Missouri Deer Hunt Applications Open July 1

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July 1 is the starting date to apply for deer hunts at state parks, national wildlife refuges, military reservations and nature preserves. Those who apply for hunts this year and are not drawn will receive preference the next time they enter.

The Missouri Department of Conservation holds a drawing each summer to determine who gets to take part in managed deer hunts that take place from October through January. The application period runs through Aug. 15.

To complete the application process, you need your conservation identification number. You can find this on previous permits or on the back of your Conservation Heritage Card by the bar code. If you don't have a conservation identification number, call 573/751-4115, and one will be assigned to you. You also need a two- or three-digit code for your chosen hunt. Hunt dates, locations and code numbers are listed in the 2007 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Information booklet, which is available wherever hunting permits are sold.

Applications can be submitted by toll-free phone call to 800/829-2956. The service is available from 4 a.m. until midnight seven days a week. Applicants must have touch-tone phones to enter their nine-digit conservation ID number.

You also can log onto www.missouriconservation.org/hunt/deer. Everything you need, other than your Conservation Heritage Card number, is there.

As in the past, all applications received by the Aug. 15 deadline receive the same consideration because this year presents the first opportunity for unsuccessful applicants to earn a preference point. Successful applicants receive notices of their selection by mail. Hunters can check the status of their applications on the Conservation Department Web page after Sept. 11.

Only a Resident or Nonresident Managed Deer Hunting Permit is valid at a managed deer hunt. The number of deer that may be taken with a single permit depends on the hunt. In some, up to three deer may be taken, and in one hunt, four deer are allowed.

The Conservation Department is implementing a preference system this year to give unsuccessful managed deer hunt applicants an advantage in future drawings. Those not drawn for a hunt this year will have one preference point the next time they enter. One preference point will be awarded for each unsuccessful application. A hunter's preference points return to zero when he or she is drawn for a hunt.

Preference points are like extra pieces of paper in a hat. Hunters who apply for the first time or who were drawn for hunts the previous year have only one piece of paper with their name on it in the hat. Those who entered but were not drawn the previous year get an extra piece of paper in the hat for each unsuccessful year. A hunter not drawn four years in a row would receive five pieces of paper in the hat the fifth time he or she applied.