Conservation agents conduct archery compliance check
WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- Missouri conservation agents conducted an archery compliance check in Howell, Phelps, and Texas Counties over the Veteran’s Day weekend. The first portion of the Archery deer season ends this Friday.
Protection District Supervisor Jerry Elliott said this compliance check was very similar to checks the agents conduct at trout parks when they check all resource users.
“As deer were reported on Telecheck, a pair of agents would dispatch to the hunter’s address to verify the harvest and make sure it was taken in compliance with the Wildlife Code,” Elliott said.
Telecheck is the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) automated deer and turkey harvest data system. When hunters harvest a deer or turkey, they report the harvest through the automated system over the phone or Internet. MDC uses the data in Wildlife Code enforcement and the information helps biologists determine proper management for both species.
The group patrol was conducted Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, checking a total of 37 deer and resulting in several violations, citations and warnings, Elliott said.
Agents discovered a total of 16 violations which resulted in 13 citations and three warnings written during the compliance check. Seven violations were a result of individuals hunting without a permit or with an invalid permit, one illegally possessed wildlife, three for taking deer in closed season, two failed to tag or check their harvest, one was cited for use of bait while hunting, one for taking more than their limit and one felon was in violation for illegal possession of a firearm.
“The majority of the violations came from hunters who had landowner permits and had harvested a deer on land that was not valid,” Elliott said. In order to hunt with a landowner permit, the hunter must be a Missouri resident, who owns at least 5 continuous acres, and their immediate household members age 6 or older, or be a Missouri resident who leases and lives on at least 5 continuous acres owned by others, and their immediate household members age 6 or older. These landowner permits are only valid on qualifying property for which the permits were issued.
Elliott said it’s every hunter’s responsibility to know Missouri’s Wildlife Code and hunters have access to the hunting regulations at the location where they purchase their hunting permits.
“Our intention is to ensure safe, fun and ethical hunting opportunities now and in the future,” he said.
Elliott said agents involved in the compliance check reported several favorable comments from hunters. “Legal hunters were glad to see us out,” Elliott said, adding that the majority of Missouri’s hunters hunt ethically and are great supporters of conservation. “They know conservation efforts keep our state full of great hunting opportunities.”
Firearms deer season opens this Saturday, Nov. 16, and ends Nov. 26. The second archery deer season is Nov. 27 through Jan. 15, 2014. For more information about deer hunting in Missouri, go online to mdc.mo.gov.