JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri’s 2019-2020 deer-hunting season ended Jan. 15 with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reporting a preliminary total deer harvest of 285,483. Of the deer harvested, 133,914 were antlered bucks, 27,931 were button bucks, and 123,638 were does.
Top harvest counties for the overall deer season were Franklin with 6,247 deer checked, Callaway with 5,703, and Texas with 5,157.
Hunters harvested 290,224 deer during the 2018-2019 overall deer hunting season with 136,851 being antlered bucks, 30,113 being button bucks, and 123,260 being does.
Archery Deer Results
Deer hunting ended with the close of the archery season. Preliminary data from MDC showed that hunters checked 61,209 deer during the 2019-2020 archery deer season. Top counties for the archery deer season were Jefferson with 1,604 deer checked, Franklin with 1,294, and St. Louis with 1,227.
Hunters checked 52,923 deer during the 2018-2019 archery deer season.
While the total deer harvest was down slightly from the year before, the archery deer harvest was considerably higher this year. According to MDC Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle, season timing was a factor.
“The shift in the calendar this year with Thanksgiving occurring later in November resulted in archers having an extra week of prime hunting before the November portion of firearms season started,” Isabelle explained. “These extra days of hunting during the rut when bucks are particularly vulnerable to harvest, and an increasing trend in the number of archery hunters, contributed to a record year of archery deer harvest.”
Isabelle added that the calendar shift caused the November portion of firearms season to occur a week later than last year and during peak breeding when buck movement is reduced.
“As we get closer to the middle of November, bucks simply don’t have to move as much in search of receptive does as they do earlier in the month, making them less vulnerable to harvest,” Isabelle explained. “Whenever this shift in season timing occurs, we expect a decline in harvest during the November portion of firearms season, which is when most of each year’s harvest occurs.”
Alternative-Methods Portion of Fall Firearms
MDC’s preliminary data shows deer hunters in Missouri harvested 12,002 deer during the alternative-methods portion of the fall firearms deer season, Dec. 28 – Jan. 7.
Top harvest counties were Callaway with 315 deer harvested, Franklin with 297, and Pike with 261.
The harvest total for last season’s alternative-methods portion was 12,109.
Archery Turkey Results
Fall archery turkey hunting also ended Jan. 15. Preliminary data from MDC showed 2,406 turkeys harvested. Top counties for the fall archery turkey season were Callaway with 69 birds checked, Greene with 63, and Franklin with 62.
Hunters harvested 2,055 turkeys during the 2018 fall archery turkey season.
MDC reported six firearms-related hunting incidents during the 2019-2020 fall deer and turkey hunting seasons. The incidents included one fatality involving a shooter and victim, one non-fatal incident involving a shooter and a victim, and four nonfatal incidents where the injuries sustained were self-inflicted.
For more information on this season’s deer harvest totals, visit the MDC website at extra.mdc.mo.gov/widgets/harvest_table/ or for past years, visit huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer/deer-harvest-reports/deer-harvest-summaries
For more turkey harvest information for the current season, go online to extra.mdc.mo.gov/widgets/harvest_table/ and for past turkey seasons, visit huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/turkey/turkey-reports/turkey-harvest-summaries-past-seasons