Missouri Deer:  An estimated  population of 1.2 million deer in 2015 and 1.4 million in 2014 before hunting.  The population trended higher during 2016 in some areas as a result of harvest restrictions and limited disease impact.  A peak population of about 1.6 million around 2005.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Missouri deer hunting data and news archive.
Missouri Deer News


Protect our deer from chronic wasting disease February 15, 2017 Missouri, Springfield News-Leader... rather than acknowledge the role they play in spreading CWD, the canned hunting industry lobbied their friends in the legislature to simply transfer authority over their facilities to the Department of Agriculture instead through Senate Bill 123...

Conservationists gear up for fight against captive cervid legislation January 30, 2017 Missouri, The Missouri Times
... bills would put these captive deer and elk under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of Conservation, freeing them from multiple regulations deer breeders currently find restrictive...  You can go and say, ‘Well, I want to kill a 200-inch, 10-pointer with a dark rack,” and they’ll just find that one, drug it, put it in a trailer, drive it to a hunting facility ...

First confirmed female mountain lion in Missouri since 1994 killed elk in Shannon County January 27, 2017 Springfield News-Leader
... the partially eaten elk was found in February 2016, and tests on the saliva confirmed a female mountain lion had eaten it...

MDC reports three new cases chronic wasting disease in deer January 26, 2017 Missouri, Ozark County Times
... final results from the more than 19,200 tissue samples tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) ...  five deer have tested positive ... in southeast Adair County ... in northwest Macon County ... southwest Franklin County... in southeast Jefferson County ... 

Ladue, Hunters kill 49 deer during first year in Ladue January 19, 2017 Missouri, STLtoday.com
...  49 deer — 34 does and 15 bucks — were harvested during the Ladue’s first year of allowing deer hunting...

... Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reporting a preliminary total harvest of 263,832 deer... data

  Battling bucks die after antlers lock together in Missouri woods January 17, 2017 Springfield News-Leader
... Lying on the ground were two huge whitetail bucks, their antlers locked together, with torn-up ground and trampled grass giving evidence of a relentless battle...

...  Thirty-eight deer have now tested positive for the disease since MDC began monitoring CWD in Missouri... Houghton, R-Martinsburg, and Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, have both filed legislation changing laws regarding captive cervids, namely changing the definition of livestock to include captive deer and making them easier to sell and transfer ...

... The numbers follow the department’s implementation of the “antlerless permit allocations” program, with hunters voluntarily reducing their antlerless harvests to help the deer population rebound....

... it has received final results from the more than 19,200 tissue samples tested for chronic wasting disease ... five deer have tested positive ... in southeast Adair County ... in northwest Macon County, and ,,, southwest Franklin County...

Town & Country Vigil Will Protest City's Deer Cull January 9, 2017 Missouri, Riverfront Times
... A former Town & Country councilman ... who has a Ph.D in mathematics, argued during his time on the council that, while sterilization was more costly on the front end, it would actually save money over time.  It can cost $1,200 to sterilize a deer, and just $300 to hire a professional to kill one, he acknowledges. "But if you sterilize a deer, that's fourteen or fifteen offspring you don't have to kill ...

... Of the total harvest, 2,787 were antlered bucks, 1,496 button bucks and 6,319 does... 2016 harvest totals by county and season

Conservation finds chronic wasting disease in three deer December 31, 2016 Missouri, News-Press Now
...  three deer were infected. These included a yearling male deer harvested in southeast Jefferson county, a mature buck harvested in northern Franklin county and a buck in Adair county. ... 10th case of a deer infected with the disease in Adair county...

MDC finds two positive cases of chronic wasting disease December 23, 2016 Missouri, The Rolla Daily News
... The department also received test results for about 80 percent of the nearly 550 tissue samples collected for CWD testing in seven counties in southwest Missouri. The target counties are close to where more than 100 cases of CWD have been found in Northwest Arkansas. No deer from southern Missouri have tested positive for the disease...

