Missouri Urban Deer Harvest Similar to 2010

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Missouri hunters checked 570 deer during the urban portion of firearms deer season Oct. 7 through 10, virtually identical to last year’s figure and approximately half the long-term average. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) attributes the small harvest to lower deer activity and hunter effort related to unseasonably warm weather.

MDC instituted the urban hunt in 2003 to provide better control of deer numbers in and around St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and the Columbia-Jefferson City area. Hunters in all or parts of 12 counties are allowed to take only antlerless deer during the four-day hunt.

Greene County led the urban deer harvest with 109 deer checked. Boone County was second with 89, followed by St. Charles County, where hunters checked 83 deer. Other county harvest totals were: Clay, 45; Franklin, 43; Jefferson and St. Louis, 41 each; Cass, 40; Cole, 33; Jackson, 23, Platte, 16; and Christian, 7. Eighty-three percent of deer checked during the urban hunt were does.

“The harvest of 470 does (female deer) doesn’t sound like a lot,” said MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners, “but every doe taken during the urban hunt translates into something like two to three fewer deer next year. It is significant, especially when added to the harvest during the rest of the firearms deer season and the archery deer season.”

The smallest harvest, 129, occurred in 2003, the first year of the urban hunt. Few hunters participated that year. The largest, 2,077, came the following year. Since then, the largest urban deer harvests have occurred in years when temperatures were lowest. Sumners said this is partly because deer are more active in cool weather. He said hunter behavior figures into the equation, too.

“Deer are less active on warm fall and winter days, as their winter coat doesn’t allow them to dissipate heat as easily,” said Sumners. “At the same time, deer hunters may hesitate to shoot a deer if they are worried about spoilage due to high temperature.”

Sumners said some hunters simply don’t feel like hunting deer if they break a sweat getting to their stand. That also cuts into participation.

According to the Midwest Regional Climate Center, the daily high temperature for the first weekend in October in central Missouri over the past 60 years has been just over 72 degrees Fahrenheit. This year, like last year, the average high temperature was over 80 degrees.

The following table shows harvest figures since the urban deer season began, along with average high temperatures at Sandborn Field in Boone County from the University of Missouri’s Historical Agricultural Weather Database.

Year Harvest High temp. (degrees F.)

2003 129 50

2004 2,077 70.5

2005 1,838 62.6

2006 1,348 76

2007 554 85.1

2008 678 77.5

2009 1,242 52.7

2010 587 83.7

2011 570 82.3

Missouri’s firearms deer season consists of six portions, comprising 40 days of hunting. Upcoming portions include the early youth portion Nov. 5-6, the regular November portion Nov. 12-22, the antlerless portion Nov. 23-Dec. 4; the muzzleloader portion Dec. 17-27 and the late youth portion Jan. 7-8. Missouri’s archery deer season runs from Sept. 15 through Nov. 11 and Nov. 23 through Jan. 15. Details of deer-hunting regulations are contained in the 2011 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, which is available from permit vendors and MDC offices statewide. The booklet also is available at mdc.mo.gov/node/3656/.

The Show-Me State’s deer herd is estimated at 1.4 million. Deer numbers are stable in most of the state, but have decreased in some areas – particularly parts of northern, central and western Missouri – as a result of increased bag limits and regulation changes that encourage hunters to take more does. The incidence of deer-vehicle accidents and nuisance-deer complaints has decreased along with deer numbers in those areas.

For more information about deer management in Missouri, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3347/.


Retired2hunt's picture

 Here is yet another Missouri


Here is yet another Missouri related article that contains a positive outcome based on their well managed efforts of their wildlife within the state.  i applaud the state on their efforts and their continued hunter's success with the urban deer population.


numbnutz's picture

Sounds like a goos hunt to

Sounds like a goos hunt to me. I wish we had some urban hunts out here. Some of the biggest deer I have ever seen have been less than a mile from my house. I too find it interesting that the "urban" hunt was a firearm hunt. Usually when I hhear of an urban hunt it's conducted with archery tackle only due to safety concerns. I wonder if it was centerfire rifles or if it was conducted with shotguns and slugs. It seems like the weather has played a huge roll in these hunts since it has started back in 2003. Their data is spot on with cooler temps the higher the harvest rates. That's true really with all hunting though so it's not really suprising. I hope they keep up this good program and they can keep the urban deer populations down where they want them to be at. Congrats to all the sucessfull hunters who participated in the hunt.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Sounds like a great season

Sounds like a great season was had there in Missouri.  However, I find it interesting that the "Urban" hunts involved firearms.  Maybe it is just called Urban, because of proximity to the city, but it's still a undeveloped area.  Usually with these urban hunts, they are archery only, because you are actually hunting very cloe to buildings.  Or, you are only on a 1 acre patch of woods, or something ike that.

Either way, it's all good.  Sounds like a huge chunk of the deer shot were does, which will go a long way to controlling the deer population, and achieving their goals.