Crossbow expansion and antlerless season reductions are major new changes in Missouri this season.
Missouri has announced new deer and turkey regulations that will be in effect for the 2016 season.
The Missouri Conservation Commission approved the new changes last Friday. The antlerless season will see a major reduction in time from twelve days to just three. The change is the result of a decreased deer population due to hemorrhagic disease and more hunters shooting antlerless deer, the Missourian reports.
The season will now run from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4. Bag limits for antlered deer have also been reduced. Hunters will now be limited to two antlered deer during firearm and archery combined. Only one antlered deer will be allowed during firearm season.
“There’s certainly fewer deer than there were 10 years ago,” deer biologist Jason Sumners said. “The reduction in the length of the antlerless season in intended to stabilize the population.”
Another major change for 2016 is in expanded use of crossbows for archery deer season which runs from Sept. 15 to Nov. 11 and Nov. 23 to Jan 15. Wildlife officials have been mulling over expanded crossbow use since at least late summer. Previously, crossbows were limited only to firearms season and even then, only hunters who got a medical exemption could use them.
Crossbows will also be legal during the fall turkey firearms season. The expanded crossbow use across both deer and turkey season comes from Missouri officials wanting more hunting opportunities available.
“Older hunters have physical limitations which cause them to stop archery hunting,” Sumners said.
Youth hunters are also affected by changes to regulations. Youth deer season will be expanded to three days starting Oct. 29. The youth turkey season will be two days, April 9 and 10.
Regular spring turkey season is set to run from April 18 to May 9 and the fall season will be in October. Bag limits are set at two birds of either sex in the fall and two bearded birds in the spring seasons.