It's autumn. The leaves are falling, and the days are cool and crisp. It's the time of year when the thoughts of men and women across the country turn to … deer hunting in the Show-Me State. American Hunter has Missouri ranked in the top 10 for monster whitetails, and Wide Open Spaces rated the Show-Me State No. 3 in the top 10 places to hunt whitetail in the U.S.
One of the main attractions for hunting in Missouri is the abundant public lands open to the sport and one of the best - if not the best – conservation programs in the country, all funded by a designated sales tax voted in by the people of the Show-Me State.
Whether you're new to the sport or a seasoned hunter, coming from out of state or hunting near to home, here is the 411 on the 2019 Missouri deer season.
Dates: November 16-26 with an antlerless weekend Dec. 6-8. Youth season (ages 6-15) are Nov. 2- 3 and Nov. 29-Dec. 1. These dates apply to firearms hunting only. See the Missouri Department of Conservation website for seasons for Archery and Firearms/Alternative Methods.
Hours: half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset
Regulations: All deer must be checked by telephone or on the Internet by 10 p.m. on the day you harvested the deer. You can transport unchecked deer within the state as long as the transportation tag is attached to the leg.
Permits and limits: The required Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit allows you one antlered or antlerless deer. Check the MDC website for antler point restrictions (applicable in some counties). In addition to that permit, you can buy as many antlerless deer permits as you want. However, some counties do limit the number available.
Wearing hunter orange is required when you are hunting any species of game during firearms deer season. Some limited exceptions are allowed.
One of the very best parts of deer hunting in Missouri is eating what you harvest. But with the generous limits, some hunters can end up with an embarrassment of riches. That's where the Share the Harvest program to feed the hungry comes in. If you have an extra deer, just take it to an approved processing plant (list found on the MDC website) and tell them how much meat you want to donate. Often the processing fees are covered in part or in full by sponsors, and hungry families gratefully line up at food pantries for this otherwise-rare offering of high-quality protein.
If venison isn't your thing … Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Missouri's fall turkey season runs Sep. 15-Nov. 15 and resumes Nov. 27-Jan 15.
Written by Barb Brueggeman