerning KNF hunting seasons; the Commission may or may not agree with these recommendations.

23) What is the primary guideline that KNF follows in making its recommendation for hunting seasons?
Provide diverse opportunities for aesthetic, consumptive, and scientific uses of wildlife, fish, and sensitive plant resources in accordance with National, Regional, State and local demands. (Forest Service Manual 2602.2)

24) How do KNF deer-hunting seasons compare with other lands in Louisiana?
Archery the season is generally the same on public and private lands throughout the state; relatively little archery hunting pressure exists. Gun/muzzleloader the season generally is longer on private lands than public lands because hunting pressure can be controlled on private lands more than on public lands; KNF generally has more hunting days than any other public lands. Deer-hunting with dogs KNF is the only public land with a wildlife management mandate in Louisiana in which deer-hunting with dogs is allowed.

25) How do KNF deer-hunting seasons compare with National Forests in other states?
KNF generally has a longer deer season and a higher seasonal limit than other national forests. Deer-hunting with dogs is prohibited on most national forests and is more restricted on other forests in the South where it does occur.

26) What are the most controversial hunting-related issues on KNF?
Deer-hunting with dogs.

27) How can I contact KNF offices?
KNF Supervisor Office, 2500 Shreveport Hwy, Pineville, LA 71360-2009, 318-473-7160. Rapides & Vernon Parishes Calcasieu Ranger District, 9912 Hwy 28 West, Boyce, LA 71409, 318-793-9427; Grant Parish Catahoula Ranger District, 5325 LA Hwy 8, Bentley, LA 71407-9726, 318-765-3554; Natchitoches Parish Kisatchie Ranger District, 229 Dogwood Park Rd, Provencal, LA 71468, 318-472-1840; Winn, Grant, & Natchitoches Parishes Winn Ranger District, 12319 US Hwy 84 West, Winnfield, LA 71483, 318-628-4664; Webster & Claiborne Parishes Caney Ranger District, 3288 Hwy 79, Homer, LA 71040-3951, 318-927-2061.

28) Are KNF maps available?
Yes -- topographical maps for $6 apiece are available at the KNF Supervisor Office. District maps are available at www.fs.fed.us/r8/kisatchie/ Also, do an internet search for topographical maps to find links to map producers.

If you have additional questions, call the KNF: 318-473-7160.

29) Which hunting seasons do I follow if I am hunting on the Winn Ranger District in Natchitoches Parish the Winn District or the Kisatchie District?
Follow the Winn Ranger District guidelines; if youe hunting National Forest lands, follow the Ranger District guidelines, not the Parish guidelines.

If you have additional questions, call the KNF: 318-473-7160.

Off-Highway Vehicle Questions and Answers

1) What is a designated trail?
A trail that is clearly defined and marked by the Forest Service. Standards have been established for the type of vehicles allowed on the trail. No forest roads were closed under these decisions.

2) Is mudding allowed?
Mudding is not allowed because this activity does not meet our goal of sustainable, responsible natural resource management.

3) What motorized riding opportunities are now available?
These trails are multiple use trails:

a. Sandstone Trail, Kisatchie District: motorized vehicles, horses, motorcycles, bicycles and hikers.

b. Enduro and Claiborne Trails, Calcasieu District: motorized vehicles, horses, motorcycles, bicycles, and hikers.

c. Camp Livingston Trails, Catahoula District: motorized vehicles, horses, motorcycles, bicycles, and hikers.

4) Is motorized game retrieval allowed?
Game retrieval does not meet Forest Service objectives for designated motorized use. The Kisatchie National Forest has a dense road pattern which does accommodate short drags. The 3000-miles of Forest roads will many times accommodate drags of less than ½ mile.

5) Will tickets be issued for motorized cross-country travel?
The Forest Service believes that there should be a public notification phase which will facilitate the learning of the new Forest Service policy. For a period of time, only warning tickets will be issued. However, tickets will be written for willful resource damage.

6) Is the Forest Service against the use of ORVs?
The Forest Service considers ORV trail riding to be an enjoyable recreation activity and we are committed to managing riding opportunities.

7) When will these decisions be implemented?
The decision was implemented August 2008.

8) Are there areas where cross-country riding is still allowed?
No, not on motorized vehicles.

9) Will additional designated routes be established?
Addition and removal of designated motorized trails may occur annually. Any future proposals would depend on the Forest Service ability to sustain the routes considering environmental concerns and budgets.

10) How do these decisions affect persons with disabilities?
Current Forest Plan direction allows for persons with mobility impairment to request use of closed roads. The use will be granted on a case by case basis. Under these decisions no forest roads were closed.

 

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