Missouri set a new deer harvest record in the 2023-24 season which ended Monday.
Missouri’s preliminary total was 326,026 deer. That figure is 79 deer more than the previous record set in 2006.
Of the deer harvested, 147,705 were antlered bucks, 29,060 were button bucks, and 149,261 were does. Franklin County was the top harvest county with 7,395 deer harvested.
Deer hunting ended with the close of the archery season. Preliminary data from MDC showed that hunters checked 55,396 deer during the 2023-2024 archery deer season. Jefferson County was the top county for the archery deer harvest with 1,440. Hunters checked 56,683 deer during the 2022-2023 archery deer season.
According to MDC, increasing deer numbers and regulation changes that added a new early antlerless firearms portion, a new chronic wasting disease (CWD) firearms portion, and an increase in the number of firearms antlerless deer hunting permits in most counties led to additional hunting opportunities and contributed to a record harvest.
According to MDC, this year was the first since 2013 that more does were harvested than antlered bucks.
According to MDC, this year’s antlered buck harvest is also the highest on record. MDC Cervid Program Supervisor Jason Isabelle attributed this increase primarily to the new CWD portion of firearms deer season that was open in CWD Management Zone counties.
Isabelle noted that increasing deer numbers, changes in hunter preferences, and removal of the antler-point restriction in counties that enter the CWD Management Zone have also contributed to an increasing antlered buck harvest trend over the past decade.