MDC Reminds Deer Hunters of Changes for Upcoming Season
Written by Corey Stott on August 22, 2023
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds deer hunters of regulation changes for the upcoming 2023-2024 deer-hunting season. The changes include a new firearms early antlerless portion, a new firearms CWD portion, changes to firearms antlerless permit numbers, and the addition of 14 new counties to the MDC CWD Management Zone.
“The changes to deer hunting regulations for the 2023-2024 deer season were motivated by increasing deer numbers throughout much of Missouri and in response to changes in the distribution of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the state,” said MDC Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle. “With a growing deer population in most Missouri counties, we’re increasing opportunities for hunters to harvest deer both within and outside of the CWD Management Zone this year.”
2023-2024 Deer Hunting Portions and Dates
Archery Deer and Turkey Hunting
- 15 through Nov. 10 and Nov. 22 through Jan. 15, 2024
Firearms Deer Hunting
- New! Firearms Early Antlerless Portion: Oct. 6-8 (in open counties)
- Firearms Early Youth Portion: Oct. 28-29
- Firearms November Portion: Nov. 11-21
- New! Firearms CWD Portion: Nov. 22-26 (in open counties)
- Firearms Late Youth Portion: Nov. 24-26
- Firearms Late Antlerless Portion: Dec. 2-10 (in open counties)
- Firearms Alternative Methods Portion: Dec. 23 – Jan. 2, 2024
New Firearms Early Antlerless Portion Oct. 6-8
MDC will offer a new firearms early antlerless portion Oct. 6-8 in the 100 counties open for the firearms late antlerless portion Dec. 2-10. Reynolds County will now be open during the antlerless portions.
“With deer numbers being at desired levels in most counties but continuing to increase, additional antlerless harvest is needed to stabilize the deer population,” said Isabelle. “This new season portion will help increase antlerless deer harvest prior to the November portion, when many hunters focus on harvesting bucks.”
Isabelle noted that timing of the early antlerless portion was chosen to provide hunting opportunity when weather conditions are usually favorable and to minimize conflicts with archery hunters, who usually hunt most in late October and early November.
New Firearms CWD Portion Nov. 22-26
MDC will offer a CWD portion of firearms deer season Nov. 22-26 in CWD Management Zone counties during the 2023-2024 deer season.
According to MDC, hunters will be able to use any unfilled firearms deer hunting permits during the CWD portion and must abide by the statewide limit of one antlered deer during the firearms deer season, all portions combined. Hunters must also abide by county-specific firearms antlerless permit numbers.
“Because higher deer densities can increase the rate of CWD spread, additional deer harvest in the CWD Management Zone is needed to prevent further increases in deer numbers and help minimize the spread of the disease,” said Isabelle.
Isabelle noted that the CWD portion is timed to occur during the tail end of the primary rut, when deer movement is typically good and hunter interest remains high. CWD testing is not required during the CWD portion.
Changes to Firearms Antlerless Permit Numbers
MDC has also increased the number of firearms antlerless permits hunters can fill in most counties, including allowing hunters to fill a firearms antlerless permit in Butler, Carter, Scott, and Wayne counties. Hunters in Bollinger County will be able to fill two firearms antlerless permits beginning this year. Qualifying landowners in Reynolds County may now receive two Resident Landowner Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits. MDC has also increased the number of firearms antlerless permits from two to four in 85 counties.
“The liberalization of antlerless harvest opportunities will help slow population growth and keep the deer population at desired levels,” said Isabelle.
He also noted that the additional firearms antlerless permits will help hunters and landowners to meet their deer management goals in areas where more antlerless harvest is needed.
Expansion of the CWD Management Zone
MDC has included 14 new counties as part of the CWD Management Zone this year: Bollinger, Caldwell, Carroll, Clay, Clinton, Dallas, Grundy, Jasper, Livingston, Madison, Montgomery, Pemiscot, Ray, and Schuyler.
As with all counties in the CWD Management Zone, grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable products used to attract deer are prohibited year-round. Hunters must also follow carcass transportation regulations. The antler-point restriction has also been removed from Caldwell, Carroll, Clinton, Grundy, Livingston, Montgomery, Ray, and Schuyler counties.
Hunters who harvest deer in select CWD Management Zone counties during Nov. 11-12 must take the deer (or its head) on the day of harvest to a mandatory CWD sampling station.
Get More Information
Get more information on regulation changes and other details for deer hunting from MDC’s 2023 Fall Deer & Turkey Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold and online at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer.