bow hunter

Bow hunters like this one are gearing up for the archery deer and turkey season, which begins Saturday.

November is still the prime month for deer hunters, but more and more whitetail enthusiasts are circling Sept. 15 on their calendars, too.

As many local deer hunters know, Saturday, Sept. 15 is the opening of Missouri’s archery deer season. 

Technically, it’s the opening of the archery deer and turkey season because turkeys taken by archery methods are legal harvests during this season, too. However, when most people refer to the “bow season,” they're talking about this season as it applies to hunting deer.

 As usual, the season has two segments  Sept. 15 to Nov. 9 and Nov. 21 through Jan. 15. These segments wrap around the November firearms season.

The season limit for an archery permit is two deer (and two turkeys if you choose to archery hunt for turkeys), providing that only one antlered deer is taken prior to Nov. 10. 

In addition to this, bow hunters can buy additional archery antlerless permits. These permits, which are for antlerless deer only, are only valid in specified counties. The map of where these permits are valid can be found in the “2018 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet, a free publication available at all Missouri Department of Conservation offices and most sites that sell hunting permits.

Of course, it needs to be remembered that the archery deer season isn’t only an opportunity for hunters to bag deer, it’s also a chance for landowners to alleviate deer problems they may be experiencing. People who do not have the time or interest to hunt whitetails might be able to solve their deer problems by asking for help from people who hunt. 

This doesn’t have to be a blanket invitation that opens your land to all hunters. Talking to your neighbors or asking people at your work place or church if they'd be interested in hunting deer are good ways to stay in control of the hunting traffic on your land. Your acreage may be too small to be viable for firearms hunting, but archery, a method that consists of shots made from a much shorter range, is often a viable solution to deer problems.

As you, the landowner, talk to people interested in hunting on your land, here are some questions that will help you screen the prospective hunters:

• How long have you been hunting deer?

• Would you be willing to hunt only does? If you have excessive deer problems, studies have shown that taking does is the most effective way of trimming overall deer numbers.

• Have you taken deer before?

• When will you be hunting (morning, evening, weekday, weekend, etc.)?

• Will you be bringing anyone with you?

• Who should I call in case of an emergency?

• What kind of vehicle will you be driving?

• Can you give me a courtesy call the day before you come to my land?

None of these questions should be considered invasive. You’re merely trying to learn more about the hunter or hunters whom you’re going to trust to be on your land. Conversely, there are also questions responsible and courteous hunters should ask landowners. These questions will not only help with this year’s hunting, but may pave the way for hunts in future years as well. 

Hunters should ask:

• Where are your property boundaries?

• Are there any restrictions on when or where I can hunt?

• How do your neighbors feel about hunting?

• Can I use tree stands, screw-in steps, etc.?

• Do you mind if I field-dress the deer on your land? (If the answer is “yes,” ask where you can field-dress deer so that you’ll be able to dispose of the waste parts in an out-of-the-way area).

More information about this year’s archery season, or about other upcoming deer hunting opportunities, can be found in the above-mentioned publication or at

Francis Skalicky is the media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. For more information about conservation issues, call (417) 895-6880.

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