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Missouri Deer Hunting Reaches a Tipping Point

Missouri deer hunting season has always produced great opportunities, but that’s beginning to change.

The Kansas City Star published a report indicating that the 2013-14 season in Missouri was hindered by a combination of factors, and that when it comes down to it, there were simply less deer seen and fewer chances for tag filling.

Hunter reports from across the state, to both media outlets as well as the state’s Department of Conservation, are worrisome. Whereas Missouri deer hunting season formerly meant a good chance at a big buck, nowadays hunters are considering themselves lucky if they even see deer, let alone a trophy.

“I just don’t think the deer are there. Even in my taxidermy business, I’m down 60 percent in the number of deer brought in this season,” said Kansas City taxidermist Dan Galetti in the Star piece.

Check out this incredible video of an albino deer shedding its antlers.

As far as numbers go, Missouri hunters reportedly shot 157,272 deer in the 11-day firearms season in November, 47,396 fewer than were shot in the previous season; that’s the lowest total for a regular firearms season since 1993.

Biologists with the Department of Conservation don’t seem to be as concerned as hunters. An epidemic of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) did have an impact when it hit in the summer of 2012, but losses in herd numbers are exceeding the anticipated difference.

Some hunters have pointed at the continued allowance of unlimited antler-less deer tags during the season, which they say doesn’t give the deer herds enough of a chance to recover. In previous generations, a recovery period would mean it would take about 2 to 3 years to see numbers reach what they once were. But with the current situation, biologists are predicting recovery could take longer.

What do you think? If you hunted in Missouri this year, were there any differences from previous season? Is the Department of Conservation taking the right steps, or should hunter concerns kickstart more deer management changes? 

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Missouri Deer Hunting Reaches a Tipping Point