Missouri’s nearly 600,000 firearms deer hunters are busy making final preparations for the Annual Firearms Deer Season which is set to open Saturday, November 16th. The November Season is eleven days again this year for the twenty-fifth straight year after being extended two days in 1995. It will continue through Tuesday, November 26th. Firearms season had been nine days since 1971.
Hunters should be sure to get a Deer Season Information Guide wherever Permits are sold.
Antler point restrictions apply this year in 51 counties and parts of Cass and rural Platte counties.
MDC Biologists expect an average season in 2019 with a good-sized healthy deer herd reported statewide.
The biggest factor in determining annual deer harvest is weather. Fair weather encourages hunters to spend more time in the field, increasing the chances they will cross paths with deer. Cool weather prompts deer to move around more, further increasing hunters’ chances of encountering their quarry. Weather conditions that are unseasonably warm, uncomfortably cold or rainy generally decrease deer harvest.
The 2018 total Deer Season Harvest saw 290,224 deer checked in. Including Does 123,260; Button Bucks 30,113; and 136,851 Antlered Bucks.
The 2017 total Deer Season Harvest saw 284,477 deer checked in. (263,834 in 2016.) Including 117,748 Does (108,832), 30,602 Button Bucks (31,564) and 136,127 Antler Bucks 127,364.)
The 2016 total Deer Season Harvest saw 263,834 deer checked (278,196 in 2015). Including 108,832 does (119,385); 27,638 Button Bucks (31,564) and 127,364 Antler Bucks (122,030).
The 2015 total Deer Season Harvest saw 278,196 deer checked (258,341 in 2014). Included were 119,385 Does, 31,564 Button Bucks and 122,030 Antlered Bucks.
The 2014 total Deer Season Harvest saw 258,341 checked (250,135 in 2013). Included were 114,009 Does, 30,180 Button Bucks and 114,152 Antler Bucks. The November Firearms total was 166,383.
The 2019 Firearms Deer Season has been announced for opening Saturday, November 16th (Saturday closest to 15th not to extend thru Thanksgiving).
The Muzzleloader portion is now Alternative Methods portion.
Again this year the three day Antlerless Season will run from Saturday, December 6th thru Monday, December 8th in selected areas (see hunter guide available statewide).
The Alternative Methods portion will then be held for eleven days in December- Saturday, December 28th thru Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020.
As usual hunters are hoping that the weather cooperates. Not that bad weather is necessarily bad for hunting-it just tends to keep several hunters out of the woods it is noted.
This year there is again just one firearms deer hunting season consisting of five portions: Early Youth Hunt Nov. 2nd-3rd; the November Portion-16th thru 26th; Antlerless Portion - Dec. 6th thru 8th and Alternative Methods December 28th thru Jan. 7th, 2020 and Late Youth Hunt Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2019.
Your Firearms Deer Hunting Permit is valid during three portions should you not be successful in one season or have bonus tags remaining you can continue hunting in the appropriate other portions.
As usual MDC has conducted or has scheduled a number of special hunts for archers, youth, disabled, historic weapons and modern firearms -all required prior application and selection.
Finally, the archery deer and turkey season runs September 15th thru November 15th and continues Nov. 27th thru January 15th statewide with two deer and two turkeys of either sex allowed, except that only one antlered deer could be taken before Nov. 16. Antlerless deer permits are available in counties where allowed (Washington Co. included). Shooting hours for archery are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.
Deer Management boundaries now are mostly along County lines.
Deer hunting times and most other regulations are similar or identical to those of the past.
The Conservation Department’s e-Permits System will let hunters buy their permits online, print them at home and have them in hand immediately.
The deer and turkey permits have months printed along one edge and dates along another. Immediately after harvest, hunters must void their permit by notching the month and day they shot their deer or turkey.
Deer and turkey permits no longer include a removable transportation tag. Instead, the permit itself will be the transportation tag. It does not need to be attached as long as hunter remains with the animal.
