MDC Program Can Help Landowners Manage Deer Populations
Written by Corey Stott on June 2, 2022
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering Missouri landowners another way to help manage deer numbers on their properties.
MDC’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) can help landowners manage deer on their properties by allowing them and hunters they designate to buy additional firearms permits to take antlerless deer on the properties above and beyond regular-season harvest limits. Each permit authorizes the take of one antlerless deer and costs the same as a Firearms Antlerless Permit. Permits may be used during any portion of the firearms deer season with methods allowed during that portion. Permits may only be used on the enrolled DMAP property for which they were issued.
According to MDC, the number of deer in a local area varies widely throughout Missouri due to various types and quality of habitat, land-use practices, hunting regulations and harvest levels, and other factors.
“For some landowners, deer cause crop damage and other problems, even with deer removals through regular hunting seasons and damage authorizations,” said MDC Deer Biologist Kevyn Wiskirchen, who coordinates DMAP. “And some landowners need additional tools for achieving their deer-management goals for their properties. The program’s main goal is to maintain healthy deer populations while balancing landowner needs.”
Wiskirchen added that any private property of at least 500 acres located outside of municipal boundaries, regardless of the owner’s legal residence, is eligible for the program. For properties inside the boundaries of a city or town, at least 40 acres are required. Individual parcels of land, regardless of ownership, may be combined to satisfy the acreage requirements as long as no parcel of land is more than a half-mile (by air) from the boundary of another parcel being combined to form an enrolled DMAP property.
“The acreage requirement is designed to encourage deer management at a scale that will have a meaningful effect on local populations,” said Wiskirchen.
DMAP also provides landowners with science-based methods and information to address a spectrum of other local deer-management goals, including Quality Deer Management (QDM) objectives.
MDC piloted the program in 2019 on a limited county and regional level. MDC expanded DMAP to additional counties and regions in 2020 and 2021, and now offers it statewide. According to MDC, more than 86,000 acres were enrolled in 2021 and included 89 landowners or landowner cooperatives.
Annual DMAP enrollment is available from May 15 through Oct. 1.
To learn more about DMAP, including enrollment, visit MDC online at mdc.mo.gov/dmap, or contact your local MDC private land conservationist or conservation agent.
Find local MDC contacts online at mdc.mo.gov/contact-engage/local-mdc-contacts.
Learn more about DMAP in the June Missouri Conservationist feature article, “Managing the Herd,” online at mdc.mo.gov/magazines/missouri-conservationist/2022-06/managing-herd.