HomeOutdoorsMissouri Hunters Bag Fewer Deer Than Last Year in Preliminary Numbers

Missouri Hunters Bag Fewer Deer Than Last Year in Preliminary Numbers

by Quentin Blount
Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

We’ve got some hunting news for all of you Outsiders. Deer season just wrapped up for Missouri hunters and the numbers are officially in.

As it turns out, there were more than 290,000 deer harvested in total during the 2021-2022 hunting season in the state of Missouri. Of those, 143,049 were antlered bucks, 124,022 were does, and 26,599 were button bucks. Those figures were slightly lower than last year.

Jason Isabelle explained as much. He’s the Cervid Program Supervisor with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

“This year’s harvest total was slightly behind last year’s mark and about 3% above the previous five-year average,” he said. “We’ve seen an increasing trend in statewide deer harvest for about the past eight years.”

In terms of which counties harvested the most deer, it was Franklin County that led the way with 6,392 harvests. Next up was Texas County with 5,478, and Callaway County with 5,452. Central Missouri counties Boone, Cole, and Cooper also had a lot of harvests as well. There were 3,300, 1,833, and 2,206 deer were taken in those counties, respectively.

“The deer population has continued to increase across much of southern Missouri at the same time that we’ve seen a population recovery in most of the countries impacted by the severe hemorrhagic disease outbreak that occurred in 2012.”

Readers Online Speculate on Deer Totals Decreasing

Meanwhile, it’s not just the state of Missouri that saw a dip when it comes to their hunting totals. Readers online talked about how they have seen fewer deer being taken in their areas.

“People around my way are not allowing anyone to hunt their land anymore,” one person said. “And, with subdivisions cropping up everywhere, you just about can’t point a rifle in any direction without a house being behind. Deer are in every field on my way home, no pressure, just feeding in the wide-open, and sometimes right up next to the road. Accidents are on the rise.”

Another reader believes that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a key reason that fewer people are hunting.

“CWD is mad cow disease in deer and it’s spreading in the U.S. This may reduce interest in hunting. It is important to continue hunting deer to keep the population down but infection rates are greatest in older male deer so hunting rules may need changing.”

And finally, one person said that for them, they were too focused on trying to bring down a trophy buck. That led to them not getting a deer at all.

“I have always hunted for meat, but got caught up in antler fever this year trying to bag a highly wary 12 point. Passed up on other opportunities and as such, didn’t pull the trigger this year. Oh well.”