CWD Test Results are in for Two Missouri Counties December 19, 2016 Capitol Outdoors
... results for more than half of approximately 19,200 tissue samples being tested for chronic wasting disease ... two deer tested positive for CWD; a yearling male harvested in southeast Jefferson County and a mature buck harvested in northern Franklin County...

Demand an End to "Future Annual Deer Hunts" at the Nature Center (Springfield, MO) December 18, 2016 Missouri, ThePetitionSite.com
... The Nature Center had a controlled deer hunt in November 2016, and based on media reports, intend on having one annually. The Nature Center is one of the few places deer have left to live naturally and free of hunting, now this last resort is being taken away from them. ...

  Town and Country to again pay firm to kill deer December 13, 2016 Missouri, STLtoday.com
... the killing of up to 225 deer by the White Buffalo firm of Connecticut.  The city has employed the firm for seven consecutive seasons of winter deer control. It will pay $74,000, and incur other costs of about $30,000...

Lawmaker wants tougher poaching penalties in Missouri December 8, 2016 Springfield News-Leader
... Rep. Donna Lichtenegger's HB 46 is similar to one that failed to gain traction earlier this year ... $1,500 for each white-tailed deer killed ...

... The antlerless portion was reduced from the normal 12 days to only three days for this season...

Good luck for deer hunting December 3, 2016 Missouri, Christian County Headliner News
...  in the 2016 regular deer season the number of deer killed is lower than expected ... The reduction of that nine-day season for does is a good move. This year it is a three-day season for does ... The doe season was instigated after meetings with big insurance companies who were disturbed about the number of car-deer accidents...

NW Missouri sees lower deer harvest totals December 2, 2016 News-Press Now
...  in 2014 the department reduced the availability of antlerless permits in northern Missouri with the intention of allowing the deer population to stabilize or increase.  “It will take a few years to see the effects ...
...  the tame deer showed up on the parking lot and walked around, even letting customers pet him...

Deer season is tough on does, bucks November 28, 2016 Missouri, Columbia Daily Tribune
... The “Old Plank Doe,” as we called her, came to be an iconic figure in my neighborhood... We considered starting a Facebook page for her... she suddenly appeared one morning in the middle of the street, having been dragged there ... nothing she could do to escape the wrath of 800 cars per day ...

Hunters killed how many Missouri deer last week? November 23, 2016 The Springfield News-Leade
... Hunters killed 185,066 deer during Missouri's 11-day fall firearms season, slightly lower than last year ...

Conservation department collects 19,200 deer samples in opening hunting weekend November 16, 2016 Missouri, Columbia Daily Tribune
... thousands of hunters responded to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s call for help in combating the deadly chronic wasting disease in deer ... The department collected about 19,200 deer samples Saturday and Sunday at 75 mandatory sampling stations ...

..."It's just one of those things that you don't expect to see in Scotland County." Elk were almost extinct in Missouri for about 150 years until the Missouri Department of Conservation launched a program in 2011 to reintroduce the animals from Kentucky...

Missouri hunters took MORE deer than 2015 on opening firearms weekend November 14 2016, KY3
... Of the 96,131 deer harvested, 55,753 were antlered bucks, 8,873 were button bucks, and 31,505 were does... Last year hunters checked 93,896 deer ...

... Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) that has started to infect deer in a 29-county area.  Sampling stations have been set up in all 29 counties and it has been made mandatory that all deer taken this weekend have their lymph nodes removed at the stations or by a taxidermist if the deer is going to be mounted...

For opening weekend, a full-court press on lethal deer disease November 10, 2016 Missouri, 
Columbia Missourian
...  best-case scenario: The disease continues to spread slowly. The worst: Chronic wasting disease could kill enough wild deer over time that they will become unable to reproduce at a rate sustainable for hunting... discovered in 2010 in captive deer ranches in Linn and Macon counties...

Chronic wasting disease affecting November firearms deer season November 9, 2016 MIssouri, Springfield News-Leader
... 33 cases of CWD have been confirmed in Missouri. These positive tests came from samples collected in counties in northeast, central and eastern Missouri — all of which are in the current CWD Management Zone... Since 2002, more than 51,000 deer have been tested from all areas of the state... Voluntary sampling of deer harvested outside the management zone continues ...

