Missouri hunting season nets more than 261,000 deer

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri hunters have harvested more than 261,893 deer so far this year, with a few more expected to come in the remaining weeks of the season.

Preliminary data reported by the Missouri Department of Conservation shows that the bulk of the deer killed came on the 10-day November portion of firearms deer season, which ran through Tuesday.

Of the 197,724 deer harvested during the firearms portion of the season, 102,633 were captured bucks, 16,929 were button bucks, and 78,162 did.

The top overall county for harvesting deer is again Franklin County, which is mostly rural, but close to St. Louis. Louis. Thus far, more than 5,700 deer have been taken in Franklin County. Texas County on the southern border with Arkansas was second in kills, while Callaway County, which is north of Jefferson City, placed third with 3,416.

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Last year hunters checked 188,928 deer during the November portion of firearms deer season with 102,054 being antlered bucks, 16,537 being button bucks, and 70,337 being doing.

Conservation officials credited cool temperatures for helping hunters.

“It would have been hard to ask for much better weather during the November portion than what hunters experienced this year,” said Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle. “To have sustained temperatures that were well below average for nearly the entire season portion was quite remarkable.”

Isabelle noted that the colder weather likely resulted in increased deer movements, contributing to this year’s higher harvest total.

There have been no deaths attributed to hunting accidents this year. The department said one non-fatal, self-inflicted firearms-related hunting accident occurred in Bollinger County.

Missouri’s archery deer and turkey season resumed Wednesday and runs through Jan. 15, 2023. The late youth portion of firearms season runs Friday through Sunday. The antlerless portion of firearms deer season runs Dec. 3-11 in certain counties followed by the alternative methods portion Dec. 24 through Jan. 3, 2023.

The department also is conducting sampling efforts for chronic wasting disease.

Including recent sampling efforts, MDC has collected more than 237,000 tissue samples for CWD testing since surveillance for the disease began 20 years ago. To date, MDC has found 292 confirmed cases of CWD since the disease was first detected in wild deer in Missouri in 2012.

The disease is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family that is 100% fatal. There is no vaccine or cure. CWD can be spread from direct deer-to-deer contact, through improper disposal of deer carcasses, and through the environment by deer contacting infectious material from other deer.

Without management intervention, CWD infection rates increase and can cause significant population declines in deer populations.

“We greatly appreciate the participation and support of the many thousands of hunters who presented their deer for CWD sampling during the opening weekend,” Isabelle said. “Hunters play a critical role in MDC’s efforts to find and manage CWD in Missouri.”