Missouri Deer Hunting
Every fall, hunters from inside and outside Missouri gather by
the thousands for the opening of the state’s deer hunting season. The air is
cool, the forests and meadows are dressed in fall foliage, and the excitement
of a successful deer hunt hangs heavy in the air.
Missouri is definitely the place to be if white tail deer hunting is in your blood.
The Missouri deer hunting is season divided into three segments: archery only, youth hunters and general firearms. Regardless of the category hunters fall under, white-tailed deer abound in the wooded areas of the “Show Me” state, especially along the borders of farmlands where the deer like to feed on agricultural crops.
In the fall, white tail deer sport winter coats of grayish to grayish brown which blend in with the fall foliage. Normally, only the males have antlers which are shed yearly. The white-tailed deer derive their name from the undersurface of its flag-like tail that hunters often see as the fleet animals dart to safety through thick woodlands.
Missouri has an active deer management program that is strictly enforced by the state through licensing, sign postings and patrolling game wardens. The annual deer harvest by hunters helps control overpopulation. In cases where areas are overhunted, live-trapped deer are brought in to stock new herds.
Landowners who wish to increase the deer population on their property often post no-hunting signs. Others, because of the damage deer cause when they forage on the crops and trees on their land, welcome hunters. It is up to the individual hunter to determine if deer hunting is permitted on the land that they intend to hunt.
Hunters can choose to hunt on their own or opt to use private hunting outfitters on managed hunts on private land. In either case, the hunting techniques are the same. Stalking the skittish animals through thick woods is one technique. The more favorable and successful hunting method, however, involves finding a good feeding or travel spot and staking it out until the animals come to you.
Since deer have a keen sense of smell and use it as their main defense mechanism, the hunter needs to mask his human odor as much as possible. The best way to do that is to hunt from an elevated platform out of scent-range of the deer regardless of the wind direction.
These elevated platforms can range from strategically placed permanent tree stands to temporary ladder stands and hanging, self-climbing stands. Besides being located above an optimum location that should draw deer, the hunter’s comfort is a high priority for any elevated station.
Kill limits vary, but generally it is one antlerless deer and one antlered deer per season per licensed hunter. Deer killed on a managed hunt at a private hunting preserve do not count towards the season limit.
Once a kill is made, the animal needs to be field dressed, butchered and packed for transportation. White tail deer weigh between 90 and 300 pounds and can attain lengths of up to 8 feet long. As a rule of thumb, a mature buck that weighs in at 165 pounds field-dressed will yield about 83 pounds of boneless meat.
The savory meat, called venison, can be served as steaks, roasts, sausage, jerky or tenderloins. The flavor is much like beef but leaner and richer with a hint of gamey taste. Many connoisseurs of game animal meat consider the whitetail deer as one of the best tasting of them all.