Resident Firearms Any-Deer Permits age 16 and older are $17; age 6-15 $8.50; Resident Firearms Anterless 16 and older $7; 6-15 $3.50; Non-Resident Any Deer - 16 and older $225, 6-15 years - $8.50; Non-Resident, Antlerless 16 and older $25, 6-15 $3.50.
The acorn crop (mast) is said to be moderate to heavy this year possibly keeping deer in the woods.
With the hunters in the woods, the chances are the animals will begin to move even more and will become more visible. Road kills and near misses of deer on highways have been noted over the past several days.
The annual eleven day Firearms Deer Season opens Saturday, November 16th and continues thru Tuesday, November 26th. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
-MUST TELECHECK KILL-
Deer kills must be reported by telephone or on the internet by 10 P.M. on the day they are harvested. The transportation tag and telecheck confirmation number must remain attached until the game is processed.
To check your deer kill by phone call 1-800-314-6828 or go online to www.mdc.mo.gov and follow instructions. You will receive a confirmation number - Game may not leave the state without being checked.
Private land owners contribute significantly to wildlife habitat in Missouri because only about 7 percent of Missouri’s land is in public ownership. In recognition, resident landowners and lessees who meet the qualifications may obtain no-cost hunting permits to take deer or turkey on qualifying land.
Points to remember
• Qualifying resident landowners and lessees are not required to purchase permits to take deer and turkey on their land during the appropriate hunting seasons, but they may pick up their no-cost permits from a permit vendor or request them from the Conservation Department. Farm tags are no longer valid.
• All qualifying landowners and lessees must abide by season dates, methods, limits and tagging/checking requirements.
• Landowner hunting privileges and associated permits are valid only on qualifying property. To hunt on other land, landowners and lessees must purchase permits.
• All landowners and lessees who do not fill their no-cost permits during the urban, youth, November or muzzleloader portions of the firearms deer season may use those permits during the anterless portion on qualifying land only if their property is located in one of the open counties.
• Landowners with 75 or more acres in more than one county may not harvest more deer than can be taken by regular permittees in county where hunting except in certain counties.
• Qualifying landowners and lessees may fill a no-cost Any-Deer Permit and a purchased Any-Deer Permit. However, each hunter may take only one antlered deer during the firearms deer hunting season. Therefore, landowners and lessees who take a buck on one Any-Deer Permit must take an antlerless on the other Any-Deer Permit. Note: Deer taken on a managed Deer Hunting Permit or in accordance with the archery deer hunting season do not count toward this one-buck limit.
• Qualifying landowners and lessees may fill their no-cost Landowners Anterless Permits and also purchase and fill additional Anterless Permits where valid.
• Landowners check their deer and turkey by calling Telecheck 1-800-314-6828 or by going on-line to www.mdc.mo.gov
Qualifications for no cost
or reduced-cost permits
Resident landowner: Any Missouri resident who owns at least 5 continuous acres, and his or her immediate household members. In the case of corporate ownerships, all registered officers of a corporation can qualify to receive no-cost permits, and they are not required to reside on the land. Persons who own stock in a corporation (shareholders) do not qualify under this definition.
Lessee: Any Missouri resident who lives on at least 5 continuous acres owned by others and his or her immediate household members.
Nonresident landowner: Any non-resident who owns at least 75 continuous acres in Missouri, and his or her immediate household members.
Immediate Household members- Someone, related or unrelated, who lives in the landowner’s or lessee’s home for at least the last 30 days. Family members who live elsewhere do not qualify.
