Missouri's 2019-2020 deer-hunting season ended Jan. 15 with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reporting a preliminary total deer harvest of 285,483. Of the deer harvested, 133,914 were antlered bucks, 27,931 were button bucks, and 123,638 were does.
Top harvest counties for the overall deer season were Franklin with 6,247 deer checked, Callaway with 5,703, and Texas with 5,157.
Hunters harvested 290,224 deer during the 2018-2019 overall deer hunting season with 136,851 being antlered bucks, 30,113 being button bucks, and 123,260 being does.
Archery Deer Results
Deer hunting ended with the close of the archery season. Preliminary data from MDC showed that hunters checked 61,209 deer during the 2019-2020 archery deer season. Top counties for the archery deer season were Jefferson with 1,604 deer checked, Franklin with 1,294, and St. Louis with 1,227.
Hunters checked 52,923 deer during the 2018-2019 archery deer season.
While the total deer harvest was down slightly from the year before, the archery deer harvest was considerably higher this year. According to MDC Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle, season timing was a factor.
“The shift in the calendar this year with Thanksgiving occurring later in November resulted in archers having an extra week of prime hunting before the November portion of firearms season started,” Isabelle explained. “These extra days of hunting during the rut when bucks are particularly vulnerable to harvest, and an increasing trend in the number of archery hunters, contributed to a record year of archery deer harvest.”
Isabelle added that the calendar shift caused the November portion of firearms season to occur a week later than last year and during peak breeding when buck movement is reduced.
“As we get closer to the middle of November, bucks simply don’t have to move as much in search of receptive does as they do earlier in the month, making them less vulnerable to harvest,” Isabelle explained. “Whenever this shift in season timing occurs, we expect a decline in harvest during the November portion of firearms season, which is when most of each year’s harvest occurs.”
For more information on this season’s deer harvest totals, visit the MDC website at extra.mdc.mo.gov/widgets/harvest_table/