Regulation Changes: 2023-24 Deer Season

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Deer
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To adapt to the changing status of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Missouri, MDC’s CWD Surveillance and Management Plan was revised in 2022. The original plan was developed after detecting the first cases of the disease in the state in 2010, then revised in 2015. Since then, CWD has been detected in new areas of the state, and distribution of the disease has expanded in some areas where it was previously detected.

When revising the plan, MDC assessed the need for deer hunting regulation changes within the CWD Management Zone. Because deer numbers are increasing in most counties in the CWD Management Zone, and deer density can affect CWD spread, additional deer harvest is needed in these counties to prevent further increases in deer numbers and help minimize the spread of CWD.

Deer numbers are also increasing in most counties outside of the CWD Management Zone. To keep deer numbers at desirable levels, additional antlerless harvest is needed in these counties to help stabilize the growing population.

Changes to deer hunting regulations for the 2023-24 deer season will increase hunting opportunities in the CWD Management Zone and give hunters more opportunity to harvest antlerless deer in most counties outside of the CWD Management Zone.

A goal of MDC's deer program is to manage the deer population at a level that satisfies hunters and wildlife viewers and does not create unsafe driving conditions or overburden farmers. The new 2023-24 deer season regulation changes will help meet this management goal.

Regulation Changes for the 2023-24 Deer Season

Regulation changes for the 2023-24 deer season include a new firearms early antlerless portion, a new firearms CWD portion, and changes to firearms antlerless permit numbers in most counties.

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2023-24 Deer Season Dates
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2023-24 Archery Deer and Turkey Hunting

  • Sept. 15 to Nov. 10, 2023, and Nov. 22 to Jan. 15, 2024

2023-24 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
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New Firearms Early Antlerless Portion: Oct. 6-8, 2023

The early antlerless portion will provide additional hunting opportunities and help increase antlerless deer harvest prior to the November portion of firearms season, when many hunters focus on harvesting bucks. Timing of the early antlerless portion was designed to occur when weather conditions are generally favorable and during a time that will minimize conflict with archery hunters, who usually hunt most in late October and early November.

New for the 2023-24 deer season: Reynolds County will be open for both the early and late antlerless portions of firearms deer season.

Counties open or closed for the new 2023 firearms early antlerless portion of deer season

Counties in blue: The following counties are open Oct. 6-8, 2023, for the early antlerless portion of firearms deer season, and Dec. 2-10, 2023, for the late antlerless portion of firearms deer season: Adair, Audrain, Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Bollinger, Boone, Buchanan, Caldwell, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, DeKalb, Dent, Douglas, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Greene, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Howard, Howell, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Madison, Maries, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Perry, Pettis, Phelps, Pike, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Reynolds, Ripley, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Shannon, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Warren, Washington, Webster, Worth, and Wright.

Counties in tan: The following counties are closed for the early and late antlerless portions of the 2023-24 firearms deer season: Andrew, Atchison, Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Holt, Iron, Mississippi, New Madrid, Nodaway, Pemiscot, Scott, Stoddard, and Wayne.

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New Firearms CWD Portion: Nov. 22-26, 2023

The CWD portion of firearms deer season will be open in all counties within the CWD Management Zone. During the CWD portion, hunters will be able to use any unfilled firearms deer hunting permits and must abide by the statewide limit of one antlered deer during the firearms deer season (all portions combined) and abide by county-specific firearms antlerless permit numbers.

The CWD portion is timed to occur during the tail end of the primary rut, or breeding season, when deer activity is typically high and hunter interest remains strong. The CWD portion will provide hunters in the CWD Management Zone with additional hunting opportunities to help stabilize deer numbers and minimize the spread of CWD.

Counties open or closed for the new 2023 firearms CWD portion of deer season

Counties in brown: Counties that are open for the CWD portion of firearms deer season from Nov. 22-26, 2023, include Adair, Barry, Barton, Camden, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Laclede, Linn, Macon, McDonald, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ripley, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Vernon, Warren, and Washington.

Counties in white: Closed during the CWD portion of the 2023-24 firearms deer hunting season.

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MDC has increased the number of firearms antlerless permits hunters can fill in most counties.

New for the 2023-24 deer season: Hunters will be able to fill one firearms antlerless permit in Butler, Carter, Scott, and Wayne counties. MDC has also increased the number of firearms antlerless permits that a hunter can fill from two to four in 82 counties. Prior to 2014, firearms antlerless permit numbers were unlimited in 74 counties. Firearms antlerless permit numbers were reduced after the severe hemorrhagic disease outbreak in 2012. However, Missouri's deer population has steadily increased during the last decade, requiring more antlerless harvest to slow population growth and keep the deer population at socially acceptable levels. See the map below for firearms antlerless permit numbers allowed in each county during the 2023-24 deer season.

Number of firearms antlerless permits hunters can fill by county for the 2023-24 deer season

Counties in white: During the 2023-24 deer season, hunters may not fill firearms antlerless permits in Atchison, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, and Pemiscot counties.

Counties in blue: During the 2023-24 deer season, hunters may fill one firearms antlerless permit in Andrew, Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Holt, Iron, Nodaway, Reynolds, Scott, Stoddard, and Wayne counties.

Counties in orange: During the 2023-24 deer season, hunters may fill two firearms antlerless permits in Buchanan, Caldwell, Clinton, Dade, DeKalb, Dent, Douglas, Jasper, Lawrence, Madison, Maries, Newton, Phelps, Ray, Shannon, and Texas counties.

Counties in tan: During the 2023-24 deer season, hunters may fill four firearms antlerless permits in Adair, Audrain, Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Clay, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Daviess, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Greene, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Howard, Howell, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Perry, Pettis, Pike, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ripley, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Vernon, Warren, Washington, Webster, Worth, and Wright counties.

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New for the 2023-24 deer season: Qualifying resident landowners may each receive two resident landowner firearms antlerless deer hunting permits in Reynolds County.

Changes in number of firearms antlerless permits landowners can fill by county for the 2023-24 deer season

Counties in orange: During the 2023-24 deer season, qualifying resident landowners who have 75 or more acres located in a single county or at least 75 continuous acres bisected by a county boundary, and all members of their immediate household age 6 or older, may each receive one resident landowner firearms antlerless deer hunting permit in the following counties: Andrew, Atchison, Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Holt, Iron, Mississippi, New Madrid, Nodaway, Pemiscot, Scott, Stoddard, and Wayne.

Counties in blue: During the 2023-24 deer season, qualifying resident landowners who have 75 or more acres located in a single county or at least 75 continuous acres bisected by a county boundary, and all members of their immediate household age 6 or older, may each receive two resident landowner firearms antlerless deer hunting permits in the following counties: Adair, Audrain, Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Bollinger, Boone, Buchanan, Caldwell, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, DeKalb, Dent, Douglas, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Greene, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Howard, Howell, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Madison, Maries, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Perry, Pettis, Phelps, Pike, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Reynolds, Ripley, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Shannon, Shelby, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Warren, Washington, Webster, Worth, and Wright.