Many hunters are headed to Missouri’s woods Saturday for the start of the firearms deer hunting season. Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Brown says the opening day makes today a busy time on the roads, especially mid-morning through the early evening hours.

White Tailed deer

“We will see a large amount of traffic, Brown tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly. “It will actually rival what we see on Thanksgiving travel days and Memorial Day travel days.”

Deer hunting has about a $1 billion economic impact on the state and local economies each year.

October and November are historically the months with the highest number of traffic crashes involving deer in Missouri. Brown says motorists should be prepared.

“As these hunters head out early on Saturday morning, obviously you’re going to have to watch for deer strikes. The night before last, we had at least seven car vs. deer crashes in Troop B. That’s probably going to continue to increase as the rut really starts kicking into gear and as hunters start pushing deer around.”

Hunters can participate thirty minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The season runs Nov. 10 through Nov. 20 this year.

The Missouri Department of Conservation will be conducting mandatory chronic wasting disease sampling this weekend of deer harvested in 31 of the 48 counties of its CWD Management Zone. Deer can be presented at any mandatory sampling station and hunters can get free test results of their sampled deer. Stations will be open from 7:30 a.m. to at least 8 p.m.

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