Be careful as another deer hunting season begins

Friday, November 9, 2018

This weekend is a holiday for some — the opening of firearms deer season for Missouri.

This means an extra dose of safety is in order.

The hunting season is timed such that it coincides with mating season, meaning deer are on the move. For drivers, that means extra caution is needed on the roads and highways at all times, but particularly around dawn and dusk hours, when deer are their most active. If you plan on being out in the woods or fields, hiking or working, wear your blaze orange for safety.

For hunters, safety always must be paramount, from how you carry your gun, to taking a responsible shot, knowing what is behind your target. Know the laws before you go out and respect trespassing laws and purple ribbons.

Also for hunters, there are new rules this year regarding checking your deer. If you harvest a deer in a 31-county zone, which includes Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry counties in our coverage area, then you must take your deer in for testing for chronic wasting disease.

As Marybeth Niederkorn reported, every year, the Missouri Department of Conservation performs statewide sampling, but in the 31-county CWD management zone Saturday and Sunday, hunters must bring the deer — or the head with at least 6 inches of the neck intact — to a CWD sampling station.

A sampling station will be available at MDC’s regional office, 2302 County Park Drive in Cape Girardeau. A complete list at www.mdc.mo.gov/cwd includes address, directions and GPS coordinates for other stations.

Deer hunting is a long held tradition in Missouri. It is necessary to prevent overpopulation, which would bring devastating diseases, starvation and illness to the deer population if not controlled, not to mention more collisions on the highways.

But hunting comes with a lot of responsibility, and for the most part, hunters do so ethically and respectfully. We hope all the hunters enjoy their hunts on opening weekend, and do so safely and within the parameters of the laws and regulations set out by the state. Don’t forget to get those deer tested for CWD. This will ultimately protect the deer herd in the state.

Here’s to a safe hunting season!

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