Qualifying resident landowners and lessees who have between 5 and 74 acres in a single tract and all members of their immediate household (6 years and older) may each receive:
• 1 Resident Landowner Fall Firearms Turkey Hunting Permit,
• 1 Resident Firearms Landowner Any-Deer Permit,
• 1 Landowner Archer’s Hunting Permit and
• 2 Landowner Archery Anterless Deer Hunting Permits. (Depending on County)
Qualifying resident landowners and lessees who have 75 or more acres in a single tract and all members of their immediate household may also each receive in addition to the above:
Up to 2 Resident Landowner Firearms Anterless Deer Hunting Permits (depending on county availability) Resident Landowners may purchase any number of permits (antlerless) where valid.
A number of deer sightings are being reported all across the county during the current Fall wild turkey and archery deer seasons.
Sign-rubs and scrapes, are said to be again evident across a wide area in the days before season with the rutting season apparently about to get underway.
A number of hunters were expected to be in the area during the Nov. 2nd-3rd weekend checking out their favorite hunting spots taking advantage of a day in the ‘wild.’ A few seized the advantage of the Fall Firearms Turkey Hunt to do their deer scouting while others took part in the Youth Hunt.
Hunting is expected to be fairly heavy opening weekend and then taper off quickly as has been the common practice in most recent years. An influx of metropolitan area hunters normally hunts the local area the first weekend and then the unsuccessful ones usually move on to other areas to close out the final weekend of season there.
Gun safety is the primary responsibility of every hunter. The Commission may suspend, revoke or deny a hunting permit for cause. Every hunter should be familiar with the rules of safe gun handling and practice at all times.
All hunters born on or after January 1, 1967, are required to have an approved hunter education certificate card which they must display to permit vendors before they can purchase any type of firearms hunting permit. The hunter education certificate card number shall be entered by vendors on all firearms hunting permits. Hunter education certification shall be limited to persons eleven (11) years of age or older. This regulation applies to both residents and nonresidents.
General Regulations are: Any person who pursues, uses, takes or attempts to take wildlife in any manner must first obtain the prescribed permit(s).
All permits shall be signed and carried by the permittee and shall be exhibited to any officer charged with the enforcement of the Wildlife Code of Missouri.
Permits must be kept with the deer. Hunters are to check deer by Telecheck at 1-800-314-6828 or on-line at www.mdc.mo.gov. Permits have a place for your Confirmation Number to be written in. Only taker may possess and transport before checking. Kill must be checked by 10 p.m. on the day the game is harvested. Deer head must remain attached to body until checked.
Use of dogs to recover legally taken game
A hunter can use leashed dogs to track and recover mortally wounded deer or turkeys, provided the hunter: (1) has exhausted other reasonable means of finding the animal, (2) contacts a conservation agent, (3) does not possess firearms or bows during dog-tracking activities, and (4) maintains control of the leashed dog at all times. Note: The use of dogs to recover legally taken game does not authorize trespass.
Wildlife legally taken or acquired may be possessed only at the possessor’s home, camp, place of lodging or in a commercial processing or cold storage plant. (Must be claimed by May 1st.)
General Requirement: Deer may be pursued, taken, killed, possessed or transported only as herein permitted.
A person may take one deer on a firearms deer hunting permit. Additional antlerless deer with valid antlerless-only deer permit(s) as attached. Deer may be taken in any order.
Deer may be taken with a shotgun (including .410) with slugs only or with a muzzleloading or cap-and-ball firearm not smaller than .40 caliber; in-lines and scopes allowed; or with any pistol, revolver or rifle firing only centerfire ammunition propelling an expanding type bullet; or with a longbow, compound bow or crossbow-releases, illuminated sights, scopes and quick point sights allowed. Also added recently is Atlatl (An historical thrown spear), air-powered gun, .40 caliber or larger, charged only from external high compression power source and a crossbow. Full hard metal case projectiles, ammunition propelling more than one projectile at a single discharge, and self-loading (automatic) firearms having a capacity of more than eleven cartridges in magazine and chamber combined are prohibited. During the Alternative Methods muzzleloading multiple barreled guns and a second gun are allowed: (includes revolvers) are legal methods allowed.
Sights that cast a beam of light on the game are not allowed.
