Missouri’s popular deer hunting season opens this weekend


Buck deer with velvet antlers in Cades Cove

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The opening weekend for the portion of Missouri’s deer hunting season that allows rifles and other firearms starts on Saturday. The November portion of the season lasts until November 23.

This weekend is considered the most popular for deer hunters.

Hunters may begin a half-hour before sunrise and go one-half hour after sunset. They must also have a valid hunting permit to tag and bag a deer.

This season’s harvest will likely be higher than average. The deer population has increased and there are more permits available. But the youth firearms season was average and the archery season returned a reduced harvest.

Only one antlered deer may be taken during the entire firearms season. This includes all portions, not just the November portion.

You must also take your harvested deer to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease in certain counties. Four counties were added to the CWD Management Zone this year: Camden, Laclede, McDonald, and Pulaski.

Mandatory sampling counties are in orange

There is a number of restrictions hunters must abide by. Some of them are county-specific and include antler point limits. There are also bans on using night vision equipment, bait, dogs, and some ammo.

The Missouri Department of Conservation also has some requests for hunters. They would like them to share the harvest, if possible. The program provides red meat to people in need. Deer is a valuable source of protein and is low in fat.

Hunters can also help researchers understand the statewide distribution of ticks and the diseases they carry. Just save ticks found on harvested deer and send them in a zip-lock with a submission form to A.T. Still University in Kirksville. You can see a full set of instructions here.

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