JEFFERSON CITY–Hunters checked 15,136 deer during Missouri’s antlerless deer season Nov. 21 through Dec. 2.
This year’s antlerless harvest increased by 697 deer, a gain of approximately 5 percent over last year. Top harvest counties for the 12-day antlerless season were Camden with 553 deer checked, Benton with 518, and Callaway with 491.
Two portions of Missouri’s firearms deer season remain. The alternative-methods portion runs from Dec. 15 through 25, and the late youth portion is Dec. 29 and 30.
Besides increasing hunting opportunities, the antlerless season gives hunters and landowners a way of regulating local deer numbers. Those who want more deer can choose not to participate in the antlerless season, while those who want fewer deer can use the season to remove female deer from the population.
Missouri’s annual harvest of approximately 300,000 deer by firearms and archery hunters yields more than 10 million pounds of venison. Hunters consume most of this meat. However, hunters donate more than 300,000 pounds of venison annually to local food banks and other charities through the Share the Harvest program. Information about Share the Harvest is available at mdc.mo.gov/node/2544.
Missouri’s deer resource also supports 11,000-plus jobs and generates more than $1 billion in business activity annually.
Economic value aside, deer hunting is a cherished tradition that draws thousands of Missouri natives back home to share healthful outdoor recreation with family and friends.