Smithville Lake, Managed deer hunt scheduled at Smithville Lake November 7, 2016 MIssori, The Smith Herald
... This is the 27th anniversary of the annual Managed Deer Hunt consisting of 65 blinds accessible by truck in and around designated park areas and Waterfowl Refuge ...

... Missouri has fewer whitetails today than it had a decade ago ... population seems to have stabilized and is in a growth stage right now ... In 17 counties in Southwest Missouri ... averages 20 deer per square mile ... the Southwest Region’s deer herd is stable and slowly growing ...

... young hunters ages 6 through 15 checked 11,171 ... Last year’s harvest total for the early youth portion was 13,583...

Here's what to expect afield for deer and game birds in Missouri, Kansas October 21, 2016 Missouri, Kansas City Star
... the deer population in southern Missouri has been on the rise, for a few reasons — conservative harvest restrictions and mild disease outbreaks...

... The popularity of archery hunting is reflected in permits. The number of archery permits purchased in the Missouri ... more than doubled from 90,897 in 2005 to 188,200 in 2015... United Bowhunters of Missouri ... has been fighting expanded use of crossbows since the group's inception in 1987...

Several MO counties saw top deer harvest in 2015 October 13, 2016 MIssouri, KFVS
... Harvest numbers from 2015 have been released ...  more than 30,000 were harvested just last season...  read the report

Missouri Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 MIssouri, Game & Fish
... a statewide population of 1.2 million whitetails... down from 1.4 million about 10 years ago...  due to overly liberalized antlerless deer regulations that allowed hunters in most areas of Missouri to harvest as many does as they wanted to, and several rounds of serious outbreaks with high mortality from epizootic hemorrhagic disease...

Webcast will focus on chronic wasting diseases in deer October 6, 2016 Missouri, Columbia Missourian
... The Department of Conservation is holding a webcast next week to educate Missouri deer hunters about the fight against chronic wasting disease...


Three decades later, he finally gets to fish October 2, 2016 Missouri, News-Press Now
... In 1983 ... "When I came on, we didn't have a large deer herd yet," ... it was 53,000 deer harvested. In 2006, hunters in Missouri bagged a still-record 200,000 deer...

Santa Rosa Ranch opens October 1, 2016 Missouri,Santa Rosa Press Gazette
... Missouri deer farmer Kevin Grace is turning what was once Wells Hunting Preserve into a family attraction. This weekend's grand opening at 4439 Wells Pond Road features a petting zoo with deer and other animals while plans include a water park ...

A Disease You Need to Learn About Septemer 22, 2016 Missouri, Wayne County Journal Banner
... In many ways, the public is being misled about chronic wasting disease in deer. ... It is likely that it exists to some degree in the Ozarks right now... in the Ozarks of north Arkansas it has been found in whitetail deer and elk in large numbers... What needs to be talked about is what the disease might do to those of us who eat deer meat...

Judge overturns MDC regulations of privately owned deer September 19, 2016 Missouri, The Missouri Times
... proposed regulations would have prevented breeders from importing deer from other states and using them for breeding and on private hunting reserves... in ruling against the Department of Conservation, also seemed to suggest that the Missouri Department of Agriculture should be the agency responsible for regulation of privately owned and bred deer ...

Deer hunting season now open for bows and arrows September 16, 2016 Missouri, Missourinet.com
... 90 percent of Missouri is privately owned, most hunting takes place on private land ... n a typical year, a quarter of a million deer are harvested in Missouri by half a million people... only take two antlered deer, or bucks, during both the archery and firearms ...

...  Missouri’s captive deer industry scored a major win over the state Department of Conservation this week when a judge blocked regulators’ efforts to stop imports of bucks and does to breeders ... Missouri is home to more than 100 breeding facilities and private hunting preserves with their own deer herds ... Hunters often pay thousands of dollars to hunt ... 