Hunting other game: During the firearms deer season, other wildlife may be hunted only with a .22 caliber or smaller rimfire rifle or a shotgun and shot not larger than No. 4. This provision does not apply to waterfowl hunters, trappers or to a landowner on his/her land or to a lessee on the land on which he/she resides. The holder of an unused deer hunting permit and the prescribed hunting permit may take coyotes and red and gray fox and other furbearers after the opening of the furbearer hunting season, bobcats by the methods allowed for taking deer. Persons hunting small game or furbearers during firearms deer season must wear hunter orange. Does not apply to waterfowl.
During daylight hours from Nov. 1st thru 26th statewide and also Dec. 6th thru December 8th in counties open during the antlerless portion furbearers may not be chased, pursued or taken with the aid of dogs.
During daylight hours of the November portion of firearms deer season Nov. 16th - 26th squirrels and rabbits may not be chased, pursued or taken with the aid of dogs in Butler, Carter, Dent, Iron, Madison, Oregon, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, or Wayne Counties. (Methods Prohibited)
Deer may not be taken with the use of dogs or bait. Bait includes grain or other feed placed or scattered so as to constitute an attraction or enticement to deer. Scents and minerals, including salt, are not regarded as bait. An area shall be considered baited for ten (10) days following complete removal of the bait.
Deer may not be taken while they are in a stream or other body of water. Deer may not be hunted or pursued with the aid of dogs, any motor driven vehicle, aircraft, or boat with motor attached.
Poisons and tranquilizing drugs may not be used. Arrows, bolts and darts must not contain any chemical or explosive.
Slingshots may not be used to take deer or turkey.
Deer may not be hunted inside areas enclosed by a 7 ft. fence.
Unless contrary to provisions of other rules, deer marked with a locking seal by an agent of the department may be possessed by any person if the deer or parts of the deer are labeled with the full name, address and permit number of the taker.
Legally obtained deer heads, hides or feet may be sold by licensed hunters, when accompanied by a bill of sale showing the hunter’s full name, address and permit number, and the full name and address of the purchaser.
Any person who kills or injures any deer must make a reasonable effort to retrieve such deer and include it in his season limit.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS DEER HUNTING
Deer taken during the firearms deer season must be checked by Telecheck or online by 10 p.m. on day of kill.
Deer may be taken by the holder of an unused firearms deer hunting permit with a muzzleloading firearm not smaller than .40 caliber capable of firing only a single projectile at one discharge. Multiple barreled muzzleloading firearms and muzzleloading firearms handguns (Revolvers) may be used to hunt deer. Scopes may be mounted on the firearm used by a muzzleloading firearms permittee. Non-resident hunters may hunt during the muzzleloader season.
MUST WEAR ORANGE
During firearms deer season, all persons while hunting deer shall wear a cap or hat, and a shirt, vest or coat having the outermost color commonly known as daylight fluorescent orange, blaze orange or hunter orange which must be plainly visible from all sides while being worn. Camouflage orange garments do not meet this requirement.
This requirement does not apply on federal or state areas where deer hunting is restricted to archery methods.
Deer are color blind, so aren’t alarmed by the bright clothing, but other hunters easily can see it even under poor light conditions.
Most deer hunters have worn hunter orange clothing voluntarily for years and in many states it was already a requirement.
Permits are available from a number of distributing agents such as stores, sporting goods, etc. in the county. Anyone wishing deer hunting information may get a pamphlet from permit distributing agents.
Lessee Definition: Any Missouri resident who resides on five (5) acres of land or more in one continuous tract owned by others and who operates said land primarily for commercial production of agricultural crops, livestock or food products, or any member of the immediate household of such resident lessee.
According to the National Safety Council, hunting is a safe activity. In fact, hunting results in fewer injuries per 100,000 participants than do many other sports, including cycling, bowling, golf and tennis. However, as with any activity, you must always use good judgment and take responsibility for your actions. Deer and turkey hunters should follow safe, ethical hunting practices. These include:
• Be sure of your target before you shoot.
