Deer Hunting in Missouri

Back to All State Reports
  • B
  • 1,400,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 483,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $17 and Up

    A firearms any-deer permit is $17. An archery hunting permit is $19. Additional antlerless-only permits are $7.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $265

    A non-resident archery or firearm permit is $265 and additional antlerless-only permits are $25.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 205"

    Taken by Larry Gibson in Randolph County in 1971. The buck ranks No. 3 of all time.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 529

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 333 7/8"

    Picked up in 1981 in St. Louis County, ranks No. 1 of all time.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 373

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Melissa Bachman killed this Missouri beauty. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Bachman)

Season Dates (2020):

Archery season is September 15 to November 13 and November 25 to January 15. The main firearms season is November 14 to 24. Alternative methods season is December 26 to January 5. The firearms antlerless-only season is December 4 to 6. Youth season is October 31 to November 1 and November 27 to 29. There are antler-point restrictions in some counties. Please check the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) website to confirm season dates.

The Grade: B

Missouri offers solid deer hunting, but it isn’t A-worthy. Hunting pressure is a sizeable problem in certain regions. Factor in that it’s a two-buck state with a lot of hunters, and deer get skittish quickly. It has great potential, but competition is stiff for the best areas. It also has expanding chronic wasting disease (CWD) zones, which isn’t good.

Still, The Show-Me State racks up a good number of Boone and Crockett and Pope & Young whitetails each year. It’s also home of the enormous world record non-typical. It was rightfully named the Missouri Monarch.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Big deer are found throughout Missouri. However, if higher concentrations of top-end deer is the goal, the northern third of the state has bigger deer. Rich soils, varying timber, mixed grasslands, increased ag, and antler point restrictions really benefit this portion of the state. An older buck age structure is the result. Generally, the closer to the Iowa border, the better the hunting. Adair, Clark, Harrison, Knox, Linn, Macon, Nodaway, Putnam and Scotland are top contenders.

Several central counties produce solid numbers of Booners, too, including Boone, Callaway, Howard, Jackson, Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles, St. Louis and Vernon. While record deer aren’t as common in southern counties, and overall deer densities are lower, Greene, Phelps and Pulaski counties produce solid stats for the region.

Public-land opportunities are in great supply. You’ll find large tracts of public land managed by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies. Also, the MDC manages many conservation areas throughout the state. Many of these are weapon-specific. Some are even muzzleloader and archery or archery only.

There are new intra- and interstate carcass transportation regulations that take effect this year. This is aimed at slowing the spread of CWD. And, fortunately for qualifying non-resident landowners, deer hunting permit prices are reduced.



Missouri Harvests

  • Andrew Thornton

    Washington, Missouri

  • Richard Hays

    Shelbina, Missouri

From the Realtree Trophy Den