Missouri hunters in nearby counties urged to watch for sick deer Septemer 14, 2016 Missouri, Springfield News-Leader
... More than 100 cases of Chronic Wasting Disease found in deer and elk in northwest Arkansas has prompted the Missouri Department of Conservation to continue its increased CWD surveillance efforts in seven southwestern and south-central Missouri counties ... 33 free-ranging deer with CWD have been found in northeast, central and east-central Missouri since 2012...

MDC Asks Hunters To Get Deer Tested September 14, 2016 MIssouri, KTTS
... Officials are asking hunters in Barry, Christian, Douglas, McDonald, Ozark, Stone, and Taney Counties to have their animals tested for the deadly disease.  These seven counties are close to where more than 100 deer and elk tested positive in Arkansas ...  “Deer harvest and population has been relatively stable in Pettis County ... the county averages 20 to 25 deer per square-mile in the county...

Stable supply of game awaits area hunters September 14, 2016 Missouri, Sedalia Democrat
... According to information from the Missouri Department of Conservation’s media specialist, Bill Graham, statewide, 520,000 deer hunters annually participate in the sport, which generates $1 billion each year for Missouri’s economy...

MO hunters may see deer wearing GPS collars this hunting season September 13, 2016 Missouri, KFVS
... The GPS will help researchers find out if does are staying in the same place in the fall, during the regular hunting season, or if they're on the move.  "If those deer are staying on that sight year-round then the land owner can harvest more deer on that sight or have other folks come harvest them," ... 

Deer disease prompts mandatory testing in parts of Missouri September 5, 2016 MIssouri, Bradenton Herald
...  the state's first-ever mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease ... Since 2001, 33 cases of chronic wasting disease have been confirmed in Missouri's wild deer — 21 in Macon County, 9 in Adair County, and one each in Cole, Franklin and Linn counties ...

Missouri to Allow Crossbows for Deer, Turkey August 31, 2016 MIssouri News, American Hunter
... The legalization of crossbows will help bring prospective new hunters into the fold.  "In the end, if we recruit more hunters, more women hunters, get youngsters out earlier and keep more old-timers in the field, we win," Brandon Butler, Executive Director of the Missouri Conservation Federation ...

For state agency, it's all hands on deck for mandatory deer testing August 29, 2016 Missouri, Columbia Missourian
... Hunters in Boone and 28 other counties in the state's chronic wasting disease management zone will be required to have their kills sampled on opening weekend of the fall firearms season ... disease hasn't been found in Boone County, but was found in adjacent Cole County in 2015 ...
     State to sample Boone, Callaway county deer kills for disease August 29, 2016 Missouri, Columbia Daily Tribune
... About 1,000 conservation department employees will staff the sampling sites over the weekend and $420,000 has been budgeted for sampling supplies and testing ... At the sites, conservation staff will cut out the lymph nodes for lab testing ... lymph nodes collect an abundance of the abnormally folded prion protein that causes chronic wasting disease ...

MDC reminds hunters of deer and turkey regulation changes for fall August 17, 2016 Missouri, houstonherald.com
... Crossbows have been added as a legal method during archery deer and turkey seasons ... reduced the length of the deer-hunting antlerless portion from 12 to three days ... eliminated the urban-zones portion of the firearms deer season ...

Conservation Dept. studying whitetail on private property August 12, 2016 Missouri, News-Press Now
... Biologists for the Missouri Department of Conservation have begun collecting data on whitetail deer survival and movement as part of a five-year study on private property... 90 percent of the land in Missouri is privately owned ... the department is now monitoring 177 deer statewide...

... The Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program — established in 2015 — offers payments through the MDC to private landowners for public access to hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing. Other states are doing this, too. Kansas has more than 150,000 acres of private land open to hunting under its Walk-in Hunting Area program...

Captive deer proponent charged in forgery case August 6, 2016 Missouri, Columbia Daily Tribune
... A Columbia resident and opponent of tougher restrictions on moving deer around the state to combat chronic wasting disease was charged last month in Linn County with conspiracy for allegedly using documents forged by another man to notify state authorities about a deer he purchased in 2014...

