A major hunting season has officially started in Missouri.  People are now free to pursue deer and turkeys using archery methods.

Photo courtesy of Noppadol Paothong

Photo courtesy of Noppadol Paothong

The season started Thursday and will continue through January 15th, with a notable pause in mid-November for firearms hunting of deer.

Joe Jerek with the Missouri Conservation Department says the state has many locations where there are large numbers of deer. “Missouri’s a great place to hunt deer” said Jerek.  “There are spots in areas all around the state both on public hunting grounds and on private property”.

Since 90 percent of Missouri is privately owned, most hunting takes place on private land, although there are several hundred public conservation areas which are open for deer hunting.  Jerek says any deer hunter would need to contact and work with the property owner prior to any hunting on private property.  “That is part of common hunter courtesy and ethics.”

In a typical year, a quarter of a million deer are harvested in Missouri by half a million people.

A large majority of deer hunters use guns, which is why the firearms season is only 10 days.  Jerek says there are further restrictions connected to the type of deer being pursued.  “We want to remind hunters that they may only take two antlered deer, or bucks, during both the archery and firearms deer hunting seasons combined.”

Hunting of does is unlimited during the current four-month archery season as long as proper permits are acquired.  Two deer and two turkeys are allowed per permit, which cost $19.00 each.  There’s also an archery permit for harvesting of one antler-less deer for $7.00.  Jerek notes the state is more lenient with permits for antler-less deer, or does, because there are many more of them on the landscape.  The Conservation Department stresses proper permits for any hunting or fishing in the state are always required.

Jerek says most deer hunters are looking forward to two particular days in November.  “Fall firearms opening weekend is by far the most popular time for deer hunting in the state of Missouri.”  Those dates are November 12th and 13th.