Possibilities continue to grow in archery season

Friday, September 26, 2003

In just five days, archery hunters in Missouri will continue a tradition that dates back more than half a century.

Wednesday marks the start of Missouri's archery deer and turkey hunting season. Only 73 archers participated in the first archery season in 1946, a three-day, bucks-only season in Crawford County. They failed to harvest even one deer. Last year 99,630 archery permits were sold. Archers took 29,587 deer statewide.

This year bowhunters will have 96 days from Oct. 1 through Nov. 14 and again from Nov. 26 to Jan. 15, 2004.

Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset each day. The season limit is two deer and two turkey of either sex, but only one antlered deer may be taken Oct. 1 through Nov. 14.

In other words, you can harvest either two does or a buck and a doe during the first portion of archery season. If an archer doesn't take any deer prior to firearms season, they could then take two deer from Nov. 26 through Jan. 15. In that case, both deer could be antlered.

Those who purchase a resident or nonresident archer's hunting permit may purchase and fill an unlimited number of antlerless-only archery deer hunting permits for use only in Units 1-40, 45-52, 58, and 59.

Each permit costs $5 and is valid for one antlerless deer in any of the 50 units that are open.

Archers must wear hunter orange statewide during the firearms youth-only portion and in Units 1-27, 33-38, 58 and 59 during the antlerless-only portion of the firearms deer season, although exempt are archers hunting within municipal boundaries where discharge of firearms is prohibited or on federal or state public hunting areas where deer hunting is restricted to archery methods.

Deer and turkey taken by archery permits must be checked by the taker at any established checking station (it does not have to be checked in the county of take) within 24 hours.

Resident landowners and lessees are not required to purchase an archer's hunting permit to take deer or turkey on qualifying land they own or lease and live on. However, immediately after harvest they must label the game with their full name and address (a farm tag) and check the game as outlined above.

What's allowed during the archery deer and turkey hunting season: a longbow or compound bow and hand-held string releasing devices and illuminated sights, scopes and quickpoint sights. There is no minimum draw weight requirement.

What's prohibited: a bow fastened to a stock or other device that maintains the bow in a drawn position; any sighting device that casts a beam of light on the game; and use of dogs, bait, recorded calls or live decoys.

Archers hunting deer or turkey during the archery season may not be in possession of a firearm.

For complete regulations, consult the 2003 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Information brochure.

The past 56 years of bowhunting for deer in Missouri has seen a lot of changes. The number of whitetail deer that roam the state has increased dramatically. Technological advances in hunting equipment have also taken major strides. One thing that hasn't changed since 1946? That feeling of excitement and anticipation that comes with opening day.

Gene Myers is a area agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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