People lined-up outside the door of the Sportsmen’s Center, while maintaining social distancing, April 9, to receive their hunting and/or fishing permit.  

Fishing and hiking are still allowed at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area, although certain activities, such as camping and swimming are prohibited until further notice.

Judy Johnson, general manager of the Sportsmen’s Center, said that 96 Fort Hood permits were given out  Thursday.

They made preparations for the crowd of people coming to apply for their license so social distancing regulations would be followed.

“We marked the floor with six feet standing stations and had a ‘hall monitor’ on duty to adhere,” Johnson said.

The floor was marked with arrows, made of tape, to direct the flow of people on where to go and stand, allowing them to efficiently move customers through and get them their licenses safely. Workers also work face masks.

Johnson believes that hunting can benefit everyone differently.

“Depends on the person,” Johnson stated. “For some it’s the challenge and harvesting game and for others it’s just getting outdoors to enjoy the solitude.”

She believes it’s good for people to go hunting during this difficult time, to have a change of scenery and experience the great outdoors.

“(Hunting) Gives folks an outlet for being outdoors and get away from the ‘closed in’ feeling,” Johnson said.

Turkey season is currently underway and will end May 17. In addition hunting, many community members are coping with social distancing by staying active.

The Sportsmen’s Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday and Friday. Those wanting to receive a hunting or fishing permit need to bring their own pen. Only ten people will be allowed inside at a time. The snack bar and skeet range will remain closed. For more information, call 254-532-4552.

BLORA has also been reopened, with limits in place for social distancing.

Laura Lad, director of outdoor recreation at BLORA, was happy to see so many people outside walking their dogs, being active, and spending time with their families during the current pandemic.

“I think it’s very healthy for them to be outside,” Lad said.

Many people have taken advantage their extra time and have tried many of the different things BLORA has to offer, such as mountain biking.

“A lot of things people weren’t doing in the past, they are doing now,” Lad said.

She said all they ask is that people are aware of others and maintain social distancing. Those fishing without a boat are asked to be mindful of the boat launch and fish from the bank rather than the pier.

BLORA is open from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily with free access until further notice. The mountain biking and hiking trails are open from dawn to dusk to encourage people to stay active while keeping social distance.