The 2012 deer harvest of 309,929 was a 7 percent increase from 2011, making it the third largest on record and the highest total harvest since 2006. Although statewide harvest totals were up, harvest greatly varied among regions. Harvest increased substantially in southern Missouri, but decreased in northern Missouri.
Like the rest of the Midwest, Missouri whitetails were hammered by epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in 2012. Hunters will experience the disease’s lingering effects this fall.
“The hemorrhagic disease outbreak of 2012 will have localized impacts on the deer population,” explained Jason Sumners, deer biologist with the Mo. Department of Conservation. “The specific locations of those most severely impacted will begin to reveal themselves over the next year or two.”
Nonetheless, with 1.5 million whitetails , those hunting in the Show-Me State will find ample deer numbers and good hunting opportunities again in 2013.
This year the state has reduced the number of firearms antlerless permits in 12 counties found mostly in central and western Mo. Only two firearms antlerless deer hunting permits may be filled in the following counties:
Those hunting in counties designed as “Partial” should consult pgs. 16-17 of the 2013 Fall Deer and Turkey Guide for specific boundaries denoting where the two firearms antlerless permits restriction is in effect. Resident landowners and lessees with at least 75 acres may receive and fill two no-cost Landowner Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits and can also fill two purchased antlerless permits.
Anyone looking for a do-it-yourself deer hunt on public land will find thousands of acres owned by both the state and the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers. The Lower Hamburg Bend and Woodson K. Woods Memorial Conservations Areas are two hotspots. For more information on public lands, check out Atlas, an online resource containing valuable information on all public hunting land.