Legislative Column for the Week of Feb. 16, 2015
Proposed Changes to Deer Hunting Regulations

Deer hunting is an extremely popular pastime in Missouri. So much so, that there is a burgeoning economy directly related to the hunting sport. From firearms to ammunition, clothing, camouflage accessories, deer blinds, tree stands and countless other items, hunting is big business in Missouri.

The Department of Conservation (DOC), during the summer of 2014, gathered about 4,000 comments from the public on proposed changes to deer hunting regulations. Surveys were conducted of a number of deer hunters, and open houses were conducted throughout the state. As a result, the DOC drafted several recommendations for changes in the hunting laws, among them:

  • Maintaining the current timing of the November deer season but reducing the length from 11 to nine days;
  • Expanding the late youth firearms weekend from two to three days, starting the Friday after Thanksgiving;
  • Reducing the length of the antlerless firearms portion from 12 days to three days, beginning on the first Friday in December; and
  • Eliminating the urban zones portion.

Changes in the archery season may include:

  • Allowing crossbows as a legal method; and
  • Reducing the limit of antlered deer during the archery season from two to one.

From February through April 2015, the department will collect more comments from the public regarding these changes through additional public meetings. The meetings will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

  • March 3 – MDC Springfield Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way, Springfield;
  • March 5 – West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St., West Plains; and
  • March 10 – MDC Cape Girardeau Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau.

Some of the proposed changes may directly impact the segment of the population that relies upon deer hunting for food or business. I encourage all concerned individuals to attend one of these meetings, or to leave comments online and learn more about these changes by visiting the MDC website: mdc.mo.gov/node/28079.

Comments or concerns may also be mailed to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Attn: Policy Coordination, P.O. Box 180. Jefferson City, MO 65102.

I always encourage my constituents to feel free to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown.

Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.