The Missouri Department of Conservation made fall deer and turkey permits available July 1. Several regulation changes have generated a number of questions.
The answers to many of those questions can be found in MDC's "2004 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information" booklet. It is available from permit vendors statewide.
Space limitations won't allow us to address every question, but we will attempt to answer some of the more frequent ones. Once again, it will be helpful to refer to the previously mentioned booklet.Are the Any-Deer permits the same as last year?
Yes, like last year, each hunter may purchase and fill one Any-Deer permit valid for one deer anywhere in Missouri. Note: Antler restrictions are in effect in 29 counties, and other restrictions may apply on specific public areas, such as "bucks-only" areas.Do we still have First and Second Bonus permits?
No. First and Second Bonus Deer permits have been replaced by Antlerless Deer permits. Hunters may purchase and fill any number of Antlerless Deer permits, and each is valid for one antlerless deer in any open counties.
The booklet comes in handy on this topic. A look at the map on page 8 illustrates the validity of antlerless permits in the various counties. Eighty-one counties allow an unlimited number of antlerless deer. An additional 19 counties allow hunters to fill only one antlerless permit. Included in this category are Southeast Missouri counties of Perry, St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve. The remaining 14 counties do not allow hunters to harvest deer on the Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting permit. Those counties are: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Reynolds, Scott, Stoddard and Wayne. In these counties, hunters may take only one deer -- either sex -- on a Firearms Any-Deer Hunting permit. They would then need to travel to an "open" county to harvest additional antlerless deer. The only exception to this would be for landowners.How many deer may I take during the firearms deer hunting season?
Because hunters may purchase and fill any number of Antlerless Deer permits, there is, in effect, no limit on the number of deer that a hunter may take. However, as before, no hunter may take more than one antlered deer during the firearms deer season (all portions combined). However, deer taken on a Managed Deer Hunting permit or in accordance with the archer deer hunting season do not count toward the one-buck limit.Am I required to check my deer at a check station in the county where the deer was killed, or can I go to any check station as long as the deer is checked within the required time frame?
This year, all hunters have 24 hours to check their deer, and deer may be checked at any official checking station. Landowners may use TeleCheck to check their deer by phone or on line.
The following information, contained on page 8 of the booklet, has led to a good deal of confusion: "Season limit -- Each hunter may take only one antlered deer during the firearms deer season. All hunters may purchase any number of permits to take antlerless deer, but some county restrictions apply. See map below."
After reading this section, some hunters mistakenly believe that they are limited to taking "bucks only" on their Firearms Any-Deer Hunting permit. In fact they may take either an antlered buck or an antlerless deer on that permit. Once they have filled this "tag" -- buck or doe -- they would be limited to taking antleress deer only in "open" counties.
If all of this seems to be "as clear as mud" don't despair. School may be out for summer vacation, but it's never too early to "hit the book(let)."
Gene Myers is an agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation.