MDC deer management creates more hunting opportunities in the St. Louis region this season

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

St. LOUIS, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has greatly expanded opportunities for hunters this coming deer season. Last year’s deer season was comprised of an archery season and several portions of firearms season including youth, November, antlerless, and alternative methods. This year, however, will look a little different.

“With the increasing number of deer in the state, and the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) on the landscape, MDC has expanded hunter opportunity,” said Crawford County Conservation Agent Ryan Catron. Catron noted that these changes are designed to help stabilize Missouri’s growing deer population and to help slow the spread of CWD.

Archery season opened Sept. 15 this year, and Agent Catron said for those who regularly bow hunt, nothing will look different with this season dates or bag limit. One antlered deer may be harvested with an archery method (prior to the November firearms season) and one may be harvested after the November firearms season if a hunter does not harvest an antlered deer during firearms season.

As for antlerless deer, archers may harvest an unlimited number of antlerless deer during the archery season. While there is no limit to the number of antlerless deer that may be harvested, Agent Catron reminded hunters to be sure they have the proper permits before harvesting deer. Catron also reminds bowhunters that they’ll need to wear hunter orange during the new early antlerless (Oct. 6-8) and CWD (Nov. 22-26) portions of firearms deer season in open counties.

Firearms season, however, will look different than the prior seasons. “In an attempt to increase antlerless harvest to stabilize the growing deer population, there will be an early antlerless portion of firearm season in October this year,” said Agent Catron.

This season will run Friday through Sunday, Oct. 6-8, in the majority of Missouri counties. These include all counties in the St. Louis region, except for the City of St. Louis. MDC’s St. Louis region includes Crawford, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis, Warren, and Washington counties. If planning to hunt elsewhere in the state, hunters should check to see if their destination county is open during the early antlerless portion of firearms season. Only antlerless deer may be taken during this portion.

Agent Catron recommended hunters review the MDC 2023 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations pamphlet. “This will also provide you with the number of antlerless deer permits you may fill in your county,” he said. To review online, visit, or contact your local conservation agent.

Another change for the firearms seasons this year is the new CWD Portion following the regular firearms season. This season will run Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 22_26. The new CWD Portion will be open in all counties in the St. Louis region, except for St. Louis City and St. Louis and Lincoln counties, which are not in the CWD Management Zone. Agent Catron reminded hunters that since the season portion is not open in all counties, they should check their county’s eligibility.

“The increased harvest should help in stabilizing Missouri’s growing deer population and help reduce the spread of CWD,” said Agent Catron.

The 2023 youth deer seasons remain similar to previous years. The early youth portion this year will be Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28_29, followed by the late youth portion Friday through Sunday, Nov. 24-26. As a reminder, only those between 6 and 15 years old on opening day of the early youth portion may participate during these season portions.

For questions regarding the upcoming deer seasons, contact your local conservation agent. Agent contact information can be found by county online at or by contacting your local regional office.