Missouri is seeking public comment on lifting crossbow restrictions but increasing buck bag limits.
Missouri hunters may have expanded opportunities for hunting next year with the proposed introduction of crossbows into the regular archery season. However, other changes may increase bag limits and shorten November firearm season.
The Southeast Missourian reported that the Missouri Conservation Commission gave initial approval of the regulation changes while setting up season dates and limits for the 2016-2017 seasons.
Under the changes, crossbows would be legal during archery deer and turkey seasons. Hunters could also use them during fall firearms turkey season.
Previously, hunters in Missouri could only use a crossbow under hunting method exemptions. These exemptions meant only hunters with disabilities that prevented them from using a conventional bow could make use of the weapons.
The Southeast Missourian further reported that allowing crossbows will benefit young hunters while giving more opportunities to older ones, according to Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) deer biologist Jason Sumners.
In addition to the crossbow rule change, Missouri hunters may also see a reduction in bag limits for deer. Hunters had previously been able to take three antlered deer. Because hunters are interested in seeing more mature bucks, the new rule proposes a limit of two, one in bow and one in firearm season.
Also on the table are an expansion of late youth seasons and the reduction of November firearm season from 11 to nine days.
Before the rules go into effect, the MDC is looking for public comment on the proposed changes in a 30-day period before they go into effect. They will begin receiving public comments on the changes on their website on October 2.