by Joe Jerek, Missouri Department of Conservation
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants deer hunters to know some key information for harvesting whitetails in Missouri this season.
Deer hunting opens Sept. 15 with the archery season, which runs through Nov. 11 and then again from Nov. 23 through Jan. 15, 2023. The two firearms youth portions occur on Oct. 29 and 30 and Nov. 25-27. The firearms November portion runs Nov. 12-22. The antlerless portion runs Dec. 3-11. The alternative-methods portion runs Dec. 24 through Jan. 3, 2023.
New This Year
Hunters who are 15 years or younger on Sept. 15 are now exempt from the antler-point restriction during the archery season and all portions of the firearms deer season. The antler-point restriction has been removed for Barton and Vernon counties. Hunters may now fill additional firearms antlerless permits in a number of counties. Get details at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer/deer-regulations.
Share the Harvest
MDC encourages deer hunters to share their harvests by donating surplus venison to the Share the Harvest program to help feed hungry Missourians. The program is administered by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and MDC and has provided nearly 5 million pounds of lean, healthy venison to help feed hungry Missourians since it was started in 1992.
Donating is easy. Simply take harvested deer to an approved meat processor and let the processor know how much venison to donate. Meat-processing fees are covered entirely or in part by numerous local sponsors, along with statewide sponsors. The donated deer meat goes to local food banks and food pantries to help feed hungry Missourians all around the state. For more information on Share the Harvest, visit MDC online at mdc.mo.gov/share.
Follow CWD Regulations
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family (cervids) that eventually kills all animals it infects. There is no vaccine or cure. CWD is in Missouri and MDC continues its efforts to limit the spread of CWD by finding new cases as early as possible and managing the disease to slow its spread to more deer in more areas.
MDC’s CWD Management Zone consists of counties where or near where CWD has been found: Adair, Barry, Barton, Camden, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Laclede, Linn, Macon, McDonald, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ripley, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Vernon, Warren, and Washington. MDC notes that Barton, Greene, Ripley, and Vernon counties are new to the CWD Management Zone this year.
Special regulations apply in CWD Management Zone counties, including:
CWD Sampling and Testing All Season
As part of its efforts to find cases of CWD early and help slow its spread, MDC is again offering free voluntary CWD sampling and testing of harvested deer during the entire deer season at select locations throughout the state, including some MDC offices and participating taxidermists and meat processors.
MDC also offers self-service freezer drop-off locations within the CWD Management Zone for hunters to deposit harvested deer heads to have tested for CWD. Instructions, packing supplies, and information tags are available at the sites. Get more information on voluntary sampling and drop-off locations online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at mdc.mo.gov/cwdResults. Results are usually available within four weeks or less from the time of sampling.
Watch for Cyclists
MDC reminds hunters that bicycles and certain types of electric bicycles are now allowed on service roads and multi-use trails at about 300 conservation areas, including some also open for deer hunting. Approximately 30 of these areas will be closed to bicycle and electric bicycle use during all portions of the firearms deer hunting season. Bicycle use on most of MDC’s approximately 1,100 conservation areas is still restricted to roads open to public-vehicle traffic and some multi-use trails. Cyclists may not ride off-road or off-trail.
Find MDC multi-use bicycle trails and service roads online through the MDC webpage -- Find Places to Go -- at mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places. Bike trails and service roads can be searched for by using the Advanced Search feature. Learn more about cycling on MDC areas at mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/activities/bicycling.
Get More Information
Get more information on deer hunting in Missouri -- including seasons, CWD restrictions and other regulations, permits, methods, where to hunt, and more -- from the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer and from MDC’s 2022 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold and on the MDC website.
Buy Missouri hunting and fishing permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/permits , or through MDC’s free mobile app, MO Hunting, available for download through Google Play or the App Store.
MDC offices will be closed for permit sales and other activities on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.