November is prime mating season for white-tailed deer. They're a common sight across Missouri's landscape thanks to restoration efforts begun a century ago. It's hard to believe there was a time when people would travel for miles just to glimpse a deer track. It’s relatively easy to see deer today, but around 100 years ago, they were hard to spot.
Over-hunting and habitat loss had reduced the deer population to a small herd in a corner of the state. Thanks to conservation efforts over the years, there are more than a million white-tails that roam the state today. They're one of our most valuable species for outdoor recreation, jobs and tourism. You would be hard pressed to find someone that didn't have their own deer story, from a surprising encounter to a planned hunt.
MDC biologists work with hunters and landowners to maintain healthy deer populations and manage threats from disease.
The biggest threat is Chronic Wasting Disease which infects members of the deer family and is always fatal. Without management intervention, the disease grows in prevalence and spreads over time, and once well-established, it is impossible to eliminate. As it spreads, it can reduce deer numbers and impact hunting, wildlife watching, property values, and local and state economies.
To help protect our white-tailed deer, there will be mandatory testing again this year on the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, November 16-17. This will take place in 29 select counties in the CWD Management Zone. Hunters in these counties can continue the spirit of comaraderie and cooperation from past years in helping to fight this deadly disease for the future of Missouri's deer herd.
Discover more about white-tailed deer.