Missouri Announces Changes to 2007 Deer Season

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Missouri's 2007 deer season will include several new features, including a youth antlerless deer permit and a weighted random selection process for managed deer hunts.

The Conservation Commission approved firearms and archery deer and turkey hunting regulations at its meeting May 18. Season dates are:
--Archery deer and turkey season - Sept. 15 through Nov. 9 and Nov. 21 through Jan. 15.
--Urban counties portion of firearms deer season - Oct. 5 through 8.
--Youth portion of deer season - Oct. 27 through 28.
--November portion of deer season - Nov. 10 through 20.
--Muzzleloader portion of deer season - Nov. 23 through Dec. 2.
--Antlerless portion of deer season - Dec. 8 through 16.

The new $7 Youth Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permit is available to residents and nonresidents age 6 through 15 who are not hunter education certified. Each permit is valid for one antlerless deer in counties where allowed during any portion of the firearms deer hunting season. Youths may purchase and fill any number of the permits, and may purchase the permits without first purchasing a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit.

Youths hunting on youth antlerless permits must be in the immediate presence of a properly licensed hunter at least 17 years of age who is hunter education certified. An exception is that landowners and lessees born before Jan. 1, 1967, who accompany a youth on the landowner's or lessees' property are not required to be hunter-education certified.

As in the past, the application period for managed deer hunts held from September through January is July 1 through Aug. 15. You can apply for most of these hunts, including youth hunts either by calling 800-829-2956 or online at www.missouriconservation.org. In the past, special hunts for persons with disabilities were not listed in the fall deer & turkey booklet. This year those hunts will be listed in the booklet, but applications will be made directly through the hunt location, not through the regular process.

In the past, every applicant had the same chance of being drawn every year they applied. Many hunters expressed support for a system that would give some advantage to hunters based on the number of times they entered a drawing unsuccessfully. The Conservation Department developed the "Weighted Random Drawing System" in response to these requests.

Starting this year, applicants will receive one preference point each year they apply but are not drawn. The next time they apply, that preference point will be used to increase their odds of being drawn. For example, hunters who are not drawn this year will have their name entered into the drawing twice if they apply again in 2008, once for the current application and once for the preference point. If they are unsuccessful again next year, their name will be entered three times when they apply in 2009.

Having preference points increases the number of times your name is put into a box with all the other applicants. A hunter who is unsuccessful four years running will have his or her name put in the box five times the next time he or she applies, providing a greater chance of being drawn than a hunter who was drawn the previous year.

Points remain valid even if hunters do not apply in some years. However, hunters who are drawn lose all accumulated preference points and start fresh the next year. While the Weighted Random Drawing System multiplies unsuccessful applicants' chances of success, the system is still random, so every hunter has some chance of being drawn each year they apply, even if they have no preference points.

Hunters may only apply for one hunt each year. The likelihood of any given hunter being drawn in a given year is small, because many more people apply for managed hunts than can be accommodated.

Hunters can shift the odds in their favor, however. Applicant success rates range from 3 percent for some hunts to 100 percent for others. To help hunters decide which hunts to apply for, the Conservation Department publishes applicant success rates for the previous year's drawings on its Web site, http://www.mdc.mo.gov/7454.

The $25 surcharge for residents of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma has been eliminated. However, many nonresident permit prices have increased. Nonresident Firearms Any-Deer and Nonresident Managed Deer hunting permits are $175, and the Nonresident Archer's Hunting Permit is $150. The Nonresident Fall Firearms Turkey Hunting permit is $105.

Missouri residents still can purchase firearms and archery antlerless deer permits without first buying an any-deer or archer's permit. However, nonresidents must purchase a firearms any-deer permit, a managed deer hunt permit or an archer's permit before buying a comparable antlerless-deer permit.

The Conservation Commission continued the trial of four-point antler restrictions for deer in the same 29 counties as last year.

Details about these and other regulation changes will be included in the 2007 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available from permit vendors in July.