In Brief

By MDC | January 1, 2023
From Missouri Conservationist: January 2023

Deer Regulation Changes for 2023–2024 Seasons

Growing deer population, CWD distribution behind the changes

Deer hunting regulation changes include a new firearms early antlerless portion, a new firearms CWD portion, and changes to firearms antlerless permit numbers in most counties.

“The changes to deer hunting regulations for the 2023–2024 deer season were motivated by increasing deer numbers throughout much of Missouri and in response to changes in the distribution of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the state,” said MDC Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle. “With a growing deer population in most Missouri counties, we’re increasing opportunities for hunters to harvest deer both within and outside of the CWD Management Zone next year.”

MDC will offer a new firearms early antlerless portion Oct. 6–8 for 2023 in the same 100 counties open for the firearms late antlerless portion Dec. 2–10.

MDC will offer a CWD portion of firearms deer season Nov. 22–26 in CWD Management Zone counties during the 2023–2024 deer season.

MDC has also increased the number of firearms antlerless permits hunters can fill in most counties, including allowing hunters to fill a firearms antlerless permit in Butler, Carter, Scott, and Wayne counties. MDC has also increased the number of firearms antlerless permits from two to four in 82 counties.

Get regulation details and related maps of counties from the MDC website at

Detailed information on the new firearms early antlerless portion, the new firearms CWD portion, and changes to firearms antlerless permit numbers by county will also be included in the MDC 2023 Fall Deer & Turkey Regulations and Information booklet, available starting in July where permits are sold and online at

MDC Sets Deer and Turkey Hunting Dates

2023 Spring and Fall Turkey Hunting Dates

  • Spring Youth Portion: April 1–2
  • Regular Spring Turkey Season: April 17–May 7
  • Fall Firearms Turkey Season: Oct. 1–31

2023–2024 Archery Deer and Turkey Hunting Dates

  • Sept. 15–Nov. 10 and Nov. 22–Jan. 15, 2024

2023–2024 Firearms Deer Hunting Dates

  • 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

Give a Holiday Gift Back to Nature

Don’t throw that cut Christmas tree into the trash after the holidays. Recycle it! Many communities have a Christmas tree-recycling program. If not, there are several creative ways to make further use of your tree.

Place the tree in the backyard to offer cover for wildlife, or under bird feeders to provide nesting locations in the branches. Add some post-holiday treats as ornaments by coating pinecones with peanut butter and adding bird seed.

Have your tree shredded or chipped for mulch, or place cut branches over dormant plants to provide a bit of insulation during the winter and to add organic matter as the needles fall.

You can also sink the tree in a pond to enhance fish habitat by giving them a place to rest, nest, and escape predators. Multiple live trees make the best cover, so work with friends, family, and neighbors to combine efforts. Anchor the trees with concrete blocks and sink them at a depth of about 8 feet with the trees placed in a row.

If you used a balled live evergreen and your ground is still soft enough to dig, add it to your home landscape for years of enjoyment and wildlife cover.

MDC Offers New Online ‘Game’ for Hunter Education Certification

Missouri hunters in need of hunter education certification now have a new interactive online offering in addition to existing hunter education courses. MDC expanded its partnership with the hunter safety course provider Kalkomey Enterprises LLC to offer a new fun and engaging, game-style learning option through the online site

The new immersive, scenario-based offering allows hunter education participants to have game-like experiences by creating avatars and selecting their preferred game species and geographies. The new online option also provides immediate quality feedback on real-time decision making for more than 50 in-course exercises. Preview the new online offering at

The new online offering will place participants based on their age at the time of registration. Participants 11–15 years of age will complete the knowledge portion online but will still be required to take an in-person skills session. Participants 16 years of age and older can complete the entire certification requirement through the online course.

The cost for the new online Interactive Knowledge Course is $39.95 paid to the online course provider. The price of the online Traditional Knowledge Course is $24.95. The self-study guide and classroom sessions are free, along with the in-person skill session and final exam.

Missouri’s hunter education course is required for any hunter born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, unless exempt. Learn more about MDC’s hunter education program at

Get started on the new online Missouri hunter safety course at

Go Paperless

Did you know you can get the Missouri Conservationist digitally? MDC offers the magazine as a digital subscription via email or mobile app.

An email subscription will send a notification to your inbox each month when the latest issue is ready to download. After downloading the MO Con Mag app, the newest issue of the magazine will automatically appear in the app so you can save and read it offline. Learn more about these digital options at

You can always read articles online at Print subscriptions remain available free of charge to Missouri residents (one per household).

Agent Advice
Statistics Elements

Crystal Poole
Caldwell County
Conservation Agent


Winter weather doesn’t have to get in the way of enjoying nature. Hunting, fishing, hiking, and birdwatching are just some of the activities that can be enjoyed this time of year. No matter which activity you choose, staying warm is of utmost importance. To stay warm, you must stay dry. Because it holds moisture, avoid cotton. Choose instead wool or fleece. Dress in layers to help regulate your body temperature. Stay hydrated. You may not feel thirsty in cold weather, but you lose fluids through your breath and sweat, and dehydration increases frostbite risk. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be home. Be informed on current regulations for hunting, fishing, and any area you’re visiting. If you have questions or witness a violation, contact your local conservation agent.

Invasive Species

Crown Vetch

By Angela Sokolowski

Invasive nonnative species destroy habitat and compete with native plants and animals. Please do what you can to control invasive species when you landscape, farm, hunt, fish, camp, or explore nature.

Crown Vetch
Jim Rathert
Right to Use

Introduced in North America in the late 1800s, crown vetch (Securigera varia) was planted extensively in the 1950s for erosion control along roadsides. Blooming May through August, flowers resemble a large clover, varying from white to pink or lavender. The compound leaves are 1–2 inches long with 15–25 paired leaflets. Plants can be up to 3 feet tall and spread up to 6 feet.

Why It’s Bad

Crown vetch can expand rapidly, forming dense patches that shade out native plants, quickly reducing diverse habitats to weedy monocultures with little wildlife value.

How to Control It

Repeated hand pulling can eliminate small infestations if roots are fully removed. Repeated mowing, grazing, and late spring burns may reduce populations, but will not eradicate them. Infestations can be treated with herbicide.

Alternative Native Plants

  • Partridge pea
  • Round-headed bush clover
  • Slender bush clover
  • Goat’s rue
  • Purple prairie clover
  • Lead plant

To learn more, visit

What is it?

Mountain Lion Paw

The mountain lion is a very large, slender cat. A species of conservation concern, the mountain lion is rare in Missouri, having been extirpated since the 1920s. Occasionally, individuals wander here from other states, and you may stumble upon tracks of their enormous paws. The front and hind tracks are 3 inches long with four toes. The overall shape of the track is round and the claws do not show


Also In This Issue

Little Lost Creek

Serving Nature and You: Fiscal Year 2022

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler