The back cover is always the first place to look with its synopsis of what’s new for 2020 and the Seasons-at-a-Glance chart. Archery Deer and the Fall Firearms turkey hunting season are already under way. The five portions of firearms deer hunting season begin with the first youth session on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
The 11-day November portion, best known simply as deer season, begins Nov. 14. It continues until Nov. 24, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The second youth portion is a three-day Thanksgiving weekend session Nov. 27-29.
The other two portions of the deer hunting season include antlerless-only hunting in about 100 of the state’s 114 counties Dec. 4-6. The final segment is the alternative methods portion, formerly known as the muzzleloader season. It will be 11 days from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5.
Maybe the biggest adjustment this season is the definition of who qualifies for the no-cost landowner permits. The permits now are limited to those with 20 or more contiguous acres, and the property has to be registered with the state Department of Conservation.
Another big change this season regards the transportation of deer carcasses from inside the counties identified as part of the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zones. Jefferson County and all the counties surrounding it except St. Louis County are included in one of four containment areas around the state. The others are in the Springfield region, along the Arkansas border and in the original zone surrounding Linn County in north central Missouri.
Hunters who harvest deer in any of those areas are asked to help stop the spread of CWD by delivering the animal to a licensed taxidermist or meat processor within 48 hours. Exceptions are made for deer meat that is cut from the bone, into quarters, or other parts that do not include any spinal column or head attached. Deer hides and antlers or skull plates cannot have any muscle or brain tissue.
Hunters who have their success on the first two days of the firearms season are required to take their deer to sampling stations from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 14 and 15. The three locations in Jefferson County again this year are Cedar Hill VFW Post 5331, the state Department of Transportation building near Highway 110 and Hwy. 21 in De Soto, or the parking lot across from Buchheit’s in Herculaneum.
Seven state conservation areas in Jefferson County are open for archery hunting only. Visitors should be on the lookout for hunters at the Glassberg, LaBarque Creek, Merrill Horse Access, Pacific Palisades, Valley View, Victoria Glades and Young conservation areas.
Two other charts on the booklet are annual go-to references. Inside the back cover is the sunrise and sunset table for every day from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31. Daily shooting hours for firearms deer hunting are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The times on the chart must be calculated based on distance from Jefferson City.
The previous page in the book also offers handy information based on the county where you are hunting. All the state conservation agent telephone numbers are listed by county. Game law violations and other suspicious activity can also be reported through the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111. Callers can remain anonymous and rewards are available to those who provide tips that lead to prosecutions.
The booklet is available everywhere hunting permits are sold. A downloadable PDF version is also available at mdc.mo.gov.
John Winkelman is the Associate Editor for Outdoor Guide Magazine. If you have story ideas to share, e-mail email@example.com, and you can follow John on Twitter at @johnjwink99.