Missouri data: The deer population is trending higher in 2016 in some parts of the state, with populations in the south up as a result of harvest restrictions and limited disease, but the deer harvest is lower than expected.  Deer herd estimated by MDC at about 1.2 million in 2015 and 1.4 million in 2014 before hunting. The 2015 decline was partly  due to increased hunting in some areas designed to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease and elimination of antler point restrictions in 19 north and central counties.  In 17 counties in Southwest Missouri.   The population averaged 20 deer per square mile in 2016.  A shorted season for does in 2016, from 12 to 3 days, and reduced antlerless tags in the north to help the population recover.
    MDC approved hunting restrictions -- a shorter season, lower limits, bucks-only hunt in the north -- in 2015 and 2014 to increase the population which has been reduced particularly in the north and west as a result of disease and drought.  The herd continues to recover from a severe outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) that reduced the deer population in 2013, 2012 (severe), also in earlier years 2007, 1998, 1988, and 1980 (drought years).  Populations in Boone, Calaway and other middle counties have dropped by up to 35 percent from EHD. Populations in the southeast have increased increasing where deer escaped the worst of the EHD outbreak and the summer was mild.  Southern populations are stable to slightly increasing.  Populations in northern, western, and central are below target levels.  Fewer deer in the river bottoms of the Ozarks  About 3,485 square miles of public land, almost all open to deer hunting.  More than 250 deer farms in 2016.
     A decade of declining deer numbers in the northwest and north central into 2015 with the total deer population down by almost 20 percent. Factors included increased bag limits and regulation changes that encourage hunters to take more does, several years of drought and habitat loss. The 2013/2014 harvest was the lowest since 1993, down throughout the state.  The Missouri Conservation Commission had supported policies to reduce the deer population for 20 years until in 2013 the herd declined beyond population goals in some areas, resulting in a reduction in the number of antlerless deer permits.   About 500,000 deer hunters. [Grahic from MDC] Deer hunting is estimated to add $1 billion to the state economy.
History:   As a result of unregulated hunting, the deer population was reduced to about 400 in 1925 when the State Legislature closed the entire state for hunting and imported deer from Michigan to restock the population.  By 1936 there were about 2,000 deer when the citizens of Missouri passed a constitutional amendment removing management from the legislature and appointing a four person conservation board.  In 1951, the first anterless harvest was designed to slow the growth of the herd.  The herd grew rapidly during the 1980's and 90's,  In 2000, the number of does taken exceeded the number of bucks, putting downward pressure on the population.  The number of deer hunters increased from 400,000 in 2000 to 500,000 in 2012.  Estimated 1989 population:  750,000.  The 2013 opening day and total harvest was the lowest in 20 years.  The poor acorn crop had the deer moving around looking for food during the hunting season, so the deer harvest was high, but the combination of disease and hunting significantly reduced the population. The 2012 mast survey showed the lowest production of red and white oak acorns in the 53 year history of the survey. 
     Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first discovered in 2010 at a captive deer operation near the Macon County line in northeast Linn County.  A captive deer tested positive in 2011 in Macon County. A buck reported positive in Adair county in 2014, Through 2014 11 wild and 11 captive deer with CWD, 10 of 11 wild deer within 10 miles of captive deer facilities. More than 200 licensed breeders and 44 hunting preserves.  The MDC is trying to reduce deer populations in the CWD areas by changing the 2015 hunting regulations to increase antlerless permits and eliminate antler point restrictions.
     Elk were once abundant.  The last wild elk was shot in the Bootheel region during the 1890's.  In May, 2011, conservation officials brought 35 elk from Kentucky.  About 125 elk by 2015.

Report Poaching, Operation Game Thief:  1-800-392-1111

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Deer Population and Number of Harvested Does
The graphic below summarizing the population history of deer in Missouri is from the UM Extension series of publications on the Ecology and Management of White-tailed Deer in Missosuri


Missouri Deer Population - UM Extension

Potential Diseases and Parasites of White-tailed Deer in Missouri
extension.missouri.edu