50 Years of Archery Deer Hunting

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2010

shot at 20 yards or under that it would be in big trouble."

They hunted about 40 yards apart and the father watched his son competently pull back the bow and make a killing shot on a forkhorn buck. "This hunting trip turned out to be the most memorable trip I have ever experienced," Martin says.

Jerry Kennedy of Arnold said he has shared bowstands with both his 11 year-old son Jeremiah, and his 9-year-old daughter Emily. "It is wonderful," he writes, "to see their faces when we sneak up on a deer in the wild or have a wild turkey cross our path by accident or see any of the other special creatures in the outdoors."

Although Emily prefers to shoot deer only with a camera, Jeremiah was hunting in a treestand only 10 yards away when his Dad harvested his first whitetail in nearly two decades of hunting. Kennedy says he is grateful he could share this experience with his son.

This archery season, our 50th in the state, will no doubt provide more challenges, create more wholesome experiences, embed more lifetime memories, bond together more parents and children, husbands, wives and friends and put more venison on dinner tables for people to enjoy.

It's a great birthday for bowhunting, and though people are not likely to celebrate it with lots of splash and fanfare, this mid-century mark is a good time to reflect on how bowhunting has become one of the state's grand traditions, providing innumerable feasts for both soul and body. triangle

Regulations help sport grow

Rules, regulations, seasons and bag limits are usually restrictive, but in the case of bowhunting for deer, regulations have been liberalized through the years to allow more people more opportunity to enjoy the sport.

The very first bowhunting seasons were only a few days long, but now archers can hunt in steamy weather or snow, thanks to a season that lasts for three and a half months - from Oct. 1 through Jan. 15.

Although at first only open to bucks, deer of any sex now may be taken, and the limit is two deer. In management areas 58 and 59, representing St. Louis and Kansas City, respectively, archers can purchase up to five Urban Archery Deer Permits.

Originally limited to hunting in certain "deer rich" areas, archers now hunt for deer in every county of the state. In fact, urban deer hunting has become extremely popular among city hunters and allows the Conservation Department to help manage deer in areas where harvest options are limited.

New Bow Compounds Hunters

Hunter numbers grew tremendously following the introduction of the compound bow. Patented by Missourian Wilbur Allen in 1966, the compound bow changed the look of archery, turning the bow into a block and tackle affair, with pulleys at either end.

Although ungainly in looks, the "wheel bow" made it easier for archers to pull and hold strong hunting weights and to deliver arrows accurately into a target.

No longer was the skill of shooting a bow the most difficult to master component of bowhunting. Thanks to the bow's mechanical advantages over a simple stick and string, archers could quickly become proficient enough to become capable and responsible bowhunters.

Within a few years the compound bow took over the archery market, almost completely displacing recurves and longbows.


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