Deer season is nearly upon us, and if you have not yet taken the time to review Missouri's season opening dates, now is the time to do so. Being aware of what season begins when means not missing out on a single day of in the field. Now is also a key time to make those other preps, such as acquiring the proper, signed permit (permits for this season were available starting in July, so it is possible to get yours at any time now), stocking up on ammo, and making sure your camouflage, hunt plans and scouts are good to go.
When hunting in Missouri, and anywhere else, is essential to know and follow the law. For example, an important part of the law to remember is that in Missouri, the law allows each hunter to take one single antlered deer during all of the combined firearms seasons, youth or otherwise. In the event that you wish to take another antlered deer, it will be necessary to do so by bow during the archery season or on a managed hunt which is set up to allow the hunting of antlered deer. Not adhering to rules such as this can result in fines or imprisonment, so be sure to educate yourself before you hunt.
There are several seasons during which you can participate in a hunt in Missouri. Those seasons and the applicable dates for this season are as follows:
1. First up for the year is the Archery season, which includes a primary season beginning on 09/15/2014 and ending on 11/14/2014. Beyond that, an additional season will also be offered, ranging from 11/26/2014 through 1/15/2015. The season allows for use of compound bows, longbows, or recurve bows with your choice of draw weight. Also allowed are handheld string release devices and atlatls. Bows of these types can also be used during the firearms season as well, as the firearm season allows for the inclusion of archery weapons. The hours during which you may hunt begin a half hour before sunrise and end a half an hour after sunset.
2. Firearm season allows for several different firearm options, all of which can be utilized during firearms season with the exception of the designated alternative methods timeframe. Allowed for use during the firearms season are:
- Shotguns (slugs only).
- Centerfire firearms (revolvers, pistols, or rifles) with expanding bullets.
- Air powered guns of a .40 caliber or larger (must be charged via a power source that is external and high compression).
- Muzzleloaders or cap-and-ball (.40 caliber or larger, must fire a solitary projectile per discharge). These can also be multi-barreled.
- Bows, be they longbows, recurve, or crossbows, of any draw weight.
First up for the year in firearms season is the urban portion of the season, from 10/10/2014 through 10/13/2014. The main portion of firearms season will begin on 11/15/2014 and end on 11/25/2014. Beginning on 11/26/2014 is the antlerless portion of the firearms season, which will extend through 12/07/2014. The alternative methods portion of firearms season opens on 12/20/2014 and closes 12/30/2014. Also a part of firearms season is two youth sessions, one of which is from 11/01/2014 through 11/02/2014 with the other opening on 01/03/2015 and closing 01/04/2015. The same rules apply during firearms season as during archery season in regard to the time of day during which you may hunt, that being a half hour before sunrise and end a half an hour after sunset.
Remember, any hunter born after January 1, 1967 will need to have a hunter's education course under their belt. To find out how to take one, including online options, click here.
The permits you may need will vary depending on whether you are a resident or non-resident. Be sure to check out the Missouri Department of Conservation for more information regarding permits and any other rules or regulations about which you may have questions. In addition to permitting information, a wealth of hunting resources can be found there as well.
May a fruitful hunting season be yours! Feel free to share your hunting plans in the comments, such as what type of weapon you will be using and your favorite time of the year to hunt whitetails in Missouri!