• Make sure your equipment is in good working condition and your firearm is properly sighted-in.
• If you hunt from a tree stand, always wear a safety belt. Serious accidents occur annually when hunters fall from tree stands.
• If you hunt on private land, be sure to obtain permission from the landowner and respect his property as if it were your own. Scout the area you plan to hunt so you know where boundaries, houses, roads, fences and livestock are located on the property.
• If you do not kill your deer instantly, make every effort to find the wounded animal. Permission is required to enter private land or refuge areas.
• Clean and care for your game properly.
• Pick up all litter including spent ammunition. Leaving an area better than the way you found it is a sign of thanks for the privilege of hunting.
• Report observed violations of the law to the local conservation agent or sheriff as soon as possible.
• If you are involved in a firearms-related accident, the law requires that you identify yourself and render assistance; failure to do so is a Class ‘A’ misdemeanor.
• Develop your skills and knowledge, and share them with others.
• Know and obey all wildlife laws.
• Know and follow the rules of gun safety.
• Respect the rights of hunters, non-hunters and landowners.
• Make every effort to retrieve and use all game.
• Respect the land and all wildlife.
• Be sensitive to others when displaying harvested game.
• Remember, hunting is not a competitive sport.
The permit doesn’t authorize anyone to trespass. Hunters must ask permission to enter any private property.
With so many deer hunters in the field, there are bound to be some who violate and they give everyone a bad name. Conservation Agents make a maximum effort to control violations and count on good-mannered hunters to help out.
No person shall pursue, take, attempt to take or molest wildlife from or with a motor driven air, land or water conveyance at any time. 3CSR107.410(a).
Any person who shall shoot at a mark or any object, or at random, along or across a public highway shall be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor. 571.030(7) RSMO1986.
GIVING AWAY WILDLIFE
A hunter may give wildlife to another person, but it will continue to be a part of his/her daily limit for the day when taken. Such wildlife must be labeled with the taker’s full name, address and permit number and the date taken. Wildlife received as a gift will be included in the possession limit of the person to whom it was given.
PURPLE PAINT LAW
In Missouri, landowners who want to post or define the boundaries of their property may do so by marking trees and fence posts with purple paint, in a court of law, a property boundary marked with purple paint has the same meaning as posting “no trespassing” signs.
OPERATION GAME THIEF
Rewards are available for information leading to the arrest of game-law violators. Information can be provided anonymously by dialing the toll-free hot line number: 1-800-392-1111. All information received is kept in strict confidence. If you see a possible poaching violation in progress, immediately call your county conservation agent or sheriff or dial the toll-free hot line number. Help put game thieves out of business. This program is sponsored by the Conservation Federation and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
ALSO REMEMBER-You do not have to make a kill to have an enjoyable hunt.
Deer left at commercial processing or cold storage plants must be claimed by May 1st following the year taken.
Don’t end up a hunting statistic-Each year there are firearms-related accidents-usually non-fatal. Several of these accidents were self-inflicted by careless handling of a firearm.
Some hunters ask, “Why do I have to check my deer?” There are two basic reasons: data collection and law enforcement.
Accurate harvest information is critical because hunting is a primary mortality factor for both deer and turkey. The Telecheck operator records the sex and age of each animal, and the general location where it was harvested. This annual harvest data provides essential information on the status of local deer and turkey populations, and is considered when setting harvest regulations for subsequent seasons.
Mandatory checking also reduces illegal activities, such as exceeding and out-of-season shooting. Without mandatory checking, we could expect that an increased number of deer and turkeys would be “stolen” from legal hunters by those who violate the game laws.
When you check your deer, you are doing your part to help manage these important wildlife resources.
Please remember that the deer harvested in counties where CWD has been found, must be tested before they can be donated to “Share the Harvest.”