COLUMBIA — Hunters will have fewer opportunities to kill deer this season, after a recent vote to limit deer hunting permits.
The Missouri Conservation Commission voted to limit the number of firearm antlerless deer permits at a meeting May 30 and 31 for the hunting season that begins Oct. 11 and lasts through Jan. 5.
In past seasons, there was no limit to the number of firearm antlerless deer permits a hunter could receive, and hunters were allowed to tag as many antlerless deer as they wished. The new limit will be two antlerless deer permits per hunter.
Vicki Heidy, Missouri Department of Conservation Resource Science supervisor, said the Conservation Department has been implementing policies to reduce deer densities in northern Missouri for the past 20 years.
Recently, the state has achieved its herd reduction goals and even exceeded them in some areas.
"We have been successful in reducing deer numbers in many counties across rural Missouri," Heidy said. "Now it is time to make appropriate changes to ensure that deer populations are maintained, or increase in some cases, at levels acceptable to all stakeholders, such as the general public, farmers and hunters."
The new permitting rule applies to 12 counties in central and northern Missouri. The counties effected by this change are Atchison, Bates, Boone, Caldwell, Callaway, Caroll, Cass, Dallas, Howard, Laclede, Ray and Vernon. Urban hunting zones in Boone and Cass counties will not be affected by the rule.
The selected counties were chosen based on harvest trends, hunter and landowner surveys, public comments, MDC staff surveys, simulated population size and suspected hemorrhagic disease reports.
"Decreasing deer populations were evident in the increasing proportion of hunters that felt there were 'too few' deer in their counties," Heidy said. "Simultaneously, in these areas the proportion of landowners that felt there were 'too many' deer decreased."
Columbia resident and MU senior Anne Pohlman has hunted for seven years and supports the new changes.
"I don't think it is unreasonable, because you can still take three deer (two antlerless, one antlered)," Pohlman said. "A lot of people just trophy hunt anyways, and three deer will last quite a while in the freezer."
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.