Hunters prepare for start of firearms deer hunting season

State offers online permits this year
Thursday, November 3, 2011 | 8:35 p.m. CDT; updated 1:54 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Mark Cummens, a customer at Powder Horn Guns & Sporting Goods, looks at a Weatherby Mark V rifle on Thursday. Cummens is planning to go on a deer hunt on opening day of firearms season.

COLUMBIA — Powder Horn Guns & Sporting Goods is busy. It’s past dinnertime Wednesday, and a dozen people are still in the shop. Chyanne Davis, 14, shoots her recurve bow in the shop’s archery range, while chatter revolves around this weekend’s rifle hunt.

“It’s gonna be my year,” Chyanne said. “I want a buck, but I’m willing to go for a doe.”

How to stay safe while hunting:

  • A hunter-orange cap or hat and a shirt, vest or coat must be worn and visible from all sides.
  • Hunt with a plan, and if possible, with a friend. Before leaving home, let others know where you plan to hunt and when you plan to return.
  • Read and follow manufacturer’s instructions before using a tree stand. Remember to unload firearms before climbing into a tree stand.
  • Hunting on private land requires the landowner’s consent. Check the area for its boundaries, livestock and nearby roads and homes. 
  • Report all witnessed hunting violations to the police, sheriff or a Conservation Department agent immediately. The Conservation Department's Central Regional Office can be reached at 884-6861.
  • To find out what weapons are legal to use during the firearms deer hunting season, go to the Conservation Department's website.

Source: Missouri Department of Conservation

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Chyanne is hoping to shoot her first buck as part of the early youth portion of firearms deer hunting season, which takes place a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset Saturday and Sunday. The regular any-deer firearms season opens Nov. 12 and continues through Nov. 22. The antlerless-only portion begins Nov. 23 and continues through Dec. 4. Then hunters can use muzzleloaders only to kill bucks or does from Dec. 17 through Dec. 27.

Lee Brandkamp has owned Powder Horn Guns & Sporting Goods for 28 years. He said the last three months of the year account for 60 percent of his annual business.

“We’ve been slammed non-stop,” Brandkamp said. “It starts in July, and from then on we just get busier each week that goes by.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation reported that 487,533 firearms deer hunting permits were issued last year, and hunters killed 188,205 deer during the November portion of last year’s season. 

In an effort to save resources and support convenience, the Conservation Department is offering electronic hunting permits to hunters and trappers this year for the first time. Hunters, anglers and trappers can buy e-permits at and print the permits at home for a fee of $1, according to the Conservation Department’s website. Hunters also can choose to buy permits from vendors as in past years. 

The e-permits, which the Conservation Department recommends hunters protect in plastic sandwich bags, also will serve as transportation tags. Deer and turkey hunters must notch the date and month of their kills on the permits then attach them to the animals. Deer and turkey hunters can continue to check their kill online at the Conservation Department’s website or by phone at 800-314-6828.

Jason Sumners, a deer biologist for the Conservation Department, expects this season’s deer hunting totals will be similar to 2010. He noted, however, that there are more deer in southern Missouri this year.

“There’s a chance that harvest statewide will slightly increase over last year,” he said.

“We have a pretty good white oak acorn crop, but I wouldn’t classify it as anything higher than what we had last year,” Sumners said.

Sumners said the state has seen more than 500,000 firearm and archery hunters. He hopes that trend will continue.

Sumners said he expects hunters to kill about as many or perhaps slightly fewer deer in Boone County than last year. Increased hunting pressure and a 2007 outbreak of disease have caused populations to drop in the county.

In an effort to stabilize the deer population in Boone County, the northern boundary of the Columbia/Jefferson City urban zone was shifted south this season. The boundary change should reduce the number of deer killed in more rural parts of the Boone County zone, where population numbers were lower, Sumners said.

Hunters killed 89 deer this year during the Oct. 7 to 10 urban season. That was down slightly from the 97 deer killed during the 2010 hunt, according to the Conservation Department's website.

Emily Flinn, a private land deer biologist for the Conservation Department, estimated there are about 17,500 deer in Boone County.

“We’re trying to maintain the populations where there are less (deer),” Flinn said.

She said the Conservation Department is working with private landowners in northwest Boone County, particularly the Perche Creek area, to maintain and, in some cases, increase deer populations there.

The Conservation Department provides complete information on 2011 deer and turkey hunting regulations online.

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