Deer-Hunting Regulations Mostly the Same as Last Year

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Missouri deer hunters will find regulations mostly the same as last year. The major exception is the elimination of the requirement to take deer to check stations.

Nearly three-quarters of Missouri's annual deer harvest takes place in the 11-day November portion of firearms deer season. This year, the segment runs from Nov. 12 through 22. Hunters are allowed to take one antlered deer during the season.

Hunters can buy as many permits as they want to take antlerless deer in 81 counties. They are limited to one antlerless permit in 19 counties in southeastern and south-central Missouri. Antlerless permits are unavailable in 13 southeastern counties.

Other segments include the urban portion Oct. 7 through 10, the youth portion Oct. 29 and 30, the muzzleloader portion Nov. 25 through Dec. 4 and the antlerless portion Dec. 10 through 18. Archers are allowed to hunt deer Sept. 15 through Nov. 11 and Nov. 23 through Jan. 15.

Regardless of segment or hunting type, hunters this year will not take their deer to check stations. Instead, they will follow directions on their permits and check deer by telephone or computer. Deer and turkeys must be checked by 10 p.m. the day they are taken.

Hunters must attach the transportation tag portion of their permit to deer and turkeys as soon as they are taken. After checking their game and writing the telecheck confirmation number on the permit, the hunter must attach the permit to the animal and leave it there until processing begins.

Only the taker may transport deer and turkeys until they are checked. Furthermore, the heads of deer and the heads and plumage of turkeys must remain on the animal until it is checked. All deer and turkeys must be telechecked before being taken out of Missouri.

The Conservation Department will continue to gather biological data during the November portion of firearms deer season. This will be done at meat processors.

The antler-point restrictions established in 29 counties last year remain in place for 2005. Archery hunters and firearms hunters during all but the youth portion of firearms deer season in these counties may take antlered deer only if the deer have at least four antler points measuring at least one inch on one side of their rack. Deer without antlers and those with spike antlers shorter than 3 inches are legal.

Affected counties are Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Boone, Chariton, Cole, Daviess, DeKalb, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Howard, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Maries, Miller, Mercer, Nodaway, Osage, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Schuyler, Sullivan and Worth.

The increase in antlerless deer harvest in the 29 counties helped fuel a 12 percent increase in the 2004 doe harvest and a 1 percent decrease in buck harvest statewide.

Also in its second year is the requirement that landowners obtain printed permits in place of the informal "farm tags" they used prior to 2004. Formerly, those who owned at least five contiguous acres could hunt without a permit and tag their game with hand-written notes. Starting last year, the Conservation Department issued free landowner deer and turkey permits through permit vendors statewide. To obtain the permits landowners need to know how much acreage they own and in what county or counties.

Hunters should note that deer hunting regulations on many conservation areas have changed this year. Rules for all affected areas are listed in the 2005 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet. The booklet is available wherever hunting permits are sold. The same information is available online at